Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A fatal accident involving delegates of IC 2011 Kenya

To the members of AIESEC: In the early morning of 30th of August, a bus carrying 65 participants of AIESEC’s International Congress 2011 in Kenya met with an accident on its way from Nairobi to Mombasa for post-conference holidays. There was one fatality, Elmer Pérez Requiz, a native of Bolivia and President of AIESEC in Bolivia. One person was also severely injured, Irma Bedjic, Vice President of AIESEC in Bosnia & Herzegovina. She is being treated.
Few other individuals also suffered minor injuries, for which they have already received treatment. We are in touch with the families of Elmer and Irma and supporting them. All other individuals were treated at the hospital in the city of Voi and are continuing to Mombasa. Though the conference ended on the 29th, the conference team is working nonstop to secure medical and psychological support to all involved. Moreover, the local authorities have been alerted and are taking appropriate actions to determine the cause of the accident. We will share the full name, citizenship, and entity of all affected members as soon as possible. (from Facebook)


Out to the desert for a couple of days.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Megan on Goldsbee

But perhaps I am prejudiced, because I have experienced Goolsbee’s stealthy brilliance firsthand. In the winter of 2001, Goolsbee opened my technology-strategy class by asking, “Okay, now who likes the AOL–Time Warner merger?” We all raised our hands. The $165 billion megamerger had just closed, and the top-tier banks and consultancies we’d been interviewing with had gotten a piece of the deal. We’d become expert at generating novel reasons to love that messy agglomeration of old media and new.
Goolsbee was nodding, which made us feel smart. “Okay, why?”
Even the normally shy students bubbled over with justifications, and for some minutes Goolsbee listened intently and wrote our answers on the whiteboard. By the time he was done, the list spanned several columns, and AOL–Time Warner was beginning to sound like the best idea since the joint-stock company. And then he systematically demolished every one of those reasons.
The carnage went on for an hour, until his barrage of calm and deadly questions had deflated dozens of M.B.A. egos sufficiently to make room for learning. And then, gently, he started showing us when mergers do work—deals that require specialized investments, various sources of synergy, industries with large economies of scale. But the list of successful-merger conditions was short, and nothing on it sounded remotely like AOL.
On May 28, 2009, Time Warner announced that it was spinning off AOL after nearly a decade of dismal performance, during which the combined company’s stock had dropped from $161.40 a share a week after the deal closed to $23.55. (The Atlantic)

Goldsbee is my favorite economist. My understanding of wider economic policies are limited but every time this dude explains some aspect of it in a public forum, it all seems to make sense.

Grey Graffiti

"Lorenz is just one of a growing number of over-50's in Germany that are learning graffiti and other forms of street art, encouraged by courses targeting older generations. Often grey-haired or bespectacled, with some participants as old as 80, they don't exactly fit the profile of rebellious youth commonly associated with graffiti culture. And for most of them, it's their first time wielding a spray can." Spiegel

Get your Islamophobia on

Following a six-month long investigative research project, the Center for American Progress released a 130-page report today (pdf) which reveals that more than $42 million from seven foundations over the past decade have helped fan the flames of anti-Muslim hate in America. The authors — Wajahat Ali, Eli Clifton, Matt Duss, Lee Fang, Scott Keyes, and [Faiz Shakir] — worked to expose the Islamophobia network in depth, name the major players, connect the dots, and trace the genesis of anti-Muslim propaganda. (Think Progress)

Indian Hindu devotees throughout the world celebrate Janmashtami, which marks the birth of Hindu God Lord Krishna with enormous zeal and enthusiasm. Children and adults dress as the Hindu God Krishna and his consort Radha in bright, elaborate costumes and jewelry. Human pyramids form to break the 'dahi-handi' or curd pot. The large earthenware pot is filled with milk, curds, butter, honey and fruits and is suspended from a height of 20 - 40 feet. Participants come forward to claim this prize by constructing a human pyramid, enabling the uppermost person to reach the pot and claim its contents. --
Boston Big Picture

