Monday, November 30, 2009

No mo' minaret's for you !

"A minaret in Wangen bei Olten: The Swiss have voted in favor of a ban on minaret construction." (Spiegel)

So no more new minarets constructions allowed. The minarets that are already up stay up. And it's also not a ban on new mosque constructions.

This whole minaret ban reminds me of this Seinfeld episode, a random exercise of power.

FP 100 Top Global Thinkers

Foreign Policy magazine comes up with its top 100 Top Global Thinkers.

I love these entries

"Sunstein and Thaler describe themselves as "libertarian paternalists," but you probably know them more simply as the behavioralism gurus. Their big idea -- to use small policy tweaks to overcome human capriciousness -- has turned the field of economics upside down and, most recently, won them an ear at the Obama White House. Humans, the two men argue in their book, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, tend to be emotional, rash, and uninformed, and value the present more than the future. They're far from the rational creatures upon which so much economic policy is based." (FP)

"Cardoso has never been afraid to ask tough questions. As president of Brazil, he shook the country's huge but lethargic market back to life with tough fiscal policy and pioneering social programs. So it was no surprise this year when, together with fellow Latin American ex-presidents César Gaviria and Ernesto Zedillo, Cardoso took on a new challenge: the U.S.-led war on drugs. "Prohibitionist policies based on eradication, interdiction and criminalization of consumption simply haven't worked," they wrote in the Wall Street Journal." (FP)

"Within an hour of learning about the devastating earthquake that struck western China last year, Hu, the founding editor of Caijing magazine, had dispatched her first reporter to Sichuan -- an unremarkable decision in most other parts of the world. But in a country with active censorship and absolutely no tradition of watchdog journalism, Hu has been a pioneer, publishing muckraking stories on SARS, industrial pollution, and corruption. Hu says she wants journalism to be a tool for improving the system -- not for blind praise of Beijing or for gotcha-style sensationalism. Her guiding philosophy, as she told an interviewer, is "If it's not absolutely forbidden, we do it." Alas, in November, Hu left Caijing after a battle with management over editorial control, suggesting that China may not be ready for her brand of investigative reporting." FP

"In 1986, Novogratz left a profitable career in corporate banking to travel to Africa, fully intent on saving the world. What she discovered is that Africans did not want to be saved -- rather, they wanted to save themselves. With that lesson in mind, Novogratz founded the Acumen Fund, a nonprofit venture capital fund, in 2001. Today, Acumen has invested $40 million in more than 25 countries, for everything from mosquito bed nets in Africa to agricultural systems in Pakistan. Novogratz's book, The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World, was published this year, bringing a wider audience to her unique approach to aid."FP

"Oster, just a few years after receiving her Ph.D, has already shown promise as one of the most inventive economists of her generation. Her recent work has focused on India, where she has discovered surprising outcomes: She found, for instance, that television access decreases domestic violence and that the higher frequency in vaccinations for Indian boys over Indian girls might account for 20 percent of the country's sex imbalance. Her application of the techniques of behavioral economics to life-or-death situations distinguishes her from other headline-grabbing economists her age."(FP)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

About Dubai

Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, ruler of Dubai

Next week we will see how the market really react to the Dubai's debt schedule 6 months freeze request.

It looks like they take more than they can chew, in short, gotten into trouble because of excess. Dubai is excessive, with its 7 starts hotels and man made islands. The name itself now is synonym with extravagant spending and some really tacky tendency to prize really expensive stuff above all else.

On the other hand, I do have soft spots for ambitious efforts because they do leave lasting legacies that in more cases than not, leave a positive mark to the world. From the building of the pyramids to the dot com busts, we have seen both from far and near past the benefits of folly and mad rush to realize a vision.

Dubai ignites the imagination in the Middle East of what could be done if money is being used (albeit heavily borrowed) to build instead of destroy - if pursuit of ambitions are funneled through valiant efforts of constructing a new world instead of through crude power of army and weapons. In such efforts, we will see excesses but that's par for the course. The excess will be tamed by gravity, such as in this case, but when the dusts clears, there they stands magnificent buildings and infrastructures based on extraordinary visions of man and women who build it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Dubai bombshell

"Dubai World’s surprise request for a freeze on debt payments provided the focus for world financial markets yesterday, hitting bank stocks and the price of oil, but lifting the dollar on a day when US and most Gulf markets were closed.

With the US on holiday for Thanksgiving, the region observing Eid al Adha, and trading on the London Stock Exchange temporarily closed for technical reasons, the environment was ripe for rumour and sensation as markets eschewed risk for gold and US dollars.

