Monday, December 08, 2014

The best cities to live and work remotely

This site (nomadlist.io) keep tracks of number of people and review where to live around the world while working remotely.

It has useful information such as the Internet speed and estimated monthly living.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Offbeat locations guide

exploguide contains interesting numbers of guide/location descriptions for travelling. It looks pretty dated but it looks very interesting.

HIV Travel and Residence Restriction

hivtravel.org keeps track of travel regulations and residences for people with HIV. It is a very useful resource for travelling. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Nordic Utopia



This is a nice documentary about Nordic countries.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Indonesia's travel website

indonesia.travel by the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism is doing a decent job in highlighting beautiful places in Indonesia




This page for example highlight Mamuju, the capital of West Sulawesi. I have never heard of the place until today.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

40,000 year old cave painting in Asia

Archaeologists have long been puzzled by the appearance in Europe ~40–35 thousand years (kyr) ago of a rich corpus of sophisticated artworks, including parietal art (that is, paintings, drawings and engravings on immobile rock surfaces)1, 2 and portable art (for example, carved figurines)3, 4, and the absence or scarcity of equivalent, well-dated evidence elsewhere, especially along early human migration routes in South Asia and the Far East, including Wallacea and Australia5, 6, 7, 8, where modern humans (Homo sapiens) were established by 50 kyr ago9, 10. Here, using uranium-series dating of coralloid speleothems directly associated with 12 human hand stencils and two figurative animal depictions from seven cave sites in the Maros karsts of Sulawesi, we show that rock art traditions on this Indonesian island are at least compatible in age with the oldest European art11. The earliest dated image from Maros, with a minimum age of 39.9 kyr, is now the oldest known hand stencil in the world. In addition, a painting of a babirusa (‘pig-deer’) made at least 35.4 kyr ago is among the earliest dated figurative depictions worldwide, if not the earliest one. Among the implications, it can now be demonstrated that humans were producing rock art by ~40 kyr ago at opposite ends of the Pleistocene Eurasian world. Nature

Usually they find representative arts from 35,000 years ago in Europe. This is one of rare instance that found super old arts in Asia.

This suggests that our ancestors are painting cave arts simultaneously in Asia and Europe.

Nature has a very useful video describing the meaning of the new information regarding the age of the cave painting. The cave itself was discovered in 1950s.

2nd Leaker

The investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald has found a second leaker inside the US intelligence agencies, according to a new documentary about Edward Snowden that premiered in New York on Friday night. Guardian
This is probably the most encouraging news of the week. We need more leakers to restrain the out of control US intelligence gathering effort on the Internet.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

A contemplation on Alan Watts

It tries to have you understand, without arguing the point, that there is no purpose in getting anywhere if, when you get there, all you do is think about getting to some other future moment. Life exists in the present or nowhere at all, and if you cannot grasp that, you are simply living a fantasy.
Tim Lott

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Migrant Deaths Jan - Sept 2014


IOM

Their research estimated 40,000 migrants have died since 2000. 

Mysterious Kim

Kim had fractured both of his ankles and had surgery in Pyongyang in the middle of September to treat them, the Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s largest newspaper, reported on Tuesday, citing an unnamed source.
Independent

It's a bit early for ski season, no? I mean it is pretty hard to fracture both of your ankles. 

Photos from Hong Kong protests

Beijing will only allow direct elections of Hong Kong's leaders in 2017 from a pool of 'approved candidates'. This is off course bullshit and people of Hong Kong think so too.


Boston.com

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

11,000 miles journey to Alaska

A dude got divorce and lost a job. So he decided to take an epic motorbike trip from San Francisco to Alaska instead.

