Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Jews and Chinese Food

|In New York City, back in the day, it has been said you could tell how Jewish a neighborhood was by the number of available Chinese restaurants. They were often on every corner.
There are even old jokes that circulated about Jews, Chinese people and food...they always crack me up...
If, according to the Jewish calendar, the year is 5764, and, according to the Chinese calendar, the year is 5724, what did the Jews eat for forty years? Ha! I love that.
and another
Two Chinese men are walking out of Katz's Delicatessen. One says to the other, "The problem with Jewish food is that two weeks later you're hungry again." Bwahahahahahahaha!
Anyway, in Brooklyn, there were even many kosher Chinese restaurants (I'm not sure if there are any left). For many Jewish families it was a Sunday ritual to patronize these often upscale Chinese eateries. In Los Angeles, on Fairfax, I know of a New York style Chinese restaurant named, Genghis Cohen, an obvious play on words." Noble Pig

Finally the future is here

"But now, after so many years of empty promises and false are some more: The Federal Aviation Administration has finally given approval to the Terrafugia's Transistion, a flying car – or "roadable aircraft" as the company likes to call it – that will soon have us all living like the Jetsons. Honest.

According to Terrafugia's website, the Transition's rear propeller gives it a cruising speed of 115 m.p.h., and it's 20 gallon tank - which takes regular unleaded gas – gives it a range of 460 miles. On the ground, the vehicle's gas mileage is a not-too-shabby 30 miles per gallon. The anticipated purchase price is $194,000, just slightly more than the cost of a new iPad (the gold-plated kind)." CS Monitor

Can't wait for the movie to come out

"Anna Chapman: One of the alleged Russian spies arrested by the FBI" NY Daily News

101 recipes for grilling

"1. A winter dish, summer style: Brush thick slices of fennel bulbs with olive oil and grill over not-too-high heat. Cut oranges in half and grill, cut-side down. Put fennel on a bed of arugula or watercress, squeeze grilled oranges over top. Garnish with fennel fronds." NY Times

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Stupid G-20

"Despite its strenuous efforts, Ireland has been thrust into the same ignominious category as Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain. It now pays a hefty three percentage points more than Germany on its benchmark bonds, in part because investors fear that the austerity program, by retarding growth and so far failing to reduce borrowing, will make it harder for Dublin to pay its bills rather than easier.

Other European nations, including Britain and Germany, are following Ireland’s lead, arguing that the only way to restore growth is to convince investors and their own people that government borrowing will shrink.

The Group of 20 leaders set that in writing this weekend, vowing to make deficit reduction the top priority despite warnings from President Obama that too much austerity could choke a global recovery and warnings from a few economists about the possibility of a much sharper 1930s style downturn."

NY Times

Ireland starved itself to death and look at it, they are still being punished by the market. What's the matter with these European countries. You gotta grow your way out of this problem - not just by cutting and retarding your economies.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Good place to learn the basics again

Khan Academy is awesooomme! More so, it is free.

""I'm starting a virtual school for the world, teaching things the way I wanted to be taught," explains Khan, 33, the exuberant founder and sole faculty member of the nonprofit Khan Academy, run out of his small ranch house, which he shares with his wife and infant son.
Khan has never studied education and has no teaching credentials. His brief and low-tech videos, created in the corner of his bedroom, are made with a $200 Camtasia Recorder, $80 Wacom Bamboo Tablet and a free copy of SmoothDraw3 on a home PC." physorg

How technology could have averted Shakespearean tragedies

  • Juliet texts Romeo: Going 2 play dead, LOL!
  • Huff Post unearths email incriminating Iago after 24/7 coverage of Desdemona-cheating-on-Othello rumors
  • Hamlet gets treatment for depression, starts blog “Rotten in the State of Denmark”
  • Brutus orchestrates Twitter campaign to overthrow Julius Caesar
  • MacBeth double-checks Facebook page of Three Witches, comments: “no way I’m basing career decisions on somebody that twisted

Classic The Economist Special Report on Debt

"MAN is born free but is everywhere in debt. In the rich world, getting hold of your first credit card is a rite of passage far more important for your daily life than casting your first vote. Buying your first home normally requires taking on a debt several times the size of your annual income. And even if you shun the temptation of borrowing to indulge yourself, you are still saddled with your portion of the national debt.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s a rise in debt levels accompanied what economists called the “great moderation”, when growth was steady and unemployment and inflation remained low. No longer did Western banks have to raise rates to halt consumer booms. By the early 2000s a vast international scheme of vendor financing had been created. China and the oil exporters amassed current-account surpluses and then lent the money back to the developed world so it could keep buying their goods."
The Economist

My precious

"It's a 3.5 million-square kilometer stretch of ocean, speckled with some 200 coral atolls, some submerged or so tiny they hardly deserve to be called islands.

Welcome to the South China Sea, an obscure patch of global real estate that you're likely to hear more about in coming years.

Six Asian countries have long had competing — at times comical — claims to various islands here, sending token military forces to occupy barren rocks at great expense in the name of national pride." Global Post

"Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei also claim all or some of the South China Sea. Vietnam and China both claim the Paracels islands (known as the Xisha in Chinese), which China has controlled since a 1974 battle with Vietnam that left 18 dead. The other four countries as well as China and Vietnam also claim some or all of the Spratly Islands (known as the Nansha in Chinese) further south."

