Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Elusive New Moon in the Fractious Muslim World

Ramadan begins on three different days, depending what country you are in. This despite the existence of a new moon being a deterministic event that we know when will happen for the coming thousand years....

Northern Nigerians will apparently see the moon a day earlier than Southern Nigerians, and if you are a member of the Nahdlatul Ulama school of Indonesian Muslims, the new moon is apparently visible to you one day after your Mohammadiyeh-school next-door neighbours.

Does this happen with Chinese New Year or any other lunar holidays that are celebrated across the world?

AIESEC 60th Anniversary Video


"The virus that causes AIDS is spreading in New York City at three times the national rate — an incidence of 72 new infections for every 100,000 people, compared with 23 per 100,000 nationally — according to a study released on Wednesday by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene." (NY Times)

There are bazillion of chances for hookups in New York City thanks to close proximity of everything (especially in Manhattan). Just watch out.

The Big Easy Blues

"City officials ordered everyone to leave New Orleans beginning Sunday morning — the first mandatory evacuation since Hurricane Katrina flooded the city three years ago — as Hurricane Gustav grew into what the city’s mayor on Saturday called “the storm of the century” and moved toward the Louisiana coast." (NY Times)

I hope they don't botch the job again like the last time.

Democratic National Conference 2008 speeches

You can get all those goodies here in mp3.

Ramadan Kareem

The holy month of Ramadan for Muslims starts tomorrow in most places around the world.

There's a blog dedicated for Ramadan stories around the world at It's time to start another round for this year.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

45 years ago - he had a dream

Got Ticket?

"The local reference in the location should show that this is not spam...

I am a card carrying Dem but that's only part of my interest in this week. This week has brought more excitement, people, and activity than I will probably ever see here again. I just need the right guy to help me plug into it all.

I'm downtown today and would love to accompany you tonight's speech and the parties afterward. I'm real. I like sex but I'm not a ho, so please show some respect. I'm 43, 5'6", slender, brown hair, hazel eyes, hispanic, ex-model.

I could easily meet you for coffee, lunch or drinks to see if we click...if you reply with a pic, I will respond one way or the other. Let's enjoy the day, see our next President speak and celebrate afterwards.

Please only reply if you have an extra ticket, I have plenty of regular dating options here. "


Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre)

Great for Tango
This site,Hastens, is a client of mine and they are selling 60K USD beds called Vividus. It comes with 25 years warranty and it's supposedly the best beds in the world.

Now at that price, you can buy a whole house or apartment in some areas in America thanks to the housing bust.

Check the comment for 5K apartment in Flint, Michigan by Tom Gara. That's a steal.


She refused to gave her seat...

and now

I'm just ecstatic that the kid that grew up in Jakarta is poised to be the next President of the United States.


"The key to a long life could be as simple as getting a second wife.

Research suggests that men from polygamist cultures live 12 per cent longer than those who limit their affections to one woman at a time." (DailyMail)

How about one wife plus extra girlfriends? (like in France)

Brace yourself

In Hot, Flat, and Crowded, Thomas Friedman Calls for a Green Energy Revolution.

Tom Friedman is uneven and I cringe for the incoming waves of commentaries and columns about his new book.
" Ethiopia hints at leaving Somalia. Ethiopia is prepared to withdraw troops from Somalia even if the government is not stable, Ethiopia's PM says."

Somalia produces a lot of nasty pirates.


Joe Biden - Candidate Vice President

John Kerry - Democratic Presidential Candidate 2004

Bill Clinton - El Presidente

Ah the power of oratory. This is what I love about American politics - they are decorated by speeches of soaring high ideals, perfect pitch humor and excellent deliveries.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

End of the world

"The Securities and Exchange Commission moved Wednesday to allow some large American companies to begin using international accounting standards as early as next year, and to require all American companies to do so by 2016." (NY Times)

This lady can talk too - DNC Day 2

She's great.

If you ruled the world ...

"Teaching is the highest paid profession. Education is free. Health care is universal. Everyone can read. There is mobility between the classes. There is a cure for HIV. There is no such thing as cancer. People value the arts. We are all different colours. There is always parking. Some people get hurt. Some people are happy. Everybody is safe. There are no tobacco companies. There is no death penalty. Everyone retires at 60. All adults vote. Children get to experience grandparents. People take chances. People make soft landings. Rape carries a life sentence. Imaginations run rampant. Women can walk home safely at night. Doors are left unlocked. " (Asha)

What's yours?

If I ruled the world, for a start, I have a couple of people I want to whack first...

Bon Jovi - Living on a prayer

There are only few things in life can compare to hanging out with your buddies drinking in a late New York night bar shouting to Bon Jovi (scratch that, any bar will do)

It's a good time to die, eh, fly

"An Air France jumbo jet carrying more than 500 passengers and crew overshot the runway as it landed Tuesday night in Montreal, but there were no injuries, an airport official said." (Newsvine)

There are enough incidents these past two weeks to make one got an aerophobia.

Here's a business proposition to those US based airlines that start charging for everything (no more free pillows, extra charge for second luggage, etc). This is a GREAT opportunity to gain extra revenue by charging 100 dollars extra passengers for "no drama flight". If you want your flight not to be a life scarring experience, pay for it suckers.

China did not build the magnificent $43 billion infrastructure for these games, or put on the unparalleled opening and closing ceremonies, simply by the dumb luck of discovering oil. No, it was the culmination of seven years of national investment, planning, concentrated state power, national mobilization and hard work.

Seven years ... Seven years ... Oh, that’s right. China was awarded these Olympic Games on July 13, 2001 — just two months before 9/11.

As I sat in my seat at the Bird’s Nest, watching thousands of Chinese dancers, drummers, singers and acrobats on stilts perform their magic at the closing ceremony, I couldn’t help but reflect on how China and America have spent the last seven years: China has been preparing for the Olympics; we’ve been preparing for Al Qaeda. They’ve been building better stadiums, subways, airports, roads and parks. And we’ve been building better metal detectors, armored Humvees and pilotless drones."(Tom Friedman)

I don't think he's completely fair on this assessment but it is a good treatment on priorities and strategic interests.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Five years ago today, a massive truck bomb detonated at the U.N. compound in Baghdad, killing 23 people. Among them was Sergio Vieira de Mello, the U.N.’s special representative in Iraq, and a legendary Brazilian diplomat who represented a sea change in the U.N.’s reactions to humanitarian emergencies. (Washington Independent)

plot foiled!