The day began with credit ratings agencies downgrading several government-related companies, such as DIFC Investments and Emaar, citing questions over Government support. Gold, a traditional refuge for investors in a storm, hit a record high of nearly US$1,200 before falling back.

Dubai then issued a statement to the market clarifying that DP World, the profitable ports division of Dubai World, would be spared from a restructuring that was announced along with the debt freeze request." (The National)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Not a good week for these animals

Thanksgiving in the US is today.

1.5 billion Muslims are celebrating Eid al-Adha tomorrow.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Stuck Gas Pedal on a Lexus

"The 2009 Lexus ES 350 shot through suburban San Diego like a runaway missile, weaving at 120 miles an hour through rush hour freeway traffic as flames flashed from under the car.

At the wheel, veteran California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor desperately tried to control the 272-horsepower engine that was roaring at full throttle as his wife, teenage daughter and brother-in-law were gripped by fear.

"We’re in trouble. . . . There’s no brakes," Saylor's brother-in-law Chris Lastrella told a police dispatcher over a cellphone. Moments later, frantic shrieks filled the car as it slammed into another vehicle and then careened into a dirt embankment, killing all four aboard.

The tragedy Aug. 28 was at least the fifth fatal crash in the U.S. over the last two years involving runaway Toyota and Lexus vehicles made by Toyota Motor Corp. It is also among hundreds of incidents of sudden acceleration involving the company's vehicles that have been reported to Toyota or the federal government, according to an examination of public records by The Times.

Toyota has blamed the incidents -- apart from those caused by driver error -- on its floor mats, asserting that if they are improperly installed they can jam open the accelerator pedal. A month after the Saylor crash, Toyota issued its biggest recall in company history, affecting 3.8 million vehicles in model years as far back as 2004. But auto safety experts believe there may be a bigger problem with Toyota vehicles than simply the floor mats." (latimes)

The 911 call.

You can get more info on this forum.

The bottom line is, if you are driving a super modern car, get to know its safety facilities. The Lexus was a loaner and it seemed that the police officer wasn't familiar of its safety feature (they might not be obvious)

In a shitty car, turning off the engine would have done the trick. I think in this situation it has some electric on and off button - they said that it has to be pushed for at least 3 seconds before the emergency engine shutdown hit. I think the car was also an automatic gear car.

A massacre in the East

"MAGUINDANAO PROVINCE, PHILIPPINES - NOVEMBER 24: The bodies of victims are recovered following the massacre of at least 46 kidnap victims on Monday in Ampatuan town, on November 24, 2009 in Maguindanao Province, Philippines. Around 100 gunmen are reported to have hijacked the party, including the wife, sister and other relatives of Buluan's Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu, en route to filing election papers for candidate Mangudadatu ahead of next May's elections. Mangudadatu's wife, sister and family members, Armed Forces of the Philippines, civilians and at least 12 media personnel are thought to be amongst those killed in the attack, believed to be politically motivated. The Ampatuan clan, political rivals, are being blamed for the kidnap, mutilation, rape and murder of the victims." (daylife)

This is horrifying - especially the context is an election 6 months from now. The Vice Mayor himself was not in the convoy.

12 journalists were killed in this attack. I don't think we have heard this number of casualties in one event ever. This is a statement from Reporters without Borders

“We have often condemned the culture of impunity and violence in the Philippines, especially Mindanao. This time, the frenzied violence of thugs working for corrupt politicians has resulted in an incomprehensible bloodbath. We call for a strong reaction from the local and national authorities.”"

new trends in perversion

When you think of a "sex tourist", you probably think of a dirty old man in Asia, molesting young boys. As it turns out, these filthy old men now have some competition.

International organization "Defense for Children-EPCAT" is sounding the alarm bell for a disturbing new trend in the world of sex tourism - older women heading to Africa for the sole purpose of sex. (link)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A place to check out

"A view of Leh, the capital of the Ladakh region, often called Little Tibet."


Sufi Dance in Egypt


This event is a must see if you are visiting Cairo.


"Amnesty International has accused Tajikistan of failing to protect its women, saying nearly half are raped, beaten or abused by their families.

According to Amnesty, women are regularly subjected to humiliation not only from their husbands but also in-laws, causing many to turn to suicide.

The report's authors say the government should introduce laws and support services to tackle
domestic violence.

Tajikistan, which borders Afghanistan, is the poorest former Soviet republic." (BBC)

A website for everything contains state by state breakdown on the current health insurance situation in the USA. It tells about the number of uninsured people, etc.