England trashed, Mexico sent home

2010.06.27 (19H30) - ARGENTINA 3-1 MEXICO (WC 2010 - 1/8 FINAL)

2010.06.27 (15H00) - GERMANY 4-1 ENGLAND (WC 2010 - 1/8 FINAL)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What previously banned in Afghanistan

"Crowds mill about at Afghanistan's first major music event in more than 15 years. The 2004 concert, at Kabul's infamous Ghazi National Stadium, saw Afghan legend Farhad Darya return to his homeland (from self-imposed exile in Canada) to perform in front of an audience of men, women, and children. Under the Taliban, playing music was forbidden; instead of hosting concerts, this stadium hosted weekly executions and amputations."


Blind Side

"Poll shows Lib Dem supporters ready to leave the party after the massive budget cuts announced by the coalition in the emergency budget" The Guardian

Like they say, no good deeds goes unpunished. Citizen hates increase taxes and hates losing services. A government job is to reconcile these two differences. Most will just 'lie' buy using accounting gimmicks and selling out the assets of the country.

"VAT from 17.5% to 20%"

The impact of financial industry collapse of 2008 is still felt until today.

Big 16 - Uruguay and Ghana advanced

2010.06.26 (19H30) - USA 1-2 GHANA (WC 2010 - 1/8 FINAL)

2010.06.26 (15H00) - URUGUAY 2-1 SOUTH KOREA (WC 2010 - 1/8 FINAL)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cheeky Zen


Best new mayor ever

"With his party having won 6 of the City Council’s 15 seats, Mr. Gnarr needed a coalition partner, but ruled out any party whose members had not seen all five seasons of “The Wire." NY Times

Friday, June 25, 2010

Debt Nations


Migrate to Scandinavia, Czech Republic or Australia.

From this chart we have PIIGGS country (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Great Britain, Spain)

If you are US citizen, check out this useful calculator on what kind of spending cut and tax increase that you need to do to stabilize your debt at 60% of GDP in 2018.

Socotra, Yemen


"Socotra or Soqotra (Arabic سُقُطْرَى ; Suquṭra) is a small archipelago of four islands in the Indian Ocean. The largest island, also called Socotra, is about 95% of the landmass of the archipelago. It lies off some 240 kilometres (150 mi) east of the Horn of Africa and 380 kilometres (240 mi) south of the Arabian Peninsula.[1] The island is very isolated and through the process of speciation, a third of its plant life is found nowhere else on the planet. It has been described as the most alien-looking place on Earth.[2]
Socotra is part of the Republic of Yemen. It has long been a part of the 'Adan Governorate, but in 2004 it became attached to the Hadhramaut Governorate, which is much closer to the island than 'Adan (although the closest governorate would be Al Mahrah)."Wikipedia

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 14 - Japan!

Denmark 0-1 Japan

Simão | MySpace Video

Such a beautiful goal.

Denmark 0-2 Japan

Simão | MySpace Video

The game that convert the Americans

This was taken from a bar in Nebraska minutes before the winning goal against Algeria.

History is marked at Wimbledon and in the sport of tennis! Match lasts 11 hours 5 minutes

Isner wins the epic battle
set 1) 6-4
set 2) 3-6
set 3) 6-7
set 4) 7-6
set 5) 70-68

Tommy Emmanuel

Madam PM of Australia

Julia Gillard (SMH)

This is the first time Australia has a female PM. Welcome to the civilized world.

With this new PM, Australia most likely defer or drop its boneheaded effort to censor the Internet. They will also stop the super levy on the mining companies profit.

Day 13 - USA thrilled


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Europe will import its first solar-generated electricity from North Africa within the next five years, European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in an interview on Sunday." Reuter

Aurora from ISS



Sleeping for long life

"Studies show that people who sleep between 6.5 hr. and 7.5 hr. a night, as they report, live the longest. And people who sleep 8 hr. or more, or less than 6.5 hr., they don't live quite as long. There is just as much risk associated with sleeping too long as with sleeping too short. The big surprise is that long sleep seems to start at 8 hr. Sleeping 8.5 hr. might really be a little worse than sleeping 5 hr.
Read more

A communion in Kyrgyzstan

"Ethnic Russian Kyrgyz citizens receive communion at a service in Osh on June 20: Ethnic Russians were not attacked by the rival groups of ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz during the clashes."

Ain't easy to be green

"Germany's first offshore wind park was dealt a blow with the failure of two turbines due to inferior materials. The rough patch has energy executives scurrying to reassure Berlin and banks scrutinizing their billions in offshore wind energy investments.

Less than two months after celebrating its opening, the Alpha Ventus test wind park in the North Sea is already running into problems. Intended to be the initial thrust in a plan that foresees dozens of new offshore wind parks off the German coast, shoddy building materials have caused two turbines to overheat and fail. An additional four turbines will need to be

Day 12 - Eliminations


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Brazil 15 minutes of fame

"Brazil's foreign minister says his country's active support of Iran in its dispute with the West over its nuclear program is being scaled back after the U.N. Security Council decision to move for a fourth set of sanctions.

"We will help whenever we can, but of course there is a limit to where we can go," Celso Amorim told reporters on the sidelines of an official visit to Austria.

Brazil and Turkey last month brokered an Iranian nuclear fuel-swap deal in hopes that they would at least delay new U.N. sanctions, but the new penalties were imposed nonetheless."


Postcards from hell

FSI score: 114.3 (out of 120)

Somalia has topped the Failed States Index for the last three years -- a testament not only to the depth of the country's long-running political and humanitarian disaster, but also, as James Traub writes, to the international community's inability to find an answer. After two decades of chaos, the country is today largely under the control of Islamist militant groups, the most notorious and powerful of which is al-Shabab. A second faction, Hizbul Islam, rivals the former in brutality -- it recently executed two Somalis for the crime of watching the World Cup. Off the coast, pirates such as the men pictured here torment passing ships, often holding them hostage for a high price. In 2009, Somali pirates earned an estimated $89 million in ransom payments.