A spokeswoman for the Denver Police Department said that an "aggressive" inquiry had been under way since the first arrest in the case. That occurred during a traffic stop in Aurora, Colo., on Sunday morning, when the police seized firearms and methamphetamine, the authorities said. (NYTimes)

criminals are interesting people. most of them do a terrible job as criminals. to us, it seems imprudent to be high for three days straight when the time comes to drive a car full of contraband. for them, it is their modus operandi. i think the reason is that most who would be skilled criminals already have the skills to enter a more reasonable profession.

Independence fever

"Russia recognizes independence of Georgian rebel regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, news agencies report."


Manu Chao is a quintessential image of a nomad (like Devrim but with a good voice)
Just wanted to quickly announce that I'm alive and back to the nomadlife streak of bloggers....I've revived my blog as well...In The Movies... so feel free to drop in and enjoy the literature (hardly that...) but enjoy it anyways....

Michelle Obama

I watched her speech 4 am this morning Cairo time and wow, the lady can talk. What a genuine, warm and moving speech. She hit a grandslam on this.

"she's Jackie Kennedy with a working-class back story!"(Slate)

Monday, August 25, 2008

DNC Convention starts today

(NY Times Flickr Stream)

And read this series of articles on how Obama beat the mighty Clinton political machine and poised to be come the next President of the United States.


Pictures from the Kyrgyzstan recent air crash. (via Aibek)
How the Soviets Drilled the Deepest Hole in the World

Classic - Talking about a revolution

Tracy Chapman - This great pick comes from Saki via email.

Thank You

This guy developed the application we've all been waiting for - a Firefox extension that removes all the idiotic comments from underneath YouTube videos (ie 99% of the comments). For anyone who is bemused by how so many stupid people can descend on one website at once, this is the app for you.

Screenshot (via

Vamos a Buenos Aires....

Well this is the first blog post I have made in a long time...
I am in Colombia at the moment, and in 3 weeks will be passing through Buenos Aires as I return to the merry old land of Oz (that's Australia to you).

Due to a change of flights, I unexpectedly have 4 days and 3 nights in the great city of BA, and am looking for advice or suggestions from those more knowledgeable than me about where to go, what to do, where to stay, and so forth. Is it even worth leaving BA and seeing some other near-by part of Argentina for a couple of days?

Please either leave comments below, or email me at dmayoh "@"

And congratulations on the Olympic Football Gold!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

London, it's now your turn

London 2012

See if you can best the amazing Olympic organized by a commie run, third world country, widget making, grandma 'reeducationing', Tibet bashing country.

But great job on the winning the medals front:

"With impeccable timing with London looming, the British were the biggest mover, climbing from 10th in the medals standings last time to fourth by any measure this time. Their 19 gold medals and 47 overall medals were their best overall performance at an Olympics in a century." (NY Times)

olympic miracles!

in a most improbable twist, a guy from Kenya won the marathon race (link)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The case for Kashmir staying with India

There is a romance about people of certain ethnic or region or religion to dream of their independence, a state of their own.

Caveat emptor, there is a question of state sustainability. It is questionable that Kashmir can become a viable state on its own or being better off separated from India.

India is going to be a solid economic and political super power sooner or later and people of Kashmir must think through whether being part of an evolution to be a great superpower is a worse deal than being independent but marginal.

National pride is one thing but there are children to educate, people to take care of and mouth to feed. Having a country with mono religion, mono ethnic and shared history aren't going to make it easier to do that.

Religion/ethnic/history/identity are not strong enough reasons for independence. Please don't get trapped into historical facts. Yes, one hundred years ago you were independent or ruled by someone else or whatever. So what? If you trace the history of any given land and state long enough, you'll see state and kingdom arose and vanished and changed hands all the time.

There's a reason why human don't live forever - so there a chance of renewal in every generation. The conflict and hatred of your predecessors should be left behind in the dust of history. Respect your history but let the dead be dead and make your decision for the future generation.

It is more than fine to be part of a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural, multi-philosophical country. There are plenty of great countries and civilization build on that mosaic of human diversities.

what did they do?

GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) -- The city manager of Golden, Colo., has decided to withdraw his invitation to let the Al-Jazeera news network broadcast from a barbecue in his backyard on the final night of the Democratic National Convention. (AP)

Google is still king

"ComScore released its July Web search engine rankings Thursday, which show Google increasing its lead, while Yahoo and Microsoft are slipping.

Google dominated the U.S. Web search market in July with 61.9 percent, up from 61.5 percent in June. Yahoo, meanwhile, saw its search market share fall from 20.9 to 20.5. Microsoft's searches also decreased, from 9.2 percent to 8.9." (Portfolio)

You can't make this up

"Bloody Deed in Dubai: The Death of a Pop Princess. After Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim was stabbed to death in her Dubai apartment, clues led back to the most elevated economic and political circles in Egypt. The murder is a story of sex, violence, glamor and secrets."

They found the murder suspect, locked him in jail and then he's found dead 10 days later. That's fucking insane.

No thanks

Peru throws out Amazon land laws. Peru's Congress votes to repeal two controversial land laws aimed at opening up Amazonian tribal areas to development.

The suspense is over

From: 622-62
Barack has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be our VP nominee. Watch the first Obama-Biden rally live at 3pm ET on Spread the word!
Aug 23, 3:04am
."" - the text message has arrived.

David Brooks from the NY Times got it right last Tuesday.

"Barack Obama has decided upon a vice-presidential running mate. And while I don’t know who it is as I write, for the good of the country, I hope he picked Joe Biden."

Joe Biden is a senator from Delaware. It's a tiny puny state and well known only for the best state in America to register your small business in because they have a business friendly law with a strong court record to prove it.

He joined the Senate at age 29. His family got into an accident while carrying a Christmas tree; he lost his wife and daughter in that accident, while his two other sons were in critical care.

