Friday, August 31, 2007

Images that changed the world

This picture shows Nguyen Ngoc Loan, South Vietnam's national police chief executing a prisoner who was said to be a Viet Cong captain. - Weird World

Karl Rove's last day is today

He will be one more than others.

copyrigh infringement

"It's because they're in trouble right now with the lead-poisoning thing, and everyone's been Googling it and that's how they found out about the site"

Porn star China Barbie on why she thinks Mattel is suing her for copyright infringement (link)

working (it)

German scientists say that not enough sex promotes working too hard, and not the other way around. (link)

why is abbreviations such a long word?

From the Desk of David Pogue...

The problem with online abbreviations however, is that they're absolutely ancient; entire generations of teenagers have learned and outgrown LOL and OMG. The world desperately needs a new set of acronyms more relevant to today's online chat participants.

So here, with my compliments, are a few proposals: an updated list of online acronyms.

(In hopes to keep the list relevant to the youthful target audience, I invited my more recent summer interns, Zach Brass and Bart Stein, to write a few. Their suggestions, along with some from my occasional research assistant Emma Story, appear here along with mine. Thanks, dudes!)

* GI -- Google it

* MOP -- Mac or PC?

* FCAO -- five conversations at once

* IIOYT -- is it on YouTube?

* DYFH -- did you Facebook him/her?

* BIOI -- buy it on iTunes

* CMOS -- call me on Skype

* GGNUDP -- gotta go, no unlimited data plan

* WLF -- with the lady friend

* JUOC -- jacked up on caffeine

* 12OF -- twelve-o'clock flasher (refers to someone less than competent with technology, to the extent that every appliance in the house flashes "12:00")

* SML -- send me the link

* RHB -- read his/her blog

* MBLO -- much better-looking online

* KYST -- knew you'd say that

* NBL -- no battery left

* CTTC -- can't talk, teacher's coming

* TWD -- typing while driving

* CMT (CMF, CMM, CMB) -- check my Twitter (Facebook, Myspace, blog)

* CYE (CYF, CYM, CYB)--check your email (Facebook, Myspace, blog)

And a few just for iPhone owners:

* SPLETS -- send pics later; Edge too slow

* CSVUI -- can't send video, using iPhone

* BPWMI -- boss playing with my iPhone

* SIK -- sorry, iPhone keyboard

* OOM -- out of messages (for iPhone users who haven't upgraded their AT&T "200 messages a month" plan)

Finally, it occurred to me: Why should the convenience of online shorthand be the province of teenagers and twentysomethings? There ought to be a list that we, their parents and employers, can use, too. And now there is:

* WIWYA -- when I was your age

* YKT – you kids today

* CRRE -- conversation required; remove earbuds

* WDO? -- what are you doing online?

* NIWYM -- no idea what you mean

* NCK -- not a chance, kid

* B2W -- back to work

* AYD? -- are you drunk?

* LODH -- log off, do homework

* DYMK? -- does your mother know?

* IGAT -- I've got abbreviations, too

* IMHO = In My Humble Opinion; BRB = Be Right Back; AFK = Away From Keyboard


From David Pogue's absolutely brilliant NYtimes blog- Circuits

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The World's Fittest, Healthiest, and Happiest Men

Single girls looking for a place to vacation?

SCORECARD: Sex/Relationships

United Kingdom A
Poland A
Netherlands A
Romania A
Philippines A
India A
Ukraine A
Portugal A
Australia B
United States B
Germany B
Malaysia B
Greece C
Brazil C
Mexico C
China C
Spain C
Canada C
South Africa D
Italy F

Australia A
Netherlands A
Spain B
Canada B
United States B
United Kingdom B
Mexico B
China B
Italy B
Portugal C
Greece C
Germany C
Malaysia C
Brazil C
Philippines D
South Africa D
Poland D
India F
Romania F
Ukraine F

Male belly dancing, anyone?

