Friday, July 31, 2009

Electric shocks

A Russian alien or a hoax?

Inch by Inch

"The chief of Palestinian militant group Hamas said his organization is prepared to cooperate with the U.S. in promoting a peaceful resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict if the White House can secure an Israeli settlement freeze and a lifting of the economic and military blockade of the Gaza Strip."

Awesome wind turbines

Find out ten more of cool win turbines here. Green energy never looked sexier.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

hotness and haters

In the current study, Park and Pinkus examined how sensitivity to appearance rejection influenced people’s desire for social contact; specifically, how individuals with high Appearance-RS responded to negative feedback about their appearance in terms of their desire to approach or avoid other people.

They find that if someone is too self-conscious of their looks, they avoid contact with EVERYONE, even those who don't care what they look like.

Cesaria Evora - Sodade

They are stirring again

aprildax: Heavy clashes across Tehran, people moving in united formations towards Mosalla & defiantly shout mourning slogans #iranelection RTAyatoilet

Today is Neda's 40th day of mourning.

more FoxNews!

As Chris Rock said, you don´t have to shoot Medgar Evers to be a racist.

Too funny

An idea for a book

"A police operation in a slum in Buenos Aires, where paco, a highly addictive drug, has become the greatest social challenge facing the shantytowns. It arrived in 2003 as a cheaper alternative to snortable cocaine and has laid waste to thousands of lives in Argentina." (NY Times)

Somebody should try it, get addicted and really fucked up, and then write a book on how Paco fucked up your life. Next is Oprah and profit $$$$$.

Poor and addicted to a disgusting drug - that's misery for ya. And from the photographs, all the addicts are men.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


"Indonesia is home to one of the least fished, least populated, healthiest marine environments on the planet.

With my GreenWatch Column all too often highlighting the many serious conservation challenges facing this nation, the islands of Raja Ampat provide the location for a truly good news story.

Situated off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula on the island of Papua, Raja Ampat is an archipelago comprising more than 1,500 small atolls surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo.

Part of the newly named province of West Papua, formerly Irian Jaya, the marine life diversity in the Raja Ampat area is the highest recorded anywhere on Earth, according to leading ocean biologists.

This remote place encompasses more than 40,000 square kilometers of land and sea, which contains Indonesia’s largest marine national park, Cenderawasih Bay. Biodiversity is considerably greater than any other area sampled in the legendary Coral Triangle, composed of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea." (The Jakarta Post)

This cluster of islands is located in West Papua, the least populated and developed part of Indonesia. The photographs are amazing.

So you want to be an Ayatollah?

Becoming an ayatollah (literary "Sign of Allah") requires three cycles (halaqat) of scholarly training. The seminary student aims to reach the "age of responsibility," (qabl bulughi sin at-taklif), an intellectual-moral stage after which he is qualified to be an independent judge. Such a state of scholarly adulthood implies the ability to form opinion (rayi) on both spiritual and practical matters. There is no formal hierarchy among Shiite clerics, so graduate "degrees" come in the form of a letter, signed and stamped, acknowledging the mujtahid's permission (ijaza) to practice scholarly judgment (ijtihad). The letter affirms his maturity and integrity as a recognized scholar.

All this takes a minimum of 15 to 20 years, with each of the three cycles lasting nearly seven years. The first phase, the introduction (al-muqaddimat,) includes a study of rhetoric and logic. The second cycle, known as the externals (as-Sutuh), involves the study of major scholarly texts on Shiite jurisprudence and theology. The third stage of final discussion (dars al-Kharij) usually requires attending public lectures conducted under the supervision of a high-ranking scholar. The talks focus on specific themes within the vast array of theological discourses. It is at this final stage when the intellectual maturity of a student is recognized by his peers and instructor. During the weekly sessions, usually three to four hours a week, an outstanding student will be noticed for his scholarly abilities and declared a mujtahid.

Apparently, Sadr is somewhere at this final cycle of studies, attending tutorials (rather than lectures) under a high-ranking cleric, most likely an Arabic-speaking grand ayatollah with close-ties to Tehran.

The status of mujtahid, however, does not automatically entitle a Shiite scholar to become an ayatollah. First, the student will take on the post-graduate status of hujjatul-Islam, or defender of Islam. The boundary that separates a mid-ranking hujjatul-Islam from the higher-ranking ayatollah is usually a thin one, and changing circumstances or political situations can permit a junior mujtahid to rise in the ranks. In the early 1960s, for example, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was detained for his political activities by the shah, so Grand-Ayatollah Hossein Borujerdi, a traditional conservative cleric, granted Khomeini ayatollah status as a way to speed up his release. After the death of Khomeini in 1989, hujjatul-Islam Ali Khamenei succeeded his mentor and immediately became an ayatollah with the approval of a number of high-ranking clerics in Qom. (Foreign Policy)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tales from ER

"My fave patient, by far, was this woman who came in for "kidney pain". She was convinced that she needed a CT or US (and asked for them repeatedly), but we all thought it was musculoskeletal. So she's sitting there with her 2 year old, and her baby's father**, as we try to figure out if she's done any heavy lifting or anything recently...

So finally she says, "Hey Doc, you think I coulda done dis masturbating? Cuz da other night, YOU (points to baby's dad) just wouldn't wake up! And I needed me some lovin'! So I gave myself like 29 orgasms while you be sleeping in da bed next to me! You think that could've done it, doc?" "


Interview with an Iranian student part 2

6. Did you know people that support Ahmedinajad? What are their reasoning for sticking to the status quo?

Yes I know people that support Ahmadinejad, even among my relatives and friends...but they are few compared to Mousavi and other 2 candidates supporters; the ratio is like 1 to 5 (although I guess it is more than that!). They have been deceived by his words and appearance, I can't think of any other reason! Also, Ahmadinejad is totally against Hashemi Rafsanjani, and some people for this very stupid reason, support him! These people are really simpletons, they do not have much sense of reasoning!

7. How is the relations between people that support Ahmedinajad with the ones supporting his competitors?

It is not good! It's tense actually! I can tell you about my relatives; There are harsh discussions among us and every time we get angry and one side becomes sad of the other side; we cannot tolerate each other anymore!!