He is well known for long winded soliloquies but also has an impressive track record of getting things done. He is a support of the Iraq War and one of his son is going to Iraq in a couple of month as a JAG.

This is the best piece on Joe Biden done by GQ magazine.

U2 - Unchained Melody

This is a rousing rendition of the classic song.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Is it time for India to let Kashmir go?

(picture source:

I've mulled over this question for at least four years. Every time I meet a group of Pakistanis, we've exchanged frank, but calm views on the topic. Often, we've found ourselves agreeing.

Now the Valley is up in flames again. It started because some Hindus who were on a pilgrimage and the resident Muslims couldn't see eye to eye over the use of a piece of land the size of a football field. That was enough to bring decades of resentment back to the surface.

India has given Kashmir many things in the past - greater political autonomy than any other state in the country, billions of dollars in aid, (passable) infrastructure, food aid, etc. But India has not given the Kashmiris the right to choose their allegiance or independence. Ostensibly, this is because a UN resolution requires the demilitarization of (Azad and Indian) Kashmir before such a plebiscite is held. (Clearly, this hasn't happened).

In my opinion, letting go of Kashmir has nothing to do with Pakistan. It has nothing to do with throwing away the sacrifices of thousands of soldiers and civilians. It won't open a Pandora's box of secessionist claims from other regions in India. Letting Kashmiris decide their future is about showing that India is big enough to give 4 million people the right to choose their destiny.

Vir Sanghvi, a well-respected Indian journalist, makes the argument far more eloquently than I ever could. It cuts down to one basic concept. People - especially in a democracy - should have the freedom to decide their own future.

"I reckon we should hold a referendum in the Valley. Let the Kashmiris determine their own destiny. If they want to stay in India, they are welcome. But if they don’t, then we have no moral right to force them to remain. If they vote for integration with Pakistan, all this will mean is that Azad Kashmir will gain a little more territory. If they opt for independence, they will last for about 15 minutes without the billions that India has showered on them. But it will be their decision.

Whatever happens, how can India lose? If you believe in democracy, then giving Kashmiris the right to self-determination is the correct thing to do. And even if you don’t, surely we will be better off being rid of this constant, painful strain on our resources, our lives, and our honour as a nation?" (HT)

"Somalia: Pirates Seize German Tanker Off Coast. Heavily armed Somali pirates with speed boats have seized a German vessel with 57 crew members in the Gulf of Aden on Thursday."

They just seized a Malaysian ship last week. The pirates are getting busy.

As you can see, there's gulf there is pretty narrow and full of shitty pirates. There are plenty of French and American warship there but still, the pirates are more agile and the lane are quite busy. If this piracy gets worse, it will affect the use of Suez Canal and impact Egyptian economy. Ship will start going around the continent of Africa instead and increase the cost of shipping.

Classic - Baba O'Riley

No better song to start the day.
"Iran vs. the United States. Ethiopia vs. Eritrea. Russia vs. Georgia. Here’s a look at how some of the world’s fiercest national rivalries have played out at the Beijing Olympics." (Foreign Policy)

This is how Foreign Policy magazine did their version of "awkward" team on the Olympic.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Get your peace on!

I remember arriving in Rome in June 1999 and this song was blasted 24 hours on Italian TVs.

This song was sung by the three best known Italian male singers (Ligabue - Jovanotti - Pelù). The title means "My name is never again". It's an anti war song (the bombing of Serbia was still raging at the time).
"Liberia: Embassy in Rome Accused of Illegally Selling Passports. Report reaching this paper says that the Liberian Embassy in Rome is currently engaged in an illegal sale of Liberian passports and birth certificates amongst others."

Man, you are know are fucked if you have to buy Liberian passport.

This is the website of the Liberian Embassy in Rome
. Quick, before they clean up their act.

Why are Danes smiling?

" It's Something About Denmark: Why Danes Are the World's Happiest People. Two recent studies found Danes to be the world's happiest people. The new reputation and media attention have led to a national discussion." (Spiegel)

(picture stolen from via Google Image)

hmm....I can't think of any reasons why.

Not a classic - Yo-Yo Ma &Bobby McFerrin

But it will cheer your day up.

Open Source Intro to Economics

Beef up your knowledge about economics so your politicians cannot fool you. There's a good free book here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fela Kuti - Water no get Enemy

Pure bliss.

"T'o ba fe lo we omi l'o ma'lo
If you wan to go wash, na water you go use

T'o ba fe se'be omi l'o ma'lo
If you wan cook soup, na water you go use

T'o ri ba n'gbona o omi l'ero re
If your head dey hot, na water go cool am

T'omo ba n'dagba omi l'o ma'lo
If your child dey grow, na water he go use

If water kill your child, na water you go use
T'omi ba p'omo e o omi na lo ma'lo"
Dody, my archives aren't working. Please help.
Thank you. Kisses!

Go visit New Zealand

" A New Zealand court has allowed a parade of topless porn stars on motor bikes to proceed on the main street of the country's biggest city, local media said Tuesday.

Auckland City Council had sought a court injunction to stop the "Boobs on Bikes" parade, scheduled for Wednesday, saying it breached a bylaw banning offensive public events." (Reuters)

Zambian President Mwanawasa is dead.

Johannesburg Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa died yesterday at a Paris hospital, Vice President Rupiah Banda told Zambians in a televised speech."

He was considered by many as PGP (Pretty Good President - probably by African standard); meaning he's democratically elected and relatively clean in terms of corruption- which sets him apart from many despots infesting the continent. He was the first African leader that speak out against Darth Mugabe.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Classic - Chan Chan


"Archaelogists in Berlin have uncovered 2,000 skeletons in a huge medieval cemetery near the city center since they started examining the site in March 2007.

The site was found during construction work in Petriplatz square. A large number of the skeletons are of children, a sign of their high mortality rate in the Middle Ages." (De Spiegel)

The smart ass guide to USA.

Egyptian Parliament on Fire

Unfortunately, it seems more likely to be a case of faulty wiring rather than revolutionary righteousness. But we can still hope...


Hey all - I am moving this post up to get more attention. This doesn't require much time just for you to cast a vote! Check out the posting and click here to vote!!!


