Thursday, April 29, 2010

Global Female Sex Tourism

"Peter, based in Amman, traveled to Jordan's south, where many foreign women — particularly Europeans — test the definition of tourism by becoming sexually, even romantically, involved with local guides and other tourism industry workers.


Look, meantime, found the beaches of Senegal to be rich pickings for European women "of a certain age" who proposition young men, invariably trapped in a cycle of relentless poverty, for sex in exchange for "gifts" like electronics and often cold, hard cash. Many of these women claim they're just doing what middle-aged men have been doing for centuries: taking up with someone half their age and giving them an all-expenses-paid ride in exchange for sex."

Global Post

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Law School Bubble

"With three-year programs at top schools costing nearly $150,000, not including room, board or even books, some of the criticism is coming from inside the legal profession. Christine Hurt, a law professor at the University of Illinois, suggests that the market for legal education is strikingly similar to the subprime mortgage market. Her theory, which she posted on "The Conglomerate Blog" last week, goes like this:


Double-digit tuition increases in the last 25 years have priced law schools out of reach for many. Yet the promise of a career at a big law firm with its six-figure paychecks kept boosting enrollment. Easy credit allowed more students to finance their law degrees. All of a sudden law firms lay off droves of attorneys and limit the number of new hires, leaving graduates out of work with more than $100,000 in loans to repay."Chicago Tribune

Ouch.

Where we at

Greece Bond : Downgraded to Junk.
Portuguese Bond: Downgraded to BB+, which is under the investment level,
Spanish Bond: Downgraded to AA, with a negative outlook.

May 1st is coming

and it's not the end of the world. Just stay put. I am almost done with the migration tool. I've been busy at work so it got stalled and stalled. The switch to blogspot.com with your own domain takes about one minute to do.

If you do not manage to migrate to blogspot.com after May 1st, you don't lose your blog. You simply cannot publish to FTP. So you can migrate pretty much on your own timeline.

This is why Britain will have a new PM soon

Check out this transcript of Gordon Brown putting his right foot on his big mouth while shooting his other foot. He had to apologize to the woman later on.

Do not buy a beach house

Rising Sea is a site dedicating to providing reports and information about disappearing beaches in the United States due to rising seas.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Greece bond got junked

"S.& P. downgraded Greek government debt to junk status, saying in a statement, “Greece’s economic and fiscal prospects lead us to conclude that the sovereign’s creditworthiness is no longer compatible with an investment-grade rating.”" NY Times

Ouch. The Greek Government is trying to get IMF involved. More and more demonstrations are planned in Greece against the planned austerity measures (budget cuts and friends) by the government to ensure that Greece will remain a functioning state.

Meet up in Latin America

Friends,

I am going to be travelling much over the next few weeks. Here is my plan:

1st of May - 17th of May: Cuba
17th of May - 20th of May: Panama
20th of May - 8th of June: Colombia
8th of June - 27th of June: Ecuador
I
f anyone feels like catching or if there is a co-traveller out there - please shout out! I am reachable on rajiv.chandna(at)gmail.com. I would love to be able to meet the great AIESEC crowd - old and new!!

Looking forward to this trip and hearing back from a lot of you!

Democracy, Ukrainian style

Monday, April 26, 2010

High school papers

"And no, that’s not hyperbole: of AAA-rated subprime-mortgage-backed securities issued in 2006, 93 percent — 93 percent! — have now been downgraded to junk status."
Krugman

With that kind of success rate, I wonder how rating agencies remain in business. I mean 93% failure is worse result than if a monkey randomly throw his poop on a wall of securities to determine their AAA ratings.

Second try


"The Icelandic ash cloud may be dissipating, but its effects will be felt for a long time. Business owners and scientists are assessing the damage and asking why things went so badly. How can Europe be better prepared for the next eruption? SPIEGEL ONLINE analyzes the options."Spiegel


You know what this leads to, New task force! EU bureaucrat will busily enact more laws to be imposed across in the union.

Friday, April 23, 2010

a brief charity

I am starting a charity.  The charity has no name and no legal status.  The purpose of the charity is to build a latrine in the village of Ngun, which is in Cameroon.  A latrine has many benefits, especially slowing of sanitation-born illnesses.  The charity could raise up to about $200.  If the charity doesn't raise any money it's OK, i'll still pay for the thing.  If you would like to donate money to the charity then contact me.  It is mostly futile for people outside of the US to try to donate because of the high cost of transferring money, unless you have a somewhat large donation.  I'll post a picture of he latrine when it's done so you can see it.

