Monday, April 30, 2007

Website to change lives... Developed by AIESECers

Peep Laja (AIESEC in Estonia) and Sarah Moore (AIESEC in USA) made this website for people to stay in touch with their dreams. At, people write down the vision they have for their future inside the text box, then they enter the date they want to have achieved it by and their email. On the date they enter, they will receive an email containing what they wrote. Then they can reflect and see how far they have come.

The inspiration for this came from a traineeship experience in Dubai, UAE, where it became apparent that people who are just working a job and not living their dreams tend to lack integrity and be unmotivated. Now we have returned from Dubai and we notice the same thing happening in our home countries... What if it's happening all over the world?

So this is an attempt at a revolution... get people living their dreams! The website is free and so far, over 700 dreams have been written in over a dozen languages by users in 97 countries. Dreams are private unless the authors choose to publish them (anonymously).


El Salvador Roll Call

This is the complete and original version!!!


The LTTE Airforce...

Tamil Tiger aircraft bombed an oil refinery in Colombo. Why we should be worried...

1. A terrorist group has an air force.

2. They're obviously highly skilled, which implies good training (who could this be?)... They're taking off from God knows where, bombing targets in the capital city, dodging anti-aircraft fire and then landing unnoticed - and are able to do all that in what are clearly not advanced fighter aircraft.

3. What happens when al Qaeda, or the hundreds of other terror groups around the world, catch on to this...?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

You Legends

damn you aussies

The treble is complete.

Despite the damnation, there's nothing really one can do except bow down to what is probably the most fierce dominance of world cricket since the Windies of the 70s. The treble is complete.The Lankan lions despite their brilliance upto the final lost both their matches in the entire tournament to the team that just can't be beat.

It's ironic that the world was pointing fingers at the thunder from down under before the big WC 07. Brett Lee injured, maulings from England and New Zealand before arriving in the carribean, chinks in their armour etc etc.

Turns out the 'roos were just playin us all...the undefeated streak continues and I could do nothing but smile and shake my head in disbelief with some of the strokes Gilly played.

On a side note, respect and wishes to the leading wicket taker in WC history - Glenn Mcgrath. The man has walked off the pitch in both forms of the game with style and grace, he will be missed; if not by the batsmen, then surely by the millions of spectators.

Cheers Aussies around the world! Grab yourselves a cold one and take a hiatus from the game for f!@#$%s sake. this shit is getting ridiculous :P

Friday, April 27, 2007

Poodle or Lamb???

"Thousands of people have been 'fleeced' into buying neatly coiffured lambs they thought were poodles.
Entire flocks of lambs were shipped over from the UK and Australia to Japan by an internet company and marketed as the latest 'must have' accessory.
But the scam was only spotted after a leading Japanese actress said her 'poodle' didn't bark and refused to eat dog food. " Read the full story here.

Thursday, April 26, 2007



This weekend I will be missing 2 important events...
... Sonia is leaving, back to Coruña...
... Luis is leaving, back to Lisbon...

That is the life of the foreign worker... Weeks turn into months... Months turn into years... and people naturally start leaving... These friends joined my life's train 18 months ago and will stay for sure for many years more! I will be toasting to you somewhere in Leidsplein!

Good luck on the professional front! Hope to go to a couple of weddings soon :)


For Unlawlful Carnal Knowledge

"A court issued arrest warrants for Hollywood actor Richard Gere and Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty on Thursday, saying their kiss at a public function “transgressed all limits of vulgarity,” media reports said.

Judge Dinesh Gupta issued the warrants in the northwestern city of Jaipur after a local citizen filed a complaint charging that the public display of affection offended local sensibilities, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

Gupta earlier viewed television footage of the event, which he called “highly sexually erotic,” saying the pair violated India’s strict public obscenity laws."

Interesting Concept in Online Video

There is a company called Hot Potato that is playing around with different ways to present video, etc. online and make it more easily searchable.