Blogger Deborah Ann Dilley has commented Reuters’ report on it on And Wikipedia (our beloved resource for information) says that there is such thing as male belly dancing in history.

I agree with Dilley, I want to see Justin Timberlake to belly dance.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"As firefighters slowly get the upper hand on blazes that have ravaged Greece, the country is beginning to take stock. Many are pointing fingers at the government -- and wondering why the country's media became the most effective disaster response coordinator.

Even as some of the devastating brush and forest fires that have scorched Greece for the last six days and killed at least 64 continue burning, the country has begun to take stock of the damage." (

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

US health care

A columnist for the Boston Globe describes an event where a retired US supreme court justice talked about her fear of being bankrupt by medical bills. (link)

The columnist says that wealthy Americans, like wealthy residents of failed states, always have to worry about their relatives begging for money to pay hospital bills.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Atty. General Gonzales Resigns

(Story) Bush will fill the position quickly. The name Idi Amin has been floating around as a suitable successor.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

CSI: Cairo

The Beeb has an interesting article on that most efficient, dedicated and on-the-ball of groups - the Cairo Police Force.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

We're trying to trick you...

It is not new for politicians to try to trick their electorates, but it is rather unusual for politicians to tell their electorates that they are trying to trick them. The ridiculously untransparent and unaccountable EU continues to get weirder and weirder, as the economist wisely notes.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Out-of-body experience recreated

Experts have found a way to trigger an out-of-body experience in volunteers.

"Scientists have long suspected that the clue to these extraordinary, and sometimes life-changing, experiences lies in disrupting our normal illusion of being a self behind our eyes, and replacing it with a new viewpoint from above or behind." (BBC)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

China to regulate reincarnation

"Tibet’s living Buddhas have been banned from reincarnation without permission from China’s atheist leaders. The 14-part regulation issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs is aimed at limiting the influence of Tibet’s exiled god-king, the Dalai Lama, and at preventing the re-incarnation of the 72-year-old monk without approval from Beijing." -Timesonline

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

jesus, the movie

American military and political officials must, at the very least, have the foresight not to promote crusade rhetoric in the midst of an already religion-tinged war. Many of our enemies in the Mideast already believe that the world is locked in a contest between Christianity and Islam. Why are our military officials validating this ludicrous claim with their own fiery religious rhetoric?


Learning from the Worst

I thought it was a joke. But it is not.

The Bush School of Government and Public Service.

"The Bush School of Government and Public Service educates principled leaders in public and international affairs, conducts research and performs service. "

Now I've learned that learning Best Case Practices is not enough, you gotta learn the worst, too. :D

PS: I think I'm gonna be in their blacklist now. Whoever they are. :p

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Failed States Index 2007 - the top 10

1. Sudan
2. Iraq
3. Somalia
4. Zimbabwe
5. Chad
6. Ivory Coast
7. Dem. Rep. of Congo
8. Afghanistan
9. Guinea
10. Central African Republic

(Foreign Policy)

Congo is ranked better than Zimbabwe. It's probably a good time to visit the great gorillas in the forest of Congo.

Below is the best and worst performer in the points of instability.

Liberia is doing really well.
"But Liberia wins the honor of the year’s most improved, gaining six points over last year’s index score. There, too, a November 2005 election, held after more than a decade of civil war, can be credited with bringing much-needed stability to the country and laying the ground for last year’s notable progress. Although 14,000 U.N. peacekeepers remain in Liberia, its economy is growing at 7 percent, militias have been demobilized, and President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has led efforts to combat endemic corruption, including the arrests of high-ranking government officials for graft."

It takes a female president to bring the country back on track.

The more fucked up the country. the less degree of religious tolerance it has. If you are religious, it's probably a good sign that God is not happy of rulers that try to force they way people worship Her.

"Freedom of worship may be a cornerstone of democracy, but it may also be a key indicator of stability. Vulnerable states display a greater degree of religious intolerance, according to scores calculated by the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom."