There are two options:
-give money for the latrine itself
-give money to buy a pig or a goat as part of the latrine kickoff celebration

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

children full of life, pt. 2

http://andiamnotlying.com/2010/types-of-bitches/

i am a sensible person, so i don't think this ontology of bitches attributed to 3rd graders is funny, i am merely posting out of a duty to viral phenomena

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Let people live in your heart

When people really listen, they live in your heart forever.

420

World Development Indicators

It's long but here's the highlight. It's worth reading even if you are not working in NGO sector.

"Economy - The world economy grew by 2.8 percent in 2008 measured in purchasing power parity terms, down from 5.0 percent in 2007. Low- and middle-income economies grew faster than high-income economies, increasing their share of world output by more than a percentage point to 43.3 percent.


Trade fell in almost every region under the impact of the global recession. South Asia was the only exception. Developing economies now account for 33 of merchandise exports and 21 percent of service exports. But low-income economies are largely left out, providing only 1 percent of world exports.


Educational attainment


The MDGs call for all children to be able to complete primary school by 2015. This goal is close to being achieved. At the end of the 2007 school year, 7 out of 10 people in the developing world lived in countries that have achieved full primary school enrollment or are on track to do so. Still this leaves 72 million primary school-age children not enrolled, most of them in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.


Gender equality


Education opportunities for girls have expanded everywhere, but gender gaps remain large in low-income economies, especially at the primary and secondary levels.
More women are in the workforce, although they are more likely than men to be in vulnerable jobs, without regular salaries or benefits.
More women are entering national parliaments. The largest gains have been made in South Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, where women now occupy more than 20 percent of the seats.


Child health


Increasing immunization rates, better management of diarrheal diseases, and malaria prevention programs have all contributed to falling mortality rates for children under age five. In developing countries, the child mortality rate declined from 101 per 1,000 in 1990 to 73 in 2008.
Thirty-nine countries, representing 45 percent of the population of developing countries have achieved or are on track to achieve a two-thirds reduction in child mortality before 2015.


Mothers’ health


New estimates of maternal mortality, which became available after the WDI went to press, show substantial decreases in maternal deaths for the first time since setting the fifth MDG target of a 75 percent reduction in the mortality ratio from levels prevailing in 1990. Official estimates from the United Nations later this year are likely to confirm this trend.
The proportion of pregnant women who had at least one antenatal visit rose from 64 percent in 1990 to 79 percent in 2008. But the proportion who had the recommended four or more visits is still less than 50 percent in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, where most maternal and infant deaths occur.


Combating disease


New HIV infections have fallen by 17 percent since 2000, and wider access to antiretroviral treatment has contributed to the first decline in AIDS deaths since the epidemic began. But there are still 33.4 million people – two-thirds of them in Sub-Saharan Africa living with HIV/AIDS and most of them women.


Tuberculosis prevalence has fallen, but the target of halving the 1990 prevalence rate by 2015 is unlikely to be met. In 2007 there were 13.7 million cases globally, down only slight from 2006.
There were nearly 1 million malaria-related deaths in 2006. Ninety percent of malaria deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa, and most are children under age 5. Progress has been made in scaling up the use of insecticide-treated bed nets among children, which rose from 2 percent in 2000 to 20 percent in 2006.


Environmental sustainability


Net forest losses since 1990 have been substantial but recent data show a slowing in the global rate of deforestation. In East Asia, China has added to its forest cover by converting marginal crop lands.
While economies have become more efficient in their use of energy, reducing carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP produced, carbon dioxide emissions per capita continue to rise.
More people have access to improved (protected and accessible) water sources, and at least 65 developing countries are on track to reduce by half the proportion of people lacking access to water source. But more than 1.5 billion people lack access to toilets, latrines and other forms of improved sanitation and there has been little improvement since 1990.


Development partnership


Aid flows from the member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee have increases – from $69 billion in 2000 to $122 billion in 2008 – but even with further increases in 2009 and 2010 they will fall short of the pledges made five years ago.


Better debt management, trade expansion, and, for the poorest countries, substantial debt relief have reduced the burden of debt service.