Monday, November 23, 2009

the ugly truth

"For many women, the correlation between sex and snoring is one of those annoying facts of life: no matter when passionate encounters occur, men always seem to fall asleep immediately afterwards. Dave Zinczenko, the author of Men, Love and Sex: The Complete User Guide For Women, explained the phenomenon to Huffington Post writer Arianna Huffington this way: “Men go to sleep because women don’t turn into a pizza.”"(scienceline)

Spiegel on Mr.Waffle

The best Belgium invention

"Europe's leaders have chosen two competent but dull technocrats to be the EU's first president and foreign minister. The uninspired choice shows the determination of national leaders to hold on to power -- and the limits of what is currently possible within the bloc.

If the American president has an urgent matter to discuss with the European Union in the future, whom will he call? Naturally someone in Berlin, London or Paris, as usual -- but certainly no one in Brussels. In a rare show of unanimity at last week's EU summit, Europe's big three, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, none of whom are particularly enthusiastic Europeans, made sure that there would be no challenge to their power from Brussels.

On Thursday evening, the blocs leaders chose Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy to be the first permanent president of the European Council and EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton, who is British, to be the EU's first high representative for foreign and security policy. The choice is "an expression of what is currently possibly in the EU," says Martin Schulz, the Socialist leader in the European Parliament, in a resigned tone.

And that still isn't much." (Spiegel)

The choice simply a reflection of Europe's bold decision to go for timidity.

Quotables from Shanghai

"'Now, I should tell you, I should be honest, as President of the United States, there are times where I wish information didn't flow so freely because then I wouldn't have to listen to people criticizing me all the time. I think people naturally are -- when they're in positions of power sometimes thinks, oh, how could that person say that about me, or that's irresponsible, or -- but the truth is that because in the United States information is free, and I have a lot of critics in the United States who can say all kinds of things about me, I actually think that that makes our democracy stronger and it makes me a better leader because it forces me to hear opinions that I don't want to hear. It forces me to examine what I'm doing on a day-to-day basis to see, am I really doing the very best that I could be doing for the people of the United States.'" (PBO)

the art of PR

Nov. 12th, New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve announced new rules on Thursday that would sharply restrict banks and others that issue debit cards from charging overdraft fees without the express permission of the cardholder.

Advertisement on my gmail, Nov. 22nd:
Bank of America ® - - Changing the Way Overdraft Fees Work. See How We're Helping.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Their shit stink too

"For many years, European soccer has looked east toward China, Hong Kong and Singapore hoping that the day would never dawn when its own sports were contaminated by match fixing on anything like the levels of Asia.

Events in Bochum on Friday killed that hope. There, at police headquarters in the heart of the industrial Ruhr Valley, law enforcement officials announced that 15 suspects in Germany and two in Switzerland were under arrest. This, apparently, is the tip of an iceberg. The police claim they have evidence implicating the corrupting of some 200 professional matches across nine central European countries during 2009 alone.

The suspect matches range from minor regional leagues in Germany to top Champions League and Europa League encounters, the two most glamorous club tournaments in the global sport.
" (NY Times)
Belle de Jour revealed. She turns out to be a PhD.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Vogue on Clinton

Vogue profiled Hillary Rodham Clinton. It's an amazing read.

EU Presidency

These are some serious candidates that would have been a better pick for EU first President position instead of Mr. Waffle.

Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga - Ex President of Latvia - she's a critical figure in bringing Latvia to join NATO and EU.

Martti Ahtisaari - Ex President of Finland, a Nobel Peace Prize Winner and an AIESEC Alumni

Tony Blair - Ex Prime Minister of Britain. Part time douchbag but has a lot of visible international presence.

Mary Robinson - Ex President of Ireland - she was a pretty popular President when she got the job.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mr. Nobody is the new President of EU

"Leaders of the 27 countries of the European Union on Thursday night chose Herman van Rompuy, the Belgian prime minister, as the European Union’s first president, and Catherine Ashton of Britain, currently the group’s trade commissioner, as its high representative for foreign policy. The vote was unanimous." (NY Times)

My first reaction was WTF. My subsequent reactions were worse. One would think that the first EU President after Lisbon Treaty would be more well known.

Wohoo !

"Afghanistan has been rated by Transparency International as the second-most corrupt nation in the world, with public sector corruption worsening for the second consecutive year.

Only war-torn Somalia rates worse on the Berlin-based organisation's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) of 180 nations, which was released on Tuesday." (Al Jazeera)

Indonesia is ranked 111 dirtiest mofo of a country, one position below Egypt. Click here for full report.

The top 3 cleanest are New Zealand, Denmark and Singapore.

An argument for more Socalism in Europe

"From the point of view of western self-esteem, 1989 is a year to die for: a tale of the triumph of individual freedom and the defeat of an ideological competitor, all captured live on television in the ritual destruction of a reviled enemy symbol in the heart of Europe. So the blanket coverage of the anniversary of the fall of the wall, and the parade of platitude-mouthing politicians in Berlin to mark the implosion of European communism it symbolised, was only to be expected.

