Tuesday, October 30, 2012

51.8 million lives in South Africa

This is according to the result of 2011 Census just published today in South Africa.

Would you believe that Climate Change is real now?

350.org is a great movement to solve the climate crisis.

Stay safe folks!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Family portraits of all 56 ethics in China

Big Human Brain

Slate asks why human brain is big
The oversized Homo sapiens brain let us take over the planet, build cities, send space probes to Mars, and do all the other marvelous things that we humans are so proud of. But none of these things makes us much better at reproducing, and in terms of evolution, that’s really all that matters. It’s not so obvious why Darwinian natural selection should have favored the brain’s dramatic expansion given the huge costs. Although the human brain is only about 2 percent of total body weight, it siphons off about 20 percent of our total calorie intake; this overall percentage varies little whether we are engaged in hard mental tasks or just zoning out. Slate

Lithuanians chose to fight austerity idea

Lithuanians angry at spending cuts put leftwing opposition parties on the path to power in an election on Sunday that likely spelled the end for a conservative government praised abroad as a model of austerity.

The Social Democratic Party and the Labour Party, which have promised to raise the minimum wage and shift the tax burden to the better off, were headed for a parliamentary majority in combination with their likely partner, the Paksas Party, according to preliminary results from the second-round vote. Guardian

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Prison Overcrowding in the USA

Daily Mail

Above picture shows prisoners being housed in a gym. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

swing state drinking game

I think it's time to continue the tradition Dody started in 2008. Since everyone will be eating pizza and drinking cheap beer anyways while watching the returns, I think it is a very good tradition. The ten most closely contested states, according to fivethirtyeight, are:

  1. Virginia
  2. Colorado
  3. Florida
  4. Iowa
  5. New Hampshire
  6. Ohio
  7. Nevada
  8. North Carolina
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Pennsylvania

Communist Crooks

Chinese authorities have blocked the Chinese website of the New York Times and most access to the main website after it revealed that the extended family of premier Wen Jiabao has controlled assets worth at least $2.7bn (£1.67bn).

Several of Wen's close relatives have become extremely wealthy since his ascent to the top leadership, the news organisation said. But in many cases their holdings were obscured by layers of partnerships and investment vehicles involving friends, colleagues or business partners. Guardian

Slaughter at Citibank

Vikram Pandit’s last day at Citigroup swung from celebratory to devastating in a matter of minutes. Having fielded congratulatory e-mails about the earnings report in the morning that suggested the bank was finally on more solid ground, Mr. Pandit strode into the office of the chairman at day’s end on Oct. 15 for what he considered just another of their frequent meetings on his calendar.

Instead, Mr. Pandit, the chief executive of Citigroup, was told three news releases were ready. One stated that Mr. Pandit had resigned, effective immediately. Another that he would resign, effective at the end of the year. The third release stated Mr. Pandit had been fired without cause. The choice was his. NY Times

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The manhunt for Benghazi attack has begun

One 'suspect' was killed in a hail of bullets in Cairo last night. The US is getting pretty good at this revenge thing. Another Tunisian linked to the Benghazi attack was captured in Turkey last week.

A thorough review of Microsoft Surface

Although it has a functional purpose as an input device, Touch Cover also works very well as a cover. The outer surface is a dense felt on the black cover, and a soft polyurethane on the colored versions. The result is a device with a good balance of high tech and natural in hand feel. The 3.2mm extra thickness that Touch Cover adds is barely noticeable and is honestly worth it given the productivity benefits. With the exception of the occasional input in tablet mode, I see no reason to even use the on screen keyboard if you’ve got Touch Cover. Touch Cover only protects Surface’s cover glass, the rear remains exposed, but the VaporMg chassis seems fairly durable to begin with. AnandTech
The bottom line, it is a new type of device. It's not a exactly a tablet and it's not exactly a laptop. It's worth checking out. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review of the latest James Bond is out

Skyfall, the often dazzling, always audacious new entry directed by Sam Mendes, is no different. For better or worse we live in the age of the superhero, and so Mendes’s film is less hardboiled spy saga than blistering comic-book escapade. The template here is Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, a film that has almost singlehandedly reconfigured the modern blockbuster since its 2008 release, when it left Quantum of Solace bobbing in its wake. The Telegraph

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Shaolin Festival

Italy jails scientist for not being predicting earthquakes

Seven prominent Italian earthquake experts were convicted of manslaughter on Monday and sentenced to six years in prison for failing to give adequate warning to the residents of a seismically active area in the months preceding an earthquake that killed more than 300 people. NY Times
This is a stupid ruling based on nonsense. Science cannot predict earthquakes. Period.