Average tariffs have been falling and countries are trading more freely, but many obstacles remain for developing country exporters. Some are imposed by their trading partners – such as high peak tariffs applied selectively to certain good and subsidies paid by rich countries to domestic agricultural producers – and some are the result of poor infrastructure and inefficiencies that limit the ability of developing countries to compete in the global market place." World Bank

Now in Thailand


Daylife

This demonstration has been going on for the past three weeks and in mimics several demonstrations in the past 3 years. The last time they shut down the Bangkok Airport (last year).

Thailand political system is now so fucked up that demonstrations of opposition parties continues in cycle not unlike Monsoon's. Government falls every year and switches sides and whoever in oppositions will predictably arrange a mass demonstration that blocks important sections of the capitals and disturb the daily life of citizens. A term of "shooting your own foot with a bazooka" comes to mind. This is not an act of democracy, this is a farce.

And now here we go at the next phase of the demonstration, a spectre of more violent clash:

"Security forces are being allowed to use live ammunition in self-defence as the government reiterates its vow to keep the red shirts from the business district of Silom and reclaim Ratchaprasong intersection."Bangkok Post.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Jokes - Icelandic Volcano Edition

Compilation from the interwebs

"“The last wish of the Icelandic economy was to have its ashes scattered over Europe.”"

“Icelandic taxpayer to Britons and Dutch: forget Icesave, kiss my ash!”

“We wanted cash,” Europe says, “not ash.”

BBC News “Europe faces prolonged air chaos”… Ermmm, how can there be air chaos when we are all stuck on the ground.

Thanks to Tiger Woods no virgin can be found to throw into the volcano.

Aliens among our midst


"These tiny creatures can join together to create some of the largest masses of life on the planet, and researchers working on the decade-long Census of Marine Life project found one such seafloor mat off the Pacific coast of South America that is roughly the size of Greece.


A single liter of seawater, once thought to contain about 100,000 microbes, can actually hold more than one billion microorganisms, the census scientists reported. But these small creatures don't just live in the water column or on the seafloor. Large communities of microscopic animals have even been discovered more than one thousand meters beneath the seafloor. Some of these deep burrowers, such as loriciferans, are only a quarter of a millimeter long. "Scientific American

Awesome art competition

""The Million's Poet" is probably the only poetry mega-show in the television age. It attracts a TV audience of 18 million viewers, from Cairo to Muscat to Amman. The winner receives an unusually large cash prize of about $1 million ($745,000), which is more than the Nobel committee awarded the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature last fall."Spiegel

BRIC Summit

"The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and PR China, the four major emerging economies, met this Thursday at the BRIC Summit in Brasilia. The issues discussed were mainly economic, with the areas of energy and infrastructure standing out. " Pravda

You have the "emerging" BRIC on one side and the sinking PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain) countries on the other.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Yup they work

We have two blogs running on blogspot. There is still a minor problem with missing images that will be fixed soon.

The Icelandic Menace



NY Times

You can check FlightRadar 24 to see the flights in Europe in real time.

The shutdown of Europe


NY Times

It is amazing that a volcano located in a 300,000 strong country can shut down international air travel.

Map of Iceland

This is the best map of Iceland on the interwebs.

Business Innovations from emerging world



"This special report will argue that something comparable is now happening in the emerging world. Developing countries are becoming hotbeds of business innovation in much the same way as Japan did from the 1950s onwards. They are coming up with new products and services that are dramatically cheaper than their Western equivalents: $3,000 cars, $300 computers and $30 mobile phones that provide nationwide service for just 2 cents a minute. They are reinventing systems of production and distribution, and they are experimenting with entirely new business models. All the elements of modern business, from supply-chain management to recruitment and retention, are being rejigged or reinvented in one emerging market or another."Economist

There is nothing special being reported here. As more and more countries got their shit together, their business and technical sophistications will also rise accordingly. And yes the innovation that comes from emerging world will look different that the ones coming from the usual corners because simply it responds to a different set of constraints and opportunities. It is an awesome time to live.

Friday, April 16, 2010

More Iceland Volcano



TPM

USA sues Goldman Sachs

"As the Abacus deals plunged in value, Goldman and certain hedge funds made money on their negative bets, while the Goldman clients who bought the $10.9 billion in investments lost billions of dollars.