I went to the wrong school

US Top Party Schools 2007

1. West Virginia University
2. University of Mississippi
3. University of Texas, Austin
4. University of Florida
5. University of Georgia
6. Penn State University
7. University of New Hampshire
8. Indiana University, Bloomington
9. Ohio University, Athens
10. University of California, Santa Barbara

Monkey Managment...

Not managing monkeys but people is the topic of this article, I would definitely want to work for this guy but the picture of the "office"/green house look to much like BioDome an awful awful movie from the 90s the fear of being transported back to the 90s and trapped inside this thing might be too much for me...

Still in terms of management style it's right on and it's also obvious he shamelessly robbed his Management Ideas for Eden Project from AIESEC of us needs to write a book pronto and I call first dibs...

"Tim Smit wants to like the people he works with. So applicants for most jobs are asked to perform in front of him and the team interviewing them : 10 minutes of music, dance, juggling, storytelling when you come to be interviewed for a job".

"Eden Project people are told they have to prepare a meal for 20 of their co-workers once a year, for the joy of joining in and widening the work experience".

Read more here...


Lots of flooding going on around my old stomping grounds. I was home yesterday just after it started and had to reroute my drive to Madison. So far, my family has only lost some fencing due to mudslides. Both groups of cattle my family own were loose yesterday. That is minimal compared to the house that washed out onto Highway 35 south of LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Here's a link to a few other photos from Vernon County.

Monday, August 20, 2007

upbeat assessment from The Economist

Because this crisis taps so deeply into the newly devised structures of finance, anyone who says the worst is definitely over is either a fool or someone with a position to protect. As risk has become bewilderingly dispersed, so too has information. Nobody yet knows who will bear what losses from mortgages—because nobody can be sure what those loans are really worth. Nobody knows if tighter lending standards will oblige borrowers to raise more capital, triggering more sales in stockmarkets and more pain. Nobody knows how messy the inevitable bankruptcies will turn out to be. What markets need now is time to piece that information back together. Time before the next wave strikes.


So, what's the story in Peru now?

Since August 15th, the day when 80 thousand people were affected by a 7.9 degrees earthquake in the south of Peru, things have progressed insufficiently. There's a light of hope. But, It is just taking way too much time for people to reach that light.

Continue reading...

Give people what they want

The lost War on Drugs.
This is a picture of the famous HP garage. Millions of startups have been inspired by the tale of 2 guys working out of a garage to create a multi-billion dollars company.

hehehehe.. poor G.O.P

exercise is good for your brain


This Is Your Brain on Something Other Than Exercise

The human brain undergoes neurogenesis — the creation of new cells — throughout a person’s life, although the amount depends on a variety of factors, not just exercise.

MARIJUANA: We just report the data; we don’t endorse it. A 2005 study on rats found that stimulation of the brain’s receptors for marijuana increased neurogenesis.

ALCOHOL: A 2005 study found that mice that swallowed a moderate amount of ethanol showed more neurogenesis than teetotalers. Other studies on mice have suggested that heavier drinking can be damaging to the brain.

SOCIABILITY: One study suggests that rats that live alone and have access to a run ning wheel experience less neurogenesis than those that have access to a running wheel and live in group housing. So go ahead and join that singles running club you’ve been avoiding.

DIET: A diet high in saturated fat and sugar sharply diminishes the brain’s production of the proteins and nerve-growth factors necessary for neurogenesis. Exercise may mitigate that effect somewhat.

STRESS: Mice that are subjected to uncontrollable stress (like electric shock) suffer substantial deterioration in their ability to produce new neurons.

CHOCOLATE: In a study published this year, an ingredient in cocoa, epicatechin, was shown to improve spatial memory in mice, especially among those that exercised. Epicatechin can also be found in grapes, blueberries and black tea. “I plan to start ingesting more epicatechin,” says Henriette van Praag, a neuroscientist at the Salk Institute, “as soon as I can’t find my car keys anymore.” G.R.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Wikiscanner is exposing just who is editing the site:

Now a website designed to monitor editorial changes made on Wikipedia has found thousands of self-serving edits and traced them to their original source. It has turned out to be hugely embarrassing for armies of political spin doctors and corproate revisionists who believed their censorial interventions had gone unnoticed.