What has been more striking, though, has been the lack of ideological confidence and enthusiasm that would have been expected only a few years ago. In the rest of what was eastern Europe, there have been barely any high-profile celebrations of the wider collapse of the old regimes. Given the eruption of wars, global insecurity and now economic crisis that have marked the 20 years since the end of the cold war, the larger narrative of peace, capitalist prosperity and the end of history peddled in the wake of 1989 just seems ridiculous." (Guardian)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Prediction 2 - 1 (Egypt vs Algeria in Sudan)

no comment

Hiroko Mima, who was crowned Miss Universe Japan 2008, and Anya Ayoung-Chee, who was crowned Miss Universe 2008 of Trinidad and Tobago 2008, are in the middle a scandal after an intimate video tape leaked allegedly showing Hiroko and Anya together having sex with Anya's boyfriend Wyatt Gallery, and with each other. (link)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Naked Short Selling

"On Tuesday, March 11th, 2008, somebody — nobody knows who — made one of the craziest bets Wall Street has ever seen. The mystery figure spent $1.7 million on a series of options, gambling that shares in the venerable investment bank Bear Stearns would lose more than half their value in nine days or less. It was madness — "like buying 1.7 million lottery tickets," according to one financial analyst.

But what's even crazier is that the bet paid.

At the close of business that afternoon, Bear Stearns was trading at $62.97. At that point, whoever made the gamble owned the right to sell huge bundles of Bear stock, at $30 and $25, on or before March 20th. In order for the bet to pay, Bear would have to fall harder and faster than any Wall Street brokerage in history.

The very next day, March 12th, Bear went into free fall. By the end of the week, the firm had lost virtually all of its cash and was clinging to promises of state aid; by the weekend, it was being knocked to its knees by the Fed and the Treasury, and forced at the barrel of a shotgun to sell itself to JPMorgan Chase (which had been given $29 billion in public money to marry its hunchbacked new bride) at the humiliating price of … $2 a share. Whoever bought those options on March 11th woke up on the morning of March 17th having made 159 times his money, or roughly $270 million. This trader was either the luckiest guy in the world, the smartest son of a bitch ever or…"
(Rolling Stone)

What an awesome scam. Love it.

"To the rest of the world, the brazenness of the theft — coupled with the conspicuousness of the government's inaction — clearly demonstrates that the American capital markets are a crime in progress. To those of us who actually live here, however, the news is even worse. We're in a place we haven't been since the Depression: Our economy is so completely fucked, the rich are running out of things to steal."

This is just fucking brilliant - and off course the regulators on Wall Street is either retarded or criminal for not dealing with it.

"This is the basic outline for how to seize the assets of a publicly traded company using counterfeit stock. What naked short-sellers do is sell large quantities of stock they don't actually have, flooding the market with "phantom" shares that, just like those Island Rubles, depress a company's share price by making the shares less scarce and therefore less valuable."

There are about 50 names on Wall Street (mostly guys) that should be dropped in a Taliban compound in near Pakistan with notes "congrats! here are you wives". It's such a great idea I don't know what it has not been done yet.

Happy International Student Day

"The date commemorates the anniversary of the 1939 Nazi storming of the University of Prague after demonstrations against the killing of Jan Opletal and the occupation of Czechoslovakia, and the execution of nine student leaders, over 1200 students sent to concentration camps, and the closing of all Czech universities and colleges.

During late 1939 the Nazi occupants of the Czechoslovakia (at that time it was called the protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia), in Prague, suppressed a demonstration held by students of the Medical Faculty of the Charles University. The demonstration was held on the 28th of October to commemorate the anniversary of the independence of the Czechoslovak Republic.

This demonstration resulted in Jan Opletal’s death on the 11th of November. 15th of November is the date when he was meant to be transported from Prague back to his home in Moravia. His funeral procession consisted of thousands of students, who turned this event to yet another anti-Nazi demonstration. This however resulted in drastic measures being taken by the Nazi’s. All Czech higher education institutions were closed down; more than 1200 students were taken and sent to concentration camps; and the most hideous crime of all: nine students / professors were executed without trial on the 17th of November. Due to this the date of 17th November has been chosen to be the International Students’ Day."

In 1989, the celebration of this day in Prague also marked the beginning of the Velvet Revolution in Czech Republic. Ten day later the Communist Government relinquished power.