According to the complaint, Goldman created Abacus 2007-AC1 in February 2007, at the request of John A. Paulson, a prominent hedge fund manager who earned an estimated $3.7 billion in 2007 by correctly wagering that the housing bubble would burst.


Goldman let Mr. Paulson select mortgage bonds that he wanted to bet against — the ones he believed were most likely to lose value — and packaged those bonds into Abacus 2007-AC1, according to the S.E.C. complaint. Goldman then sold the Abacus deal to investors like foreign banks, pension funds, insurance companies and other hedge funds.


But the deck was stacked against the Abacus investors, the complaint contends, because the investment was filled with bonds chosen by Mr. Paulson as likely to default. Goldman told investors in Abacus marketing materials reviewed by The Times that the bonds would be chosen by an independent manager." NY Times

Here's the bottom line. Goldman packaged a bunch of bad bonds (bonds that most likely to fail) into CDO (Collateral Debt Obligation). Then they sell these CDOs to a bunch of investors. Knowing that these are bad bonds, Goldman bought a bunch of (CDS) Credit Default Swap as an insurance against this CDO. When them market tanked and the value of the CDO collapse to nothing, Goldman raked money from their CDS claim.

The problem about this particular CDO arrangement was that Goldman did not DISCLOSE that they themselves bet against the CDO they were packaging and selling.

You can learn more about this type of switch and bait deal at Pro Publica excellent The Magnetar Trade report. You will be shaking your fists in anger at the end of the article and would be supporting exile for Wall Street firms to Siberia. Pro Publica itself has just won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.

Felix Simon of Reuter has more details about how the CDO was sold.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Beauty



More pictures from Iceland Volcanic Eruption is here Flickr

This is a webcam to see the volcano live.

Drums of war

Now we have a Syrian missile crisis in the Middle East. It is strongly suggested that Syria has transferred Scud missiles to the militant terrorist organization Hezbollah (of Lebanon). For fuck sakes, why can't everyone just fucking deescalate.

Volcano of Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland.



It has been particularly active in the past three weeks. Go try to pronounce the name of the volcano :)


"A huge plume of volcanic ash sweeping in from Iceland forced the complete closure of British air space and disrupted flights across Northern Europe Thursday.


Britain's Civil Aviation Authority ordered the grounding of all flights in the UK from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. (8 a.m. ET to 2 p.m. ET) due to the safety risk posed by ash to aircraft engines." CNN

The Elves of Iceland are pissed at Britain for forcing the issue of Ice Save collapse money.

Models of post-crisis development: global war or new consensus

"In November 2009 – December 2010 the Post-Crisis World Institute foundation carried out widespread international expert exploration “Models of post-crisis development” in which more than 247 experts from 53 countries of the world took part.


The experts were economists and financial analysts, owners and top-managers of leading companies, journalists specialized on economical and political subjects, scientists, futurologists and writers, politicians and public servants took part in the exploration.


As global expertise has revealed, world brainpower doesn’t conceive coming century as a time of easy peaceful development. World crisis formed in mind of experts expectations of world order radical and long-term rearrangement. The world is currently stands at the parting of the ways to adjudicate a dispute on who will be a leader in future and, which is the most important, on how the future leader will win his leadership in a very real sense. Expert community formulated the main factors to stipulate leadership, which are especially timely for newly industrialized countries. Besides, the exploration gives and idea of possible ways of globalization and integration."
Post Crisis World Institute

You can download the full report here. I read the survey that they distributed last year (from someone that participated) and they asked incisive questions. I have high hopes for the output of the report.

Haiti


Save the Children

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Different by Young Me Moon

"If you happen to be someone who has eaten cereal on a fairly regular basis throughout your life, the task is actually not that hard. In all likelihood, you'd simply walk down the aisle, mentally eliminating entire batches of cereals at once—say, all of the children's cereals... or anything that looked too sugary. You'd then winnow your selections further by applying a secondary set of filters—for example, anything with granola... or anything high fiber. After you'd narrowed the aisle down to a small subset of cereals— maybe six or seven brands—you'd layer on a few additional criteria—perhaps dismissing anything containing raisins or anything in an ugly box—until, boom, you'd made your selection.