Photographs of an empty New York - Thansk to Irene

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fearless in Damascus

In the early morning hours of Aug. 24, masked members of President Bashar al-Assad's security forces pulled Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat out of his car near Damascus's Umayyad Mosque. He was then beaten, mainly on his hands, and dumped on the road leading to the airport. Pictures of Farzat convalescing in a hospital bed were posted today on Facebook.
Farzat was no ordinary Syrian opposed to the Assad regime -- he is one of the Arab world's finest political cartoonists. During the short-lived moment of political liberalization at the beginning of Assad's reign in 2000, he launched his own satirical newspaper, al-Domari. It was soon shuttered as Syrian authorities returned to their old habits.FP

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A hospital in Tripoli


Ten feet away, outside the main door, a dead man’s corpse hummed with clouds of flies.
Piles of surgical dressings, bloody sheets and half-empty blood bags were all around us, oozing fluids onto the ground.
Another body, inflated with decomposition, lies 20 yards away in the sun. Male, fighting age, half the head missing.
Fifty yards further on a pile of human bodies, bloated in the hot sun. I count 22 here, including three women, and one child. Some of the male bodies are in military clothing but not all.
Inside, it is not a hospital but a mortuary – or something for which there is no word. Channel 4

17 people survived the hospital. Imagine living for 5 days with rotting bodies around you.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Expiditionary Economics

One doctrine that shows promise for unlocking the natural business savvy of the Libyan people while avoiding an expensive, difficult, and possibly counterproductive international reconstruction process is Expeditionary Economics. Expeditionary Economics, as its known, is a framework for creating the framework of a functioning private-sector economy--the foundation of any successful, stable society. Instead of focusing on the large-scale investment of transnational corporations into feeble state-run corporations, as is typical in "private sector development" efforts, Expeditionary Economics instead calls for a focus on personal entrepreneurship, small business development, and the laws and institutions that enable them.
While the West's generosity often goes without saying, the International Community must be careful not to flood Libya with too much money. The most expensive cities in the world include bizarre places like Kabul, Afghanistan and Luanda, Angola. The enormous influx of aid and development money can have a devastating effect on a growing economy, distorting prices and thus excluding the very locals such reconstruction efforts are meant to help. The Atlantic

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Discussion on Iceland

This Hacker News discussion is awesome.
There is a misconception that the people of Iceland rose up and refused to bail out the banks. The Icelandic government has spent billions of dollars to save the financial system resulting in higher taxes and cuts in public service. The big difference is that instead of using the bailouts to save existing companies the government created new legal entities that took over the obligations and assets of the bankrupt entities, essentially splitting the banks up into two (bankrupt old company and a new company in major ownership by the government and creditors). That way the old banks will go through bankruptcy proceedings (with creditors loosing the most) and the new banks (that received the bailouts) will be partly or majorly owned by the government, which can at a later point sell it's ownership to recoup some of the bailouts.

Wikileaks releases US diplomatic cables on Indonesia

Get it here.

An opionon on Libya: Disaster Capitalism

Think of the new Libya as the latest spectacular chapter in the Disaster Capitalism series. Instead of weapons of mass destruction, we had R2P ("responsibility to protect"). Instead of neo-conservatives, we had humanitarian imperialists.
But the target is the same: regime change. And the project is the same: to completely dismantle and privatize a nation that was not integrated into turbo-capitalism; to open another (profitable) land of opportunity for turbocharged neo-liberalism. The whole thing is especially handy because it is smack in the middle of a nearly global recession. Asia Times

This is a bit too harsh me thinks. Libya has been a disaster for the past 42 years, so it's not exactly a new. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Angels of Libya

"Misratans appear to have the US navy to thank for the failure of any of the missiles to reach their targets, with reports that a cruiser operating in the Mediterranean has been using Aegis missiles to intercept the Scuds each time one is detected coming in over the Gulf of Sirte.
What is unnerving the people here is that the interceptions, perhaps for technical reasons, take place at the last moment, with today's Scud being blown apart seconds before it would have hit the city.
So far the US navy has hit four out four, but no one is sure how many scuds government forces still possess, nor whether Gaddafi has the capability to mount chemical warheads, as was the case with Iraq scuds fired at Israel in the 1991 Gulf war." (Guardian)
That's 100% success rate in shooting fast moving missiles out of the sky. Unbelievable.