For example, here is a documentary about pet overpopulation (David Duchovny is in it; pretty interesting); as you can see the text of the video is displayed with each scene (although for now it doesn't change as the video progresses, and yes the video is a little crappy in quality as this is just a proof of concept). So Google will be able to find specific phrases, quotes, etc. and users can actually start viewing at the exact scene that that phrase is mentioned.

This could be pretty interesting for fact-checking, etc; imagine being able to search all of a pundit's shows for their stance on specific issues and how those changed over time. Or watching the exact scene where your favorite movie quote was mentioned.

Disclaimer: SilverKey wrote this Proof of Concept for them so I am a little biased I guess; it is still cool to check out though.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

27 april is for lovers

from Ovid's erotic poem, Ars Amatoria,

Let a woman noted for her length of body,
press the bed with her knees, arch her neck slightly.
She who has youthful thighs, and faultless breasts,
the man might stand, she spread, with her body downwards.
Don't think it shameful to loosen your hair, like a Maenad,
and throw back your head with its flowing tresses.
You too, whom Lucina's marked with childbirth's wrinkles,
like the swift child of Parthia, turn your mount around.
There's a thousand ways to do it: simple and least effort,
is just to lie there half-turned on your right side.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

US Administration "under attack"..

Two bits of info have caught my attention and I thought it might be worth sharing them:
  • From outside the system - An activist group is organizing actions on April 28th to call for Impeachment of Bush and Cheney.
People will call for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney at over 100 actions planned across the country on Saturday, April 28.

The creative actions include rallies, banner drops on freeways, "guerrilla slide shows" on the sides of New York City buildings, skywriting, and "human murals" of people spelling out "IMPEACH!" with their bodies at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, Coney Island in New York, the foot of the Washington monument in Washington, D.C., and other locations.

"George Bush and Dick Cheney lied the nation into an illegal war of aggression, are spying on millions of innocent Americans, and have authorized the use of torture," said Jacob Park, the national coordinator of the April 28 impeachment actions. "The time has come for all Americans--particularly our representatives in Congress--to decide where they we stand. To turn a blind eye to lying, spying, and torture makes a mockery of our most basic values and the very notion of democracy." (read more)

This has caught my attention especially for the organizational part of it. The campaign has quite an elaborate website using google maps, batches for BLOGgers, youtube, digg, etc to coordinate the campaign. Contemporary tech can definitely increase the people's visibility and, may be, affect their power. Even though this campaign has little chance to succeed (impeachment needs 67 of the Senators votes) and some of its arguments are, imho, of doubtful legal value it seems to emit a healthy signal: People in DC (and just about any other gvt in the world for that matter) the people's means to watch you are increasingly efficient, so better watch your steps!

Check out the comment section on the respective digg post if you wanna digg deeper.
  • From within the system - Karl Rove being investigated by the OSC
The LA times:

Most of the time, an obscure federal investigative unit known as the Office of Special Counsel confines itself to monitoring the activities of relatively low-level government employees, stepping in with reprimands and other routine administrative actions for such offenses as discriminating against military personnel or engaging in prohibited political activities.

But the Office of Special Counsel is preparing to jump into one of the most sensitive and potentially explosive issues in Washington, launching a broad investigation into key elements of the White House political operations that for more than six years have been headed by chief strategist Karl Rove.

The new investigation, which will examine the firing of at least one U.S. attorney, missing White House e-mails, and White House efforts to keep presidential appointees attuned to Republican political priorities, could create a substantial new problem for the Bush White House. [..]

The 106-person Office of Special Counsel has never conducted such a broad and high-profile inquiry in its history. One of its primary missions has been to enforce the Hatch Act, a law enacted in 1939 to preserve the integrity of the civil service.

Imho, this couldn't happen to a more deserving guy.. however, the investigator for the OSC is a Bush appointee..