Some of the guilty parties identified by the website, such as the Labour Party, the CIA, Republican Party and the Church of Scientology, are well-known for their obsession with PR. But others, such as the Anglican and Catholic churches or even the obscurely titled Perro de Presa Canario Dog Breeders Association of America, are new to the dark arts of spin.

The website, Wikiscanner, was designed by Virgil Griffith, a graduate student from the California Institute of Technology, who downloaded the entire encyclopedia, isolating the internet-based records of anonymous changes and IP addresses.

Stupid accountability, poor Exxon, always get the bad rap.

Another kind of nomads (found via Andrew Sullivan) - it's a forum for nomadic John's.

Friday, August 17, 2007

If disaster knocked on your door, would YOU know what to do?

Recently, on August 15th, at 23:40 GMT, a 7.9 Richter-scale degrees earthquake shook the pacific coast of Peru during 120 seconds, leaving more than 510 people dead, more than 1,100 people with severe injuries, and a grand total of 85,000 people affected by the earthquake and 17,000 destroyed houses.

Hunger. Risk of epidemics. Homeless. Lack of communication. Blocked highways.


This has been the strongest and most damaging earthquake in Peru in the last 50 years, and is being currently considered among the top 10 most destructive earthquakes globally since 1990. There have been over 350 earthquake replicas ever since. Among the most recent ones, we have registered one of 5.1 Richter scale degrees on August 16th, at 03:29 GMT. This morning, another 5.5 degrees replica shook us. Earth is still shaking, and it is expected to remain this way over the next week.

Lima, the capital city, has also been affected, but not as much as Pisco city, Ica city, Chincha city, among others. Some old abandoned houses in Lima collapsed, specially in the oldest districts and parts of the city, such as Rimac, and Lima Downtown.

One of the moments of major tension amongst the population was when a possible Tsunami alert in the Pacific coast was brought up. Such warning lasted 3 hours, and people started to be evacuated when the ocean started withdrawing 10 meters away from the coast.

Some places have been reported as flooded ever since. Fortunately, later on the night of the 15th, such warning was dismissed.

The epicenter was located near Pisco city, This city has been devastated in 70% to 80%. As a result, health system there has completely collapsed. There are not enough doctors, nor firefighters there to help. Also, because most of the houses were destroyed, people were left homeless, with nothing but what they had on themselves.

They currently lack water, electricity, food, warm clothes, shelter, medicine. National and international help has started arriving, but it's still not enough. Several countries have already sent technical assistance as well as aid resources, including Colombia, Equator, Argentina, Panama, Chile, Bolivia, Spain and France. International aid also involves UN, IDB, among others.

Many people have disappeared, and most of them are presumed to be under the shattered houses. Earthquake had such impact on the city because houses were not make of brick, but of a certain type of clay which is not resistant. Up to now, only 3 people have been found alive under the debris of buildings.

Sadly, many people have passed away at home, as the roofs and walls fell on them. In one location, people were participating in a mass, and the church collapsed on them due to the earthquake. As corpses are being rescued, they are collected in the city main square. Health authorities have already warned of a possible epidemic outburst due to corpses decomposition and are coordinating their removal ASAP.

Communications are still down in the emergency zone, and were not functioning in Lima in the night of the disaster for more than 2 hours: Mobiles, and landlines were down, except for the internet connection. Some highways have been destroyed, and are now officially closed.

AIESEC only has presence in Lima and in Arequipa city, but not in the emergency zone. Therefore, every AIESECer is expected to be okay.

I understand countries across the globe will be also encouraging people to make donations, so to everyone who is willing to share, contact your local authorities, or contact the
Peruvian Embassy in your country. Please, take action. Now.