8. What is the goal of this 'movement' right now? Ending the reign of Khomenei?

I can't tell you exactly what is the goal of the movement. Anything could happen. But I know that many people agree that there should not be any other revolution. Also, many people, including myself, want religion (Islam) to be separated from the politics and administration. We would like to do huge reforms in Iran, starting with the changing of the name of our country, from "Islamic Republic of Iran", to "Republic of Iran" or "Democratic Republic of Iran". But, whether this is going to happen or not, I can't really tell right now! We did not do revolution to overthrow the Shah (king) and bring up a religious Shah and an Islamic kingdom!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

"Still, a surprising number do not oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state if safety can be guaranteed. Since housing is the No. 1 Haredi concern and they feel no need for it to be in the West Bank, redirecting the building of their new homes inside Israel could go a long way toward a solution.

“If the Americans can convince us there will really be peace and we won’t be living in fear of rockets, we’ll bring a recommendation to our rabbis,” said Mr. Guterman, the mayor of Modiin Illit. “Our rabbis want peace. We are not against withdrawing from territory. But life is above all.”" (NY Times)

The rainbow in settlers.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Buddhists are sluttier


Here's how to take advantage of each religion.

- When you are young, go become Catholic (read: Catholic school girls)
- Once you hit college, adopt Buddhism for guilt free pre-marital sex.
- When you get married, switch to Islam. They have a pretty chill attitude towards marriage and divorce.
- Once you hit retirement, switch to Judaism. They have those day of atonement every year and those retirement homes in Florida are filled with old people getting it on.

Interview with an Iranian student part 1

This is part one of a multi part interviews with an Iranian student conducted via email. Korush is a pseudo name.

1. Please introduce yourself.

I am korush, a 23 year old student of Engineering in Islamic Azad University in Iran.

2. From the outside world, the green movement has died down somewhat. There is a perception that Ahmedinajad and Khamenei have prevailed. What are the views inside Iran regarding this?

The thing is what you see from outside Iran, is true at surface...meaning that people here, are not protesting like first days after elections, but if you look deeper into the country, you see that people are still fighting! People are trying to find the ways to fight against the Islamic regime which could have lesser casualties! After the Friday Prayers on 19th June, which was taken by Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, the amount and brutality of repressions increased considerably, and it was after that, when people realized that the main person behind these incidents is khamenei and he is the one who supports Ahmadinejad and the coup after the elections. So people started to shout against him in their protests. And what the protesters want, deep down themselves, is the downfall of Khamenei right now. You may have heard about the overloading of electricity networks at certain time by people, which is a new kind of protest and has no casualties! or writing slogans on the walls in different part of the city with green collor, which reads: "Mousavi, we support Mousavi, Down to Khamenei, Down to Mojtaba Khamenei (who is the son of the leader and is considered, unofficially, as the person in command of the repressions and the coup!), "V", etc". And there Iranian people in abroad too. They are actually doing a great job!! You should know about 25th pf July, United For Iran, campaign. Or about the "Cycling for Human Rights in Iran" which is taking place on july 25,26 & 27 from Toronto to Embassy of Iran in Ottawa! So, I tell with much confidence that the green movement has not died down!

3. Did you know anyone being imprisoned right now? What are the processes that their family have to go through in trying to free them?

I do not know anyone in my friends or family being imprisoned! But I could tell you about what happens to such families! If a person gets caught, his/her family will not be informed about it. It is a really bad situation...They don't know where he/she is, whether he/she has been caught, or killed or is gone missing...nothing!!! Nobody will tell you anything, and even if you go after the missing person, there will be no proper answer; everybody tries to reject any kind of responsibility! Finally after such a long time you will be informed about the arrest...either they call you or they publish a list of arrested people. Yet, you do not know what has happened in prison. The person may end up dead!

4. Is there any lasting change in Tehran right now after the demonstrations or has everything returned back to normal?

As I said for the 2nd question, the protests have been changed from street protests, to slow, stable and eroding ones. Yet, at any proper occasion, people are willing to come to the streets, like the Friday Prayers taken by Rafsanjani on 17th July; also people are planning to come out on the day which the President has to take swear in parliament and then get confirmed by the leader!!

5. Is there any significant to the news that Khamenei ordered Ahmedinajad to fire his first Vice President Rahim Mashaei?

Yes, absolutely. You should know it by now that the letter of Khamenei to Ahmadinejad was even published in media and even in IRIB! And it means that, even though (as they say) Ahmadinejad got almost 25 million votes (which absolutely a big lie!), it counts nothing...because the leader can interfere in anything, even in selecting his Vice President!!

Everybody is putting this on. Now I'm waiting for videos of massive weddings with guests doing the thriller dance.


The Onion has been sold to the Chinese.

Egyptian Soap Opera

"THE question of Hosni Mubarak’s succession is once again cropping up with increasing regularity as whispers of the president’s ill-health spread. It was widely rumoured that, shocked by the death of his favourite grandson from illness in May, Mr Mubarak had a mild stroke. He was not seen in public for a week. When he reappeared, he looked frailer. When Barack Obama came to Cairo a fortnight later to deliver his momentous speech to the Muslim world, Egypt’s 81-year-old president failed to turn up. More recently, however, he has made an effort to appear at carefully orchestrated public outings. This week he was hobnobbing with President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris."

What will happen after Hosnia Mubarak's reign? That's the question on everybody's lips right now

New online newspaper

Recession is over !!

"The Great Recession, which rolled over our financial lives like one of P.J. Keating's giant pavers, is most likely over. Home sales, while still far below the levels of a year ago, have risen for three straight months—a first since 2004. The stock market has rallied 44 percent since March, thanks to renewed optimism and improving earnings from big companies like Goldman Sachs and Apple. In June, seven of the 10 indicators in the Conference Board Leading Economic Index pointed upward, including manufacturing hours worked and unemployment claims. Macroeconomic Advisers, the St. Louis–based consulting firm, says the economy is expanding at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the current quarter. Economic activity "will increase slightly over the remainder of 2009," Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress." (Newsweek)

Take out the champagne and bring back the irrational exuberance, or not.

Are we in the middle of a double dip ('W') recession or merely a prolonged jobless recovery?

Two brats instead of one

Hui Muslim kids

"Shanghai is urging eligible couples to have two children as worries about the looming liability of an aging population outweighs concerns about over-stretched resources, a city official said on Friday. The policy marks the first time in decades Chinese officials have actively encouraged procreation. ... More children would help relieve the heavy pressure from aging people, said Zhang Meixin, a spokesman for the Shanghai Municipal Population and Family Planning Commission ..."