My partner Jesse is passionate about sports and working with youth. Last year he signed up to work with 80 youth in the South Bronx through a program called Young Heroes. Inspired by under served youth with no access to sports programs Jesse is the process of developing an organization to address this need. Much like Teach For America, it calls on young adults to serve in schools as coaches and mentors in places across the US so desperatley in need. As obesity rises to be the number one killer of children in America this is a concrete way to make a difference.

You can help by voting for his project on here. It won't cost you a cent, all you need to do is vote. And if you are not an American Express Card Member, sign in as a guest.

Please pass this on to people you know and help Jesse achieve his dream of changing kids lives everyday.

Monday, August 18, 2008

30 insane movie car chase scene

Musharraf giving his speech

Right now, Al Jazeera has it live...

So far he is sounding like he won't budge. "Stand firm" etc...

No declaration of emergency rule just yet, but I'll keep you updated...

UPDATE - Resigned!

Is resigning "to stop the downfall of the country and move Pakistan toward the path of development"

"I am happy to be resigning in front of a free and vibrant media, and I hope they continue to play that role long into the future"

A brief history of the Georgian affair...

The Russians and the Georgians give different accounts of who provoked whom in the weeks before Aug. 7. Each side accuses the other of premeditated attack. While the public line from the Bush administration in the past week has been that Russia and Putin are largely to blame, some administration officials said the Georgian military had drawn up a "concept of operations" for crisis in South Ossetia that called for its army units to sweep across the region and rapidly establish such firm control that a Russian response could be pre-empted.

They note that in January, the Georgian Ministry of Defense released a "strategic defense review" that laid out its broad military planning for the breakaway regions. As described by David J. Smith of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, the document sets out goals for the Georgian armed forces and refers specifically to the threat of conflict in the separatist regions.

American officials said that they had clearly told their Georgian counterparts that the plan had little chance of success, given Kremlin statements promising to protect the local population from Georgian "aggression" — and the fact of overwhelming Russian military force along the border.

The shelling from South Ossetia to Georgia proper increased significantly in August. On the morning of Aug. 1, five Georgian police officers were wounded by two remotely detonated explosions on a bypass road in South Ossetia, Georgian officials said. Troops from Georgia battled separatist fighters, killing at least six people; the Georgians accused the South Ossetian separatists of firing at Georgian towns behind the shelter of Russian peacekeepers.

On Aug. 6, the separatists fired on several Georgian villages, Georgian officials said. The Russian Defense Ministry and South Ossetian officials say that Georgians provoked the escalation by shelling Russian peacekeeping positions in the region's capital of Tskhinvali, along with civilian areas.

The Georgians said the separatists stepped up their shelling. Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili of Georgia called Fried and told him that her country was under attack, and that Georgia had to protect its people. Fried, according to a senior administration official, told the Georgian not to go into South Ossetia. The Georgians moved in on Aug. 7. (IHT)

(For a background on everything that happened before the Georgian Military drafted its "Concept of Operations", read this excellent article at the IHT)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Cool Runnings

"First came the historic finish by Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser, Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart. Fraser’s blazing race of 10.78 seconds captured the first gold medal in the event by a Jamaican woman. Simpson and Stewart tied for second in 10.98.

They were following the inspiration of their countryman Usain Bolt, who won the men’s 100 a night earlier and shattered his own world record." (NY Times)


Most trusted person in America?

NY Times asks the question.

I'd say, yes.

two mcdonalds?

Shortly before World War I another British author, Norman Angell, published a famous book titled "The Great Illusion," in which he argued that war had become obsolete, that in the modern industrial era even military victors lose far more than they gain. He was right -- but wars kept happening anyway. (Paul Krugman, NYTimes)

Saturday, August 16, 2008


100 meters of Olympic 2008.

(NY Times)

I'm looking for videos.

Ground Report from Georgia

"Georgia's population is over 5 million. Compared to that South Ossetia (SO) is tiny, before the conflict began it had maximum only about 40 thousand people living mainly in Tskhinvali city. Rest of SO territory is hardly populated at all - mountains, alpine steppe and deep forests. Actually it was a popular tourist destination in times of Soviet Union. Georgia wants this territory, they are not interested in integration of local people who were historically and culturally always a trouble for them - they are from different ethnic groups and don't mix with each other.

Georgia almost achieved it's plan of driving Ossetians from their land within 24 hours period on the day of Olympics opening ceremony. Geographically and strategically they could easily have done it. Once the city of Tskhinvali is destroyed 2 months before the winter hits hard in that mountanious area then Georgians could have upper hand of controlling the whole of that deserted area. The SO frozen conflict would be solved in one day and President Saakashvili would fulfil his election promise, emerging as a strong leader to deal next with Abkhazia which is a much tougher case for Georgians.

Russians are now set to rebuild Tskhinvali in almost frantic efforts because otherwise Ossetian civilian population will not and could not return to destroyed infrastructure. Winter season is harsh in SO and locals switch on their heating systems already in October. The number of Ossetian refugees in Russia is estimated to be 32 thousand by now. Russians have a choice in spending their money - to build winter refugee shelters on their own territory in order to feed and take care for this sudden influx of demoralized people OR to try to rebuild at least sections of Tskhvinvali city so that Ossetians can go home.

Georgians effectively cut Tskhinvali water supplies already 3 weeks before the conflict began (residents had to ship water from nearby village wells) and now everything is gone - gas, electricity, water, heating system, harvest, trading, banking, schools, hospitals...

We had repaired and rehabilitated dozens of medical points in all major towns and villages in SO over the period of 8 years, we helped virtually every hospital in Tskhinvali..... The clinic in large Khetagurov town which became a hub for qualified medical assistance for whole area (even Georgians would travel from far distances to be treated in that clinic) was repaired and equipped with our help. Everything is gone now, Khetagurov resisted the night attack and was virtually leveled with ground by morning of Aug 8. Please note that Tskhinvali city itself had no strategic military facilities to justify the all-night and then whole day attacks by Georgians."

I got this from an email from a trusted source.

Magic Steve

"The sleek, touchscreen iPhone has proved so lucrative for Apple that the electronic gadgets manufacturer has unseated Google to become the most valuable company in America's cradle of technological innovation, Silicon Valley.