The revolution then a decade later gave rise to this guy, Mirek Topolanek, Czech PM 2007-2009, seen here ogling the ladyeez at Berlusconi's villa.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The nine nations of China

Map designed by Anup Kaphle

The Atlantic

It was a great idea back then

So you heard about Australian Lost Generation, the Aboriginal children who were removed from their families to be 'civilized' in government institutions.

Well get to know the term of Forgotten Australian, about thousands of poor British children being shipped to Australia which then made to work and abused under the care of Australian government.

Both of these policies ended in the 70s. This makes them an equal opportunities abuser - we don't care whether you are black or white, as long as you a child and poor, we'll come to get ya!

"AS young girls, they had their faces rubbed on the sheets until the blood flowed for wetting the bed.

On other occasions, they had their feet placed in boiling water as punishment.

Sometimes when they were locked under the stairs, they had food thrown to them like they were animals.

Then there was the unspeakable sexual abuse and teen pregnancies, leading to another generation of suffering.

For them, a national apology was a chance for them to be believed, a chance to finally feel like they were Australians. It was also a chance for some to forgive those who trespassed against them in the name of God." (

I only heard about this because Kevin Rudd, the current PM of Australia, offered an apology to the abused British children immigrant today. Canadian government is off course more manly and refused to apologize - "apologies are for sissies".

Sunday, November 15, 2009

champions of the world

"But mostly, Pacquiao was fighting for his place in boxing history, one he secured Saturday with a technical knockout of Miguel Cotto that ended when the referee waved the fight over in the 12th and final round.

When it finished, Pacquiao had won his seventh title in seven weight divisions, a first in boxing history. Cotto exited the MGM Grand Garden Arena with white shorts long stained red. His wife and son had left their seats three rounds earlier, so bloody was the beating." (NY Times)

Once in every generation a boxer will ignite the interest in boxing beyond rabid fans. It looks like we just have a global superstar now.

Highlights of his previous matches.

How to ruin a species

"There is a strong likelihood that someone in this generation will be the last human to eat a bluefin tuna. By most scientific accounts, the species hovers on the brink of extinction, if it hasn't already crossed that line.

Should bluefin disappear, much of the blame should go to an organization called the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), although Carl Safina of the Blue Ocean Institute gave what some consider a more appropriate name, the International Conspiracy to Catch All Tuna. There are now only about 34,000 tuna swimming in the entire western Atlantic, down 82 percent from 1960s levels when the commission started "managing" the fishery."

Yeah, your expensive sushi appetite contributes to the decline of the Tuna as well.



The blog is oldie but the pictures are amazing.

inappropriate influence

"Statements by more than a dozen lawmakers were ghostwritten, in whole or in part, by Washington lobbyists working for Genentech, one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies.

E-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that the lobbyists drafted one statement for Democrats and another for Republicans." (NYTimes)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Miracle !

Egypt scored goal at 95 minutes. 2 - 0. They will play again on November 18 in Sudan against Algeria.

Death Match Tonight in Cairo

"Egypt, a record six-time African Cup of Nations champion, last qualified for the World Cup 1990 but faces a tough challenge Saturday. It needs to win by at least three goals to qualify - or by two to secure a playoff with Algeria." (Fox Sports)

Egyptians attacked the bus that carried the Algerian team. It's a fucking damn shame.

The Lede of NYT has more coverage on this prelude to the match.

Prediction: 3-1 for Egypt (and all Cairo will party tonight). This means that they will have another match in Sudan to determine the result.
This was the story last February

"Charla Nash was listed in critical but stable condition yesterday, and her vital signs were improving, doctors said.

She was left near dead when her close friend's 200-pound ape, Travis, brutally mauled her after escaping the home he was raised in from infancy.

Travis' owner, Sandy Herold, used a butcher knife to stab the 14-year-old chimp, who was suffering from Lyme disease and had consumed Xanax - but the rampage only ended when cops shot the animal dead.

" (Daily News)

The victim revealed her face in Oprah's show. The extent of her injuries are shocking.

be a shareholder is asking for pledges to buy which is on sale for 300 million dollars. They have 299 and half million dollars to go for their pledges.

now that's branding

Thursday, November 12, 2009

doing what is just

here is a link to a story about a dog.

a 19-year-old guy threw the dog off of a building and it survived. he will soon be sentenced on felony cruelty to animals charges.

the humane society, which nursed the dog back to health after its injury, has decided to kill it, because it is a fucker.

now maybe the guy threw it off the roof because it was a fucker. sure, the guy probably abused the dog up until the point he threw it off the roof, and abusing it turned it into a fucker, but the crime he is charged with is throwing it.

so, from a legal standpoint, to attempt to kill a dog in a cruel way is a felony. can you claim self defense? maybe if the guy simply shot the dog with a rifle and buried it honorably, the story would be different. that would have been the right thing to do, because the dog is a fucker and it could injure a child or someone.

so this is why i am calling for dropping of charges against the guy who cruelly attempted to kill the dog. it's because i'm racist against domestic animals. cruelty against animals should be exposed to shame, but it should not warrant prison time. consider two american professional football players. one of them, Michael Vick, cruelly and shamefully killed many dogs. another, Donté Stallworth, negligently and accidentally killed a human because he was driving drunk. Vick served 23 months in prison and paid heavy fines, Stallworth served 24 days and paid heavy indemnities to the bereaved family.