It is apparently OK now for Shanghainese to have two children.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Last of the mohican - soundtrack

This is one awesome piece of music.

Addis project

"The Revenue and Customs Authority (RCuA) has collected about 6,600 taxpayers' fingerprints in the first week of the about 70 million Br worth National Identification System (NIS) Project, launched early last week under the first round of this project and financed by the World Bank, plans to collect fingerprints from over 1.6 million people in Addis Abeba.

The project consultant that signed a contract agreement with RCuA in October 2008, Copycat Ethiopia I.T. Plc, has deployed 150 of its employees who, using the mobile registration units, collect the fingerprints that will be transferred to the RCuA's central database from every collection centre across Addis Abeba. The first person to have his fingerprints stored in the system last Tuesday is Melaku Fenta, director general of the Authority." (AddisFortune)

This is encouraging that Ethiopia is starting to take the issue of tax collection seriously. Developing countries needs revenue from its own people and creating a sensible and clean tax collection system is a great place to start.

Comic-Con 2009

In most kinds of slug, the penis is about half the length of its body. ("Is that a Kalashnikov in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?") It's not clear why such anatomical grandeur might be important for survival: Slug experts discount the idea that the oversize penis functions like a peacock tail, as a display of virility—they point out that the chemical signaling and seduction occurs before the magisterial organs even come into view. In any event, the chosen mate isn't likely to be impressed, since most slugs possess both male and female sexual organs. During a single coupling, slugs can mate reciprocally—with each partner inseminating and being inseminated—or one can serve as the recipient.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Whats Black and White and Red all over?

The Onion Chinese Edition

EARTH—The entire world population confirmed Friday that Houston Rockets center Yao Ming is the greatest athlete in the history of sports and a glowing symbol of what citizens may become if they remain loyal to their government.

Perfect Game

"Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle, left, is embraced by teammates including catcher Ramon Castro after throwing a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays in a baseball game, Thursday, July 23, 2009, in Chicago. The White Sox won 5-0."


"A perfect game is a complete game in which no opposing batter reaches first base, not even on an error or a walk. Buehrle, a 30-year-old left-hander, would not have gotten his without Wise’s catch." (NYT)

Baseball, more than any other games, rely much on game of chances as much as skills. Achieving a perfect game in the major is pretty bloody hard. This is only the 16th perfect game in the history of major baseball in the US. The last one was five years ago. That's a couple thousands game difference.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Winner of interview harry potter contest

Two States Legalize Guns in Bars

"In both states, there is a catch. The new laws stipulate that armed patrons have to refrain from drinking while in the bars -- in effect, creating a new category of customer, the designated shooter." (NYTimes)

Whenever I visit Tennessee or Arizona, I am going to have an entourage behind me who will stay sober and bear guns ad pompam. Anyone got a problem?

Adopt us, EU!

"Iceland has formally applied to join the European Union, a week after the parliament in Reykjavik voted in favour of accession to the 27-nation bloc.
The Icelandic Foreign Minister, Ossur Skarphedinsson, submitted the request to his Swedish counterpart, Carl Bildt, during a ceremony in Stockholm.

Sweden currently holds the EU's rotating six-month presidency.

The bid must now be approved by the EU, after which Iceland's people will be asked to vote on it in a referendum.

"This is the day when I have the historic duty to hand in formally the Icelandic application to the European Union," Mr Skarphedinsson said at the ceremony in the Swedish foreign ministry on Thursday." (BBC)
"Fossil fuel emissions are not just bad for the planet and bad for your lungs, they may also harm your baby's developing brain. A new study published in the journal Pediatrics links mothers' exposure to high levels of environmental pollutants during pregnancy to a four-point drop in children's IQ scores by age 5." (Time)

If this is true, Cairo, Jakarta and mega cities in China are full of dumb kids.

TED is this week

TED conference is an awesome conference about ideas and issues. Check out the official blog.

Stoners love taxes

"Perhaps only in the sometimes hazy world of medical marijuana could higher taxes be considered good news.

But sure enough, supporters of medical marijuana were pleasantly pleased Wednesday after Oakland voters overwhelmingly approved a huge tax increase — 15 times the former rate — on sales at the city’s handful of permitted medical marijuana dispensaries.

Believed to be the first of its kind, Measure F received nearly 80 percent of the vote, a landslide that pot professionals hailed as a significant step in the legitimization of the cannabis industry.

“It’s one more victory in a big war,” said Richard Lee, president of Oaksterdam University, a downtown storefront where the aroma of marijuana pervades the sidewalk. “It’s a lot better than being arrested and thrown in jail.”"
(NY Times)

How could a government not legalize Marijuana for all. (Right now it's only available as "medicine" in the West Coast)

Sneaky Bastard

"Research In Motion Ltd. warned BlackBerry users in the United Arab Emirates that a software upgrade recommended by their wireless carrier was actually surveillance software that could enable unauthorized access to the popular smart phone.

RIM, which makes the BlackBerry, said it didn't authorize the upgrade. "RIM did not develop this software application and RIM was not involved in any way in the testing, promotion or distribution of this software application," the Canadian company said in a statement.

Emirates Telecommunications Co., or Etisalat, didn't respond to requests for comment. The company, which is 60% owned by the U.A.E. government and operates in 18 countries, is the larger of two BlackBerry providers in the U.A.E.
" (WSJ) (h/t Tom)

The Bolivarian revolution is scaring away talent

Newsweek published a very interesting article on the brain drain that's is being felt throughout Venezuelan and other Latin American countries which are embracing the "21st century socialism".

It gives some insights on how even though "Through most of the last century, Venezuela was a haven for immigrants fleeing Old World repression and intolerance" we come to a point where "An estimated million Venezuelans have moved abroad in the decade since Chavez took power". Based on a study results the most affected seem to be the middle class and young where "the outflow of highly skilled labor, aged 25 or older, from Venezuela to OECD countries rose 216 percent between 1990 and 2007".

It also mentions how PDVSA has been a victim of this because "as many as 4,000 of PDVSA's elite staff are now working overseas", and the fact that "up until 2003, researchers at the company's Center for Technological research and Development generated 20 to 30 patents a year. Last year it produced none, even though its staff has doubled".

Even the scientific community has been affected as "an estimated 9,000 Venezuelan scientists are currently living in the U.S. - compared to 6,000 employed in Venezuela." And all of this together could seriously damage the future of what was once one of the most powerful, innovative and stable economies in the sub-continent.