Queues outside Apple's stores are commonplace since the phone's launch a year ago as shoppers line up to get their hands on the prized device.

On Wall Street, the phenomenal popularity of the phone has fuelled a 44% surge in Apple's share price in 12 months. By the close of trading on Wednesday, Apple's market value had edged up to $158.8bn - a shade ahead of Google's $157.2bn." (The Guardian)

Microsoft's market cap is 253.82B (source) - Google and Apple should merge.
"The problem with having narrow skills, like being able to structure CDOs, is that if you lose your job, your employment prospects are limited. Unless you have personal connections that are willing to give you a chance at something where your skills might be distantly relevant (say being the CFO of a small company), most employers, especially large companies, want to hire someone who is already doing precisely what the job calls for. I've seen enormously talented senior people (and I don't mean from Wall Street) unable to land jobs because employers write the job specifications so narrowly." (Naked Capitalism)

I read a quote somewhere that "Specialization is for insect" but I think it's pretty hard to achieve mastery without specialization.

The blog post above talks about what happens to the tens of thousands financial wizards that get laid off due to the fucked up in the global economy thanks to their reckless risk management.

What I don't like with the current economic crisis is because a lot of banks, the bedrock of capitalism and global economy, turned out to behave like a 15 year old in his first beer bong party, all drunk and stupid. A lot of people in the financial markets make a killing over half a decade based on essentially a global scam. I mean, wtf, UBS, what happened to you? Did you get herpes or something? Citigroup, one of the best run banks in the world, fucked up so bad you'd think Mugabe was their CEO.

We need our bank to be sober, boring and solid, because governments and markets aren't.

Death in Paradise

(Drakensberg mountain Kwazulu-Natal) - come visit.

"KZN voter numbers plunge.

As many as 400 000 voters in KwaZulu-Natal have died or left the province since the local government elections were held a little over two years ago."

KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa has an estimated population of 10 million people so that 400K represents 4% population shift in 2 years (more or less - because they are talking about voters which contains certain age criteria than a general population numbers).

That kind of percentage in decline is pretty big - they don't have wars. Is it AIDS? or job exodus?

South Africa's economic growth (source) last year is around 5%, which is a good number for any country.

KwaZulu-Natal though recorded the highest percentage of HIV sufferer among pregnant women (source) - at 39.1 % in 2006 (and consistently hit above 30% rate since 2001).

When you have this high rate of pregnant women infected with HIV, you'll see similar or higher rate of percentage of infection with men as well.

The voting age in South Africa is 18 (source). So 400K decline happens 18 and above segment of the province population. This will have an impact on their economic output and social stability.

We might hear more about this province in the incoming months.

Imperial ambition

"Russia: New Military Uniforms. Owen of Lex Libertas reports that the Russian military will completely change to a new uniform by the year 2011, by a famous Russian designer."

Now that you are back in the headline again, it's important to look good.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Holy Crap ! Under fire in Georgia

Check this video of a team of Turkish TV reporters in the car under semi-automatic fire attack somewhere in Georgia. Nobody died but this is as close as you can get to the real thing without being killed. It's a miracle nobody in the car died.

PR Nightmare

"An engine access panel fell off a Qantas Airways jumbo jet en route to Singapore from Melbourne, Australia, on Friday, the latest in a string of incidents for the airline." (CNN)

This is what happens when your plane had a hole mid-flight. Every single infraction after that is suddenly "news" !

Condi's thoughts...

In 2000, Condoleeza Rice wrote
an article in Foreign Affairs that set the agenda for the next 8 years of American foreign policy.

Now, on her way out, she does a re-think...

There's the usual stuff about Iraq and Afghanistan and spreading democracy and building ties with Russia and China and emerging powers...

And then there's this line..
"...access to education is a critical national security issue."

Fairly interesting read, if you're willing to read through 9,000 words...

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Hey all - I am moving this post up to get more attention. This doesn't require much time just for you to cast a vote! Check out the posting and click here to vote!!!


My partner Jesse is passionate about sports and working with youth. Last year he signed up to work with 80 youth in the South Bronx through a program called Young Heroes. Inspired by under served youth with no access to sports programs Jesse is the process of developing an organization to address this need. Much like Teach For America, it calls on young adults to serve in schools as coaches and mentors in places across the US so desperatley in need. As obesity rises to be the number one killer of children in America this is a concrete way to make a difference.

You can help by voting for his project on here. It won't cost you a cent, all you need to do is vote. And if you are not an American Express Card Member, sign in as a guest.

Please pass this on to people you know and help Jesse achieve his dream of changing kids lives everyday.

White Americans to represent 46% of US population by 2050

According to the Census Bureau Thursday released projections, by 2050 whites will make up 46% of the US population (down from 66% today), blacks will make up 15% (a relatively small increase from today), Asians will raise to 9% (from 5% currently); while "Hispanics" will account for 30% (up from about 15% now).

The U.S. population is projected to grow from about 305 million people today to 400 million by 1039 and 439 million by 2050. While it's over 85 population is projected to more than triple to 19 million by 2050.

US is still far behind China or India on population, but that's a significant increase in population and in retired population, which as in many other developed countries will put big pressure on retirement funds. And the quantity of "Hispanics" is expected to increase from 49.7 million in 2010 to 132.7 millions by 2050, that's about a 267% increase!!

Read more in Yahoo or if you want to look into the data itself check the Census Bureau directly

Start buying dollars !

"The 15 economies of the eurozone contracted by 0.2% between April and June, heightening fears that the euro area is sliding towards recession.

The eurozone's first decline since it was created in 1999 was driven by a slowdown in exports and consumer spending.

The German economy, Europe's largest, shrank by 0.5% in the second quarter compared with the previous quarter." (BBC)

Marijuana vending machine in California

"Where? California, of course. The marijuana is for medical use, and you can’t just walk in, drop a few coins and roll out with a bag of weed. The machines are situated in dispensaries, and surrounded by armed guards. We suspect the latter is to stop the machines getting ripped off, not to harass the legitimate users." (Wired)

For medical use only.

Rejoice comrade ! A successful Coup d'état

"Mauritania general gets backing. The new military ruler in Mauritania gets a pledge of support from two-thirds of the country's politicians."

