Tuesday, September 30, 2008
The Liberal party is accusing Stephen Harper of plagiarising Howard's speech (Harper delivered his the following day). This is entirely conjecture, but I actually find it more likely that Harper and Howard both received briefing notes from US representatives as part of an effort to shape global public opinion before the invasion, and Harper's speechwriters used them not knowing that Howard had done the same just prior. This seems far more likely than knowingly plagiarising a very public speech.
If you are a McCain supporter, look away. No. Seriously. Look away. Obama leads by 8,144 global electoral college votes to 3 (I haven't missed any zeros).
This is worse than a landslide. It's almost as if Obama, like Saddam Hussein, has rigged the vote.
Monday, September 29, 2008
As a Brit I have always admired America for caring so much elections, yet always detested it for how insane their elections are. Reading this just reaffirms that it is not a democratic process. Other countries may not be democratic either, but is the US the worst of the modern democracies?
Will the best person win? will the person that most people want to win, win?
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
"A senior source within Fortis described him as a workaholic who takes two carloads of files to his holiday home in Knokke, the chic Belgian North Sea resort, every weekend. The files are loaded onto five trolleys and wheeled by staff to his car."
Friday, September 26, 2008
At least go to youtube and pick up some cool tunes. Suggestions:
Silverchair, Tupac, Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, Ligabue, Tom Waits, The Cure, Indigo Girls, Dire Straits, Judas Priest, Rush, Bebel Gilberto, Sergio Mendes, Mana, Fedirico Aubele, Khaled, Nina Simone, Keb' Mo, Ravi Shankar, Youssou N'dour, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Antibalas, Oum Kalthoum or Mano Negra.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
On October 1st 2008 SurfTheChannel will be celebrating its 1st birthday.I''ll miss them, misplaced apostrophes and all....
We have achieved a lot in the last year but the internet is an evolutionary beast that demands change.Therefore, when the counter below reaches zero SurfTheChannel will be leaving it's legacy for the world.
All good things come to an end and in the end all things come good.
by Holy Roman Empire. They are an up and coming indie band coming out from Chicago. I happen to know the lead singer, Emily, back when she was with Long Distance Runner (the band folded up 2 years ago) - a great talent with a strong vocal and sounds even better live - you might have heard her singing on Rise Against' Roadside.
Wall Street Attracts Japanese Banks. Japan’s megabanks and financial titans are returning to the world financial stage after an absence of almost two decades, buying pieces of Wall Street institutions.
"Chinese researchers claim they've confirmed the theory behind an "impossible" space drive, and are proceeding to build a demonstration version. If they're right, this might transform the economics of satellites, open up new possibilities for space exploration –- and give the Chinese a decisive military advantage in space." (Wired)
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Skip Bali, go to Lombok.
Skip Bali, go to Lombok.
German Economics Experts: 'The World Shouldn't Have to Bear the Burden for America's Lapses'. The US government is buying bad debt for $700 billion. Now Washington is asking other countries to jump in and help, too, but the Germans are bowing out. Believing that the rescue package sends the wrong signal, experts from the country's leading economics think tanks argue it's the right call.
All money can go anywhere, majority of goods can go anywhere, majority of people can't go anywhere.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Ounce for ounce, says Lamine Diakite, a Red Cross official from French Guinea in West Africa, moringa leaves contain more beta carotene than carrots, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, more Vitamin C than oranges, and more potassium than bananas. Its protein content is comparable to that of milk and eggs, and its leaves are still available for harvest at the end of the dry season, when other food may be scarce. Malnourished children gained weight when put on a timely dietary supplement made from the leaves, Mr. Diakite says.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
He added that it's going to be no easy task.
"It's going to be very hard psychologically for these people," Frank said. "I talked to one guy who had to give up his private jet recently. And he said of all the trials in his life, giving that up was the hardest thing he's ever done."" (ABC News)
Yeah, I understand. We all got pretty traumatized when we had to let our our private jets.