Things that Apple is worth more than

American Obesity costs 300 billion dollars a year Tumblr

Apple market cap is at 340 billion dollars.

Russia plans to build a tunnel to the US

"Russia has unveiled an ambitious plan to build the world’s longest tunnel under the Bering Strait as part of a transport corridor linking Europe and America via Siberia and Alaska.
The 64-mile (103km) tunnel would connect the far east of Russia with Alaska, opening up the prospect of the ultimate rail trip across three quarters of the globe from London to New York. The link would be twice as long as the Channel Tunnel connecting Britain and France." Times Online

They should hire the Egyptians along the Egypt - Gaza borders to work on this project. They have madz skills in  digging tunnels and relatively cheap. 

Anna Hazare, the man to transform India

"Very few social activists have captured the attention of Indians across the globe as Anna Hazare did during his "fast unto death" over the issue of the Lokpal Bill in New Delhi in April 2011. 
Hazare, a Gandhian by belief, outlook and practice, has become the face of India's fight against corruption. During his fast over the Lokpal Bill, Hazare, a quintessential traditional Indian by looks and mannerism, managed to inspire and mobilize the support of even the ultra-modern Indians - Indians for whom the word "social" only means having a profile on social networking sites. The "Anna Hazare fast" can be described as the first real "social networking movement" in India.
Hazare, a former Army man, began his social activism from Ralegan Siddhi, a village in Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra, where he successfully led a movement against alcoholism and made Ralegan Siddhi a "model village".
Hazare's campaign was instrumental in the implementation of the Right to Information Act in Maharashtra, which is considered one of the best RTI Acts in India.
A Ramon Magsaysay award winner, Anna Hazare, like his idol, Mahatma Gandhi, has triggered a debate over the use of fast as a means of protest in India. By sheer commitment and simplicity, he has demonstrated that Gandhian principles are relevant even in the 21st-century India." Times of India

Right now he is on his 9th day of Hunger Strike to protest the high prevalence of corruption in India.

A tumblr for King Abdullah's waving

Monday, August 22, 2011

Images of Libya

The Atlantic has more amazing pictures from Libya.

I *might* attempt to enter Libya again this Thursday. We shall see.

Daredevil vacations

"Aquismón, Mexico"
Salon has more details.

Past tense

Ben Ali (1st to fall)
Saleh (3.5 to fall - nobody has a clue what's going on in Yemen)
Qaddafi (3rd to fall)
Mubarak (2nd to fall)

The price of Kashmir

More than 2,000 corpses, believed to be victims of Kashmir's long-running insurgency, have been found buried in dozens of unmarked graves in the divided region, an Indian government human rights commission report has said. 
The graves were found in dozens of villages on the Indian side of the line of control, the de facto border that has split the former kingdom between India and Pakistan for nearly 40 years. Guardian
This is going get interesting. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011


There are a bunch of reports stating that two sons of Qaddafi, Seif and Sady have been arrested. There's also unconfirmed report that Qaddafi has been shot dead (treat as rumor for now - wrong Qaddafi is alive).

Al Jazeera has just confirmed that Seif Qaddafi has been captured. Libyan NTC has confirmed Seif Qaddafi has been arrested (http://www.facebook.com/libya.ntc?sk=wall)

Qaddafi is releasing a radio address right now. He is alive, one of his son though, Seif Qaddafi, has been confirmed captured. Another son, Mohammed Qaddafi has also been confirmed captured.

It's a done deal - stick a fork in it, Tripoli has fallen to the rebels' hands.