Chalk one up for the generals. Democracy is for sissies.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Part of the Olympics Fireworks were faked for TV

A global television audience of more than three billion people watched in amazement as a series "video footage from a helicopter" of giant footprints outlined in fireworks proceeded through the night sky from Tiananmen Square to the Bird's Nest stadium - except they were watching a computer animation 3D graphics sequence that took almost a year to produce.

While the dramatic display actually happened as portrayed on television, members of the Beijing Olympic Committee said it was necessary to replace live video with computer-generated imagery because the city’s hazy, smoggy skies made it too difficult to see, according to The Beijing Times, which first reported the story.

"Seeing how it worked out, it was still a bit too bright compared to the actual fireworks," "But most of the audience thought it was filmed live - so that was mission accomplished."Gao Xiaolong (the man responsible for the animation) told the China's Beijing Times.

Now honestly, how many of you thought there was something fishy about those almost perfect fireworks? This definitely raises the bar for the next computer animated films and interaction of CGI with real world news, footage, video, etc.

More information on,, and

Quantum Physics

If there's a Lebanese murdered in Dubai, you can't publish about it here.
"Uganda: Hepatitis E Death Toll Rises to 106. The death toll from hepatitis E in northern Uganda has risen to 106 a week after the government and the World Health Organisation launched a Shs10 billion programme to bring the epidemic to an end."

Hepatitis is the alphabet soup of disease. I just found out that there's actually a Hepatitis E.

Proud salvadorian

I have to share with you that I am proud of our Salvadorian representative at the Olympics.
His name is Rafael Arevalo and yestarday he played against Federer =D

He lost, unfortunately, but I would like to quote here what a Spanish newspaper says about his outstanding performance, after all he's around 450 (ATP) and Federer is #1.

En ningún caso el duelo reflejó la gigantesca distancia que separa el número uno del helvético del más allá del 400 que la ATP fija de su rival. El primer tenista de El Salvador en disputar una competición olímpica no rehuyó el cuerpo a cuerpo. Su anecdótica presencia, atípica en cualquier competición de tenis de alto nivel, fue acogida con simpatía por el público del Centro Olímpico de Tenis, que jaleó cada acción meritoria de Arévalo.
The match didn't reflect the gigantic difference between the #1 and the 'more than 400' according to ATP. The first Salvadorian Tennis player in disputing an olympic competition didn't run away from this. The crowd welcomed his not-so-typical presence with sympathy and encouraged every well done action by Arevalo
Well, more or less... I have difficulties translating

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Seven Wonders of Russia

Have you ever wondered what are the top travel destinations in Russia besides Moscow and Petersburg? After failing to get any place in Russia into the list of the Seven Wonders of The World, Russians came up with the project to identify and promote their 7 wonders. The result was spectacular and it will definitely attract many more tourists.

This is the translation of the post written by Yusia. I am sure that this fresh piece of information will interest most of the travel enthusiasts. So traveling is Russia is more that Trans-Siberian Express Train adventure! The text is translated using Google Translate together with some corrections from my side. Google's translation service is getting better and better by each day. Good job, guys!

More than that, approximate expenses (from Moscow) are also provided. Great tip, Yulia!
(photo by

7 Wonders of Russia

1. "Valley of Geysers" - 5 km long canyon in one of the inaccessible gorges of Kronotsky biosphere reserve, which is located in Kamchatka. There are about 200 hot springs, including 90 geyser, which emit jets of boiling water and steam as high as tens of kilometers. The valley was discovered in 1914, but only open to tourists since 1993.
You can get there from the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (the central city of Kamchatka), is in a valley 160 sports city. Cost: airfare (from Moscow) - 30 thousand rubles (830 euros), a hotel in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 2100 rubles per day (58 euros), and the helicopter tour - 15 thousand rubles (416 euros).

Check out the photos.

2. "Lake Baikal" - the lake of stunning beauty, it is located 55 km from the city of Irkutsk, the capital of the Irkutsk region, located in south-eastern Siberia. The lake is already very long exploited for tourism purposes: hiking on a horse, rafting, diving, cycling and helicopter tours, ethnographic and religious tours, fishing, spa treatments.
Cost: airfare to Irkutsk (from Moscow) - 14 300 rubles (400 euros), from there transfer to the Lake - 3000 rubles (83 euros), room in a hotel or tourist base - 1300 rubles per day (36 euros), trip around lake by boat - 1200 rubles (33 euros).

Photos of Baikal.

3. "Columns of Erosion" (a.k.a. as "Rock Pillars") - a unique natural monument, which is at 700 km from the city of Perm, the capital city of Perm Region, in the European part of Russia. These pillars were formed during 200 million years by the weathering of rocks shale. They decorate the plateau, called Man-Pupu-Ner (Hill stone idols) and also referred to as "mansyyskie bolvany" ("dumbs of Mansi"). Mansi people (minority group in Russia) devoted a lot of legends to these pillars. No regular tours are organized to that place, and the easiest way to get there is by helicopter from the town of Berezniki (near Perm).
Cost: airfare to Perm (from Moscow) - 6600 rubles (183 euros), transfer of Berezniki and back - 1880 rubles (52 euros), helicopter tour (scarves, food, guide) - 37 500 rubles (1042 euros).

Have a look at the pillars.

4. "Elbrus Mountain" - the highest mountain of Russia and Europe (5462 meters), located on the border of the republics of Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachayevo-Cherkessia (South Russia). Elbrus not only attracts climbers, but also winter sports enthusiasts and health tourism. Conquest to the peak of this mountain takes 6-7 peak days with overnight. For ordinary tourists there are sanatoriums from mineral sources, and for skiers and snowboarders there are lifts and tracks. Getting to Elbrus is possible from the city Mineralnye Vody, the capital of Stavropol Province (200 km from the city).
Cost: airfare to Mineralnye Vody - 7700 rubles (214 euros), room at tourist base - 1500 rubles / day (42 euros), transfer round trip back - 4000 rubles (111 euros).