The whole exercise would probably be over in a matter of minutes, unless of course you happen to be the type of person who is really persnickety about your breakfast fare, in which case it might take a bit longer. Regardless, what would be impressive about your performance, irrespective of the outcome, would be the intelligence of your approach. Somehow, you have learned to deconstruct the product category the way a product marketer would: as a cascading set of subcategories and mini-subcategories. Somehow, you have learned to segment the product array across a range of dimensions, and somehow, you have learned to make distinctions between brands that come down to the most minute of details. In other words, you may not have realized it, but somewhere along the way, you became a category expert, a cereal connoisseur.


Now imagine a martian standing in the same aisle, faced with the same task. What was easy for you would be completely daunting for him. Even assuming his superior intelligence, parsing the variation among products would take hour upon hour. For this poor creature, all of those cereal boxes would look bewilderingly the same.


Why? Because where a connoisseur sees the differences, a novice sees the similarities. Where a connoisseur can discern subtle shades of distinction based on nuanced asymmetries, a novice lacks the necessary filters to canvas, to organize, to sift an assortment in a meaningful way. Where a connoisseur can navigate a category with effortless intuition, a novice will struggle to find beginning, middle, or end. Shopping in this regard can be beyond experiential; it can be phenomenological.


You could repeat this same exercise again and again, across product after product, with similar results. Try explaining to a foreigner the difference between Crest and Colgate. Try explaining to a child the difference between a Honda and a Toyota. When I visit a Foot Locker with my husband, he will cruise the store like an oenophile seeking a rare varietal. I, on the other hand, am a category outsider. So while he roams, I will park myself in a corner of the store and feel overcome by the sameness." Yong Me Moon

Reckless Navigation

"Australian officials have arrested the captain and chief officer of a Chinese coal ship which ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef.


The captain, 47, has been charged with liability for damage to a marine park, while his colleague, 44, was allegedly on watch when the Shen Neng 1 grounded.


Officials say the ship leaked tonnes of oil and caused extensive damaged to the fragile coral of the marine reserve." BBC



"In this Monday, April 5, 2010 handout photo supplied by Queensland Maritime Safety, oil leaks from the Chinese-registered 230-meter-long bulk coal carrier Shen Neng 1st that rests aground on Douglas Shoals off the coast 70 miles east of Rockhampton, Australia. About 2 tons (metric tons) of oil have already spilled from the 1,000 tons (950 metric tons) of fuel on board, creating a 100-yard (meter) slick that stretches 2 miles (3 kilometers), Marine Safety Queensland said in a statement."Day Life

The ship was refloated a couple of days ago and towed away to the nearest port.

Marriage Market Calculation

"But jail is a big part of the problem, argue Kerwin Kofi Charles, now at the University of Chicago, and Ming Ching Luoh of National Taiwan University. They divided America up into geographical and racial “marriage markets”, to take account of the fact that most people marry someone of the same race who lives relatively close to them. Then, after crunching the census numbers, they found that a one percentage point increase in the male incarceration rate was associated with a 2.4-point reduction in the proportion of women who ever marry. " Economist

2 blogs converted



I migrated two existing blogs to blogspot custom domain. I will let you know tomorrow if they are working smoothly or ending up as unprecedented disasters.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dodo territory



"A plane carrying 103 passengers overshot its designated runway, crashing around Rendani Airport in the coastal town of Manokwari, Indonesia, around 11 a.m., local time, on Tuesday.

AccuWeather.com meteorologists said rain had been falling in the area for some time leading up to the crash, so runways were likely wet and fog may have been present.
Moreover, an isolated thunderstorm accompanied by heavy rain, lightning and fog could have been a culprit in hampering the visibility of the pilot.

Thunderstorms, which often cause conditions to vary dramatically in severity over short distances, are fairly common in this part of Indonesia during April.

The Boeing 737 passenger jet operated by Merpati Nusantara Airlines crashed in the Papua province of eastern Indonesia, injuring as many as 20 people, according to officials."
Accu Weather

We Indonesians are simply not cut out to fly a plane. The only good news here is that nobody was killed.


Wikipedia on Dodo bird

Coffin on wheels

"Consumers should not buy the 2010 Lexus GX 460 sport utility vehicle because of a handling problem that could lead to a rollover and possibly “serious injury or death,” according to Consumer Reports magazine.