Day 11

Portugal vs North Korea

Chile vs Switzerland

Portugal vs North Korea

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cool real time map of London Underground

Google Wave is now open for everybody

Blow out preventer

Learn more about the device that is supposed to prevent the gusher of Gulf of Mexico.

Summer Solstice 2010


Day 10 - Bonanza of goals

Brazil vs Ivory Coast

Slovakia vs Paraguay

Italy vs New Zealand


"Lerici, an undeniably beautiful seaside town just minutes from the Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera, has largely evaded the radar of foreign tourists. The imposing medieval castle that looms above Lerici's main piazza is the town's defining feature."
NY Times

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Russia to scrap Capital Gain Tax

"Russia will scrap capital gains tax on long-term direct investment from 2011, President Dmitry Medvedev has said.

Mr Medvedev said that in terms of improving Russia's investment climate "we, I hope, are moving forward".

He also said the number of "strategic" firms, in which foreign investment is restricted and which cannot be privatised, would fall from 280 to 41.

Mr Medvedev has been promoting the idea of "modernisation", including diversifying the Russian economy."

Potato battery

"Researchers at the Hebrew University discovered that the enhanced salt bridge capability of treated potato tubers can generate electricity through means readily available in the developing world. This cheap, easy to use green power source could substantially improve the quality of life of 1.6 billion people, comprising 32% of the developing non-OECD populations, currently lacking access to electrical infrastructure. Such a source can provide important needs, such as lighting, telecommunication, and information transfer.

The technical details are below, but here's all you really need to know: potatoes may be a battery of the future and it's a significant advancement that we all can be proud of." Hot Hardware

Poland holds Election today

"The smoking wreck of the Polish government Tu-154 airliner, which crashed on April 10 near the Russian city of Smolensk, is casting a pall over the country's presidential election this Sunday.

Until the crash, the contest was going to be between Bronislaw Komorowski, the speaker of parliament and member of the ruling centrist Civic Platform party, and Lech Kaczynski, the incumbent, who was striving for another five-year term.

The result of the autumn vote wasn't really in doubt. Komorowski, a gaffe-prone aristocrat with a long and distinguished past in the anti-communist underground, was expecting to romp home to an easy victory against Kaczynski, a man who had sunk low in the opinion polls because of his divisive presidency and who was seen as almost unelectable.

But Kaczynski's death in the crash has upended the election.

The election was pushed forward to this Sunday, and Komorowski now faces off against Kaczynski's twin brother Jaroslaw, the edgier and more ideological of the twins who have dominated Polish right-wing politics for the last two decades. " Global Post

Day 9 - end of Cameroon

Cameroon 1-0 Denmark

Simão | MySpace Video

Cameroon 1-1 Denmark

Simão | MySpace Video

Cameroon 1-2 Denmark

Simão | MySpace Video

This was a fun game to watch.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The end of men

"What if the modern, postindustrial economy is simply more congenial to women than to men? For a long time, evolutionary psychologists have claimed that we are all imprinted with adaptive imperatives from a distant past: men are faster and stronger and hardwired to fight for scarce resources, and that shows up now as a drive to win on Wall Street; women are programmed to find good providers and to care for their offspring, and that is manifested in more- nurturing and more-flexible behavior, ordaining them to domesticity. This kind of thinking frames our sense of the natural order. But what if men and women were fulfilling not biological imperatives but social roles, based on what was more efficient throughout a long era of human history? What if that era has now come to an end? More to the point, what if the economics of the new era are better suited to women?

Once you open your eyes to this possibility, the evidence is all around you. It can be found, most immediately, in the wreckage of the Great Recession, in which three-quarters of the 8 million jobs lost were lost by men. The worst-hit industries were overwhelmingly male and deeply identified with macho: construction, manufacturing, high finance. Some of these jobs will come back, but the overall pattern of dislocation is neither temporary nor random. The recession merely revealed—and accelerated—a profound economic shift that has been going on for at least 30 years, and in some respects even longer.

Earlier this year, for the first time in American history, the balance of the workforce tipped toward women, who now hold a majority of the nation’s jobs. The working class, which has long defined our notions of masculinity, is slowly turning into a matriarchy, with men increasingly absent from the home and women making all the decisions. Women dominate today’s colleges and professional schools—for every two men who will receive a B.A. this year, three women will do the same. Of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most in the next decade in the U.S., all but two are occupied primarily by women. Indeed, the U.S. economy is in some ways becoming a kind of traveling sisterhood: upper-class women leave home and enter the workforce, creating domestic jobs for other women to fill.

The postindustrial economy is indifferent to men’s size and strength. The attributes that are most valuable today—social intelligence, open communication, the ability to sit still and focus—are, at a minimum, not predominantly male. In fact, the opposite may be true. Women in poor parts of India are learning English faster than men to meet the demands of new global call centers. Women own more than 40 percent of private businesses in China, where a red Ferrari is the new status symbol for female entrepreneurs. Last year, Iceland elected Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir, the world’s first openly lesbian head of state, who campaigned explicitly against the male elite she claimed had destroyed the nation’s banking system, and who vowed to end the “age of testosterone.”" The Atlantic

It's worth your time to read it in full.

Sweden has a royal family?