Check out more beautiful pictures from his journey.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A watch guy's review of Apple watch

This is by far the best review of Apple watch so far

This a question I've been asked countless times in the media of the past few months ( / days / hours). Will anyone be trading in their Lange Double-Split for an Apple Watch? Certainly not. But, will the average Lange owner buy an Apple Watch, wear it on the weekends, and then, after a great workout with it, decide to leave it on next for a vacation to the beach, and then maybe on casual Friday to the office? It's possible. Apple products have a way of making someone not want to live without them, and while I wasn't able to fully immerse myself in the OS yesterday, what I saw was impressive. So while certainly not direct competition for haute horology watchmaking right now, the Apple Watch is absolutely competition for the real estate of the wrist, and years down the road, it could spell trouble for traditional watches even at a high level. When you realize you just don't need something anymore, there is little desire to buy another. (Hondikee)
My point against Apple Watch is that I have to recharge it every goddamn day. Try to wear it during camping or hiking in nature. 

The day

Monday, September 01, 2014

On IS atrocities

IS is a terrible bunch of people. It's clear. But it is in their agenda to broadcast all the horrible things they are doing for their purpose, which is to infect fear and gain obedience over the area/population under their control and also to invite overreaction from the West.

They are being dealt and in due time they will be defeated but this thing is not going to be over soon. This might not be satisfactory in so many aspects and terrible for the victims, but sometimes things just take time.

We just need to be patient and methodical in dismantling their infrastructure and capabilities and personnel. I bet there are many negotiations with the tribes in Mosul and other places to switch sides against ISIS. We also have to wait until the political situation in Baghdad gets better. You need troops on the ground to exterminate ISIS and those troops need to be somewhat acceptable to the local population as well.

BitCoin is perfect for extortion

There are news/rumor going on that the hackers to the private photos of celebrities either demanded BitCoin as ransom demand or encouraging people to donate their BitCoin to encourage further release for more pictures.

It makes perfect sense.

The strong privacy protection of BitCoin is a perfect medium to transfer values in extortion/kidnapping scenario.

The weakest point for this extortionist to be discovered always at the transfer of money/ransom, whether it is normal bank transfer or cash-in-a-bag scenario. BitCoin alleviates that problem.

As many useful things, BitCoin features are a double edge sword.

The German

10,000 hand grenades, 16,000 rifles, 240 rocket-propelled grenades: Germany sends military equipment for 4000 Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq. This was decided by the Federal Government on Sunday evening. Spiegel
The German rarely deliver lethal weapons in conflicts. This highlight the level of concern at the highest level of European countries regarding the threat of ISIS.

And the Internet breaks

Actor Jennifer Lawrence, star of the Hunger Games franchise, is one of more than 100 celebrities who have learned overnight that even their own phones have been recruited to the surveillance against them. Over the past few hours, news outlets have run a story alleging a hacker has used a security leak within the cloud data storage system to access the private mobile phone data of numerous celebrities. The data the user is sharing on sites like 4Chan are intimate photographs of celebrities taken by or for their lovers. Lawrence’s representatives have confirmed that the photographs are real, as have Ariana Grande’s. Actor Mary Elizabeth Winstead took personally to Twitter admonish her violators: “To those of you looking at photos I took with my husband years ago in the privacy of our home, hope you feel great about yourselves.” Guardian
Online communities such as reddit or 4chan were buzzed yesterday night by the release of tons of private naked pictures of celebrities.

We have seen this before.

Your smart phone is a spy device in your pocket. Anything that you transmit online is subjected to attack. To prevent your naked and intimate pictures to be posted on the Internet, the only way to do it is not to take them in the first place.

This is though is hard to practice in daily life. Smartphone really blends into daily life and people wouldn't think for a second the consequences of their photo taking/video recordings.

This might sounds like victim blaming. I am not. There are tons of assholes out on the Internet and right now there are no reliable and convenient way to protect your privacy.

Communication technologies are so complex which opens up a large surface of attack for a hacker to exploit and access data.

This stealing of private photographs of celebrities are off course criminal acts. But here's a thought, the people in the NSA that spy on global communication have access to the same stuff as well. Those NSA personnel can see your images, videos, text, etc. The NSA is sanctioned by law and legal.