Finding tax haven

Global Post has a report just in case you need to hide your millions from the money grubbing heathens tax authorities.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

From IIS

A meteor shower.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Naval bombardment of a Syian city

More than 5,000 Palestinian refugees have fled a camp in Latakia, Syria, after President Bashar al-Assad's forces attacked the port city in the latest military crackdown on dissent, the UN said on Monday.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Breakthrough in Western Libya

If they hold the town and able to defend it, this will cut Tripoli access to Tunisian border.

Le Figaro raises alarm over Canada's Artic ambition. Really?

Canada is keeping a cautious eye on the Great North, preparing for a fight, if needs be, to protect valuable natural resources that global warming is making more accessible – to everyone.

Its latest military preparation is a large-scale Arctic mission dubbed “Operation Nanook 11,” which Canada just launched together with the United States and Denmark. The mission to defend Ottawa’s sovereignty in the Far North will extend until the end of August in the straits of Lancaster and Davis, in Baffin Bay and on and around Cornwallis Island.

Nanook 11 involves some 1,100 soldiers, a modest number by Canadian standards. The operation goes hand-in-hand, however, with other military efforts in the region. Ottawa has recently increased the number of Inuit rangers it relies on to protect the Arctic region. It has also modernized its far northern facilities.

Analysts say Nanook 11 was planned as a warning to Russia, Canada’s main rival in the area. Russia has announced it wants to extend its Arctic borders, with the Kremlin promising to file an official request to the UN in 2012 asking for an expansion of Russia’s continental shelf. (World Crunch)

If you wonder why all these activities in the Artic? Blame it to global warming. Thanks to melting ice, soon the Northwest Passage should be possible in most season and possibly become a major shipping lane.

This article from Geology.com explores this topic further.

"International Waters or Canadian Waters?

All routes through the Northwest Passage pass between the islands of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. On that basis, Canada claims the route as "Canadian Internal Waters". However, the United States military has sent ships and submarines through the Passage without notification to Canada based upon the philosophy that the Passage is an International Water."

Youth protests across Europe

Spiegel has a useful interactive map.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Apple is now the most valuable company in the world

It surpassed Exxon's market capitalization yesterday at 337 billion dollars.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The history of Nike's Swoosh

Salon has a story. It is one of the most recognizable sign in the world.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

London Burning

"Fire rages through a building on Tottenham High Road after trouble erupted on Saturday night following a protest demanding justice over the shooting of Mark Duggan two days earlier" Guardian

It's a fuckin' shame.

Who stole Mona Lisa (100 years ago)

"On Monday morning, August 21 1911, inside the Louvre museum in Paris, a plumber named Sauvet came upon an unidentified man stuck in front of a locked door. The man – wearing a white smock, like all the Louvre’s maintenance staff – pointed out to Sauvet that the doorknob was missing. The helpful Sauvet opened the door with his key and some pliers. The man walked out of the museum and into the Parisian heatwave. Hidden under his smock was Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”." (Financial Times)

The first production version of Boeing 787 is out

Three years overdue and billions of dollars over the budget, Boeing will finally deliver the 787 Dreamliner to Japan's All Nippon Airways next month in Tokyo. CNN
If you live in Japan, you might want to check out the new shiny plane.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Comic Justice of Mubarak's Trial

11.37am: Another lawyer has bizarrely claimed that it is not Hosni Mubarak in the dock but a clone - the real former president having died in 2004. The lawyer requested a DNA test to establish the true identity of the man standing trial.

Every Egyptian is glued to their TV or Computer screen to follow this first court appearance by their Pharaoh.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Every night is a Friday for the next 30 days

The protests in the Middle East have always intensified every Friday because of the Friday's prayer where  large number of Muslims pray together in mosques. The mosques become natural gathering points.

Well right now it's Ramadan and they have Taraweeh prayer every night which also fill up mosques left and right. This means that we will see an intensification of conflict in Syria because now every night is a chance to congregate and go protest. The next 30 days could be very decisive for the regime of Assad and the protesters.