On Saturday, Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria will marry her fiancé, a former fitness instructor. The event is expected to be a boon to both the monarchy and that part of the media that thrives on sentimental stories. Princess Victoria is the opposite of Lady Di: She, her love and her fiancé are all authentic.Spiegel

Day 8

Slovenia vs USA goals
Germany vs Serbia goals

"90+4 min: It's all over. England have drawn 0-0 with Algeria. No, seriously. Their performance was nothing short of a disgrace, considering the incredibly high esteem assorted players on England's team hold themselves in. Let the delusional blah-blah-blahing about how it's "only their second game" and "lots of teams win the World Cup after getting off to slow starts" begin. Thanks for your time and your emails - I have to go and record a podcast in front of a drunk and very angry mob. Last word tonight goes to Paul Bowler. "Robert Green is a lucky man," he says. "He at least won't be associated with this catastrophe.""The Guardian

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 7 - Appalachian Domination - Goals Bonanza

Argentina 4-1 South Korea (Highlights)

Ricardo | MySpace Video

Argentina 2-0 Korea

Perry | MySpace Video

Argentina 2-1 Korea

Perry | MySpace Video

Argentina 3-1 Korea

Perry | MySpace Video

Argentina 4-1 Korea

Perry | MySpace Video

France 0-2 Mexico (Highlights)

Ricardo | MySpace Video

France 0-2 Mexico

Simão | MySpace Video

Iceland - a freedom of speech stronghold

"The Icelandic parliament has voted unanimously to create what are intended to be the strongest media freedom laws in the world. And Iceland intends these measures to have international impact, by creating a safe haven for publishers worldwide — and their servers.

The proposal, known as the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, requires changes to Icelandic law to strengthen journalistic source protection, freedom of speech, and government transparency." Niemanlab

I am excited about this. With this legislation, Iceland will provide legal cover for journalists and whistle blowers to store and publish their information without fear for persecution. I think in practice that Icelandic court will throw most of cases related to speech and secret leaks of public institutions and more private cases as well.

Not sure whether the nuggets from a Slashdot commenter below is true or not, but it is interesting
"They did this because Wikileaks posted bank records for one of their failing banks which showed they were transferring billions of dollars out into safe havens as they were going down. Seeing as how the big bank fiasco tanked their economy they didn't take to kindly to this misappropriation of funds and decided Wikileaks was a good thing."

20 Billion dollars escrow account to be setup by BP

This is an amazing accomplishment for the US government to get this concession early in the game. The escrow account will be administered independently by the guy that administered similar account for 9/11 fund.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 6 - worse disaster since Franco

Honduras 0-1 Chile

Perry | MySpace Video

South Africa 0-1 Uruguay

Simão | MySpace Video

South Africa 0-2 Uruguay

Simão | MySpace Video

South Africa 0-3 Uruguay

Simão | MySpace Video

Best version of Wavin' the Flag

More about the song here from wikipedia.

Chinese version, Indonesian, Portuguese, Spanish, and French

And this version is Canadian for Haiti.

Relative lull in Osh

"As Kyrgyzstan mourns the 179 victims of ethnic clashes in the south of the country, the UN and the interim government point to evidence the troubles were orchestrated and the actual number of killed may be a lot higher.

Last night, a relative peace settled in the cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad – compared to the violence that was roaming their streets just 24 hours previously. Yesterday evening, the police of Osh reported the city is under its full control. Still some gunfire was heard overnight.

Now police see their main task as taking the guns off the streets. During the recent rioting and looting a great deal of weapons were purloined from local police squads and gun stores that were ravaged. Hundreds of hunting guns and police Kalashnikov rifles turned up on the streets.
Russia Today

Day 5 - Korea! Korea! Korea!

New Zealand 0-1 Slovakia

Perry | MySpace Video

New Zealand 1-1 Slovakia

Perry | MySpace Video

Brazil 1-0 North Korea

Simão | MySpace Video

Brazil 2-0 North Korea

Simão | MySpace Video

Brazil 2-1 North Korea

Simão | MySpace Video

There is no goal in Ivory Coast - Portugal game.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Higgs Boson particles new hypotheses

"US researchers have suggested that the elusive God particle - the Higgs boson - may actually be no less than a quintet of divine, and as yet elusive, components of the universe

The theoretical Higgs boson is required to give mass to the 16 other particles described by the Standard Model (see graphic), the "internally consistent" theory describing the electromagnetic, strong nuclear and weak nuclear interaction between particles." The Register

Tension in Kyrgyzstan

"Uzbek refugees lined up around an armored vehicle with Kyrgyz soldiers in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh. Kyrgyz officials gave the latest death count as 125. But a spokesman for the International Committee for the Red Cross who arrived in Osh on Monday, said inspections of the city’s morgues suggested that more than 700 people had been killed in Osh alone." NY Times

I will be monitoring this situation more closely from now on. A dear friend is moving back to Kyrgyzstan next week amidst some violences at the south of the country where his family is located.

People are begging for Russian intervention

"As four days of ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan threatened to build into a major refugee crisis on Monday, both sides of the conflict were calling on Russia to step in, saying third-party peacekeepers were needed to defuse standoffs between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz." NY Times

Russian should intervene. Soon before things get out of control. The interim government is still weak after the political conflict at the capital Bishkek two months ago that resulted in the ouster of their strong man.

A few snippets from my conversation with a native
"right now in the south, but capital had huge conflict and looting just 2 months ago
these 3rd forces-provocators can easily mobilize jobless youth from rural areas and bring them to the cities to create a mess
this is the common thing for both conflicts.

in revolution, these youth was used to attack white house as well
city people usually are not involved in these mess
There is not much infrastructure to connect the North to the South

"they never had one
mountains separate south n north
only connection is one highway
blocking or controlling it means cutting off south from north
and airport in Osh, Batken and Jalalabad might be used
only Osh airport can receive big Boeing planes as I know

Rumors are abound

"provocations are spread very effectively. even my brother at home was telling me yesterday that Uzbeks were killing Kyrgyz in Osh, and that Uzbekistan distributed weapons to Uzbeks and Kyrgyz has no weapons
opposite controversial info is spread among Uzbek community
but what I see from news online and updates from random forums and twitters, Uzbeks are the one who is suffering more
in fact it is not one side thing
local Kyrgyz are trying to protect and hide their neighbour Uzbeks
but those provoked youth from other areas are doing these killing
provocators (many claim that they are hired Tadjik killers) are arriving by cars and shooting people on both sides and escaping after that


Foreign Policy Magazine has further analysis why the violence erupted now.