Go ahead and read it here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Alive in Joburg

A 6 minute short film released in 2005.

The dumb one

"Bell Labs management supplied us with funding, shielded us from extraneous bureaucracy, and urged us not to be satisfied with doing merely "good science." My department head, Peter Eisenberger, told me to spend my first six months in the library and talk to people before deciding what to do. A year later during a performance review, he chided me not to be content with anything less than "starting a new field". I responded that I would be more than happy to do that, but needed a hint as to what new field he had in mind." (Steven Chu)

He was the dumbest kid in his family but ended up winning a Nobel Prize in Physics.

Screw the peacekeepers

"IN NOVEMBER 1999, the United Nations Security Council authorized sending peacekeepers to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, despite the growth of the UN force to more than 18,000 personnel, at a cost of more than $1 billion a year, violence and turmoil have killed millions more Congolese. Of course, some things haven’t helped, like the Pakistani peacekeepers who rearmed, in return for gold, the militia they were supposed to be disarming; or the Indian troops who reportedly traded arms for ivory from the rebels and bought dope from them in the bargain; or the contingent of UN troops who failed to stop a massacre of 150 people taking place less than a mile away. Even before that tragedy last December, Congolese had rioted outside one UN compound over the mission’s ineffectiveness, and the Spanish general newly appointed to command the UN force had resigned in a huff over weak political support and feeble military resources. And so it goes with all but the most routine UN peacekeeping missions, which are effective only to the extent that their host combatants allow."
(The Atlantic)

One must recognize the difference between peacekeeping operation and peacemaking operations. UN troops are pretty fucking useless in peacemaking operation and barely tolerable for peacekeeping op. If your goal is peacemaking, get first world army or hire some mercenaries that actually know what they are doing.

Marg bar slowly boiled frog

"The boiling frog story is a widespread anecdote describing a frog slowly being boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability of people to react to important changes that occur gradually.[1] According to contemporary biologists the premise of the story is not literally true; an actual frog submerged and gradually heated will jump out.[2][3]" (wikipedia)

There you go. Death to frog metaphor!

It's not over year

"The California Public Employees' Retirement System, the nation's largest public pension fund, reported a preliminary decline of 23.4% for the fiscal year ending in June. The fund saw its value fall by $56 billion from the previous fiscal year to $180.9 billion." (WSJ)

Eclipse 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Middle East 5 most powerful spooks

It starts with an Egyptian.

World's Best Island

Bali just won the top spot in Travel and Leisure magazine.

You poor uncouth masses

"The nation's wealth gap is widening amid an uproar about lofty pay packages in the financial world.

Executives and other highly compensated employees now receive more than one-third of all pay in the U.S., according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Social Security Administration data -- without counting billions of dollars more in pay that remains off federal radar screens that measure wages and salaries."

That's a big gap right there.

Berlusconi my hero

"The escort, Patrizia D'Addario, claims the tapes relate to the night of 4 November last year, when the leaders of the world were holding their breath, waiting to see if Americans would elect their first black president.

Berlusconi, apparently, had other things on his mind.

According to D'Addario, Berlusconi was entertaining her in the bedroom of his magnificent Rome residence, Palazzo Grazioli. In one fragment of conversation, Berlusconi appears to direct D'Addario to wait for him in bed while he showers. In another conversation, recorded the next day, she protests to Giampaolo Tarantini, the businessman who allegedly set her up with the Italian prime minister, that she had not received the €5,000 (£4,300) she was expecting.

In a third snippet, it is claimed she confides to the same intermediary that Berlusconi asked her whether next time they met she would agree to a menage-a-trois with another of his girlfriends."

"E' il 4 novembre, sono passate due settimane. Obama sta per essere eletto alla Casa Bianca, Berlusconi e Patrizia sono nel "lettone di Putin".

SB: questo [libro?...] l'ho disegnato io
PD: l'hai fatto molto bene
SB: l'altra volta ce l'avevi?

PD: Sì
SB: C'eri già l'altra volta?
PD: Sì
SB: ma tu pensa... e questa? prendi
PD: no questa no
SB: è la più bella
PD: è bellissima questa

SB: prenditi questa la regali a qualcuno
PD: no
SB: no, sarebbe uno spreco

PD: anche questa l'hai disegnata tu?
SB: questa è una mia idea ma non l'ho disegnata io. ma guarda che'è fatta. questo è un mio amico che me l'ha fatta. che mi fa tutte le mi faccio una doccia anch'io... e poi, poi mi aspetti nel lettone se finisci prima tu?

PD: quale lettone.. quello di putin?
SB: quello di Putin
PD: ah che carino..quello con le tende

canzone 1 'Gente magnifica gente' - Sal da Vinci - dal musical 'Scugnizzi'
canzone 2 'Zoccole zoccole' - Sal da Vinci - dal musical 'Scugnizzi'"
(more with audio)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Old classic

Having the last laugh

"A British backpacker rescued after 12 days in near-freezing conditions admits he was "a total idiot" to venture ill-prepared into the rugged Blue Mountains bush.

Jamie Neale, 19, says he lived off bush tucker, including seeds and weeds, and kept warm under strips of bark when he lost his way during a 10-hour bushwalk on July 3.

After 12 days in the bush, and in apparent good health despite his ordeal, Mr Neale stumbled across hikers who led him to safety.

Mr Neale re-enacted his trek for the Nine Network's 60 Minutes program, which paid him $200,000 for his story." (SMH)

He's an idiot but he's one that end up with $200,000 AUD.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


"Every Tico I have spoken to has lied to me about their age. And the number of kids/wives/girlfriends they have. " (sasadek)

How they did it

"The Marriott and Ritz-Carlton, which are located next door to each other, were reputed to have tight security, in part because of the previous hotel attack six years ago. Metal detectors were stationed at the entrances, while at the Marriott vehicles were not allowed to pull up to the lobby. On occasion, security guards opened the luggage of entering guests. But the terrorists were able to somehow evade the security measures by smuggling in bomb materials. On Saturday, a police spokesman said that one bag carrying the July 17 bomb materials had set off a metal detector but that security guards let it through after the owner said it was just a laptop computer. Spotty enforcement, it appears, is just as common as stringent checks at Jakarta hotels. Just hours after the Friday morning bombings, for instance, another luxury hotel in Jakarta performed a cursory check of an approaching taxi, not even bothering to use a metal-detector wand or mirror to check the underside of the car. A bomb-sniffing dog was on-site but was snoozing beside the security checkpoint."