Photos of this beautiful place, just like the mountains of Kyrgyzstan! ;)

5. Mamayev Kurgan and "the Statue of Motherland-Mother"
A historical and memorial complex built in commemoration of the Heroes of Battle of Stalingrad at Mamaev Kurgan in the center of Volgograd City. The complex consists of several sculptural compositions: "Memorial of the generations", "Square of those who stood till death", "Wall Ruins," "Heroes' Square" and the main monument "Motherland-Mother calls!", and right behind this monument is where memorial cemetery located.
Cost: airfare to Volgograd (from Moscow) - 5000 rubles (139 euros), the hotel - 2000 rubles per day (55 euros), the overview tour of "Hero City - Volgograd" - 170 rubles (5 euros).

Check out some photos of this enormous statue here.

6. "St. Basil's Cathedral"
- famous cathedral, which is located in central Moscow on Red Square. The temple builders were blinded by Ivan the Terrible so that they couldn't build another similar cathedral somewhere else.
Cost: ticket to Moscow (on average 400 euros), a hotel room - 5000 rubles per day (140 euros), ticket - 100 rubles (2.7 euros), excursions - from 260 rubles (7.2 euros).
(photo by

7. "Peterhof" - or "Russian Versailles" - located 29 km from the city of St. Petersburg. The magnificent beauty of the suburban residence of Peter The First with a lot of parks, luxury fountains, palaces, grottoes, museums and pavilions on the shores of the Baltic Sea.
Cost: airfare of St. Petersburg (from Moscow) - 4 000 rubles (111 euros), transferred to the city of Peterhof - 70 rubles (2 euros), the hotel - 3000 rubles per day (83 euros), a pass to visit all the museums - 2 670 rubles (74 euros).

If you are curious what sort of residences were preferred by Peter the First, click here.


The best thing about the Russia-Georgia war

It shows up Tom Friedman as an idiot, yet again.

McDonalds in Russia:

McDonalds in Georgia:

Cessation of Hostility

Good news.

More info can be found at Civil Georgia.

What a week. The conflict started in a flash and ended just (mercifully) as abruptly.

But it shows that:

  1. Don't mess with the Zohan (or newly rich Russia).
  2. Eastward expansion of NATO is not a terribly good idea.
  3. It's probably safe to assume that no one will intervene had Russia decided to occupied Georgia.
  4. How fragile the small countries sharing borders with Russia.
  5. It's pretty hard for the US to take the high horse on this situation (respect rule of law, etc, etc)
  6. This changes the geopolitical game in Europe a little bit. Russia bites back after being pushed back for more than a decade now.
  7. Putin is a smart mofo.
  8. When countries play game like this, people die, cities and villages destroyed.
  9. Nobody has a clue about Caucasus region.
  10. Those guys in that region have cajones. There's no young people in all the videos I've seen of the conflict. Only old people stayed in the villages. The young ones went to fight.
"Scientists say they are a step closer to developing materials that could render people and objects invisible. Researchers have demonstrated for the first time they were able to cloak three-dimensional objects using artificially engineered materials that redirect light around the objects.

Previously, they only have been able to cloak very thin two-dimensional objects.

The findings, by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, led by Xiang Zhang, are to be released later this week in the journals Nature and Science."(AP)

International festival of body painting is happening in Germany right now. I'd like to show some sample works but it will be NSFW :)
UBS to Separate Businesses After Second-Quarter Loss. Sigh.
Nigeria: New Bird Flu Strain Detected. A new strain of avian flu never before reported in Africa has been identified in Nigeria, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced today."

Hopefully it's nothing(head in the sand)

30 things to do before you're 30

Interesting read on the Sydney Morning Herald blog. They compiled a list of suggestions (top five are as follow). What's on your list?

1. Buy a one way ticket overseas

2. Borrow your nephews and nieces or friends' kids for a weekend and take them to the zoo

3. Blow a week's wages on dinner for two at a restaurant where the prices aren't even listed on the menu

4. Have a one night stand with an attractive stranger you met at a party

5. March for a cause you believe in

Monday, August 11, 2008

Art of opening a bank account in Nairobi

How Much Longer Does This Thing Last?

Bored American at the Opening Ceremony. Was probably sulking b/c they didn't serve Nachos w/ "Cheez".

nomads in the San Francisco bay Area?

Am bringing a very interesting media project into the region mid-end September and could use some on-ground guidance from the nomad community. This is an official holler out..

email me at dhruv(dot)chitgo(at)gmail(dot)com or drop me a line at


The Ultimate Simpson's Tribute... A Simpson Euro

Actually, it's a very well-designed fake....
"Worried that embalming fluids or emissions from cremation will pollute the earth after your death? There may be a more eco-friendly albeit somewhat grisly alternative—dissolving the body in lye. The process, which has been used to dispose of animals and lab specimens for many years, is now being considered more seriously for human use. Called alkaline hydrolysis, the method uses a steel cylinder that dissolves the body in lye with 300-degree heat and 60 pounds of pressure per square inch. The result is a sterile, coffee-colored liquid with the consistency of motor oil that can be safely poured down the drain. A small amount of bone residue that can be scattered like cementation ashes is the only solid byproduct."(Pop Science)

They put carcasses/bodies into above cylinder and liquefy them. Go to for more details.

Fiction meets reality

y"Ghost Recon begins in April 16, 2008, with civil unrest in Russia. Ultra-nationalists have seized power in Moscow, with plans to rebuild the Iron Curtain. Their first step is clandestine support of rebel factions in Georgia and the Baltic States. This storyline foreshadows the 2008 South Ossetia War. This is where the Ghosts come in: to silence the rebellion. Armed with some of the most advanced weaponry in the world, the soldiers of the Ghost Recon force are covertly inserted into Eastern Europe and given specific missions to curtail the rebel actions and overthrow their benefactors.

During the first few missions of the game, the Ghosts battle South Ossetian rebel forces from the north of Georgia, who are harassing the legitimate government and its allies. The Ghosts fight in the forests, on farms, and in villages while assisting their NATO allies in fighting the enemy. The Russian government complains to the United Nations that the Americans have interfered in their affairs, and eventually they send in their army to aid the South Ossetian rebels. The U.S. cannot hope to stop the Russian Army from invading Georgia, so the Ghosts slow down the invading forces so that their allies can evacuate. " (Wikipedia)

Ghost Recon is a game created in 2001 (based on Tom Clancy storyline).