Anyway this event will happen again and again.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A police shooting in St. Louis


A police shooting of a black man in St. Louis a few days ago captured on camera. It's not graphic. It shows how quick the police resorted to deadly force in the middle of the day in a non emergency situation. This is fucked up.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tips when travelling by boat in Indonesia



Eight more foreigners and five Indonesians have been rescued on Monday after their tourist boat capsized two days ago in the Indian Ocean between Indonesian islands due to fierce storms. Daily Mail
Indonesia has a sketchy safety maritime practice. So before you taking on any boat, insist on life jacket and bring at least two bottles of water. We have so many small scale accidents with sinking boats or stranded boats due to running out of fuel.

Skeleton Coast, Namibia



This is actually a real place off the coast of Namibia. Only 800 people are allowed to access it every year. Reddit discussion is here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pictures from Afghanistan





From a US soldier deployed there in 2009 - 2011.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Escape

The collaborators

A government-appointed commission investigating abuses during Brazil's 1964-1985 dictatorship has found documents that it says show Rapistan and other companies secretly helped the military identify suspected "subversives" and union activists on their payrolls. Among those named is Oliveira. The official report isn't scheduled to be released until December, but the commission allowed Reuters to review the evidence involving companies as the investigation nears its end.

Foreign and Brazilian companies are cited in the documents, including, most prominently, some of the world’s biggest automakers: Volkswagen AG, Ford Motor Co, Toyota Motor Corp and the Mercedes-Benz unit of Daimler AG, among others.

No companies have been accused of any crimes. Whether they collaborated with the dictatorship, and to what extent, are in dispute. Nevertheless, human rights advocates and some of the workers named in the documents say they may pursue civil lawsuits or other legal action as a result of the commission's findings. Reuters

I wonder if the same thing is happening in Egypt in regard of Muslim Brotherhood rank and file. 

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

The rise of a minority leader in Indonesia


Indonesia's capital is set to have its first minority leader, a Chinese ethnic Christian governor called Basuki. He is Jokowi deputy. Now that Jokowi is going to take reign of Indonesia's Presidency, he will take the top job in Jakarta. People loves both of them for their no nonsense and clean approach to governance.
While ethnic Chinese, who officially make up 1.2 percent of the population, have lived in Indonesia for centuries and now run some of the country’s conglomerates, they faced government discrimination in a nation with the world’s largest Muslim population. Under Suharto, whosuspended diplomatic ties with Communist China, some Chinese adopted Indonesian-sounding names and their schools and newspapers were closed. Politics is an arena where hurdles remain, with few having served in senior posts. The Jakarta Globe

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A milestone in Indonesia's history


Yesterday was a very meaningful day for my generation, a student generation that overthrew a rotten regime back in '98 and set to reform the republic. That revolution cost us tremendous amount of blood and treasure and pushed the republic to the brink of collapse.

Now my country has elected a leader that has risen from local government. He arrives from outside the nepotism-poisoned political elite and military structure. This is the fruit out of that fearless '98 reformation.

There are many intractable challenges remain for Indonesia, but for today, we can take pride on our achievements, thank our fallen for their sacrifices and told them we are keeping the dream alive.

Merdeka!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Death throes of a political ambition

Indonesia is about to announce the result of July 9 Presidential election. On that day, 7 quick count organizations declared Jokowi as the winner of the election and 4 others declared his opponent, Prabowo, as the winner.

Subsequent days have shown that the 4 organizations produced non credible quick count results. This conclusion is further proven by the results of the final count by the Indonesian Election Commission that points clearly to a Jokowi wins within 1% of the result predicted by the credible quick count results on the first day.

Today is is the day of the formal announcement and we all know the result already because the count is done openly as the days progress and posted on an official website.

The problem is that that Prabowo and his team has refused to acknowledged the result of the election and has walked out of the final day of the counting in the election commission.


Loser

Prabowo has run three times for President of Indonesia and right now this looks like his last attempt (he is 67 years old). After this lost to the prodigal Jokowi, his ambition to be the President of Indonesia ends here.