A report from Jawa Pos indicated that there were 4 bombs. Two exploded, one was defused and the law enforcement is still trying ot find the last one. The law enforcement were aware of the existence of these four bombs since last May but they were not able to track the bombs in time. (This explained a series of anti-terror raids in the past 4 weeks)

They found out about these bombs thanks to terrorist cells they uncovered two months ago in Sumatra .

British Rubbish

"Brazilian authorities are demanding that more than 1,400 tonnes of hazardous British waste found in three ports be returned to the UK.

The Brazilian environment agency, Ibama, says that international treaties have been violated.
An investigation into how and why the waste was sent to Brazil has been launched by the British government.

It has emerged that two companies named by Brazil as suspected exporters of the waste are owned by a Brazilian.

The waste, which included syringes, condoms, nappies and bags of blood, was found in about 90 shipping containers on three Brazilian docks in recent months.
The latest 25 containers found in a port near Sao Paulo were put on show for journalists on Friday."(BBC)

Career and Life Success

Hello all

I launched a new blog on Career and Life Success where I cover Job Hunting, Networking, Determining your life's direction, etc.

I would love to have some AIESEC-y and international comments, suggestions, and insights on my blog! Please share your thoughts on there!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, July 18, 2009


"The American attention span for foreign crises is notoriously short. In the two weeks since Iran’s disputed election and the ensuing protests and violence, Michael Jackson died, Sarah Palin resigned, and news from Iran slipped below the fold and into the inside pages of most daily newspapers.

In this case, however, American editors and readers are not solely to blame. The Iranian authorities had an interest in making this story disappear, and they have done a very effective job. They expelled all foreign reporters, imprisoned most active local ones (according to Reporters Without Borders, forty-one Iranian journalists have been imprisoned since June 12th), and let local stringers for foreign media organizations know that their options included prison, silence, and exile. The inner circles of the opposition candidates, and the independent analysts and civil-society leaders who aggregate and interpret information for the press, are also in prison, or, at the very least, unable to communicate freely by e-mail or phone. Very few unofficial sources of information remain accessible—mainly anonymous, frightened informants on the ground."
(New Yorker)

Humbold Squid


"Thousands of jumbo flying squid, aggressive 5-foot-long sea monsters with razor-sharp beaks and toothy tentacles, have invaded the shallow waters off San Diego, spooking scuba divers and washing up dead on beaches."

Any recipes for these bad boys Jesse?

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Jane NYC

They have room for $89 a night. That's cheap. They are located in West Village at 113 Jane Street. That's near A,C,E train on the 14th street.

'marg bar rusia'

This is hilarious. This recording was taken today in Tehran and you can hear the guy on the microphone trying to have people chant the usual "mag bar amrica"..israell, etc, etc. Instead you hear the people chant back 'mag bar rusia' (death to Russia).

Off they go again


A liveblog on Rafsanjani Friday's prayer sermon:

"13:55 Rafsanjani: China has a rational government. It must look at how it can benefit from its relations with the Islamic world. We hope that we will no longer be witness to such atrocities towards Muslims in China or anywhere else in the world.

13:55 But coming to our own problems. We started off very well in the race for the presidency. Everything went smoothly and fairly."

2 bombs exploded in Jakarta

In this photo released by Indonesian State Secretariat, the interior of a restaurant at Ritz-Carlton is damaged after an explosion in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, July 17, 2009. Bombs minutes apart ripped through the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels, located side-by-side in an upscale business district in the capital Friday, ending a four-year lull in terror attacks in the world's most populous Muslim nation. (daylife)

9 peopled killed so far. We have been successful in rolling up terrorist networks in the past 6 years, where we capture and tried, in some cases killed, most of the main players. It seems some of them have rebuilt some of their capabilities. Oh well, more work to do.

And it looks like our boys are pretty thorough. An immediate lead has surfaced.

"Jakarta Police said suspected perpetrators of the two bomb attacks in the Kuningan business area in South Jakarta on Friday had stayed at one of the hotels they targeted.

Police chief Insp. Gen. Wahyono said the suspects checked into room 1808 on the 18th floor of JW Marriott Hotel, where the bomb squad found an active bomb during a search after the attacks on Friday morning.

When asked if the suspects were foreigners or not, Wahyono he said his team was still investigating. "
(The Jakarta Post)

It is reported that the bomb exploded at 7.47 AM. It might be curious what they attack went that early, but in hotels, morning is quite a rush hour considering the number of people going back and forth to get their breakfast or preparing for their meetings, etc. Indonesia is a morning country. Everything starts early.

For sure, there is a terrible lax of security procedures being enforced in these two hotels if guests can smuggle an active bomb in to their hotels. These hotels know they are high value target and they must have those screening device for anyone entering the hotels like those in airports. Most likely the guards pretty much relaxed the security screening not to inconvenient guests and ignore much of the warning that goes off with the devices. That's screening by facade.

The common opinion right now points to two suicide bombers operating separately in two hotels. Now that we have the hotel room information in which one of the bombers are staying, I think in one or two days we will have sketches of the fuckers in public.

Interestingly, there are a lot of counter terorrism activities leading up to this point.
(July 16)
The Indonesian police earlier this week found suspected bomb-making materials hidden underneath a house used by the al-Muaddib Islamic boarding school in Cilacap, Central Java. These materials were uncovered during a second raid on the house performed on 14 July. In addition to chemicals used for making bombs--including sulfur and potassium--they found cables and detonators. (CT blog)

This what happened a month ago(June 24)

"With a presidential election slated for 8 July, the Indonesian security forces have recently gone into overdrive while making a series of arrests of terrorist suspects. Over the past couple of days, the police counter-terrorist unit, Special Detachment 88, has detained two radicals believed to be Singaporean nationals. The first, Syamsul Anwar alias Somad bin Soba, was arrested in Bandar Lampung, Lampung province. The second, Husaini, who had been living in Malang, East Java province, was picked up while en route to Central Java." (Counterterrorism blog)

Indonesia has a police unit called Detachment 88 dedicated to terrorism issues (the name 88 was based on the number of Australian tourists that died in Bali 2002), formed pretty much with US assistance via CIA, FBI, and US Secret Service. On any event though, they work closely with the Australian Federal Police, as they have been since 2003.