Monday, October 22, 2012

IBM delivered a project in Australia 20,000 percent over buget

This blows my mind. The initial estimate for the project was around 6 million dollars. It ends up at 476 million dollars and it needs another 500 million dollars to fix and operate for the next 5 years.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Men's Policies: Contributions to a Gender Equitable Society

German Family Minister Kristina Schröder has long had something of an adversarial relationship with the country's feminists. Not only has she refused to support hard quotas for women in top management positions, but she also has repeatedly broadsided "early feminism" or "feminists from the last century" for failing to recognize that "partnerships and children produce happiness." For many women's rights veterans, Schröder's book published last spring, in which she essentially declares the dawning of the post-feminist era, was something of a last straw

Now, Schröder is wading even further into the gender debate. On Monday, she will open a two-day conference specifically focusing on issues specific to men as society strives to achieve gender equality. Called "Men's Policies: Contributions to a Gender Equitable Society," the gathering is the first such high-level conference ever held on men's issues in the German-speaking world. And, as Schröder has made clear, comes not a moment too soon. Spiegel

Good idea. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

NIH report on carcinogens

If you want to learn about which chemicals cause cancer, or just want to feel more paranoid about getting cancer, check out the 2012 NIH report on carcinogens.

One of the more exciting findings is that human beings themselves are possible carcinogens, by virtue of their natural emissions of isoprene:

Isoprene is formed endogenously in humans at a rate of 0.15 μmol/kg
of body weight per hour, equivalent to approximately 2 to 4 mg/kg per
day (Taalman 1996), and is the major hydrocarbon in human breath
(accounting for up to 70% of exhaled hydrocarbons)

Don't breathe on me!

Damning UN report on Rwanda's involvement in Congo's war

Pressure on Britain to halt aid to Rwanda is increasing after one of the closest allies of the president, Paul Kagame, was named as the de facto leader of a violent uprising in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 
In a leaked report, UN experts identified General James Kabarebe, the Rwandan defence minister, as effectively directing a Congolese rebel militia accused of killings, rapes and other atrocities. Guardian

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Yerevan celebrates 2794th birthday

She's one old lady

This is why Koreans are cool and we are not

A Coke Vending Machine that gives away free cokes if you dance

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Autumn is here

My favorite season.

A journey through North Korea

Spiegel spent a week in the country

There's another clash in downtown Cairo

This time is between anti Mursi folks and MB (Muslim Brotherhood). Scores are injured. Life goes on as usual.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Presidential op-ed of the day

"I am the fucking President of the fucking United States, and if you don't like that, fuck you.

This is not a negotiation with Congress or the Republicans, Mr. President. You are negotiating with your employers, the people of the United States of America. If this election were being held in August 2011, you would have lost. It's time for you to get the message, that we will not accept this kind of leadership in the future. Dave Winer"

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Nobel Prizes so far

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2012 was awarded jointly to Sir John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka "for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent" Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2012 was awarded jointly to Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland "for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems"  Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2012 was awarded jointly to Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka "for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors" Nobel Prize

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Stay the course

Prime minister David Cameron made clear on Tuesday that the government has no intention of easing up on its austerity programme, insisting that Britain does not need a 'Plan B' despite concerns expressed by the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF has cut its growth forecasts for Britain and warned in its annual fiscal monitor on Tuesday that Britain will miss deficit reduction targets this year. Guardian
It doesn't work so we'll keep doing it.

Monday, October 08, 2012

6 more years!

The great revolutionary leader of Venezuela Hugo Chavez won his 4th term. May he be President still after we all die. 

MacArthur Genius Award 2012

Melody Swartz, 43, is a bioengineer at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland. Her work focuses on organ development and how the body responds to tumors
TPM has listed all 23 of them here.