We had a similar situation in Indonesia in 1998 when the country was in a shit hole.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 4

Netherlands 1-0 Denmark

Simão | MySpace Video

Netherlands 2-0 Denmark

Simão | MySpace Video

Japan 1-0 CAmeroon

Perry | MySpace Video

Cairo Yesterday

"Protestors scuffle with riot police during a demonstration in downtown Cairo near the Interior Ministry, June 14, 2010. Egyptian opposition groups scuffled with security forces after rights groups accused undercover officers of beating to death an activist who attempted to expose police corruption.A security official said 32 protestors were detained REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany" Yahoo

This is a Facebook page about the murdered activist.


The Echus Chasma - Guardian

Victoria Crater

Love the tabloids

Why you should root Afghanistan

So you can forever power your iPads!

They just announced that Afghanistan might have one of the largest lithium reserve in the world (Lithium off course is the most popular ingredient of electronic battery) .

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 3 - day of the Germans

Algeria 0-1 Slovenia

Simão | MySpace Video

Alemanha 1-0 Australia

Perry | MySpace Video

Alemanha 2-0 Australia

Perry | MySpace Video

Link: Germany 3-0 Australia

LSE reports on "erotic capital"

"Michelle and Barack Obama have it. Carla Bruni and David Beckham have it. Jordan and Paris Hilton made a career from it. Erotic capital is the implicit but powerful commodity that can count just as much as educational qualifications in the labour market, politics, media or the arts, finds a new report published today by a sociologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

'Beauty and sex appeal have become more important personal assets in the sexualised cultures of our liberal, modern societies, often just as important as educational qualifications' says Dr Catherine Hakim in the study.

She coins the term 'erotic capital' to refer to this difficult-to-define but crucial combination of physical and social attractiveness which makes some men and women agreeable company and colleagues, attractive to all members of their society and especially to the opposite sex. "

I am flabbergasted that London School Economic actually fund this report - stating that great beauty and look are powerful assets in modern society. Duh! And the new term coined "erotic capital" is just plain stupid.

Smile, you are on candid camera

"If our terrorist enemies have been successful at cultivating a false notion of expertise, they’ve done an equally convincing job of casting themselves as pious warriors of God. The Taliban and al-Qaeda rely on sympathizers who consider them devoted Muslims fighting immoral Western occupiers. But intelligence picked up by Predator drones and other battlefield cameras challenges that idea—sometimes rather graphically. One video, captured recently by the thermal-imagery technology housed in a sniper rifle, shows two Talibs in southern Afghanistan engaged in intimate relations with a donkey. Similar videos abound, including ground-surveillance footage that records a Talib fighter gratifying himself with a cow.The Atlantic

A developing ethnic crisis in Southern Kyrgyzstan

"With iconic Mount Suleiman seen in the distance, plumes of black smoke from fires rise over Osh as the ethnic strife explodes between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz on June 12. Thousands of ethic Uzbeks continue to gather near the makeshift crossing points trying to escape the southwestern corner of Kyrgyzstan. (Photo: Dalton Bennett)"

"Interethnic clashes spread in southern Kyrgyzstan on June 12, as the provisional government struggled to stop the violence and Russia expressed reluctance to quickly intervene.

As the violence entered its third day, Uzbeks, who comprise perhaps a third of the population in southern Kyrgyzstan, appeared to be a minority group under siege. Some Uzbek families in Osh City were reportedly trying to go into hiding, or barricade themselves inside their homes. Thousands of others were seeking a safe haven in neighboring Uzbekistan.

Panic gripped predominantly Uzbek areas elsewhere, including the towns of Aravan, Tepekurgan, Chekabad and Nurabad. Some residents hastily fled their homes and headed for the Uzbek border when rumors began to circulate that Kyrgyz mobs were preparing to enter the towns. " Euroasia

"Uzbekistan's soldiers and security officers assist ethnic Uzbeks, fleeing southern Kyrgyzstan, to cross the Uzbek-Kyrgyz border after mobs of Kyrgyz men attack the minority Uzbek community, on the Uzbek-Kyrgyz border Saturday, June 12, 2010. The country's second-largest city, Osh, slid into chaos Friday when gangs of young Kyrgyz men armed with firearms and metal rods marched on Uzbek neighborhoods and set their homes on fire. Thousands of terrified ethnic Uzbeks were fleeing toward the nearby border with Uzbekistan." Daylife

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Classic Time Cover 2006

Team Analysis

Hilarious team by team analysis of World Cup participants


Argentina has the world’s best player in Lionel Messi, and lots of other talent. They also have a coach, the legendary Diego Maradona, who is bat-shit crazy. Maradona recently had his stomach stapled because after he quit using coke he got super-fat. When Argentina qualified for the World Cup, he held perhaps the greatest press conference in the history of sport, during which he repeatedly told the Argentine press to (in my very rough translation), “Suck it and keep on sucking it” (Que la chupen y sigan chupando). The next day he apologized to all the women in the world who heard him say these things, especially his mother, but pointedly not to the journalists he had repeatedly insulted. He recently had two (2) luxury bidets installed in his hotel room."