Since this is a police unit, albeit really muscular, they are responsible to handle evidence, capture suspects, etc. Most of their raids resulted in arrests instead of termination.

Here's an article about them from Sydney Morning Herald.

Frying Goldman Sachs

“Goldman will surely deny that its risk-taking is subsidized by the taxpayer -- but then so did Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, right up to the bitter end. An implicit government guarantee is only free until it's not, and when the bill comes due it tends to be huge. So for the moment, Goldman Sachs -- or should we say Goldie Mac? -- enjoys the best of both worlds: outsize profits for its traders and shareholders and a taxpayer backstop should anything go wrong.”

“So what’s wrong with Goldman posting $3.44 billion in second-quarter profits, what’s wrong with the company so far earmarking $11.4 billion in compensation for its employees? What’s wrong is that this is not free-market earnings but an almost pure state subsidy.”

(business insider)

The first quote comes from Wall Street Journal editorial. Pretty much the huge profit was part their participating in the bailout process and everything else that amounts to state subsidy.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Those commies, they know what we don't

"Fueled by an ambitious economic stimulus program and aggressive bank lending, China’s economy grew by 7.9 percent in the second quarter of this year, the government said Thursday, a surprisingly strong showing given the world economic crisis.

The gross domestic product figures, released Thursday morning in Beijing by the National Statistics Bureau, are also surprising given how China’s exports have declined sharply after years of torrid growth." (NY Times)

Read that. 7 point fucking 9 percent growth in the worst global recession since 1930's.

Mana from Heaven

Diet food of the future?

"But one Swiss chocolate manufacturer thinks it has a solution that could make these problems a thing of the past. Barry Callebaut, whose annual output of over 1.1 million tons of cocoa and chocolate products makes it the world's largest producer of chocolate, has developed a type of chocolate with completely new properties. According to the company's head developer, Hans Vriens, the chocolate has up to 90 percent fewer calories than regular chocolate.

What's more, high temperatures can't touch it -- unless, by chance, they soar higher than 55 degrees Celsius (131 degrees Fahrenheit). Depending on its composition, traditional chocolate starts to melt at around 30 degrees Celsius. And that's the inspiration behind the tentative name its developers have given the new product: "Vulcano."" (Spiegel)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We less suck now

The European Union has lifted a two-year ban on Indonesian airlines’ entering its airspace, setting the stage for Garuda, the state carrier, to expand its operations worldwide.

The E.U. barred all 51 Indonesian airlines from landing on its runways in 2007, citing lax safety standards. The order also required travel agents in Europe to inform customers planning to travel in Indonesia of the country’s poor safety record.

..The European Union lifted the ban Tuesday on Garuda and three other carriers: Mandala, a small passenger airline; the cargo operator PremiAir; and Airfast, which offers charter flights..

..In 2007, the rate of fatal crashes in Indonesia was significantly higher than the world average, according to Ascend, a consulting company based in London. Indonesia had 3.77 fatal accidents for every million takeoffs in the three years that ended in March 2007, compared with a global average of 0.25." (NY Times)

We have 51 airlines and only 4 are considered safe enough right now. We were banned along with Republic of Gabon, the glorious country of Kazhakstan, Angola, the superpower Swaziland and some very few other fucked up countries. Here's the ban list with all the glory details.

Don't go to the water

Great Secret Uncovered!

Wanna know who built the pyramids?!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Unjustly sentenced to 40 whips!

Sudanese Journalist sentenced to 40 whips for wearing inappropriate clothing!

Best School Program Ever.

"A National Health Service leaflet is advising school pupils that they have a “right” to an enjoyable sex life and that regular intercourse can be good for their cardiovascular health.

The advice appears in guidance circulated to parents, teachers and youth workers, and is intended to update sex education by telling pupils about the benefits of sexual pleasure. For too long, say its authors, experts have concentrated on the need for “safe sex” and loving relationships while ignoring the main reason that many people have sex, that is, for enjoyment.

The document, called Pleasure, has been drawn up by NHS Sheffield, although it is also being circulated outside the city.

Alongside the slogan “an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away”, it says: “Health promotion experts advocate five portions of fruit and veg a day and 30 minutes’ physical activity three times a week. What about sex or masturbation twice a week?”"

Monday, July 13, 2009

20,000 civillian lives

That's the price of ending the three decades of Tamil rebellion in Sri Lanka. Was it worth it?

A Tamil boy in a refugee camp

One people died in this event

As the bulls were released for the fifth day of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, organizers were hoping that the injury count for the event would remain low. They were wrong, however: One man died and several people were injured during Friday's run. Here, a runner is tossed into the air by a bull.

OK, so it sucks that a guy died, but at least he died in style. Cheers.
Last July 2, it's legal to be gay in India. It's a massive progress. Mazel tov.

Wat? U talkin' to me !?

Kids in Spanish Harlem

There will be a lot of New Yorkers running around China this summer.

R.I.P G-8 wrote the obituary

"The L'Aquila summit showed just how irrelevant the G-8 has become, as emerging economies demand more and more of a say at the negotiating table. But the new focus on common survival means that Western values such as human rights and democracy are being neglected."

I am amazed

Analysts predict the bank earned a profit of more than $2 billion in the March-June period, because of its trading prowess across world markets.

Whether Goldman can keep this up is anyone’s guess. With so much riding on trading, the risk is that the bank might make a misstep in the markets, or that today’s moneymaking trades will simply vanish. The second half of 2009 looks tougher, many analysts say.

Goldman is not the only bank that appears to be returning to health. JPMorgan Chase is also emerging as one of the strongest players in this new era of American finance. JPMorgan and several other big banks are expected to report strong second-quarter profits as well this week, again in large part based on robust trading results."
(NY Times)

I am glad that Goldman Sachs is making buckloads of money again. Warren Buffett invested 5 billion dollars (10% of common stock) late year into Goldman with very favorable terms. He's going to make tons of money as well.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Minorities in China

I never realize Tibet is such a big chunk of China.

progress concerning human rights.