No more ABN-AMRO

So it's bye-bye to the happy cuddly Dutch banking group that has been so good to @ over the years - and is currently home to at least 50 trainees (anyone have the exact number?)

Barclay's are paying $91 billion to "merge" with ABN (its a takeover in everything but name) - and reports are saying there will be over 20,000 jobs cut from the merged company, which will keep the Barclays name, and be headquartered in Amsterdam. About 10,000 jobs are set to be offshored to India, and another 10,000 cut altogether.

There must be a bunch of nomads in ABN - any insider goss on the word around the water cooler? (and yes, here is an occasion where anonymous comments are absolutely cool with me :)

My comments link is not working on my blog

I recently switched to the new blogger and now my comments link isn't working on my blog. Every time I click on the comments link under one of my posts I get the following message: Bad Request (Invalid Hostname).

Does anyone know how to fix this problem?

Do I need to do anything with my FTP settings now that I have switched?


Monday, April 23, 2007

"Revolucion Bolivariana" going nuts

"Thousands of Venezuelans have taken to the streets of Caracas in protest at the president's decision to close the country's oldest private TV network. Mr Chavez's supporters say Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) backed a 2002 coup which briefly ousted him... " (BBC)

I remember when the 2002 coup happened. I was in Venezuela at the time, attending a National conference. I was stuck in Barquisimeto for more than expected because buses were not going back to Colombia at the time. Everyone was on strike so there was not much to do but go protest at Barquisimeto's Avenida Lara and watch the broadcast of demonstrators in the capital of the country on this channel, Radio Caracas (Chavez dubbed the images of thousands protesting as fake "copy/paste")

"The government claims that the channel is breaching the constitution by rallying support for the opposition." (BBC)

Oh boy...that really sucks. I've always thought Chavez was a nut job, specially after my stay in the country, but trying to be less biased towards the opposers, I kind of felt I should see the positive aspects of his rule. But this is absurd. What do you think? Is this justified?

Alec Baldwin's rants against his own daugther

"you made me feel like shit" and it goes on.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Semifinals will begin - WC 2007

After an exciting super 8 league, we have the semi finalists (not so surprising though)


(Lankans looking deadly, great form, Malinga will be back in semis, Batting looking strong with Jayasuriya - the old horse running faster than he could ever have)


(The Kiwis - Have been playing brilliantly this series, definitely deserve a birth in the finals acco. to me, brilliant bowling attack with Bond, Oram, Vettori - though the only team that have beaten them - apart from Aussies are the Lankans)


(Aussies - well bow down to the greatest team since a very long time. They have been comprehensively beating any side they have played against. Not even a slightest weak point seen in this WC. SA have a tough job ahead. Unless they have something going horribly wrong, they are set to win this WC. Though my hunch saying they wont, and they will be vincible)


(Def. the team that is at the bottom amongst the 4 semi finalists. Unless its their day, they are bowing out of the semis. Though you can never say. To win, I feel, SA needs to bat first and Smith, Gibbs need to pile up a huge score to put the Aussies under pressure.)

Cannot wait for an exciting finish! BETS for the finalists and the winners?

Friday, April 20, 2007

When AIESECers grow up...

Two AIESEC dinosaurs - Vishen (MC US / Michigan) and Mike (Michigan) - from a long forgotten 20th century generation (older even than Devrim) starring in a Malaysian reality TV show.

The guys were asked to judge a contestant in an Apprentice-like Malaysian reality TV project Nescafe KickStart.

Now guess - did the guy pass to the next round?

PS. most of MindValley team are either AIESEC trainees or alumni.

Birthday Boy

island boy in the desert

nomadlife's very own and most loved celebrity, Dody "Island Boy" Gunawinata, has succumbed to yet another year. Drop him a line and tell him how much you love him. Big boy's all grown up he's all grown up he's all grown up! :)

You're so money and you don't even know it!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Oh so true...