He was involved in the kidnapping of Indonesian activists in our 98 revolution and has never brought into justice (he was fired from the military). I am glad he will never again come near to highest position in the land.

Good riddance.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Spanish Horses


"A reveler tries to hold on to a wild horse during the "Rapa Das Bestas" traditional event in the Spanish northwestern village of Sabucedo July 5, 2014" Boston Big Picture

In a region full wars, Gaza is left behind


“It’s remarkable,” said Diana Buttu, a Palestinian lawyer and analyst. “In all the other invasions and assaults on Gaza, there was at least some government that would come out and talk about how what Israel was doing was illegal and show some support. This time around, there’s been nothing. The silence is deafening.”

Abu Tarek Sadek, a Palestinian who lives in the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, said it appeared as if the Palestinians were moving “backwards.”

“Before the uprisings, leaders of the old regime used to at least talk about the Palestinian cause, although they were lying,” he said. “Today we are completely absent. We used to be the No. 1 issue. Now, we’re No. 24.” NY Times

Here's the thing, the region has changed, but not for the better.
  • Syrian civil war is still on going and right now has surpassed 160,000 killed and millions displaced.
  • Libya is undergoing violent power struggle
  • Iraq is being torn apart into three new territories 
  • Egypt is systematically dismantling Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure (and Hamas, the ruler of Gaza, is an offshoot Muslim Brotherhood)
The Palestinian-Israel looked 'civilized' in comparison compared to above problems in the Middle East.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

And Germany Celebrates




DM

For the record I supported Argentina for the final match. Germany though is the undisputed best team of the tournament. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Gaza in one paragraph

8:33 A.M. Israel has struck some 1,320 targets in Gaza since launching Operation Protective Edge last Tuesday. More than 800 rockets and mortar shells were fired toward Israel in that time. (Gili Cohen) Haaretz
This is going to get worse before it gets better.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Brazil's Fiasco

War comes to Middle East, again


Israel bombed Gaza
Reuters

Hamas launched at least 100 rockets towards Southern Israel.

People die in the mean time.



Jokowi wins the Indonesian election







Based on quick counts by various polling organizations in Indonesia, Jokowi - KL pair won the election by 5 - 8 % margin. His opponent, Prabowo, has refused to concede.

The official result will be announced on July 22.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

The beating of an American teenager in Jerusalem

The video is here
A Palestinian television channel has broadcast footage purporting to show Israeli border guards beating the teenage cousin of Mohamed Abu Khdeir, who was abducted and killed earlier in the week. The footage is said to show Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15, being beaten after he was detained during clashes in Jerusalem on Thursday. Israeli police say the incident occurred during the arrest of several demonstrators, some carrying knives. The boy's family deny he was involved in the clashes. (Guardian)
The kid is from Florida. You could see the soldiers kicked him several times after the kid was subdued. 

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Photographs on World Refugee Days June 20 2014


Afghan migrant Rahman Jan Safi, 24, (L) greets asylum-seeker receiving a haircut at their shelter at the harbour in Calais, northern France May 4. Safi fled his home country Afghanistan in 2007 and started his long journey through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, and Italy before finally arriving in France and making his way to Calais. Safi gained a French residency permit and now works for an association known as the "Auberge des Migrants". The organization helps feed and clothe migrants who are in Calais and who, for the most part, hope to make it across the Channel to England. (Christian Hartmann/Reuters)  (Boston Big Picture)

Another war brewing in the Middle East

Israel is retaliating (read "collective punishment") against Hamas over the death of 3 missing teenagers


An attack over Gaza strip this morning.

Haaretz has a live blog.

Goddammit. 

Reinventing the oven

The problems with ovens start as soon as you turn them on. Preheating always seems to take an unreasonably long time because ovens waste most of the hot air they generate. The actual amount of energy required to reach baking temperature is quite small: Just 42 kilojoules will heat 0.14 cubic meters of air to 250 °C. The heating element in a typical domestic electric oven supplies this much energy in a mere 21 seconds.