I'm currently updating in my web log (however it is in Spanish - I'll try to at least include some brief comments in English). You may find it at:

You may also follow recent updates (in Spanish) on the situation at El Comercio Peru.

Davo - AIESEC alumnus

the payoff

(the onion)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

So it has started ..

"CARE, one of the world’s biggest charities, is walking away from some $45 million a year in federal financing, saying American food aid is not only plagued with inefficiencies, but also may hurt some of the very poor people it aims to help.

CARE’s decision is focused on the practice of selling tons of often heavily subsidized American farm products in African countries that in some cases, it says, compete with the crops of struggling local farmers." (NY Times)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Happy Independence Day, India & Pakistan

If you are Italian and works in Marketing/Advertising, I have a cool assignment for you (well paid) - send me your CV at

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The cliche digs its own grave...

The Economist Style Guide, the bible for most copy-editors, has this to say about cliches and metaphors:
"Every issue of The Economist contains scores of metaphors... Some of these are tired, and will therefore tire the reader. Most are so exhausted that they may be considered dead... But use all metaphors, dead or alive, sparingly, otherwise you will make trouble for yourself."

One of the Economist's editors obviously hates metaphors and cliches with a passion. That passion has resulted in one of the cleverest little pieces I've ever read in the 'newspaper'.

Not so hot?!

Has anybody else noticed any hooplah about how a Y2K bug has been found in the official US temperature numbers? The end result has been a change of the official top ten list.

From the first article that caught my eye about the bug:

Blogger Finds Y2K Bug in NASA Climate Data
Michael Asher (Blog) - August 9, 2007 11:49 AM
My earlier column this week detailed the work of a volunteer team to assess problems with US temperature data used for climate modeling. One of these people is Steve McIntyre, who operates the site While inspecting historical temperature graphs, he noticed a strange discontinuity, or "jump" in many locations, all occurring around the time of January, 2000.
NASA has now silently released corrected figures, and the changes are truly astounding. The warmest year on record is now 1934. 1998 (long trumpeted by the media as record-breaking) moves to second place. 1921 takes third. In fact, 5 of the 10 warmest years on record now all occur before World War II. Anthony Watts has put the new data in chart form, along with a more detailed summary of the events.
Here are two more links with more information:
It makes little difference to global climate numbers and thus the global warming debate. Personally, I think the real issue is with how the information and the statistical algorithms aren't open to review or scrutiny.

The old and new US Temperatures top ten years aggregated from the Watts post:
New Old
1 1934 1998
2 1998 1934
3 1921 2006
4 2006 1921
5 1931 1931
6 1999 1999
7 1953 1953
8 1990 2001
9 1938 1990
10 1939 1938
*The order is all jumbled, but 2001 drops from the old list and is replaced by 1939 on the new.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sad Aiesec Madison News

Not sure how many of you know Christina, but an Aiesec Madison alum's dad died over the weekend...

Family is great

""I just think it's time," Mr. Rove said in the interview. "There's always something that can keep you here, and as much as I'd like to be here, I've got to do this for the sake of my family." Mr. Rove and his wife have a home in Ingram, Texas, and a son who attends college in nearby San Antonio." (Murdoch's WSJ)

Karl Rove is resigning.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ramadan Interview for Magazine

Hey nomadlifers,

Fellow nomadlifer, Farzina A. and I are writing an article about how Ramadan is celebrated around the world. We're looking for Muslim interviewees from South American, North America, Africa, Central Europe, East Europe and China, who are interested in sharing their Ramadan experiences.

Its a short interview, under ten questions, and we would be happy to perform a phone interview or via email.

The article will appear in the monthly magazine Egypt Today (

Please let me know if your interested, leave your email in the comments or feel free to email me at

Cost of Living in Wisconsin?