We are concerned about some oppressions today. In 1381 the English preacher John Ball was drawn, hung, beheaded, disemboweled and quartered for having written the following letter to the community of Essex:

John Schep, som tyme Seynt Marie prest of Yorke, and nowe of Colchestre, greteth welle Johan Nameles, and Johan the Mullere, and Johan Cartere, and biddeth hem that thei ware of gyle in borugh, and stondeth togiddir in Goddis name, and biddeth Peres Ploughman go to his werke, and chastise welle Hobbe the robber, and taketh with you Johan treman, and alle his felaws, and no mo, and loke scharpe you to on heued, and no mo.
Johan the Muller hath ygrownde smal, smal, smal;
The Kyngis sone of hevene shalle pay for alle.
Be ware or ye be wo,
Knoweth your frends fro youre foo,
Haveth ynowe, and seythe 'Hoo:'
And do welle and bettre, and fleth synne,
And seketh pees, and holde therynne.
And so biddeth Johan Treman and all his felawes.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Apparently, the only incentive left is a good swift kick in the rear.

Sure, foreclosure ultimately costs the bank more money than a modification would. But foreclosures these days take a long time — as much as 18 months in some states. And all that time the banks can keep the loans on their books at inflated values. Daniel Alpert, the managing partner of Westwood Capital, calls this practice “extend and pretend.” In fact, he said, he has been hearing that banks aren’t even willing to conduct so-called short sales anymore. Those are sales where the borrower asks the bank to sell the house for whatever it can get, and the bank in turn lets the borrower walk away from the loss that results from the sale.

“Banks are saying no because they don’t want to take the loss,” said Mr. Alpert. “They would rather foreclose. That is just wrong.”

And the laggards? Starting next month, the government plans to begin publishing data showing which servicers are doing well and which are doing poorly, thus trying to shame them into doing the right thing. And, of course, there is that July 28 meeting, in which all these points will be made, I suspect, rather forcefully.

Apparently, the only incentive left is a good swift kick in the rear."
(NY Times)

The mortagage industry is still a mess and the banks are still such dickheads.

The problem is this, the banks are still putting all these stressed and inflated loans at on their assets so they can declare profits for the past months this year. But those stressed loans are still on the books and if they don't get modified to lower value, the foreclosures are going to hit hard and fast again next year and the financial system will be rocked one more time. This is why the Federal Government is calling all the parties to a meeting on July 28 and simply put guns on everybody's head, start doing loans modifications and declare the loss or else.

So if you purchased a home at $500,000 at the peak of the bubble in 2007, right now the value of your property most likely have fallen by 35%, which brings your current home valued at $325,000. So now you are stuck with a mortgage at $175,000 loses. Combine this with financial crisis, etc, your ability to pay the monthly charge might be diminished else well. So the options are either:
  • Walk away from your loan + paying any charges, if any, to the loan and lose your home.
  • Stop paying your loan until the bank take away your house.
For the bank, forclosure is bad because it will not get anywhere close with the value house sold + paid loan.

So if the bank has had the mortgage only for two year, it might have received only $40,000 dollars from you. Selling the house in an auction might get them $300K (if they are lucky, especially in a massive meltdown like now), so that's a total $340K out of $500K, at 160K loses. The better deal for the bank and for the loan holder is to reduce the amount of mortgage, so both parties take loses - but not as much as if they don't renegotiate it. The bank still get their monthly payment and the loan holder still stay in their homes.
"At one point, I also had this revelation that we were no longer going to go through all this development of strategic plans. We would go through this massive process of creating these endless strategic plans and reviewing them. And I don’t know how many years we did that until I said: “Forget it. We don’t even need to do this anymore. Let’s figure out our priorities and how we are going to measure our success. And then we’re going to let people run after those goals.” And that just freed up all the energy.

That was sort of foundational — then lots of other people came into the picture to figure out how you really create a kind of data-driven organization where, at every level, we’ve got the right goals.

We spent the last year asking ourselves, “Where do we want to be in 2015?” And that led to this analysis of our priorities. How are we going to measure our success? What should our goals be? But it wasn’t a plan for exactly what everyone in the organization should do, or what should even be the key strategies. It was this massive, from-the-ground-up inclusive process that just got everyone aligned with our priorities and goals." (NY Times)

Interview with Wendy Kopp, founder and chief executive of Teach for America.

Old Fox

" (born 29 September 1936) is an Italian politician, entrepreneur, real estate and insurance tycoon, bank and media proprietor, sports team owner and songwriter. He is the second longest-serving Prime Minister of the Italian Republic (President of the Council of Ministers of Italy), a position he has held on three separate occasions: from 1994 to 1995, from 2001 to 2006 and currently since 2008"

He is crazy like a fox and vain like a diva but not a man without accomplishments.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Why Xinjian?

"Here's the significance of the sign: It's an advertisement for restaurant staff at the hotel, in roles from cooks to supervisors. Kashgar, of course, is a historic trading town on the extreme western frontier of China, much closer to Lahore, Kabul, and New Delhi than to Beijing. The original population there would be of Uighur or other Turkic ethnicity, rather than Han Chinese. But the last line of the advertisement says, "This offer is for Han Chinese (汉族) only, ages 18-30."" (James Fallow)

a thousand words

Sexuhara capital

"Last week, Egypt's Ministry of Endowments, the government division responsible for the administration of mosques, distributed the informational booklet to mosques across the country in what appears to be one of the first serious government responses to a problem that has become impossible to ignore. While Egypt's sexual harassment epidemic has earned the country a reputation as one of the worst harassment locations in the Middle East, the government has gained notoriety among bloggers and human-rights groups for denying the very existence of a problem. Then in 2008, the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights, a Cairo-based NGO, released the first extensive report on the issue. Out of 1,010 Egyptian women surveyed, some 83% said they had experienced sexual harassment. Nearly half reported being subject to harassment on a daily basis, with abuses ranging from lewd comments to violent molestation."

No one is surprised. No, I don't think spreading pamplhets to Mosques are going to make a difference. Egyptians are already one of the most religious society on earth. You need parents to start drilling manners to their sons.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


"Security forces began clashing with protesters shortly after they began massing in the streets of Tehran on Thursday evening, as an initially festive demonstration quickly turned grim, witnesses said."

Tear gas was fired into Lelah Park, they said, and a woman whose coat was covered in blood ran from Revolution Square, one of the main gathering spots during the initial weeks of protests over the June 12 election. She said that police officers were beating protesters.

It was the first protest in 11 days, and was called to commemorate the 10th anniversary of violent confrontations at Tehran University when protesting students were beaten and jailed. Iranian authorities had announced earlier that the demonstration was illegal and would be met with a “crushing response.”
(NY Times)

All we do against religions

Portrait on a Amish family.