The Portuguese team includes several naturalized Brazilians who aren’t good enough to play for Brazil. They are led by Cristiano Ronaldo, a native of Portugal who wears too much hair gel. There are only two acceptable reasons for liking Ronaldo: either you find him sexually attractive, or you are Portuguese. He is the Alex Rodriguez of soccer. Paparazzi once snapped pictures of him making out with Paris Hilton in a nightclub. It was a tan, vapid match made in heaven. Do not root for Portugal.


Watching the Swiss play is almost as painful and degrading as being an immigrant living in Switzerland. Will they lose in a dull, cowardly manner in the first round, or will they lose in a dull, cowardly manner in the second round? The world awaits the answer.

Day 2

England is playing the USA tonight. In a couple of hours, Argentina will have to prove itself against Nigeria. South Korea plays Greece right now and kicking their ass.

South Korea 1-0 Greece

Simão | MySpace Video

This one is a beautiful goal.

South Korea 2-0 Greece

Simão | MySpace Video

This is is a beautiful header.

Argentina 1-0 Nigeria

Simão | MySpace Video

England 1-0 USA

Simão | MySpace Video

England 1-1 USA

Simão | MySpace Video

Friday, June 11, 2010

Goals for South Africa vs Mexico

South Africa 1-0 Mexico

Simão | MySpace Video

Wonderful, wonderful goal for South Africa! The passing was just breathtaking.

The following is the equalizer.

South Africa 1-1 Mexico

Simão | MySpace Video

The game ended 1 - 1.

The world cup concert last night

Happy World Cup Day

Friday, 11 June 2010
South Africa v Mexico, Gp A, 15:00
Uruguay v France, Gp A, 19:30

Meh, I am not interested in any of these matches. Tomorrow on the other hand, is golden.

If you google "world cup", it will give you instant summary of the tournament. That's cool.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Palestinian success

This report finds that overall, the US press covers the West Bank success more positively than its UK counterpart.

"Key findings of the report:
  • The US media attribute real importance to Salam Fayyad and his active approach to state-building, whereas the UK media find him to be irrelevant in the grand scheme of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • Whilst a measure of diversity exists within both the UK and the US, in general, the US media are more supportive of Fayyad and his politics than the UK media
  • The UK media identify an emphasis on restarting the Palestinian economy with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom they broadly dislike, whereas the US media identify it with Fayyad’s own focus on this subject
  • The UK media present the focus on economic improvement in the West Bank as a ruse by Netanyahu to distract focus from reaching a full political settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, indicating a strong inclination to emphasise points of conflict over potential co-operation
  • UK media coverage of Fayyad is more likely to give ultimate emphasis to the problem of settlements whereas US media coverage does not conflate the subject of economic success in the West Bank with the problem of settlements" Just Journalism

Let's hope that he will in the end successful in his effort to transform Palestinian movement from resistance to actual state building.

Nation building is boring. It is full of hard constructive work and prone to be destroyed by random of senseless violence. There is also no quick shallow glory to martyrdom in doing the slow and painstaking work to organize society - you gotta have skills. Palestine does not need more people to die for it, it needs people who will sweat to build it, businesses to invest in it and government worthy of its ideals.

The failure to reorient to nation building will doom the future of Palestine to Afghanistan.

If you remember that the Mujaheddin were successful in its resistance movement and kicked Russia out of their country in 1990. The aftermath though turned heroes into thieves, murderers, and drug smugglers. The Afghans failed to capitalized its success because all it knows is how to resist but it never made its transition to build.

You see this fatal characteristic in Gaza under Hammas when after Israel left the territory completely in 2005. It focused on lobbing rockets to Southern Israel for some very stupid idea of "resistance" instead of getting their shit together and build Gaza. It also got involved in a mini civil war with Fatah in 2007, the other Palestinian faction. No wonder President Mubarak of Egypt hates their guts (don't forget Gaza blockade also happens from the Egyptian side).

Salam Fayyad needs all the support he can get and so far, he has done an amazing job in the West Bank.

The other side of the world

"Asia’s economies signaled they are best placed to weather Europe’s debt crisis this week as results from China’s exports to job growth in South Korea and Australia surpassed analysts’ forecasts.

Regional stocks rose after Chinese shipments abroad climbed 48.5 percent in May from a year earlier, the customs bureau said today, and separate figures showed a jump in property prices. Unemployment rates in South Korea and Australia fell last month, according to government figures, and Japan reported its economy expanded more than previously estimated in the first quarter."
Business Week

Here in the region we are sidetracked by flotilla schmatilla and the destruction of Greece economy while the East Asian economies are burning hot like crazy. 48% export increase, wow!

Fathers at home

"From trendy central Stockholm to this village in the rugged forest south of the Arctic Circle, 85 percent of Swedish fathers take parental leave. Those who don’t face questions from family, friends and colleagues. As other countries still tinker with maternity leave and women’s rights, Sweden may be a glimpse of the future.

In this land of Viking lore, men are at the heart of the gender-equality debate. The ponytailed center-right finance minister calls himself a feminist, ads for cleaning products rarely feature women as homemakers, and preschools vet books for gender stereotypes in animal characters. For nearly four decades, governments of all political hues have legislated to give women equal rights at work — and men equal rights at home.

Swedish mothers still take more time off with children — almost four times as much. And some who thought they wanted their men to help raise baby now find themselves coveting more time at home.

But laws reserving at least two months of the generously paid, 13-month parental leave exclusively for fathers — a quota that could well double after the September election — have set off profound social change.