It’s the oven walls you want to preheat, however, not the air. Unfortunately, the heat, which originates in the heating coils of an electric oven or the burner of a gas oven, must pass through the air to get to the walls, and air is an awful conductor of heat, only slightly better than Styrofoam. Even worse, air expands when heated, so much of it flows out of the vent, heating the kitchen rather than the oven. And if you try to save that heat by closing the vent and adding a latch to the door, the oven might explode.

The time it takes an oven to heat up, however, is the least of the problems. Oven walls radiate heat unevenly because they vary in thickness and in their proximity to the heating elements. So the temperature can fluctuate by tens of degrees from one spot to another. And many oven doors contain a window, which radiates a lot less heat into the oven cavity than the walls do. IEEE

Israel's drug generation


Flipping Out - Israel's Drug Generation by locuseye

What the young Israelis do after they finish their mandatory military service.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Measles Patient Zero


In a recent article published in Pediatrics, researchers investigated a measles outbreak in Minnesota in 2011. The authors, lead by Pamala Gahr of the Minnesota Department of Health, determined that the outbreak began when an unvaccinated 2-year-old travelled to Kenya, where he contracted the measles virus. Upon returning to the United States, the child developed a fever, cough and vomiting, some of the early signs and symptoms of measles. Unfortunately, prior to a diagnosis of measles, the child passed the virus on to three children in a child day-care center and another household member.
Daily Kos

Heavy Lift Ship - Blue Marlin

Check out this massive ship


more pictures here
Blue Marlin is a semi-submersible heavy lift ship from Dockwise Shipping of the Netherlands. Designed to transport very large semi-submersible drilling rigs above the transport ship's deck, it is equipped with 38 cabins to accommodate 60 people, a workout room, sauna and swimming facilities. Blue Marlin and her sister ship MV Black Marlin comprise the Marlin class of heavy lift ship. Wikipedia

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Clint Dempsey (USA) 30 seconds goal


This has been an amazing World Cup. We are at the stage where powerhouse such as Spain, England and Portugal might go home early and countries like the US going to the quarter finals. 

A take on Russia


As I've said for years, Russia is an energy company with all the trappings of nation-state.

Everything Russia does militarily is aimed at expanding it's energy interests. From acquiring new oil and gas basins to exploit to forcing countries to allow it to build new pipelines or expand old ones. It's also used everything from extortion to cyberattack to pull it off. Global Guerrillas

Child soldiers of Iraq

This is bad news



Daily Mail

Thursday, June 12, 2014

And now things get interesting in Iraq

ISIS is a violent Sunni movement that is so extreme that Al-Qaeda denounced them. It primarily controls the northern part of Syria and now has managed to control 2 cities (Mosul and Tikrit),  in Iraq in lees than a week of battle.




In Mosul 30,000 Iraqi troops were routed by 800 ISIS fighters.

A reported half a billion dollars are stolen from the banks in Mosul allowing them some real financial muscles to fund and supply their growing movement in Iraq and Syria. They also have access to many military hardware that the Iraqi Army has abandoned on their retreat.

They are heading to Baghdad and Karbala (one of the holiest site of Shiite Islam) to bring down the Shiite dominated government and bring the battle to what the Sunni extremist think as perversion of Islam.

NY Times is reporting that other groups are joining them in their effort in Iraq.
“These groups were unified by the same goal, which is getting rid of this sectarian government, ending this corrupt army and negotiating to form the Sunni Region,” said Abu Karam, a senior Baathist leader and a former high-ranking army officer, who said planning for the offensive had begun two years ago. “The decisive battle will be in northern Baghdad. These groups will not stop in Tikrit and will keep moving toward Baghdad.”
Now the long civil war in Syria has finally engulf another country and international policy makers have one more crisis on their hands. Baghdad will not fall easily to ISIS because the Shiite militias will rise again and fight to the death to defend it.  