"The various Amish (pronounced /ˈɑːmɪʃ/) or Amish Mennonite church fellowships are Christian religious denominations that form a very traditional subgrouping of Mennonite churches. They are best known for their simple living, plain dress and resistance to the adoption of many modern conveniences. " (wikipedia)

A lot of public discourse now involves religion in "This is against _______" (insert a religion) against certain policies, etc.

One appropriate answer for this is "Dude, that's what we do". Pick any day and make a long list of things you violated from the tenet of your religion. Some of them mostly repeats too. Every day, billions of people are violating some tenets of their faith, through their acts, speech, thoughts, etc - some worse than the others - but nonetheless against their own oath.

So it is instructive to balance the reality of public policy with stern demands of religious morality.
"Add to that the challenges of a part of the world that regularly explodes – physically. By dint of bad geographic luck, Indonesia sits on one of the most earthquake-prone, volcanic, hostile bits of the Earth that any human community happens to occupy. During the transition to democracy a string of natural disasters occurred – starting with the Indian Ocean tsunami, but continuing on to a second tsunami, two major earthquakes, and a volcanic eruption. More than one hundred and seventy thousand Indonesians died in the December, 2004 tsunami, only two months after the country had placed its first freely elected President, the same Yudhoyono apparently re-elected yesterday, into office. The rash of terrorist bombings occurred during the transition from a dictatorship. So did 9/11 – and with it the huge crash in international business and travel, which were important to Indonesia’s financial health. Then came Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Avian Flu. A drought began, killing the crops. Planes crashed with alarming frequency. Ferry boats sank with hundreds lost at sea. For years it seemed like the country simply would not catch a break. Every reasonable thing the Indonesians did led to another unspeakable tragedy. The country felt cursed. Imagine Katrina, plus 9/11, plus Mexican flu, plus the financial crisis, at the same time, in the America of 1780 or the Russia of 1989.

Countries have succumbed with less urging. But today few expect Indonesia to ever return to dictatorship. And, this all happened very quickly – in less than ten years. By comparison, ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Russia was backsliding. Four years after a peace treaty, the Congo still isn’t peaceful. Ukraine struggled with a fragile democracy. Iraq is a disaster. Afghanistan’s 2010 elections are very much a question mark, and Pakistan’s government may or may not be in charge."
(Marc Herman) h/t AS

"If a country can overcome three decades of dictatorship, a financial crash as bad as the Great Depression, volcanoes, a tsunami killing nearly 200,000 people and destroying much of an entire province, three civil wars, and terrorism, in less than a decade, and emerge too gloriously boring to bother discussing, then there’s hope."

Should France ban the burqa?


"The concept of secularism or "laicite" is sacred in France.

The separation of church and state is jealously guarded by everyone from school teachers to government ministers - and the constitution states the republic "does not recognise, subsidise or remunerate any religious body".
It underpinned the French Revolution, and has been a basic tenet of the country's progressive thought since the 18th century when French Enlightenment thinkers like Voltaire, Diderot and Montesquieu regarded religion as divisive, benighted and intolerant.

It was this same concept that was invoked five years ago to ban conspicuous signs of religion - including Islamic headscarves - from schools.

That decision sparked controversy and debate across Europe, with critics claiming it stigmatised Muslims at a time when France needed to be stepping up its fight against rife discrimination in the job market, which had caused so many youths of Muslim origin to feel forgotten by French society.

This latest call for a potential ban of the burka has prompted the head of the French Council for the Muslim Religion to warn MPs they risk stigmatising Muslims again."


Here's one way to see it.

French is a secular country and it is free to decide what kind of attires it will accept for its society. In Iran and Saudi Arabia, women must wear headscarves at all times in public. It's their country and that's their rule so that's that. How about if you are not Muslim? Well tough luck. That's the rule of the country.

A burqa is one end spectrum in attire and a string bikini is on the other. They are both valid way to dress but only in the context of the society it is in. If you come to a Muslim country, respect the traditions and dress appropriately. If you come to a Western country, repect their traditions too and dress appropriately.

We have a saying in Indonesia, "Di mana bumi dipijak, di situ langit dijunjung" which literally translate to "Wherever ground is stood on, the sky is hold high". It means wherever we go, we must obvserve local custom.

This can be offensive, depending on the place

This too can be offensive, depending on the place.

Wear this in cities outside winter and you will be arrested or at least questioned.

Fine and dandy at least in Ethiopia Mursi tribes.

Folsom Prison Blues

The government looks in control

An ex-resident of Urumqi noted to me that "Now start the arbitrary arrests and executions.".

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

the vermont "death race"

"the kind of person that signs up for the race is someone who has no limits, they're just basically a lunatic. the kind of person that finishes is an extraordinary person"

Election Day

Prisoners' voices: A number of prisoners at Purbalingga, Central Java, show off their inked fingers after voting at the Purbalingga Penitentiary on Wednesday. (Jakarta Post)

I didn't know that a felon is allowed to vote in Indonesia. A quick poll count estimates that the incumbent will win the election with 60% of the vote. This means that we will not a have a run off voting in September.

So far the there is no report of any shenanigans from independent local and international election monitors.

Chinese Mob

Will be off Twitter soon for another trip back outside. Will the greater numbers of soldiers keep things under control this afternoon?

Trucks with megaphones asking everyone to calm down, restoring order is the patriotic thing -- not wielding sticks.

At one point a dozen Han men broke past riot police and rushed into Uighur neighborhood -- everyone was running.

Uighurs tell us Han mob of 300 attacked neighborhood around 9 pm Tuesday night -- at least 6 killed.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

More from the Guardian

Tweet from Urumqi

The tweet listed on the right hand side comes from, an Al-Jazeera reporter currently in Urumqi.

Urumqi in better time - Dec 2008

These pictures were taken in the Uighur part of Urumqi, where I stayed during my visit there.

more Urumqi video

I can't play this video (use IE or Firefox but not Chrome) but this is a report from South Korean media. Remember that at least 156 people died in the riot, so you will see bodies lying around uncollected in the video during the night. It's horrific.

The scenes point mob killing where most of the dead show extensive bleeding on their heads. It is jarring to see this most basic act of violence in a modern city with skyscrapers in the background. It reminds me of the zombie movie "28 days".