Can You Guess Where I'm From?

A little game of accents, can you place the country of each of these speakers? Bonus points if you can guess the city after getting the country right.

I did decently with the United States, getting both city and state (ignoring that I completely blew the one from my own hometown, Chicago) and also with the British isles, Oz and the Kiwi's. 28 points. Horrible horrible with everything else.

Can you guess where they're from?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

What is Putin up to?

Russia's rapid escalation with Georgia in the breakway region South Ossetia and incoming involvement of Abkhazia (another breakaway region) to the conflict are curious events.

Those 'troubled' regions have been 'troubled' for the past two decades with low running conflict here and there after unrecognized declaration of independence (yeah, what makes countries support Kosovo independence but not South Ossetia and Abkhazia)

What makes Putin send 150 mighty tanks across the border this time? I don't think he suddenly cares more about the region than what he has been before. He is a pretty smart guy that know how to exploit opportunities. What is in his sleeves?

Check this out: (graphic) to get an alternative view other than the usual rah rah of western mainstream media. The video below is worth watching/listening to because it actually covers the conflict beyond mere flashes of misery captured on video.

There's a country called Republic North Ossetia-Alania

This is a press conference with the Russian Defence Ministry. I found the style of his conversation with the journalists are much more natural than the usual Pentagon briefing.

Olympic spirit...

This is a great story. I saw it unfold live and it really was genuine and spontaneous. Both the athletes looked so uneasy on the podium up to that moment.. and then.. magic... as only the Olympics can bring...
How to Fight Like a Girl
Mahmoud Darwish, a Palestinian cultural icon whose poetry eloquently told of his people's experiences of exile, occupation and infighting, died Saturday in Houston. He was 67. (AP)


And history makes fun of its victims

And its heroes

Takes a look at them and passes by

This sea is mine

This moist air is mine

And my name-

Even if I spell it wrong on the coffin –

Is mine

As for me,

Now that I am filled with all the possible

Reasons for departure –

I am not mine.

I am not mine

I am not mine…



Saturday, August 09, 2008

The state of the world's children 2008 (excellent data)
Bernie Mac is dead.

Akward teams in Olympics

  1. Somalia. Does it even have a government?
  2. Georgia. Russia just invaded their country.
  3. Zimbabwe. Even the best sale in China will cost them billions.
  4. Mauritania. Last week their President just got thrown out of power from a coup d'état.
  5. Sudan. The International Court of Justice just issue a warrant to arrest their President for Darfur genocide recently.
  6. Russia. Their country just invaded Georgia.
Add your own :)
You can follow Russia - Georgia war on this blog. Find out more about this crisis (including briefing background) from the German.

In summary, it's a fucked up situation in South Ossetia but this problem has been brewing over a decade now (it's a breakaway region). There's another rebel region called Abkhazia who's ready to enter the fray.

Food is still expensive

South Africa workers eye on the strike.

Workers across the country were expected to take to the streets on Wednesday in a protest against rising costs of food, fuel and electricity."

Angola: Election Campaigning Begins Peacefully. Angola may not have had an election for 16 years, but it certainly knows how to campaign.

Friday, August 08, 2008


The first 9 minutes of the Olympic opening ceremony
" I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never." (Bill Clinton)

"In an interview for broadcast tonight on Nightline, Edwards told ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff he did have an affair with 42-year old Rielle Hunter, but said that he did not love her." (John Edwards)

While you are busy watching the olympic,

More images from the BBC

Russia invades Georgia.


BBC Olympic Central

NY Times Olympic coverage

The opening ceremony looks spectacular.

Watch live video from Macedonian TV Channels on

Press on the screen to watch the opening ceremony live.

In The Beginning by K'naan


Team China

"China will have its largest delegation for any Olympics at the Beijing Games with more than 600 athletes in a squad aiming to wrestle the United States from the top of the medals table. " (BBC) returns 12,021 results. Now that's symmetry :)

Semper Fidelis

I know there's a lot of frustration, hurt, confusion and uncertainties right now with the current turmoil in my old house.

Maybe it feels like the whole world is laughing and judging you. Maybe the road looks cloudy and the challenges looks insurmountable.

But please remember, this is a house whose resiliency has been tested through times and always comes up ahead, from various period of financial crisis, the reorganizations, the economic downturn, the close calls of 9/11. From the west coast to east, the house always pulls through.

This too shall pass.

Big hug across from North Africa.

Coraggio, much love.

Dody Gunawinata
The guy with broken english
National Staff 2000-2002

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Dutch town tests new air purifying Concrete

The small Dutch town of Hengelo in the eastern Dutch province of Overijssel is testing a new "air-purifying concrete", which could lead to a breakthrough in the fight against pollution.

Experts from the University of Twente developed and tested the concrete paving stones which contain a titanium dioxide-based additive. Under the influence of sunlight they bind the nitrogen oxide particles emitted by cars and turn them into harmless nitrates; which can then be washed clean with rain.

One half of a road under reconstruction is being paved with the new green bricks, and the other half with the ordinary variety. "By measuring the air quality in both areas, we will be able to show the efficacy of the bricks," said the statement.

The road is expected to be finish by the end of the year, with the first air measurements being taken early next year, and first results by next summer. So keep your eyes open for this!


Why Soccer Sucks.

Explained in less than 200 words.

Watch the video before you start making your arguments.

(via Tom's blog)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Interesting Times

AIESEC US national team resigns while in Mad-town, the LCP's draft a new national compendium...

All reported on the nomadlife news service :)
"The commission set up to investigate France's alleged role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide published its report on Tuesday and names senior French officials in connection with the mass murder, something that is unlikely to please Paris.

Those named by the report include former French Prime Minister Dominque de Villepin and late President Francois Mitterand.

"The French support was of a political, military, diplomatic and logistic nature," the report said. The commission named 33 French political and military officials, Reuters reports. "Considering the gravity of the alleged facts," the report reads according to Reuters, "the Rwandan government asks competent authorities to undertake all necessary actions to bring the accused French political and military leaders to answer for their acts before justice."" (Spiegel)

I'd say Belgium has a lot to blame for this genocide for acting cowardly than the France. This just another addition to the growing Casus belli for invasion of Belgium.