A “don’t buy” warning is rare for the magazine, but there was no doubt it was necessary, said David Champion, the senior director of the Consumer Reports auto test division. The litmus test was whether the testers would want their families in the vehicle. The answer was no, he said, so “I wouldn’t want anybody else in it.”

The handling problem arises if the driver takes his foot off the gas pedal while driving quickly through a sharp turn. That causes the rear end of the vehicle to slide toward the outside of the turn, a condition known as “trailing-throttle” or “lift-throttle oversteer.” On dozens of other S.U.V.’s tested by the magazine, the vehicles’ electronic stability control system detected and quickly stopped the slide. But the stability control didn’t stop the GX 460 until it was almost sideways, Mr. Champion said."
NY Times

Damn, Toyota must be in a bad streak. Lexus (a Toyota company) has been known to produce amazing and high quality vehicles. The fact that a respected body give one of its newest product a "don't buy" label is a big blow to the brand.

Cheerleading by Newsweek



This is the cover page article. As a caveat, Daniel Gross has been one of the optimists about the recovery since last year. Google his name and you will see his bullish articles on Slate about the "strong and swift" recovery of US economy.

China World Expo Fever



"Prague - Bronze relief sculpture of Saint John of Nepomuk on the Charles Bridge standing to represent the Czech Republic at the World Expo in China.
Employees of the City Gallery of Prague is solemnly was removed and handed to the Commissioner for Expo 2010th"
Centrum.cz

More on Poland

"For scarcely any nation has suffered since 1939 as Poland, carved up by the Hitler-Stalin nonaggression pact, transformed by the Nazis into the epicenter of their program to annihilate European Jewry, land of Auschwitz and Majdanek, killing field for millions of Christian Poles and millions of Polish Jews, brave home to the Warsaw Uprising, Soviet pawn, lonely Solidarity-led leader of post-Yalta Europe’s fight for freedom, a place where, as one of its great poets, Wislawa Szymborska, wrote, “History counts its skeletons in round numbers” — 20,000 of them at Katyn." Cohen



I did not know the story of Katyn massacre before the plane crash tragedy that killed the top level of Poland leadership last weekend. Around 20,000 officers and highly educated Polish were murdered in Katyn in 1939.

Wikipedia says that it was the largest simultaneous executions of POW in the war.

Monday, April 12, 2010

At least better than the Logo



Anish Kapoor's ArcelorMittal Orbit tower is supposed to be the symbol of the 2012 Olympics and London's answer to the Eiffel Tower. Here, an artist's impression shows what the final structure will look like. Spiegel

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Apple is almost as big as Microsoft

"But look at the two companies today. Jobs is still running Apple despite cancer and a liver transplant while Gates has moved on to saving the world at the Gates Foundation. Microsoft is worth $240 billion, a tiny drop from 12 years ago, with the shares now around $27 (down from $29). Nothing gained in more than a decade. Apple shares, on the other hand, have gone from $7.25 to almost $240, Apple’s market cap has risen more than 33X from $6 billion to $220 billion. And Cupertino’s cash hoard today is almost exactly the same as Microsoft’s at around $40 billion.

It’s pretty easy to argue that Jobs did win. Certainly Apple has the mojo lately with its string of home run products like the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and now the iPad. Even Mac market share is up in the double digits and Apple’s profit margins are the best in the industry. The trend line is definitely up for Apple and mildly down for Microsoft.

What Bill Gates didn’t count on when he declared Jobs a loser back in 1998, was the Californian’s tenacity. It took 12 years to do it, but Apple is well positioned now to take Microsoft’s crown."
Cringely

After 30 years of its founding, Apple looks like to finally overtake Microsoft in term of capitalization size.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Poland lost their President in a fiery plane crash




Russia Today has a coverage of the crash.


"Polish President Lech Kaczynski and as many as 129 other people, including his wife, Maria, were killed when their Republic of Poland plane, a Tupolev 154, crashed near Smolensk, Russia, en route to a commemeration of the Katyn massacre in Russia.

Lech Kaczynski was 60. He was born on 18 June, 1949, in Warsaw. He was elected president in 2005 and faced a challenge in upcoming elections."