I've been living in River Falls, WI for the summer, and the entire time I've been meaning to post this picture. I'd like to say River Falls is similar to Townieville, but it's on the edge of the Twin Cities metro-area, and therefore cannot be considered "the middle of nowhere". However... the city does have penny parking meters. The first 12 minutes are free, and every 12 minutes after that will literally cost you a "pretty penny". Man, I love Wisconsin!

penny parking meters

Friday, August 10, 2007

Double-nosed dog not to be sniffed at

" 'While we were there, sitting by the fire one night, I saw an extraordinary-looking dog that appeared to have two noses.

'I was sober at the time, and then I remembered the story that the legendary explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett came back with in 1913 of seeing such strange dogs in the Amazon jungle.

'Nobody believed him, they laughed him out of court.'


[Xingu] had just produced a litter of puppies with a bitch that had a single nose. " (BBC)

The Final Stretch

On Wednesday night, Beijing celebrated the one year countdown to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Various PR activities took place around the city that day, including the unfurling of the official Olympics theme song...

The song was performed by over 130 performers. Quite catching, me thinks.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Valley Morning Star editorial page

here is a practical joke by my younger brother

Their patriotism is questionable

There was a time when this country knew what patriotism meant and we knew what treason was. It was an offense that would get one hanged by the neck until dead, if convicted of such an offense in a court of law.
Jim. N. Taylor

Pandering hurting war effort

I read with interest Mr. Taylor’s letter the other day regarding the treasonous actions of Congress.

Phil Lovegren

Community Forum: You can support troops, but not war

I found it curious, after reading Phil Lovegren’s letter, that he seemed to use the words “war” and “troops” synonymously. They are completely different, albeit related, terms.
War is an abstract noun used to describe a situation of hostile armed conflict. Troops are the very real men and women who are actively involved in this conflict.

Stacey Hill

crumbling roadways

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 — President Bush said today that he would be opposed to any steps by Congress to increasing the gasoline tax to raise revenues for national bridge repairs in the wake of last week’s bridge collapse in Minneapolis.


Buy me a sammich?

It seems that young women in urban cities now earn more than young men in the same areas.
Freakonomics blog moves to NY Times.

62 years ago, something terrible happened...
"Previously, the hominid Homo habilis was thought to have evolved into the more advanced Homo erectus, which evolved into us.

Now, habilis and erectus are thought to be sister species that overlapped in time.

The new fossil evidence reveals an overlap of about 500,000 years during which Homo habilis and Homo erectus must have co-existed in the Turkana basin area, the region of East Africa where the fossils were unearthed.

"Their co-existence makes it unlikely that Homo erectus evolved from Homo habilis," said co-author Professor Meave Leakey, palaeontologist and co-director of the Koobi Fora Research Project." (BBC)

The palaeontologists should just accept that everybody comes from Adam and Eve instead of keep reivising their theory.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

You can stay here overnight


Seriously, this is a real room, not a drawing.

think before you buy a drink

Out of 50 billion plastic water bottles used in the U.S. last year, only 23% were recycled. The rest (38 billion) ended up in landfills.

A chilled plastic bottle of water in the convenience-store cooler is the perfect symbol of this moment in American commerce and culture. It acknowledges our demand for instant gratification, our vanity, our token concern for health. Its packaging and transport depend entirely on cheap fossil fuel. Yes, it's just a bottle of water--modest compared with the indulgence of driving a Hummer. But when a whole industry grows up around supplying us with something we don't need--when a whole industry is built on the packaging and the presentation--it's worth asking how that happened, and what the impact is. And if you do ask, if you trace both the water and the business back to where they came from, you find a story more complicated, more bemusing, and ultimately more sobering than the bottles we tote everywhere suggest.

This is a perfect case study for an environmental life cycle analyst. Bottled water consumption has become an expensive habit on our wallets and the environment.

"Yeh Hum Naheen has become a truly unprecedented musical movement. Featuring the vocal talents of some of Pakistans biggest music artists, including Haroon, Ali Haider, Ali Zafar, Shufqat, Strings, Shuja Haider and Hadiqa Kiani, uniting to sing out the message the world needs to hear.