"A final point. Do you ever have the passing thought that the presidential election doesn't matter as much as we think? Whoever wins will govern within more of less the same limits, both domestically and internationally. A New York liberal leaning toward Mr. McCain told me this week he has no fear that Mr. McCain may be a more militant figure than Mr. Obama. We already have two wars, "we're out of army." Even if Mr. McCain wanted a war, he said, he couldn't start one.
I wonder if we follow the election so passionately because we're afraid. We're afraid a lot of our national problems are intractable, and the future too full of challenge.
We cannot tolerate feeling this way. So we make believe the election can change everything. And we follow it passionately to convince ourselves its outcome will be decisive and make everything better. We reassure ourselves with pictures of the cheering crowds at the rally. We even find some comfort in the latest story of the latest dirty trick. But deep inside we think: Ah, that won't work either.
Some part of me thinks we are all making believe this is a life-changing election because we know it's not a life-changing election. Ever have that thought? Me too. Then there's a rally or a scandal or a gaffe, and it passes."
from the Wall Street Journal
Saturday, September 20, 2008
This is a classic pop song from Indonesian maestro, Iwan Fals. He is Indonesia's Bob Dylan. Most of his songs in the 90's are social commentaries about the situation in Indonesia under Suharto, our 35-in-power President - and his love songs are pretty much the banner songs for first love smitten high school students.
This song in particular is a love song, set in Bali which it refers directly with the title "God's eyes" (Bali is known as "Island of gods").
By Belly. This is one of the signature band and song for the early 90's alternative genre. They actually have nice melodies over guitar riffs. You hear this song often in one of those indie bars in Chicago. In terms of diversity and accessibility, Chicago is probably the capital of indie music in the US. 7 dollars will get you in, enjoy originals songs and an opportunity to hook up with indie bands groupies.
Friday, September 19, 2008
In addition to potential stimulus measures, which could include an extension of unemployment benefits and spending on public infrastructure projects, Democrats said they intended to consider measures to help stem home foreclosures and stabilize real estate values." (NY Times)
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are the only two remaining independent big investment banks. Well, there's a chance only Goldman Sachs remains.
And you'd think the Enron scandal back looong time ago that reduce big 5 accounting firm to big 4 by the destruction of Arthur Anderseen was bad. Here are we seeing the elimination process from Big 5 Investment Banks to Big one (or two).
Live by the market, die by the market. The market mobs are eating their bests, an act of cannibalism not seen since the feast of the Methodists in Papua New Guinea.
The current research proposes that low self-esteem people can use parasocial relationships to experience movement toward the ideal self, a benefit they may miss in real relationships. In Study 1, low self-esteem undergraduate psychology students at a public university in the United States felt closest to celebrities who were similar to their ideal self. In Study 2, low self-esteem college students primed with their favorite celebrity became more similar to their ideal selves. In Study 3, low self-esteem college students primed with their favorite celebrity, but not a close relationship partner, became more similar to their ideal selves. Results are discussed in terms of the implications for parasocial relationships, self-esteem, and the flexibility of the need to belong. (link)
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
go to the web-site for more information.Basically, the video suggests that if the system keeps going, it can keep going forever. But if it stutters, it will collapse. Scary....
I would hope so... but then this crisis affects the rich more than the poor, so maybe the 'West' are not going to care about the climate crisis... since that affects the poor more than the rich.
hmm, when something really threatens us, we care and we take extreme measures to solve the problem... any ideas how much money is being pumped into they financial system, and how much would be needed (according to Stern etc) to 'solve' (or mitigate) against the climate crisis?
After more than 28 years of unbroken power, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe signed an agreement with the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday to divide the responsibilities for running the troubled country. (NY Times)
Here are some key points:
- Chairs cabinet;
- Exercises executive authority;
- Can, subject to the constitution, proclaim and terminate martial law;
- Chairs National Security Council [commonly called the Joint Operations Command (Joc) which includes army, police, and secret services];
- After consultation with the vice-presidents, the prime minister and deputy prime ministers, allocates ministerial portfolios in accordance with this agreement;
- Exercises executive authority;
- May, acting in consultation with the prime minister, dissolve parliament
- Must be kept fully informed by the prime minister on the general conduct of the government business and;
- Shall be furnished with such information as he/she may request in respect of any particular matter relating to the government, and may advise the prime minister and the cabinet in this regard.