Krakow Post


"The crash devastated the upper echelons of Poland's political and military establishments. On board were the army chief of staff, national bank president, deputy foreign minister, army chaplain, head of the National Security Office, deputy parliament speaker, civil rights commissioner and at least two presidential aides and three lawmakers, the Polish foreign ministry said."Talking Points Memo

Online sites in Poland go black and white, e.g. rp.pl.



A crowd gathered in front of the presidential palace in Warsaw.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria Kaczynska
http://www.prezydent.pl/

Friday, April 09, 2010

Praise our Alien Overlords


"Living exclusively oxygen-free was thought to be a lifestyle open only to viruses and single-celled microorganisms. A group of Italian and Danish researchers has now found three species of multicellular animal, or metazoan, that apparently spend their entire lives in oxygen-starved waters in a basin at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea.

The discovery "opens a whole new realm to metazoans that we thought was off limits", says Lisa Levin, a biological oceanographer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California."
The Dragon's Tales

This pretty much means that it is completely possible that complex life exist outside Earth. Oxygen is proven no longer a requirement for a living complex organism.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Bayern vs MU



Play until the last goal by Bayern. The first strike after a corner kick is priceless.

Qatar Embassy Statement

"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE APRIL 7, 2010

FROM THE AMBASSADOR OF THE STATE OF QATAR TO THE UNITED STATES, H.E. ALI BIN FAHAD AL-HAJRI

PRESS REPORTS TODAY REGARDING AN INCIDENT ABOARD A COMMERCIAL FLIGHT FROM WASHINGTON, DC TO DENVER, CO INDICATE THAT A QATARI DIPLOMAT WAS DETAINED FOR SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR. WE RESPECT THE NECESSITY OF SPECIAL SECURITY PRECAUTIONS INVOLVING AIR TRAVEL, BUT THIS DIPLOMAT WAS TRAVELING TO DENVER ON OFFICIAL EMBASSY BUSINESS ON MY INSTRUCTIONS, AND HE WAS CERTAINLY NOT ENGAGED IN ANY THREATENING ACTIVITY. THE FACTS WILL REVEAL THAT THIS WAS A MISTAKE, AND WE URGE ALL CONCERNED PARTIES TO AVOID RECKLESS JUDGMENTS OR SPECULATION."
Qatar Embassy

One of Qatar diplomat made a douchebag move of smoking in a plane lavatory and then joke about "lighting shoe bomb" when confronted by an air marshal. Dumb ass.

U.S. and Russia Sign Nuclear Arms Pact



"PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - APRIL 08: U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the latest nuclear arms reduction treaty between the two countries, known as 'new START', at Prague Castle on April 8, 2010 in Prague, Czech Republic. The treaty provides for a reduction in the two countries' arsenals to 1,550 warheads over seven years and is the most significant arms agreement between the U.S. and Russia in nearly twenty years."Daylife

Native Son

Aibek comes from Kyrgyzstan and just recently visited the country. Watch his blog for native commentary about the situation in his country.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

WOW



"Large-scale protests appeared to overthrow the government of Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday and its president fled before an outbreak of mayhem and violence in the capital of Bishkek and elsewhere in the country, an important Amerian ally in Central Asia. Government officials said at least 41 people had been killed in fighting between riot police officers and demonstrators." NY Times

Magical Barcelona vs Arsenal

An interview with Armenian President

"SPIEGEL: Mr. President, in 2008, you attended a football match between your two countries together with your Turkish counterpart. It was a sensation at the time. Do you regret having invited the president of Turkey to your capital?

Sarkisian: No. I am convinced there is no other alternative but for Turks and Armenians to cooperate. We wanted to break through centuries of hostility. It was clear to me from the beginning that it wouldn't be an easy process
."Spiegel.de

As you all well know, Turkey and Armenia have not been BFF. The main contention is the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Armenians under the hand of Ottoman Empire. It is recognized as Armenian Genocide although the Modern Turkey has fought this label fiercely.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Righteous Anger

American Catholic columnists are on the tear:

"The exorcist also said that the abuse scandal showed that Satan uses priests to try to destroy the church, “and so we should not be surprised if priests too ... fall into temptation. They also live in the world and can fall like men of the world.”