Replace the word "livejournal" with "Nomadlife" and this is my life.


From xkcd

Iraq solution

How about if the Iraqi people just left Iraq?

Well at the current rate (and no sign of the violence ending) it might actually happen. So far more than 4 million Iraqis have moved home. Half internally, and Half to other (neighboring, mostly) countries.

The flood of refugees has put a huge and growing burden on neighbouring nations, especially Syria and Jordan, which in consequence are making it more and more difficult for Iraqis to enter their countries. Others in the Middle East are battening down the hatches: Kuwait now never admits Iraqis; Saudi Arabia is building a fortified barrier at a cost of $7bn (£3.7bn) to stop people crossing the border; and Egypt is accepting far fewer Iraqis than it used to.

HRW said the countries behind the war had so far failed to respond meaningfully to the crisis. The US is believed to have accepted 420 Iraqi refugees to date, although it promises to take 7,000; Britain has not agreed to accept any.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Holy Shit

April 16 (Bloomberg) -- A gunman at Virginia Tech University carried out the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history today, killing at least 32 students and faculty before turning the gun on himself.

UPDATE (Tom) - Andrew Sullivan on the Iraq analogy being discussed in the comments...

UPDATE (Dody) - A melting pot tragedy - defying stereotypes

The Killer, Korean

Some of the his victims

Jewish, Lebanese, Romanian, Puerto Rican, Indian, French, Chinese, Egyptian, Indonesian ...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Wolfowitz ambushed?

The current President of the World Bank has been accussed of nepotism and making his Tunisian girlfriend unfair raises in the media. The Opinion Journal of WSJ thinks otherwise

"The paper trail shows that Mr. Wolfowitz had asked to recuse himself from matters related to his girlfriend, a longtime World Bank employee, before he signed his own employment contract. The bank's general counsel at the time, Roberto Danino, wrote in a May 27, 2005 letter to Mr. Wolfowitz's lawyers:

"First, I would like to acknowledge that Mr. Wolfowitz has disclosed to the Board, through you, that he has a pre-existing relationship with a Bank staff member, and that he proposes to resolve the conflict of interest in relation to Staff Rule 3.01, Paragraph 4.02 by recusing himself from all personnel matters and professional contact related to the staff member." (Our emphasis here and elsewhere.)

That would have settled the matter at any rational institution, given that his girlfriend, Shaha Riza, worked four reporting layers below the president in the bank hierarchy. But the bank board--composed of representatives from donor nations--decided to set up an ethics committee to investigate. And it was the ethics committee that concluded that Ms. Riza's job entailed a "de facto conflict of interest" that could only be resolved by her leaving the bank.

Ms. Riza was on a promotion list at the time, and so the bank's ethicists also proposed that she be compensated for this blow to her career. In a July 22, 2005, ethics committee discussion memo, Mr. Danino noted that "there would be two avenues here for promotion--an 'in situ' promotion to Grade GH for the staff member" and promotion through competitive selection to another position." Or, as an alternative, "The Bank can also decide, as part of settlement of claims, to offer an ad hoc salary increase."

Five days later, on July 27, ethics committee chairman Ad Melkert formally advised Mr. Wolfowitz in a memo that "the potential disruption of the staff member's career prospect will be recognized by an in situ promotion on the basis of her qualifying record . . ." In the same memo, Mr. Melkert recommends "that the President, with the General Counsel, communicates this advice" to the vice president for human resources "so as to implement" it immediately.

And in an August 8 letter, Mr. Melkert advised that the president get this done pronto: "The EC [ethics committee] cannot interact directly with staff member situations, hence Xavier [Coll, the human resources vice president] should act upon your instruction." Only then did Mr. Wolfowitz instruct Mr. Coll on the details of Ms. Riza's new job and pay raise."

The Question of Identity

Who are you, liberal societies?

Wonderwoman pointed to a recent article by Francis Fukuyama about identity in liberal societies.