Raja Empat, Indonesia

A review from a Redditor
Oh man, I was there for two weeks last October. I stayed at Misool Eco Resort and I cannot wait to go back. Do you dive? If not, make you do when you go there! I have dived all over the world and this place is the best BY FAR. Manta Rays - Check. Seahorses - Check (1 species ONLY found here - check), Sailfish - Check, Sea Turtles - Check, more coral than anywhere else on earth - check. In fact, fuck it. Check the lot because Raja Ampat is absolutely fukin incredible. Enjoy you lucky bastard Reddit
Check out this map of Indonesia. Raja Empat is located in West Papua Province (look at the Eastern most part of the map).

Monday, June 09, 2014

Amazing football pitches

Greenland .. More

The attack on Karachi Airport



Times of India has the best coverage of the situation. Guardian says this pretty much derails the peace talks between Pakistan and the Pakistan Taliban.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Autopsy of a botched lethal injection execution


Diaz's left arm had an 11-by-7 inch chemical burn from the lethal drugs. By the time the autopsy began, the superficial skin had sloughed off, revealing white subcutaneous skin.
On December 13, 2006, the state of Florida botched the lethal injection of Angel Diaz. The execution team pushed IV catheters straight through the veins in both his arms and into the underlying tissue. As a result, Diaz, who was convicted of murder in 1986, required two full doses of the lethal drugs, and an execution scheduled to take only ten to 15 minutes lasted 34. It was one of the worst botches since states began using lethal injection in the 1980s, and Jeb Bush, then the governor of Florida, responded with a moratorium on executions. New Republic

A reddit discussion on Al Qaeda

The point of Al Qaeda, as laid out by Bin Laden, is not a single group with a single goal, but as the Arabic translation plainly tell us, to be "the base" for multiple related but not 100% similar groups, causes, and goals. This is NO single thing Al Qaeda wants because the is NO single Al Qaeda. There's Al Qaeda in Iraq (now fracturing into AQI and ISIS), there's Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQM), Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula, also Al Qaeda in the Horn of Africa. The original Afghanistan franchise is also still present with the remnants of the Taliban in the Pakistan Tribal areas. Plus these franchises, literally they are franchises, they use the Al Qaeda name and sometimes share finances/fighters but they have semi-independent leadership and act towards separate goals. reddit

Amazing interview with Bowe Bergdahls' father

Monday, May 26, 2014

Give me strongman or give me death

Libya is preparing for elections next month, but many Libyans have long given up on their own parties paralysed by political infighting three years after the revolution and civil war that brought down Muammar Gaddafi.

Instead, Libyans look to their eastern neighbour where former army chief Sisi is expected to easily win this week's elections after his military forced out an elected Islamist president from office.

Tired of militias and Islamist militants filling a power vacuum left by a five weak prime ministers since 2011, many see the revival of strongman rule in Egypt as their dream scenario.

"Sisi is an outstanding man, a nationalist, a Muslim and an Arab. He is restoring stability and fighting terrorism," said Ali who uploaded Sisi's picture on his mobile phone. Reuters
I can't blame the Libyans for craving security and prosperity. For common people, all these "liberation and democracy" bring nothing but chaos and insecurity. This is why there are some support for the 'renegade general' Khalif Haftar's offensive against Islamist militias and Benghazi and Tripoli.
Now some also draw parallels to renegade former Libyan army general, Khalifa Haftar, who has declared war on Islamists and attacked militants in Benghazi in the east with his irregular forces. Some already call him "Libya's Sisi".

Gunmen who claimed loyalty to Haftar attacked the parliament in Tripoli a week ago to demand lawmakers hand over power, though the congress voted to support a new premier backed by the Muslim Brotherhood on Sunday.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Modi Era

For the first time since 1984, a single political party in India will have majority in the 543-seat lower house of parliament, the country's apex legislative body, with partial election results showing a sharp swing to the right and indicating a landslide victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its leader, Narendra Modi, as the new prime minister of the world's largest democracy. Asia Times

Indonesia’s presidential race isn’t until July. But there’s already one winner.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama has taken over as acting governor of Jakarta, the first ethnic Chinese to do so.