Libya's Prime Minister Fired

Libya's General National Congress rejected Prime Minister-elect Mustafa Abushagur's crisis government proposal Sunday. 
The "no confidence" vote results in the automatic dismissal of Abushagur as prime minister-elect less than a month after he was appointed, while keeping the current government in place until a new one is formed. CNN

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Stewart vs OReilly

Mt. Everest deadliest year

It's the deadliest year since 1986 due to traffic jam at the peak. 11 people died this year.

That is not the light at the end of the tunnel

Nonetheless, the Fed and ECB actions sent three messages that should have given the markets pause. First, they were saying that previous actions have not worked; indeed, the major central banks deserve much of the blame for the crisis. But their ability to undo their mistakes is limited.

Second, the Fed’s announcement that it will keep interest rates at extraordinarily low levels through mid-2015 implied that it does not expect recovery anytime soon. That should be a warning for Europe, whose economy is now far weaker than America’s.

Finally, the Fed and the ECB were saying that markets will not quickly restore full employment on their own. A stimulus is needed. That should serve as a rejoinder to those in Europe and America who are calling for just the opposite—further austerity.

But the stimulus that is needed—on both sides of the Atlantic—is a fiscal stimulus. Monetary policy has proven inefective, and more of it is unlikely to return the economy to sustainable growth Joseph Stiglitz
Joseph Stiglitz is a Nobel laureate in Economics (2001) and former Chief Economist at the World Bank.

Friday, October 05, 2012


That's the October surprise this election

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Chinese Holiday


This is what happens when 1.5 billion people are in holiday.

Mars' Geysers

Those black marks on the surface of Mars are geysers  NPR

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Now using Apple Maps

Information is Beautiful awarded

A map of the human body that lists the value of each body part; a map of the U.S. that marks the most popular surnames; and a graphic that shows what plot details make a great novel.

These were just three of the entries at the Information Is Beautiful Awards ceremony in London last week, celebrating the most ingenious methods of making numbers and facts visually interesting. Daily Mail

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Amazing places you can't visit

The Foreign Office advises against travel to rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir (except Ladakh), as well as the cities of Srinagar and Imphal. The Kashmir Valley, sandwiched between the Karakoram and Pir Panjal mountain ranges, was described by the Mughal emperor Jahangir as "paradise on Earth". Its most popular attractions are the Gulmarg ski resort, Dal Lake, Pahalgam, and Amarnath Temple.
More here

The exodus from Iranian currency has begun

Rial sent into tailspin in spite of Ahmadinejad's defiance as Iranians rush to convert assets to foreign currency or gold. Iranians are suffering their worst financial crisis since the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s Guardian

Great Barrier Reef in trouble

Population explosion of coral-eating starfish, storms and acidification of oceans causing rapid decline, study finds. Coral cover in the Great Barrier Reef has dropped by more than half over the last 27 years, according to scientists, a result of increased storms, bleaching... Guardian

Monday, October 01, 2012

An effort to push Roma out of Ostrava

Přednádraží, a small neighborhood in Ostrava, has been the site of an intense struggle against unlawful evictions of the predominantly Roma residents this summer. For the Czech Republic, this case is unique and historically significant.

A question needs to be asked: why this sudden rush to evict the reside - instead of fixing the sewage? One possible explanation is that a private college was about to be opened in the neighboring street in September, and it is likely that the area has become a target for developers. It would not be the first time that Roma people were pushed out from their homes due to forces of gentrification. In the past ten years, the Roma were forced out of a downtown area that was later developed as a sort of a party destination – on a few blocks, it features over a hundred pubs and bars. (GVO)

The Roma problem spans across Europe. I have little knowledge of these communities (also known as Gypsies) and probably already conditioned to be biased against them. When I lived in Czech Republic you were informed to keep your hand in your pocket when a Roma get into a bus with you.

US choked on Ryder Cup

I don't care much about Golf but yesterday's match was something legendary.
Europe staged one of the greatest golfing comebacks of all time in the "miracle of Medinah" to win the Ryder Cup after recovering from 10-6 down at the start of Sunday's play to defeat all the odds and the United States by 14½ points to 13½.

José María Olazábal, Europe's Ryder Cup captain, dedicated his team's spectacular victory to the whole of the continent amid remarkable scenes at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois. Guardian