"Multiculturalism—under- stood not just as tolerance of cultural diversity but as the demand for legal recognition of the rights of racial, religious or cultural groups—has now become established in virtually all modern liberal democracies. US politics over the past generation has been consumed with controversies over affirmative action for African-Americans, bilingualism and gay marriage, driven by formerly marginalised groups that demand recognition not just of their rights as individuals but of their rights as members of groups. And the US's Lockean tradition of individual rights has meant that these efforts to assert group rights have been tremendously controversial—more so than in modern Europe." (Francis Fukuyama)

The bottom line of the problem with multiculturalism is simple; can immigrants demand less freedom and liberalism in their adopted liberal home?


The New York Times published two articles this weekend about the two facets and approaches being pursued by two distinct Islamic communities, one by North African countries and another by Indonesia.

Algeria and Morocco have seen the return of sucide bombing attacks this month.

"The debate can be heard all across North Africa, where secular governments of varying authoritarian degrees face a surge in conservative religiosity that supports an extreme form of political Islam.

Every country on the continent’s northern rim, from Egypt to Morocco, has outlawed extreme Islamist parties that would be likely to win large parliamentary blocs — if not majorities — were they allowed to participate in free and fair national elections. (Libya bans political parties altogether.)" (NYT - Radical Islam - North Africa)

“We are so happy with the democratization process in Indonesia, but there is a blackness in this process,” said Eve Sundari, a legislator from the Indonesian Democratic Party. “Now the door is open. Everybody can fight for their power to control people. Suddenly Islamic groups want to impose to other Muslims their laws.”

The surprise that democracy would complicate, rather than simplify, the prospects for peace raises perplexing questions about Indonesia’s example: Is democracy the best antidote to terrorism? Even if so, can a culture of tolerance survive that contest? Why are Indonesians appearing to turn more observant and traditional just now? And does that mean they would accept violence, repression, or sexism in the name of Islam?

The questions, yet to be answered, point to a conundrum: Pluralist democracy, by definition, requires tolerance. Fundamentalist religion, by definition, demands uniformity.

Indonesia’s history, optimists say, may point the way to a compromise." (NYT - Islam and Democracy - Indonesia)

These two communities will offer valuable lessons to the world.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Mystery cat takes regular bus to the shops

Passenger, Paul Brennan, 19, who catches the 331 to work, said: "I first noticed the cat a few weeks ago. At first I thought it had been accompanied by its owner but after the first stop it became quite clear he was on his own.

"He sat at the front of the bus, waited patiently for the next stop and then got off. It was was quite strange at first but now it just seems normal. I suppose he is the perfect passenger really - he sits quietly, minds his own business and then gets off." - Daily Mail

We live in such interesting times...


I don't know what's more phenomenal - the amazing mass-costumed linedance that this Japanese flashmob performs, or the speed and fluency with which they scatter instantly when the police show up. It is, as Cory Doctorow described it, stupendous. (via BoingBoing)

How adult are you?

Take this Epstein-Dumas Test of Adultness. This is not a joke.

Breakfast of Champions tomorrow

Kurt Vonnegut died today. He was one of the best English language writers in a long, long time.

I propose that anybody who wants to pay tribute to him have a Breakfast of Champions tomorrow morning - that is, booze at breakfast time. It's what he would have wanted.


An urgent surgery is needed for 17 year old boy from Itibo, Kenya. The boy has extensive tumour growing from the upper jaw which pushes against his eye and ear, limits his breathing possibilities and soon the boy will be unable to eat or drink. The boy’s name is Charles Denis Kegwaro. He comes from a very poor family in the village of Itibo (the place where he lives)

The boy has been examined at The Mater Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. The MRI and X-ray results were also sent for consultations to The Czech Republic, where they have confirmed it is the Ameloblastoma (tumour of sorts).
The MRI and x-ray are accessible at here.