A Christian, Basuki succeeds Joko Widodo who has stepped aside to run for the presidential election on July 9, which opinion polls suggest he will win. Basuki will automatically take over to complete Joko’s five-year term if he does win.

Indonesia’s Chinese make up only about 2 percent of the 240 million population.

Resented for their wide control over trade and business, and suspected of loyalty to China, Indonesian-Chinese have been deliberately kept out of the political and military hierarchy for most of the country’s almost 70 years of independence. The Jakarta Globe
I won't be surprised if he will become the President of Indonesia someday. The guy is ruthlessly competent and incorruptible. His boss, the Governor of Jakarta, is poised to become Indonesia's President this July.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Qatar's promised reform

Qatar has promised to scrap key elements of its controversial labour laws, in the wake of an international outcry over conditions for migrant workers before the 2022 World Cup, which followed a Guardian investigation into workplace abuse in the Gulf state.
Officials said they would replace the country's "kafala" sponsorship system, which tethers workers to a single employer, who can therefore treat his workforce with impunity, pending the approval of a draft law.

Guardian
Qatar's World Cup 2022 has the worst construction record in Football World Cup history with over 1000 construction workers fatalities so far.

Raging in Vietnam

The navy altercation between Vietnam and China last week have the potential of starting a shooting war between two countries.

Yesterday hundreds of Vietnamese rampage through some factories thought to be Chinese owned.
A 1,000-strong mob stormed a Taiwanese steel mill in Vietnam overnight, killing a Chinese worker and injuring 90 others, Taiwan's ambassador said Thursday, the first deadly incident in a wave of anti-China protests prompted by Beijing's deployment of an oil rig in disputed seas. AP

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Hutterites

Beautiful pictures taken of a Hutterite community in Canada


By Kelly Hofer

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Simulation of the universe

The Illustris project is a set of large-scale cosmological simulations, including the most ambitious simulation of galaxy formation yet performed. The calculation tracks the expansion of the universe, the gravitational pull of matter onto itself, the motion or "hydrodynamics" of cosmic gas, as well as the formation of stars and black holes. These physical components and processes are all modeled starting from initial conditions resembling the very young universe 300,000 years after the Big Bang and until the present day, spanning over 13.8 billion years of cosmic evolution. The simulated volume contains tens of thousands of galaxies captured in high-detail, covering a wide range of masses, rates of star formation, shapes, sizes, and with properties that agree well with the galaxy population observed in the real universe. We are currently working to make detailed comparisons of our simulation box to these observed galaxy populations, and some exciting promising results have already been published. Illustris Project

Boko Haram - the origin story

Its nickname in the African language of Hausa, Boko Haram, is usually roughly translated to mean that “deceptive” or “Western” education is “forbidden.” But scholars say that the phrase had a kind of double meaning that was at once religious and social in the context of northern Nigeria.

Western education was available only to a very small elite who typically traveled to British universities and then returned to rule from the capital over the impoverished North, and ending the tyranny of that elite was the main objective of Mr. Yusuf’s movement.

Mr. Yusuf and Boko Haram tapped into growing anger among northern Nigerians at their poverty and lack of opportunity as well as the humiliating abuses of the government’s security forces, said Paul Lubeck, a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who studies the group. At first, even as Boko Haram turned to violent opposition to the government, the group avoided civilian casualties.

“They generated a lot of support because they didn’t kill many innocent people,” Professor Lubeck said.

That changed in July, 2009, after about 70 Boko Haram fighters armed with guns and hand grenades attacked a mosque and police station in the town of Bauchi. About 55 people were killed in the battle, according to an American diplomatic cable about the episodes that was later released by WikiLeaks.

The next day, Nigerian security forces retaliated with a brutal crackdown that killed more than 700 people, including many innocent bystanders. Security officers paraded Mr. Yusuf before television cameras and then summarily executed him in front of a crowd outside a police station — an episode that the group’s adherents often recall with horror as the decisive moment in their turn to wider violence. NY Times
 And girls and boys, that how we end up with Boko Haram 2.0. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014