Both men acted shamefully, but Vick acted perversely. But I think it is OK to kill animals, provided that you do it honorably. So the law is not doing justice in my view.

Surprise in White Shark Movement Pattern

"Scientists spent eight years tracking the movements of 179 great white sharks and discovered that these predators have very predictable migration patterns between Hawaii and the North American coast. Dots below show approximate locations where 68 sharks tagged with satellite sensors were recorded at various times."(WP)

Don't know why

HP is buying 3com.

Long gone

"He was seen as the favorite to start in goal for Germany at the World Cup in South Africa in 2010. But on Tuesday evening, Robert Enke took his own life.

He was one of Germany's best goalkeepers. But now, Robert Enke is dead. The 32-year-old national team player took his own life on Tuesday evening at a train crossing near Hanover, as his friend and advisor Jörg Neblung confirmed late Tuesday.

"I can confirm that it was a case of suicide. Robert killed himself just before 6 p.m.," Neblung said in a short statement."

I don't fucking understand this. He is about to play in World Cup in a year - which is a dream job of every male population on earth and what he did was to commit suicide.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Maximum Sentence for Racist Murderer

"Alex W., the man who stabbed pregnant Egyptian pharmacist Marwa al-Sherbini to death in a courtroom in Dresden in July, was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday. The judge imposed the harshest possible sentence under the German system by ruling that W. will not be eligible for parole after 15 years." Spiegel

No Joke

There's a nomad conference coming up in Berlin later this month.

"Open space conference on nomad-culture in Berlin in the last ten days of November, with the main conference from the 27th to 30th of November 2009.

From hospitality exchange networks and nomads who want to live and work where-ever they feel like, towards a culture of shared places. SHE is a conference that intends to connect people who want to build up networks of shared nomad houses: places where you feel at home, participate, teach, learn and share - as a way of life.

In the past years, many of us have taken up initiatives to set up different types of shared nomad
houses, lived the life of a nomad or have set up infrastructure to host travelers permanently. We host this event to foster our networks and to exchange our experiences, knowledge and inspirations.

Main questions we share: What are these homes? Who are nomads? What connects us? What is the culture we create? Where can we go from here?" (SHE)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Last night in Berlin

Check out the cool giant dominoes falling.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Best 100 films of the decade

100 The Devil Wears Prada (David Frankel, 2006)
Meryl Streep begins her own populist career reinvention (soon to be followed by Mamma Mia!) by playing a tyrannical and thinly disguised version of Vogue editor Anna Wintour in this satirical yet soft-centered account of life among the fashionistas.

99 Battle Royale (Kinji Fukasaku, 2000)
The worst school kids in Japan are dumped on an island, fitted with exploding neckbraces, equipped with weapons and told to fight it out between themselves. Deliberately lacking in PC credentials but ultimately, it’s a provocative and challenging film.

98 Crash (Paul Haggis, 2004)
This surprise Oscar champ of 2004 inspired myriad syrupy “We are all, like, totally connected” imitators (see The Air I Breathe), and yet the savvy narrative chicanery and superlative performances (including Sandra Bullock’s racist housewife) lift this LA-set ensemble far above the crowd.

97 Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (Park Chan-Wook, 2005)
The third of Park Chan-Wook’s fervid, savage revenge trilogy, Lady Vengeance ends with a sombre acknowledgement of the futility of revenge. But not before buckets of blood have been spilt.

96 Morvern Callar (Lynne Ramsay, 2002)
One of Scotland’s most acclaimed and offbeat filmmakers, Ramsay (Ratcatcher) here transforms Alan Warner’s cult novel into a thing of woozy, meditative beauty. Samantha Morton stars, in the title role, as the emotionally withdrawn checkout girl who profits from her boyfriend’s suicide.

95 Amores Perros (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2000)
This smouldering powder keg of a movie launched a new generation of Mexican talent. Gael Garcia Bernal stars in the first of three stories which are linked together by a shattering car crash.

94 An Inconvenient Truth (Davis Guggenheim, 2006)
A user-friendly slideshow about global warming, combined with a revealing personal profile of presenter Al Gore, becomes a box office behemoth, an Oscar winner, and a brand leader for all future eco docs.