- Chairs the Council of Ministers and is the deputy chairperson of cabinet;
- Exercises executive authority;
- Shall oversee the formulation of government policies by the cabinet;
- Shall be a member of the National Security Council;
- Shall report regularly to the president and parliament.
"Exercises executive authority" is split between two. Hmm..what does that mean?
Monday, September 15, 2008
Here's to Bear Stearns, IndyMac, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Lehman Brothers. I'll raise another glass to Merril Lynch and Countrywide (and a shout to Northern Rock and IKB).
Lehman is looking at selling its broker-dealer operations, and is still in advanced discussions with a number of potential buyers of its investment management division.
Bankruptcy represents the end of a 158-year old company that survived world wars and the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management but could not survive the global credit crunch. (Reuters)
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Also, Bank of America is looking to purchase beleaguered Merrill Lynch, which we remember from last year being on the other side of those two failed Bear Stearns MBS hedge funds. Merrill's is a huge bank, with a once sterling reputation, that will represent a huge new business for the already gigantic Bank of America (who bought Country Wide at the start of the year).
Update: It looks like the BAC/MER acquisition is a done deal. I guess its smarter to sell now, than wait for the wolves to start shorting you into oblivion, like with Lehman.
Who are the losers? Its not all American, while China is saving face and declaring that its exposure is limited, some say it could be over a trillion dollars. Thems the breaks of doing international business.
Lots of consolidation for American banking. This doesn't bode well in the long term and probably signals the fall of America and New York City as the financial hub of the world.
The US is a big country. Traveling from New York City to San Francisco takes an average 6 hours of flight time. If you add traveling time from and to the airport and all those waiting, we are talking about 10 hours travel time and that's without leaving the country. From New York City to cross the Atlantic to England takes another 6 hours. If you live in the West Coast and trying to reach Europe, you'll be 83 year old when you land in Heathrow.
On the other hand, countries like Australia or Canada has similar geographical isolation. It will be interesting to see the numbers of travelers on those country per population size.
Every time I'm in Delhi (which is at least once in 2 months) I visit the GK market...stroll around, grab a kabab or a cold coffee. A group calling itself the Indian Mudjhahideen has sent a message to media agencies yesterday before the blasts across Delhi. The subject of the message: message of death in the name of Allah. wtf?! That too during Ramzan?
Apparently its fear they want to sow among the general public but the only sentiment I am hearing right now among people is anger. And a general sense of "fuck you we are not scared".
Read more about the blasts here
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Wall Street is used to ups and downs, but this latest round of cuts brought about by the credit crisis is turning out to be one of the worst in recent memory — a fate compounded by a shrinking economy. As of June, many of the more than 83,000 employees dismissed from banks and brokerage firms worldwide have come from firms based in the New York area.
As widely respected and liked as Mr. Fuld has been at the firm, now that the cold prospect of losing a life savings in Lehman stock has become more of a reality, many employees have grown resentful.
“We feel like we have been controlled by events and haven’t controlled them,” said one rank-and-file employee. “And it has just been the most punitive market. Is there frustration with the management team? Of course.” Another employee who left Lehman earlier this year lamented that he had put enough faith in the firm to retain shares — a decision he is paying for. “My children’s education fund is wiped out,” said this person." (NY Times)
This is one of my nightmare, getting dismissed from a job at middle age in a narrow focused industry with tons of family responsibilites.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
A survey by South Africa's First National Bank (FNB) showed the proportion of homeowners who said they were putting their homes on the market because they were emigrating had doubled between the last quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2008, from 9 percent to 18 percent." (The Star)
I know a couple of friends who are in situ during the attack whose memory still vividly brought back to focus on this day. I was in Indonesia when the attack happened and returned to the city 4 months later and found it changed. The world got slightly darker ever since.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Senegal, Burkina Faso, Botswana and Egypt are among the countries which have jumped the highest number of places in the rankings of business reformers in the last year, according to Doing Business 2009, a World Bank/International Finance Corporation (IFC) report released today" (All Africa)
Because the LHC is the most powerful and most precise particle accelerator ever built, many see it as the best opportunity yet to find proof for the veracity of "string theory."