Actually, falling into temptation is eating cupcakes after you’ve given them up for Lent. Rape and molestation of children is far beyond what most of us think of as succumbing to worldly temptation."
Maureen Dowd @ NY Times

"The thought of covering up for someone who forced sex on deaf children in closets at night is incomprehensible to me. Allowing someone who had raped three children to go elsewhere and rape many more, when you were explicitly warned that this man was a walking danger to children? I don’t want to sound self-righteous, but: no. Never. Under any circumstances; in any period of time; for whatever reason. Even if my failure were mere negligence, my conscience would be racked." Andrew Sullivan @Times Online UK

Hookworm therapy



"Helminthic therapy, a type of Immunotherapy, is the treatment of autoimmune diseases and immune disorders by means of deliberate infestation with a helminth or with the ova of a helminth. Helminths are parasitic worms such as hookworms and whipworms. Helminthic therapy is currently being studied as a treatment for several (non-viral) auto-immune diseases including Celiac disease,[1] Crohn's disease,[2][3][4][5] multiple sclerosis,[6] asthma,[7][8] and ulcerative colitis.[9] Autoimmune liver disease has also been demonstrated to be modulated by active helminth infections.[10]

In addition to these autoimmune disorders, interest is increasing regarding diseases that involve inflammation but that are not currently considered to include autoimmunity as a component. For example, heart disease and arteriosclerosis both have similar epidemiological profiles as autoimmune diseases and both involve inflammation, and their recent increase in incidence cannot be solely attributed to environmental factors according to a recent paper proposing the eradication of helminths as an explanation of this discrepancy.[11]
" Wikipedia

I just listened to an NPR radio which cover the wonder of Hookworm in fixing allergies.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Chinese miner, the most dangerous job in the world

"Had rescue efforts failed, the accident would have been the deadliest since 172 miners perished when a mine flooded in eastern Shandong Province in 2007. More than 2,600 people died in coal mining accidents last year, many of them in Shanxi Province."NY Times

This is insane.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Top Gun



"This is how the next generation of RAF fighter pilots will look.

And with piercing green eyes staring out from behind the visor, it's no surprise that the helmet has been compared to Arnold Schwarzenegger's killer robot in The Terminator.

Pilots flying the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will have an astonishing array of technology encasing their heads - enabling them to see right through their own aircraft fuselage to the ground below.
"

Daily Mail

Oh snap!

" At a time when his relations with Pope Benedict XVI are already strained over the pope’s offer to dissatisfied Anglicans of fast-track conversion to Roman Catholicism, the archbishop of Canterbury has plunged into the crisis over cases of abuse by Catholic priests, choosing the Easter weekend to describe the Catholic Church in Ireland as “losing all credibility” because of its poor handling of the crisis.

In a BBC radio interview, part of which was made public on Saturday, the archbishop, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, described the abuse scandal as a “colossal trauma” for Ireland in particular. He made no direct reference to the personal controversy that has swirled around the pope in the wake of accusations that he failed to act strongly enough against pedophile priests.

But Archbishop Williams, the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which claims 70 million adherents, was unusually blunt.

“I was speaking to an Irish friend recently who said that it’s quite difficult in some parts of Ireland to go down the street wearing a clerical collar now,” he said. “And an institution so deeply bound into the life of a society suddenly becoming, suddenly losing all credibility — that’s not just a problem for the church, it’s a problem for everybody in Ireland.”"
NY Times

Friday, April 02, 2010

Addiction is

"Addiction is always knowing where my cigarettes are.
Addiction is a clove cigarette and a Pepsi for breakfast.
Addiction is showing up for a date high.
Addiction is missing my mother’s birthday because I was high.
Addiction is taking naps in the car in the company parking lot because I was so tired I couldn’t make it through the afternoon.
Addiction is claiming that smoking is a social activity, but smoking alone anyway when all my smoking buddies are busy."
and it goes on and on...

New System for US Airport Security

"The system to be announced Friday replaces the mandatory screening — including full-body pat downs — that was hastily set up in January. Citizens of Afghanistan, Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Yemen, Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria have also been subjected to extra checks of their carry-on baggage before boarding planes for the United States."
NY Times

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Iran lost China

"It's official: China has joined the club of six world powers pursuing a fourth round of U.N. sanctions against Iran, closing the last remaining gap among the five countries with veto power on the U.N. Security Council" Time

China is pretty easy on this international sanction business and they deal with virtually everybody, saint or dictators. Something must have happened with China/Iran relationship that China has agreed to support a further international sanction against Iran.