93 House of Flying Daggers (Zhang Yimou, 2004)
Probably the most satisfying of the big budget martial arts crossover movies of the past decade, it combined ridiculously ambitious action set pieces with lush, colour-saturated imagery.

92 Dirty Pretty Things (Stephen Frears, 2002)
A Nigerian doctor (Chiwetel Ejiofor) in London double-jobs as a cab driver and hotel porter while uncovering an illegal trade in human organs. This quietly polemical work humanises the immigration debate.

91 Lantana (Ray Lawrence, 2001)
This intelligent drama is so much more than a murder mystery — it’s an impeccably acted exploration of human relations at their trickiest. Meticulously constructed and rewardingly realist in tone.

90 Wedding Crashers (David Dobkin, 2005)
It could've been a frat-boy sex comedy but Wedding Crashers achieves that miraculous balance of crude and cute, wild and witty. Two charismatic central turns help, from Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, playing the eponymous cads with sex on the brain but romance on the cards.
(Times Online)

Bleh, House of Flying Dagger is a terrible movie. It was pretty and all but the story is so wretched that the audience in the theater I was watching kept laughing at the ridiculous plot twists in the movie.

On Goldman

The idea of teamwork goes right to the top. Goldman may not be a private partnership any more — it went public a decade ago — but the bosses work hard to foster a "we’re in this together", family-style approach. Others say it feels more like a cult, but they mean it as a compliment. Some of its practices make perfect sense. Bonuses, for example, are not based on personal performance, as they are at many banks, but on the performance of the firm as a whole, and partners receive a sizable chunk of their remuneration in stock that they cannot sell until they leave the firm. It weeds out what Dina Powell, 36, the firecracker Egyptian-American boss of Goldman’s philanthropic arm, calls "egomaniac jerks" who might be tempted to bet the farm on red in the hope of skewering a bigger bonus. (Times Online)

Berlin Wall

It was ignited by a bureaucrat mistake :)

Wikipedia has this entry about the wall.

The fall of the Berlin Wall is part of the revolutionary time across Europe when Iron Curtain finally came down.

This map shows the year communist rule ended.

The promising start was then followed by massive stealing of state resources. Everything was sold, privatized, stolen, and gave rise to Oligarchs that remains until today thanks to the misguided "shock therapy" imposed by the International Institutions.

The song "Wind of Change" celebrated the changes across Europe and became the anthem of the era.

The "wind of change" did reach the East and blossomed in the Spring and Summer of 1989. Chinese government off course swatted it like a fly and killed the freedom movement in the country and since then there had never been such movement. China then went to grow their economy at impressive speed in the 90's (until now) while Eastern Europe was looted and now they own the rest of the world.

So yeah, freedom does not spread without its costs - the spread of capitalism bring its own army of looters and thieves - they then turned to their masters last year and consumed them as well triggering a world wide economic collapse.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

How to make a burger

A bar in Michigan shows the way.

For a cheap prices of $499, you can order one at Mallie's Sports Bar & Grill. Yeah, no kidding. It's on the menu.

Saudi incursion against Yemen Rebel

"The Saudi-Yemen barrier is a physical barrier constructed by Saudi Arabia along part of its 1,800 kilometer (1,100 mile) border with Yemen. It consists of a network of sandbags and pipelines, three metres (10 ft) high, filled with concrete [1] and fitted with electronic detection equipment. [2]
When construction of the 75 kilometer (45 mile) barrier began in September 2003, a fierce dispute with the Yemeni government erupted. Construction was halted in February 2004 when Saudi Arabia agreed to stop building the barrier after Yemen said the fence violated a border treaty signed in 2000. [3]
To date a reinforced concrete-filled pipeline currently acts as a security barrier along sections of the now fully demarcated border with Yemen. [4]"

Now that you know the border, check out the latest Rambo action in the Middle East. Who says life is boring.

"Shiite rebels said Saudi Arabia bombed their positions inside Yemen again Sunday, despite Riyadh's insistence that its attacks are limited to rebel locations inside Saudi territory.

The rebels also claimed they downed a Yemeni government bomber that reportedly crashed near the border with Saudi Arabia, one day after Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh said his three-month-old campaign against them had only just begun.

Saudi troops and heavy artillery continued to mobilise near the kingdom's rugged southwestern border with Yemen six days after a cross-border incursion by the embattled Zaidi Shiite rebels sparked Riyadh's first overt role in Sanaa's war with the insurgents."