The report from the Nairobi Hospital
Male 17 years with large destructive expansive mass in the maxillary antrum.
Three white soft tissues together measuring 60x20x5 mm.
Sections on histology show a lesion composed of epithelial trabeculae in stellare stroma.
The epithelial cells are fairly uniform with a rate mitotic figure. The features are those of an ameloblastoma.
Pathlogist: Dr. L.Muchiri

The tumour is not malignant in the first phases though could turn into one. And since it grows very fast, it has reached this size within the last two years, it is definitely mortal for the boy. The only way to save Charles is to send him to Prague, Czech r., for a surgery.
If you have any way of providing some financial support, we would very much appreciate it. The transportation and surgery costs are around 160 000 CZK (approx. 7000 USD) and so far we have managed to collect 90 000 CZK.

ITIBO information
ITIBO is a little village in Kenya where Aleš Bárta with the support of ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) has managed to reconstruct the local hospital. Although the information are all in Czech you can see some photos of how the hospital used to look and how it is now when the hospital has been newly opened. The way the hospital looked like before the reconstruction (

If you would be interested to help and send even a little sum of money, please, feel free to contact me at martina[dot]souckova[at]gmail[dot]com. To make it more trustworthy, you can also contact our Executive or Financial Director regarding the possibility to donate money for the sake of this boy.

ADRA has a dollar account (as well as Czech account) where money can be donated and we can fill and confirm for you the Donation Contract. I would send you all the information necessary as well as you can of course ask for any verification needed.

ADRA's website in The Czech Republic is (the worldwide site is located at ADRA in The Czech republic is one of the most active NGOs, having projects in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Beslan, Kenya, Indonesia etc., the projects are both development and humanitarian.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Planet shows signs of water

Water has been detected for the first time in the atmosphere of a planet outside our Solar System, 150 light years away from Earth. (BBC)

Monday, April 09, 2007

Furthering the Nomadlife Police State

It's a discussion we're starting to have more often here at nomdalife... Standards, guidelines, & accepted community practices. Ars Technica has a write up of Tim O'Reily's proposed code of conduct for bloggers. They do a good job of summing up what's stupid about it.

But to summarize:
A blogging code of conduct, so long as it is voluntary, is a fine idea, but bloggers worldwide might be better served by many codes of conduct that are tailored to particular circumstances and communities. Attempts at separating the sheep from the goats online can unfairly stigmatize those who don't accept the code wholesale, but who might still run successful, vibrant, and responsible communities. More important than subscribing to a particular code of conduct is crafting one that works with your site, that is made public, and that is enforced.

O'Reilly's proposed code:
1. We take responsibility for our own words and for the comments we allow on our blog.
2. We won't say anything online that we wouldn't say in person.
3. We connect privately before we respond publicly.
4. When we believe someone is unfairly attacking another, we take action.
5. We do not allow anonymous comments.
6. We ignore the trolls.

My prime minister earns more than yours...

Singapore's Lee, Nathan to Get 25% Salary Increase 2007-04-09 04:47 (New York)

By Jean Chua

April 9 (Bloomberg) -- Singapore will increase the pay of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President S.R. Nathan by 25percent as the government revises the salaries of its officials,said Teo Chee Hean, minister-in-charge of the civil service.

Lee will be paid S$3.1 million ($2.1 million) annually, Teo said in Parliament today. The starting pay for new ministers,which includes bonuses, will rise to S$1.6 million from S$1.2million a year, said Teo, who's also the defense minister. The salaries put the island's ministers among the world's highest paid government officials. Singapore has said the better compensation has helped to draw talent from the private sectorand prevent corruption in the 41-year-old nation, with apopulation of 4.5 million. The salary increase also comes as the $134 billion economy enjoys its longest expansion in six years.

As long as the economic performance remains robust, peoplewon't begrudge their healthy compensation,'' said David Cohen, aneconomist at Action Economics in Singapore. Lee's salary is five times higher than the $400,000 U.S.President George W. Bush receives a year, based on Bloomberg data.