In Physics right now, there is a quest to find the theory of everything. Right now there's a gap in Physics. Physicists can explain the universe using Einstein's theory of general relativity and can predict the really really tiny aspects of reality using Quantum theory. The problem is these two theories don't match with each other. String theory is an emergent theory in the past 20 years that is so complicated that it requires assumption that we have 9 or 10 or whatever dimension to make it work.
Nature.com has a nice set of graphics and articles about the LHC... And they've been nice enough to use plain English.
On a side note, the Indian press, particularly the vernacular media, has been having a field day with stories of black holes and alien monsters from other dimensions. I even had our pantry boy tell me he was so scared the world would go up in flames and that his mother's been praying it won't.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Shares in Lehman Brothers plunged 44.95 percent, leading the markets in retreat on Tuesday, as efforts by the beleaguered investment bank to raise fresh capital appeared to falter, raising questions about the firm’s ability to survive. (NY Times)
Damn. This can't be good. If first tier investment banks keep falling off like flies a year after the crisis started, then the credit crisis could be far worse than previously thought.
Monday, September 08, 2008
"Athens 2004 gold medalist Jonas Jacobsson of Sweden surpassed eight-year-old WR in the Men's 10m Air Rifle Standing Position in his disability class. Jacobsson's gold medal takes his Paralympic medal tally to 14 gold, 1 silver & 8 bronze medals" (Paralympics Beijing 2008)
Sunday, September 07, 2008
"At least 24 people have been killed by a rockslide which destroyed homes in Cairo, emergency services say." (BBC)
People are receiving calls from the survivors trapped under the rubble. Tragically there is little chance for people that survived the first day will come out of this alive. The rescue effort is hampered by lack of equipment, access and coordination. There are unknown number of people trapped under these rocks slide.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
But on the flip side there are two historic soccer games today. Turkey beat Armenia 2-0 in a historic match while both President's watched in Armenia.
Later today the USA travels to Cuba to play them in another world cup qualifier. I love sport bringing people together...
Big Summer Sell-Off Hits the Russian Stock Market. Russia’s stock market is suffering its worst correction in nearly a decade as sliding oil prices, political attacks on private companies and instability after last month’s war in Georgia spook investors.
Like they say, "welcome to global economy, suckers".
It is not possible to calculate the cost of any government bailout, but the huge potential liabilities of the companies could cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars and make any rescue among the largest in the nation’s history." (NY Times)
Friday, September 05, 2008
Thursday, September 04, 2008
- Talk a bit about her unheralded background
- Establish her cred as a VP nominee
- Show that she has learned fast about the big issues
- Take on the role of attack dog
As someone who's opinions really don't matter to the US election, I think McCain-Palin is a pretty strong ticket. It may not have the charisma or flair of Obama-Biden, but it certainly isn't lacking substance.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
These waves of take over of American companies by foreign buyers remind me of those gold rush of company take over in Eastern Europe/Russia in the 90's. With their cash positions weakened, foreign buyers are salivating of getting great deals on venerable American institutions starving for cash.
"Up until midweek last week, some 48 to 72 hours before Mr. McCain introduced Ms. Palin at a Friday rally in Dayton, Ohio, Mr. McCain was still holding out the hope that he could name as his running mate a good friend, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, a Republican close to the campaign said. Mr. McCain had also been interested in another favorite, former Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania.
But both men favor abortion rights, anathema to the Christian conservatives who make up a crucial base of the Republican Party. As word leaked out that Mr. McCain was seriously considering the men, the campaign was bombarded by outrage from influential conservatives who predicted an explosive floor fight at the convention and vowed rejection of Mr. Ridge or Mr. Lieberman by the delegates.
The article goes on to basically prove that little to no background check was performed about Governor Palin and that this was a hasty move by McCain.
Monday, September 01, 2008
That makes Google.org the largest funder of enhanced geothermal research in the country, outspending the U.S. government. The Australian government has pledged $43.5 million for such projects and already has several in the works, as do Europe and Japan." (sciam)