Saturday, November 07, 2009

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Igniting innovation

"UNEMPLOYMENT is creeping ever higher. In the United States it will soon exceed 10%. In parts of Europe it is closer to 20%. Around the world young people are finding it all but impossible to get a job.

So far policymakers have focused on rescuing the economy from free fall, boosting demand, however indiscriminately, and rescuing failing companies, however expensively (AIG received $180 billion-worth of government support). But policymakers are beginning to turn their minds to the potentially more rewarding question of creating tomorrow’s jobs, rather than trying to save yesterday’s. The buzzwords in government circles are entrepreneurship, innovation and venture capital.

This makes perfect sense, in theory. Innovative start-ups are efficient engines of job creation and long-term economic growth. In America start-ups have accounted for almost all the net job creation in the past couple of decades. In the developing world, new technologies are helping to break the cycle of poverty. An extra ten mobile phones per 100 people in a typical developing country boosts GDP growth by 0.8 percentage points, according to the World Bank, by helping small entrepreneurs flourish."

The Economist is recommending the Israeli Model.

"Last year Israel, a country of just over 7m people, attracted as much venture capital as France and Germany combined. Israel has more start-ups per head than any other country (a total of 3,850, or one for every 1,844 Israelis), and more companies listed on the NASDAQ exchange, a hub for fledgling technology firms, than China and India combined. It may not have the same comforting ring as “the Swedish model” or “the polder model”, but when it comes to promoting entrepreneurship, “the Israeli model” is the one to emulate.

Letting the world change you

(from Flickr - Madagascar)

"I have a problem with entrepreneurs who say they want to Change The World.

Isn't that a lot to take on? How do you know your idea for changing the world is what the world needs? What if you Change The World and instead of making it better you make it suck. What then?

I am a former young person who wanted to Change The World himself. I look back at that young person, and think -- he was lovely in many ways but he made a pretty good mess of his life, because he had no clue who he was and how he got that way. Change The World? Good thing that didn't happen! "
(Dave Winer)

This is from the dude that pioneered RSS, Blogging, Podcasting and many more.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Iran Today

H/T Andrew Sullivan.

Watch the video and rage.

"Over lunch before, my friend said "I hope noone gets killed today". I agreed, and then I realised what we'd said. It's a strange reality we're living in." (Kylie)

Piggy flu fashion

Deadly scam?

One of such "portable bomb detector" device being used to secure Olympics 2008.

This blog tracks the issues of bogus explosive detection device that some governments have been buying to the tune of 60,000 dollars a piece to detect bomb and explosives.

NY Times wrote about this story today about Iraqi government's dependency on this.

Awesome ad

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


" According to the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, the country has now recorded more than 250 000 cases of influenza-like illness, with 235 patients requiring intensive care. As of 2 November, 70 deaths from acute respiratory illness have been reported.

Regions in western Ukraine continue to show the highest rates of acute respiratory illness/influenza-like illness. The level of activity in the Kyiv area is also increasing rapidly.

Laboratory testing in Ukraine has confirmed pandemic H1N1 influenza virus in samples taken from patients in two of the most affected regions. As the pandemic virus has rapidly become the dominant influenza strain worldwide, it can be assumed that most cases of influenza in Ukraine are caused by the H1N1 virus." (WHO)

"A 10-ton fishing boat has been sunk by gigantic jellyfish off eastern Japan." Telegraph

This species of jellyfish is called Nomura Jellyfish and can weight as much as 200 KG.


"The Czech constitutional court has ruled that the Lisbon Treaty is in line with the constitution, clearing the way for President Vaclav Klaus to sign it.

The Czech Republic is the only EU member yet to ratify the treaty, and the decision removes the penultimate hurdle to its passage."(BBC)

Why is this guy smiling?

Because Lisbon Treaty introduces these changes to EU

"What are the main institutional changes introduced by the Treaty?
Differently from the current Treaties, the Treaty of Lisbon offers the perspective to keep one Commissioner of each Member State in the Commission. European Union leaders have committed themselves to take a decision in this vein on the basis of the Treaty provisions.

The European Parliament will have no more than 751 members. The delegate numbers for each country have been fixed to a maximum of 96 and a minimum of 6 for each Member State.

A new permanent post, the President of the European Council, is created. He or she will be appointed by the European Council for a two and a half years period. This will provide greater continuity and stability to the work of the European Council.

It creates a High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. He or she will also become Vice-President of the Commission, and will chair the External Relations Council. This will strengthen coherence in external action and raise the EU’s profile in the world, “putting a face” on the Union." (

And Tony Blair is the leading candidate for the position.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Classic Oprah


Sunday, November 01, 2009

New York Marathon is today

You can track the runners' results on their website.

This graphic comes from NY Times article about cheating in Marathon.