Written by Ali Moeen, Pakistans foremost lyricist, with music composed by Shuja Haider, its the central message of the song that has compelled so many people to become involved. It is a message of reconciliation, a message of peace and a message of truth. Capturing the imagination of people across the board, Yeh Hum Naheen has given a voice to the silent majority, those in the Muslim world who have for too long been mis-represented. These are the people who although not appearing on our television screens are saddened and shocked at the high-jacking of Islam by terrorists, and want to stand up and shout “This is Not Us”. The song is the brainchild of Waseem Mahmood, author and media consultant, who took inspiration for the project from his children. They were tired at the way a minority of misguided young people were vehemently putting forward a message of radicalization and terrorism which was at odds with what the majority of Muslims believe. It is time to re-address the imbalance, and from the smallest child to the oldest person, Yeh Hum Naheen seeks to give a voice to the voiceless." (Yem Hum Naheen)

The Yangtze river dolphin is today declared extinct.

It is the first large animal to be wiped from the planet for 50 years, and only the fourth entire mammal family to disappear in 500 years. And it was driven to its death by mankind...After more than 20 million years on the planet, the Yangtze river dolphin is today officially declared extinct, the first species of cetacean (whale, dolphin or porpoise) to be driven from this planet by human activity.

An intensive six-week search by an international team of marine biologists involving two boats that ploughed up and down the world's busiest river last December failed to find a single specimen.

The cause of the freshwater dolphin's demise was instead all too plain to the investigators. It had become a victim of the world's most populous country's race to get richer. One tenth of the world's population live in the Yangtze river basin. During the expedition, scientists counted 19,830 ships on the 1,669km of the river they surveyed - one large freight vessel every 800m.

The independent

Monday, August 06, 2007

Underground lake found in Darfur

"A team of scientists has discovered the underground remnants of an ancient lake in Sudan's arid Darfur region. The freshwater lake, which would have existed between 5,000 and 11,000 years ago, is believed to have been about the size of Lake Erie." - NPR

Probably the best news the region has received and might receive in a while. To the outside world the conflict is perceived as tribal warfare, but at its roots it is a struggle to control an environment that can no longer support all the people who must live on it. But even if this works, the big question is will this end the killing?

The U.N. Security Council approved a 26,000 strong peace keeping force after the Chinese government decided not to oppose the legislation. Certainly, since eight percent of China's oil comes from Sudan and with the Olympics coming along, they definitely needed some time to think about this. While the optimist would say "hey, atleast we got some troops in there," the pessimist would argue that the conditions under which they will be deployed are a joke. The Arab government which has allowed mass slaughter gets to determine where the U.N. soldiers can go. The U.N. soldiers cannot seize weapons from the Janjaweed. And there doesn't seem to be any threats of trade sanctions in sight either. And hidden under the veil of these failed diplomatic efforts, there is the battle to control the oil in the region. In essence, history will repeat itself, or not?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Helsinki and Copenhagen Accommodations

Hey there fellow nomads! I have a buddy who is going to Helsinki and Copenhagen for two academic conferences and has been having some trouble finding hostel accommodations (mostly in Helsinki). It seems that most hostels are booked pretty solid. In fact, one of the hostels double booked and told him he can't stay there but is still trying to charge him for a reservation cancellation!

Anyway, does anyone have a good suggestion for a place that might have a vacancy, excluding some of the major ones you'd find on an internet search because I'm sure he's already tried those? Like many a traveler, he's looking for inexpensive (I know this is a relative term, but give it your best guesstimate), mostly just a place to rest at night and a shower as he'll be pretty busy with all the conference business. Or perhaps there is even a super generous AIESECer, Alum, or fellow traveler who's been in a similar situation and wouldn't mind having someone crash on their couch for a couple nights. Any advice and/or offers would be outstanding! Some ways to get in touch with me:



Friday, August 03, 2007

"An Indian-born aerospace engineer who the British authorities say drove a burning Jeep Cherokee into a terminal at Glasgow Airport in a botched terrorism attack died Thursday night in a hospital in Scotland, the police said.