Still, it's a third of the overall pay for Wee Cho Yaw, chairman of United Overseas Bank Ltd., Singapore's second-biggest lender, who's the highest paid executive at a local bank. Lee will also receive a bonus tied to the performance of the economy, Teo said. Top civil servants may receive an additional bonus equivalent to seven months' pay based on their performance,he added. The monthly allowance for members of Parliament will increase to S$13,200 from S$11,900, he said. The salary revision will increase the government's wage bill by 4.7 percent, or S$214 million.

The amount budgeted for the salaries of top political appointment holders will increase by 23 percent to S$56 million.--With reporting by Michele Batchelor in Singapore. Editor:L.Chua (kkk).

Happy Easter ! Eggs and Whips !

Happy Easter everyone,

Guys here in Prague are putting out their willow whips and start whipping the girls (yup, that's a tradition)

Pictures that can change the world

James Nachtway, one of the most renowned war photographers of the late 20th/ early 21st century, just received the 2007 TED Prize. His pictures - which range from the Vietnam War, to the Rwanda genocide, to the Middle East conflict - are not only beautiful in composition, but also captures, in an unadulterated fashion, human sufferings during times of conflict. Most importantly, Natchway's powerful still images gives a voice to the world's voiceless and forces viewers to reexamine the world that we live in.

Nachway has demonstrated himself to be one of the world's foremost influencers – someone whose life task, goal and aspiration can and should inspire AIESECers around the world.

To view his TED award acceptance speech, as well as some of his works:

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Feminism in China

I'm a fan of Sexy Beijing, a mixture of Sex and the City and street journalism (hosted by a Jewish American girl, of course). The most recent installment of Sexy Beijing is an entertaining look at feminism in China. Very interesting stuff to watch (this old man would especially appreciate it).

Sexy Clip

Furthermore, most of it was filmed right across the street from my office! Random trivia: the orange building in the background is one of Beijing's major diplomatic compounds - and where a lot of the foreign media bureaus are located. Also, the green building has a really upscale restaurant/ bar that was designed by Philip Starck - it's so upscale that they feel the need to charge 10 RMB for a class of water!!

Friday, April 06, 2007


"This makes a great deal of sense to me. Europe's nations, even Britain (though to a lesser extent), have an essentially tribal definition of themselves. You are a Frenchman because you were born, and raised, of us. America, on the other hand, defines itself by the adoption of certain premises. I personally know avid Americans born in Ecuador, Spain, France, Britain, Mexico, Australia, China, Saudi Arabia, Germany, and Surinam . . . and others I can't think of at the moment. I speak not of people who were born there but raised here. I mean people who still have an accent and always will, but who think of themselves as American. In the end, all you really need to be an American is a desire to be one*. On the other hand, as a friend of mine pointed out the other day, if you are the child of an American mother and a French father living in the north of France, you will be regarded as not quite French even if you have lived there all your life and speak no other language." (The Economist Blog)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Close Guantanamo

Dear Avaaz Member,

Bush's top advisors are divided over whether to close Guantanamo prison forever. A massive global outcry could tip the balance. Sign the petition below - we will publish it in key US papers next week:
Adel Hamad grew up in a small village in Sudan. Through hard work, he became a schoolteacher and hospital assistant. To support his family he took a better job at a community hospital in Afghanistan. Then late one night he was torn from his bed and sent to hell, as Guantanamo Bay Detainee #940.

Adel Hamad has had no trial. He has seen no family members for four years. Even US military officers reviewing his situation have called his detention "unconscionable." But he and nearly 400 other prisoners are still trapped at Guantanamo. Last week US Defense Secretary Robert Gates finally said Guantanamo should be closed. President Bush's advisors are split down the middle on this issue -- a massive global outcry could tip the balance, and push Bush to close Guantanamo forever. Click below to sign the Close Guantanamo petition, and we'll run ads next week in major US papers announcing the number of signatures:

It's now clear that many of the detainees are simply innocent people caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Guantanamo's former commander General Jay Hood has admitted, "Sometimes we just didn't get the right folks." This is what happens when people are held without charge or trial.