Companies have come to expect employees to take leave irrespective of gender, and not to penalize fathers at promotion time. Women’s paychecks are benefiting and the shift in fathers’ roles is perceived as playing a part in lower divorce rates and increasing joint custody of children." NY Times

This is definitely awesome that Sweden provides infrastructure for father to spend more time with their children.

"The United States — with lower taxes and traditional wariness of state meddling in family affairs — is not among them.Portugal is the only country where paternity leave is mandatory — but only for a week. Iceland has arguably gone furthest, reserving three months for father, three months for mother and allowing parents to share another three months."

"Patrick Kane, the 21-year-old winger, scored 4 minutes 10 seconds into overtime Wednesday, lifting the Chicago Blackhawks over the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-3, and giving Chicago its first Cup since 1961." NY Times

I don't usually follow ice hockey but I am thrilled that Chicago gets to celebrate a sport win after the last one in 2005 (White Sox winning the world series). It was quite a surprise that this team can actually win the cup since it was always regarded as a lovable and mediocre team like Chicago Cubs but with less loyal fans. I attended one of their game when they still suck and boy, they sucked. The good thing was that the tickets were cheap.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

13 - 2 - 1 for latest Iran sanctions

"The United States, moving firmly away from the Obama administration’s previous emphasis on wooing Iran, pushed through a new round of United Nations sanctions against the nation on Wednesday, taking aim at its military in yet another attempt to pressure Tehran over its nuclear program.

The new sanctions, a modest increase from previous rounds, took months to negotiate but still did not carry the symbolic weight of a unanimous Security Council decision. Twelve of the 15 nations voted for the measure, while Turkey and Brazil voted against and Lebanon abstained.
NY Times

Register your business in less than one hour - in Rwanda

This is cool.

Business registrations have always been a weak point for development countries. Usually it can take weeks if not months to get your business registered. The fact that now you can get it done in less than an hour in Rwanda is freaking amazing.

World Cup Calendar


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Your missing pictures should be up on your migrated blog now

If you follow the instruction when you migrated  (by enabling missing host and appending '2' on your nomad name), you will see your pictures back online today.

What rocks about iPhone 4.

This was the best part of the new FaceTime picture from iPhone 4. You get to communicate with sign language over a phone.

Engadget has an extensive blogging about yesterday's event.

Best quote

""I put up this slide a little earlier this year. It represents what Apple is all about. We're not just a tech company. Apple is more than that. It's tech and humanity. It's the hardware and the software working together. It's not just a great new camera system, it's the editing too, it's not just a front-facing camera, it's that plus 18 months of work on the software side. It's the complete solution, so all of us don't have to be system integrators.""

Monday, June 07, 2010

The men that fired Steve Jobs from Apple in 1985

The Daily Beast has the story. Imagine if your tombstone is written "he fired Steve Jobs. What a fool" :)

Turkish Play

The largest circulated newspaper in Turkey has just published a series of photograph captured by one of the activist on the deadly flotilla raid last week of one or more beaten up Israeli commandos.

This is the original article in Turkish and more pictures can be seen here.

These series photographs do support Israel claim that they were attacked first and fired in self defense. On the other hand, it does look bad for the IDF to have its Navy commandos beaten up by a bunch of dude on a boat.

The autopsy of the ones killed in the raid also came up yesterday.

"Israel was tonight under pressure to allow an independent inquiry into its assault on the Gaza aid flotilla after autopsy results on the bodies of those killed, obtained by the Guardian, revealed they were peppered with 9mm bullets, many fired at close range.

Nine Turkish men on board the Mavi Marmara were shot a total of 30 times and five were killed by gunshot wounds to the head, according to the vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine, which carried out the autopsies for the Turkish ministry of justice today.

The results revealed that a 60-year-old man, Ibrahim Bilgen, was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back. A 19-year-old, named as Fulkan Dogan, who also has US citizenship, was shot five times from less that 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back. Two other men were shot four times, and five of the victims were shot either in the back of the head or in the back, said Yalcin Buyuk, vice-chairman of the council of forensic medicine." Guardian

I wonder though about the internal debate in Turkish domestic politics. The two countries have a 2.5 billion dollars yearly trade and they are BFF until recently. Turkey has recently undertaken a mission to extend its zone of influence to the Middle East. Remember that the Turk used to 'own' the Middle East during the mighty rule of the Ottoman empire. It rebuilds relationship with Iran and its soap opera dominates Middle East TV day programming. Its newfound outspoken support for Gaza and Hamas have also endear the country to millions in the region.

On the other hand, it has a mighty secularist army that is wary of the current government. The army thinks that the current government tries to dismantle the system and institution that the revered Ataturk established almost a hundred years ago.

Best dance of the year

His routine was the best part of Tropic Thunder movie. Yesterday Tom Cruise reprised it for MTV award 2010.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

This is how you look playing Project Natal

A German Pub in Addis Ababa

"Service in a dirndl: Mesi, a waitress at the Beer Garden Inn in Addis Ababa, is decked out in full German regalia.". Spiegel

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Gulf of Mexico today

NY Times

The fickle politics of Middle East

"The dual images of Turkey as a guardian of Palestinian rights, and Israeli soldiers shooting unarmed civilians, undermined the credibility of Arab capitals allied with the West, regional foreign policy experts said. Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, which have pressed for a comprehensive peace with Israel, were placed on the defensive as Turkey, allied with Iran, Syria and Qatar, has gained credibility through its support of Hamas." NY Times

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Market is even stupider than thought