The man, Kafeel Ahmed, 28, sustained severe burns over 90 percent of his body and had remained in critical condition since the failed attack on June 30. The Jeep was loaded with gasoline and burst into flames as it hit the airline terminal."(NY Times)

Do you say Rest in Peace for this type of occassion or no?

Never Again ? Yeah right

A contemplation on Genocide

"As a result, even if you call the chaos and killing that might follow troop withdrawal genocide, it's not enough to derail the exit. Genocide: Happens all the time, we can't be paralyzed by the word.
" (Slate)

The article is a worth a read because it argues that we should elevate the standard for defining an event as Genocide, above all others mere "violence" so that its meaning does not get dilluted. The burden to act in the event of Genocide is great so the word should not be thrown around easily.

Russia claims on North Pole

"Two deep-sea submersibles Mir-1 and Mir-2 made an unprecedented test dive in polar waters, reaching the seabed 47 nautical miles (87 kilometers) north of Russia’s northernmost archipelago, Franz Josef Land in the Barents Sea. The Akademik Fyodorov, the flagship of the expedition “Arktika-2007”, has launched the submersibles, said Vladimir Strugatsky, a vice president of the Association of Russian Polar Explorers." (Pravda)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

CNN has video of the bridge in Minneapolis collapsing...

Henry George would have been proud

"Think of this on a larger scale and you can see that the more a society spends on rent seeking -- on quarrels over who gets what -- the poorer it becomes. If that's all that anyone did, everyone would starve in due course." (classical values)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

antiquarium ergo urbanum

i can't help but post this excerpt, from the Satyricon, a first century AD novel by Petronius, arguably the earliest extant novel, the novel to which every other novel owes a great debt.

When they were finally in bed, and the door shut, we seated ourselves outside the
door of the bridal-chamber, and Quartilla applied a curious eye to a
chink, purposely made, watching their childish dalliance with lascivious
attention. She then drew me gently over to her side that I might share
the spectacle with her, and when we both attempted to peep our faces were
pressed against each other; whenever she was not engrossed in the
performance, she screwed up her lips to meet mine, and pecked at me
continually with furtive kisses. [A thunderous hammering was heard at
the door, while all this was going on, and everyone wondered what this
unexpected interruption could mean, when we saw a soldier, one of the
night-watch, enter with a drawn sword in his hand, and surrounded by a
crowd of young rowdies. He glared about him with savage eyes and
blustering mien, and, catching sight of Quartilla, presently, "What's up
now, you shameless woman," he bawled; "what do you mean by making game of
me with lying promises, and cheating me out of the night you promised me?
But you won't get off unpunished You and that lover of yours are going to
find out that I'm a man!" At the soldier's orders, his companion bound
Quartilla and myself together, mouth to mouth, breast to breast, and
thigh to thigh; and not without a great deal of laughter. Then the
catamite, also at the soldier's order, began to beslaver me all over with
the fetid kisses of his stinking mouth, a treatment I could neither fly
from, nor in any other way avoid. Finally, he ravished me, and worked
his entire pleasure upon me. In the meantime, the satyrion which I had
drunk only a little while before spurred every nerve to lust and I began
to gore Quartilla impetuously, and she, burning with the same passion,
reciprocated in the game. The rowdies laughed themselves sick, so moved
were they by that ludicrous scene, for here was I, mounted by the stalest
of catamites, involuntarily and almost unconsciously responding with as
rapid a cadence to him as Quartilla did in her wriggling under me. While
this was going on, Pannychis, unaccustomed at her tender years to the
pastime of Venus, raised an outcry and attracted the attention..."


Dr. Buss has studied mating strategies around the world — he's the oft-cited author of "The Evolution of Desire" and other books — but even he did not expect to find such varied and Machiavellian reasons for sex. "I was truly astonished," he said, "by this richness of sexual psychology."