After being held for five years, last week Australian David Hicks was finally charged -- and sentenced to just 9 months in an Australian prison. This hardly looks like the "worst of the worst" - words the Bush Administration used to justify ignoring basic standards of justice. Meanwhile, as regimes around the world use Guantanamo to excuse their own human rights abuses, international law keeps taking a beating.

Sign the petition calling on the US government to close Guantanamo , and for its inmates to be tried in a legitimate court or set free. Let's run ads in Washington DC and show that citizens from every country on earth want this injustice to end:

In hope,

Ricken, Milena, Tom, Graziela and the Avaaz Team

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Check out

Bumped into this by chance and since then couldn't stop reading. Journalism of very high quality and to the point. May be you like it too?

>> <<

Project Syndicate is an international association of quality newspapers devoted to:

  • bringing distinguished voices from across the world to local audiences everywhere;
  • strengthening the independence of printed media in transition and developing countries;
  • upgrading their journalistic, editorial, and business capacities.
(nope, I'm not working for those guys.. ;))


Illiteracy rises in China

Taken from the Beijing blog. (originally posted by Jenny Hu)

The number of illiterates in China rose to 116 million, by more than 30 million between 2000 and 2005 despite its efforts to eradicate illiteracy.

Ironically, one of the factors for this is...
The success of the illiteracy eradication campaign of the previous years led many local governments to "eradicate" the departments in charge of the program itself, Gao
(Edu. dept. official) said.

Multicultural weddings

I'm MCing for an AIESEC alum's multi-cultural wedding... and I'm looking for ideas of games/traditions that I can introduce. Something that would involve the audience? I remember from my aunt's Jewish wedding, they propped the couple up on two chairs parading them around like royalty.

Monday, April 02, 2007

doctor in the house?

would anyone like to tell me if my scaphoid bone is still fractured? possibly non-union? or if it's healed?

The Architect of the Republican Revolution on Bilingual Education in the United States: Abolish it.

It seems that Newt Gingrich was not an AIESECer:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich equated bilingual education Saturday with "the language of living in a ghetto" and mocked requirements that ballots be printed in multiple languages.

"The government should quit mandating that various documents be printed in any one of 700 languages depending on who randomly shows up" to vote, said Gingrich, who is considering seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. He made the comments in a speech to the National Federation of Republican Women.

"The American people believe English should be the official language of the government. ... We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto," Gingrich said to cheers from the crowd of more than 100.

The full text of the article can be found on CNN.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Hey People. I'm trying to start up an organization within Secondlife that helps and promotes cross cultural interaction.

If you are on SL and want to be part of something like this then post a comment to this post or mail me at pranman [at] gmail [dot] com.

Cheers :-)

Introducing... Gmail Paper

New! Introducing Gmail Paper

Everyone loves Gmail. But not everyone loves email, or the digital era. What ever happened to stamps, filing cabinets, and the mailman? Well, you asked for it, and it’s here. We’re bringing it back.

Now in Gmail, you can request a physical copy of any message with the click of a button, and we'll send it to you in the mail.

Simplicity Squared
Google will print all messages instantly and prepare them for delivery. Allow 2-4 business days for a parcel to arrive via post.

Total Control
A stack of Gmail Paper arrives in a box at your doorstep, and it’s yours to keep forever. You can read it, sort it, search it, touch it. Or even move it to the trash—the real trash. (Recycling is encouraged.)

Keep it Secret, Keep it Safe
Google takes privacy very seriously. But once your email is physically in your hands, it's as secure as you want to make it.

Read more here...

Oh, by the way, what's today's date again?