"According to Reuters, Foxconn will be raising worker wages an additional 10% from the original 20% raise announced last week. Foxconn spokesman, Arthur Huang, said that the 30% base wage increase takes effect immediately. Foxconn admits that it hopes to earn the respect of its workers and raise efficiency with the pay increase while offsetting rising costs on the Chinese mainland. The company's shares fell by 2% following the announcement (in a market down just 0.4%, relatively), worried perhaps that the raise would erode operating profits. All this comes as more Foxconn deaths -- now at 12 -- are being repo
rted. Family of Yan Li, a Foxconn engineer, claims that their son died of exhaustion after working non-stop for 34-hours, then returning for another 12-hours after a 10-hour break. Police have already ruled out suicide and homicide in the case. Nevertheless, Yan Li's family is demanding 250,000 yuan (about 25 times the worker's annual base salary) in compensation. Foxconn accepts no responsibility in the matter saying it would only pay out "humanitarian terms" to the family." Engadget

Wisdom of the crowd? Give me a break. The market is fucking stupid. The fact that a company that raises an extra 10% of its factory workers salary lose 2% of it share value just proves that market is a short term value seeker retards.

Bravo - NPT Consensus achieved

"This was a win for multilateralism," says Deepti Choubey, who attended the conference on behalf of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she is deputy director of the nuclear-policy program. "I was very pessimistic about the chance of achieving this outcome. But the document moved the treaty forward. It had several key advances in it."

The NPT has three pillars: to disarm nuclear states, to ensure nonproliferation among nonnuclear states and to encourage the safe use of civilian nuclear technology. The 2010 review conference has laid out a series of concrete actions that states must take to work toward those three goals. "That's a novel measure," says William Potter of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, who has attended four NPT review conferences as an adviser to the Delegation of Kyrgyzstan. "We now have a scorecard with specific benchmarks against which the NPT parties can be judged during the next five-year review cycle."

The consensus was achieved after a compromise on the language of Israel being named to enter the NPT
"The U.S. eventually backed down, and the document now notes "the importance of Israel's accession to the NPT."

Haaretz is not too happy about it.

"The conference of the signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is a diplomatic victory for Egypt and a failure for Israel. Israel can feel sacrificed by the U.S. on the altar of a successful conference. Israel's nuclear program, and the international assessment that it possesses an arsenal with dozens, if not hundreds of nuclear weapons, has become a hostage to the conference."

My assessment is that I am glad that the US has returned to a more creative and smart multilateral approach to international problem. I am glad as well that Russia and China have shown more willingness to abandon their previous positions in respond to this rethinking of American diplomacy. It is a win win for everybody.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

What's next?

I will update this post throughout the day. I am still digesting what the event yesterday means on the overall shape of the kludge known as Middle East political landscape.

My gut feeling that this latest crisis represents a real opportunity to ease the blockade of Gaza and much improve the flow of goods coming from Israel. I cannot tell if the Egyptian government will open their borders to let goods from Egypt flows in again. Remember that the blockade are done by Israel and Egypt.

There are a lot of talks about Turkey sending more ships and this time guarded by Turkish Navy. That is foolish action as it will trigger a potential shooting match between Turkey (a NATO member) and Israel Navy. Not going to happen. All these talks are war porn fantasy bullshit.

The right and smart thing to do for Israel is to end its blockade and invite international navies to do inspection regimes for ships that come into the Gaza ports. And oh, apologize for fucking up in handling the situation. I don't see that they have any other options after this incident. They will start by improving the flow of goods from the Gaza/Israel crossing. After a couple of months or so, they will end their blockade.

There is also a criticism that the flotilla action is provocative and responsible. Well one legitimate way to end a blockade is to breach it and it is always a provocative move. There is nothing wrong with that. The Israeli Navy has numerous tactics on their disposals like disabling the ship engine room from outside, etc other than boarding the ship.

It is an act of provocation and completely legitimate albeit reckless. This is a story from BBC a couple of days ago when the flotilla left Cyprus.

"He said both Israel and Egypt had offered to take the aid into Gaza, but that the activists had shown no interest."

The flotilla knew that they will be boarded and they will benefit from the publicity - it has happened in previous occasions. Having Egypt or Israel deliver their aids will not accomplish this publicity aspect of the flotilla. On a weird way, having nine people killed in this flotilla actually generate publicity for the organizers beyond their wildest dream.

Was it legal for Israeli Navy to board the flotilla in international water? According to San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, 12 June 1994 , yes, it is legal if the ships are clearly having the intention to break your blockade.


Neutral merchant vessels

67. Merchant vessels flying the flag of neutral States may not be attacked unless they:

(a) are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture;
(b) engage in belligerent acts on behalf of the enemy;
(c) act as auxiliaries to the enemy s armed forces;
(d) are incorporated into or assist the enemy s intelligence system;
(e) sail under convoy of enemy warships or military aircraft; or
(f) otherwise make an effective contribution to the enemy s military action, e.g., by carrying military materials, and it is not feasible for the attacking forces to first place passengers and crew in a place of safety. Unless circumstances do not permit, they are to be given a warning, so that they can re-route, off-load, or take other precautions."

So yeah, the boarding is legal, but it is also retarded.

This latest crisis has become some the archetype of how the Netanyahu government has treated its friends and allies. The past 8 months his administration have done numerous boneheaded and obvious unenforced errors in the international front like the dressing down of Turkey ambassador for some stupid soap opera in Turkish channel that the Israeli government did not like.

We shall see what's the next move from all related parties here. I hope cooler heads prevail.

There are reports about more boats heading to Gaza. I suspect this time the engines of those boats would be disabled instead.

An Egyptian official says the government is temporarily lifting its blockade of the Gaza Strip to allow aid into the area a day after Israel raided an international flotilla carrying supplies to the Palestinian territory and killed nine activists.