Barbarian at the gates

The eurozone debt crisis threatened to erupt again on Tuesday as Italy and Spain's borrowing costs hit record highs, helping to drive Britain's own borrowing costs down to a record low.

The euro also lost ground against most major currencies and the Italian stock market hit a 27-month low, as investors appeared to lose faith in the latest European rescue package.

The yield, or interest rate, on Italian 10-year bonds rose to nearly 6.3% at one stage, with the equivalent Spanish bonds yielding almost 6.5% early on Tuesday. If yields reach 7%, a country has effectively lost the support of the international markets. Guardian

The last frontier

"A ship carrying China’s deep-diving submersible Jiaolong reached the northeastern Pacific Ocean where the submersible will make a 5,000-meter dive.

Jiaolong is the world’s first manned submersible designed to reach depths of 7,000 meters below sea level, according to Xu Qinan, the submersible’s chief designer.

The conditions over the next three to four days are not suitable for the diving test, and “we are waiting for an appropriate time,” said Liu Feng, the test’s commander in chief, during a video call with the State Oceanic Administration" World Maritime News
Asia Times has more on this.

Straight out of Stephen King story

H/T Enduring America.

Don't play if you are squeamish. It shows people throwing bloodied bodies from a pickup truck to a river from a tall bridge somewhere near Hama, Syria.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Tahrir Square is clear for Ramadan

Many of the participant parties that sit in Tahrir have agreed to vacate the square for the month. Apparently the Army wants to expedite the process.

New York on the operation that killed OBL

Shortly after eleven o’clock on the night of May 1st, two MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters lifted off from Jalalabad Air Field, in eastern Afghanistan, and embarked on a covert mission into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden. Inside the aircraft were twenty-three Navy SEALs from Team Six, which is officially known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or DEVGRU. A Pakistani-American translator, whom I will call Ahmed, and a dog named Cairo—a Belgian Malinois—were also aboard. It was a moonless evening, and the helicopters’ pilots, wearing night-vision goggles, flew without lights over mountains that straddle the border with Pakistan. Radio communications were kept to a minimum, and an eerie calm settled inside the aircraft.
Read more

This article is long and interesting. It adds a bunch of more details of the operation on top of what's already available to the public.

The deal to prevent US debt default

It guarantees the debt limit will be hiked by $2.4 trillion. Immediately upon enactment of the plan, the Treasury will be granted $400 billion of new borrowing authority, after which President Obama will be allowed to extend the debt limit by $500 billion, subject to a vote of disapproval by Congress.

That initial $900 billion will be paired with $900 billion of discretionary spending cuts, first identified in a weeks-old bipartisan working group led by Vice President Joe Biden, which will be spread out over 10 years.

Obama will later be able to raise the debt limit by $1.5 trillion, again subject to a vote of disapproval by Congress.

That will be paired with the formation of a Congressional committee tasked with reducing deficits by a minimum of $1.2 trillion. That reduction can come from spending cuts, tax increases or a mixture thereof.

If the committee fails to reach $1.2 trillion, it will trigger an automatic across the board spending cut, half from domestic spending, half from defense spending, of $1.2 trillion. The domestic cuts come from Medicare providers, but Medicaid and Social Security would be exempted. The enforcement mechanism carves out programs that help the poor and veterans as well.

If the committee finds $1.5 trillion or more in savings, the enforcement mechanism would not be triggered. That's because Republicans are insisting on a dollar-for-dollar match between deficit reduction and new borrowing authority, and $900 billion plus $1.5 trillion add up to $2.4 trillion.

However, if the committee finds somewhere between $1.2 and $1.5 trillion in savings, the balance will be made up by the corresponding percentage of the enforcement mechanism's cuts, still in a one-to-one ratio. Talking Points Memo

This is the tentative deal reached between Democrats and Republicans leadership last night. They still have to return their members and get their vote.

The deal is pretty much kicking the problem down the road. WTF. After all these fucking drama. They should have agreed on the 'grand bargain' from last week. Nothing to see here.