Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Typhoon Ondoy

Dollar to Pesos conversion here.

Donate here.


Inventor Guglielmo Marconi [L] with assistant George Kemp in Newfoundland receiving first wireless signals across Atlantic from Cornwall, England, December 12, 1901.

---The Sept. 26 Economist offers a knockout, 14-page report on "Mobile Marvels," or how, "Once the toys of rich yuppies, mobile phones have evolved in a few short years to become tools of economic empowerment for the world's poorest people. These phones compensate for inadequate infrastructure, such as bad roads and slow postal services, allowing information to move more freely, making markets more efficient and unleashing entrepreneurship."

This focuses on three trends: the spread of mobile phones in developing countries and the accompanying rise in home-grown mobile operators that exceed the heretofore Western incumbent firms; the rise of China's two leading telecoms-equipment makers from low-cost, low-quality operators to high-quality and innovative powers; and development of a raft of new phone-based services in the developing world, which go far beyond text messages and phone calls, with new data services including agricultural advice, health care and financial transfers. And whereas government-run phone monopolies do remain in places like Ethiopia, they are being dwarfed in impact and innovation by the real competition one finds in spots like war-ravaged Somalia, a poor nation with no real government where a dozen mobile operators seek market share and explain a far greater "mobile teledensity" (how many phones one finds per 100 people) than Ethiopia. As telling are the many ways in which it's now apparent that the spread of phones promotes economic development, especially money transfers or mobile banking, which derives from the custom in the developing world of using prepaid calling credit as an informal currency far more efficient than physically sending it from one place to another.
"In the grand scheme of telecoms history, mobile phones have made a bigger difference to the lives of more people, more quickly, than any previous technology. They have spread the fastest and proved the easiest and cheapest to develop. It is now clear that the long process of connecting everyone on Earth to a global telecommunications network, which began with the invention of the telegraph in 1791, is on the verge of being completed. Mobile phones will have done more than anything else to advance the democratization of telecoms, and all the advantages that come with it."
Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-warren/ithe-week-in-magazinesi-o_b_301425.html

Monday, September 28, 2009


Black Watch

$45. Order directly from Ralph Lauren here.

The motto of the Black Watch is "Nobody wounds us with impunity."

An earlier Black Watch reference here.

Ukrainian tragedy depicted in sand

The Ukraine lost 25% of its population in WWII; the largest percentage of any country.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

women are 70% of the world's poor

“Women do two-thirds of the world’s work, receive 10 percent of the world’s income and own 1 percent of the means of production.”
— Richard H. Robbins, Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism, (Allyn and Bacon, 1999), p. 354

Image source here.

An earlier reference to women's rights here.

20-30 years of investment might make Afghanistan like Pakistan

"Developers are threatening to demolish the medieval cities of Afghanistan; the last masters of traditional Afghan arts are dying; high unemployment is breeding extremism; Afghans need jobs, skills, economic opportunities and a renewed pride in their national culture. The Turquoise Mountain Project will conserve a section of a medieval city, work with householders to improve living conditions, restore ancient buildings and create an academy to preserve and develop traditional skills. The project will provide vocational training, improve the living conditions of poor citizens, conserve heritage, foster the export market for Afghan goods and lay the foundations for tourism. The Turquoise Mountain (Firuzkuh in Dari) was the greatest indigenous Afghan capital of the middle ages, destroyed by Ogodei, son of Genghis Khan in ca. 1220-22 and lost to history. Its only surviving monument is the magnificent Minaret of Jam. The name of the project evokes Afghanistan's unique tradition of art and architecture."

dumb skier

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Erie Canal



Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Chimpanzees share 98.9% of our genome. Map yours with 23andme.com.

72 years

Portrait of Lucretia Mott, Quaker abolitionist who founded the Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1833 after she was excluded from some all male abolitionist meetings, circa 1850.

1848-1920: span of women's movement in the United States from Seneca Falls to the 19th Constitutional Amendment securing the right for women to vote.

“I've had great success being a total idiot.”

“When I was onstage doing the work, adrenaline killed the pain because I never hurt in front of an audience.”
- Jerry Lewis [born 1926]

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

27 bags

The unhealthiest pizza in America is Chicago based Pizzeria Uno's Personal Deep Dish Pizza which contains more salt than 27 bags of potato chips.

$125k pool table

Obscura CueLight from Gizmodo on Vimeo.

scariest trail in the world

Originally built in 1901, this walkway, called El Camino del Rey, now serves as an aproach to Makinodromo, the famous climbing sector of El Chorro in Spain’s Andalucia.


The following 24 fellows each will receive $500,000 over the next five years from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation:

_Lynsey Addario, 35, photojournalist, Istanbul, Turkey. Creating a visual record of major conflicts and humanitarian crisis of the 21st century.

_Maneesh Agrawala, 37, computer vision technologist, Berkeley, Calif. Designing visual interfaces that enhance ability to synthesize and comprehend complex, digital information.

_Timothy Barrett, 59, Iowa City, Iowa. A papermaker and paper historian preserving and enhancing the art of hand-papermaking.

_Mark Bradford, 47, Los Angeles. Mixed media artist who incorporates every day items from urban environments into abstract art.

_Edwidge Danticat, 40, Miami. Novelist whose depictions of lives of Haitian immigrants chronicle the power of human resistance and endurance.

_Rackstraw Downes, 69, New York. Painter whose minutely landscapes explore the intersection between the built and the natural world.

_Esther Duflo, 36, Cambridge, Mass. Economist who analyzes poverty in South Asia and Africa and improving policies aid efforts designed to improve lives.

_Deborah Eisenberg, 63, New York. Short story writer whose work depicts people coming to terms with personal relationships and struggling with the changing social context in which the relationships occur.

_Lin He, 35, Berkeley, Calif. Molecular biologist advancing understanding of the role of microRNAs in the development of cancer.

_Peter Huybers, 35, Cambridge, Mass. Climate scientist developing theories that explain climate change.

_James Longley, 37, Seattle. Filmmaker who explores the historical and cultural dimensions of conflicts in the Middle East through the stories of ordinary families.

_L. Mahadevan, 44, Cambridge, Mass. Applied mathematician investigating principles underlying the behavior of complex systems to address such questions as how flags flutter.

_Heather McHugh, 61, Seattle. Poet who uses such wordplay as puns and rhymes in intricately patterned compositions.

_Jerry Mitchell, 50, Jackson, Miss. Investigative newspaper reporter whose work has led to prosecutions in decades-old Civil Rights-era slayings.

_Rebecca Onie, 32, Boston. Health services innovator who helped build a program links college volunteers with medical professionals to improve health care for low-income patients.

_Richard Plum, 48, New Haven, Conn. Ornithologist who uses paleontology, developmental biology and optical physics to address questions about avian development, evolution and behavior.

_John A. Rogers, 42, Urbana, Ill. An applied physicist who is a leader in developing flexible electronic devices.

_Elyn Saks, 43, Los Angeles. A law school professor whose writings and her own struggles with schizophrenia challenges popular notions about severe mental illness.

_ Jill Seaman, 57, Old Fangak, Sudan. Physician devoted to delivering and improving treatment for infectious diseases in the remote, impoverished area of southern Sudan.

_ Beth Shapiro, 33, University Park, Pa. Evolutionary biologist whose research focuses on tracing the population history of recently extinct or threatened species.

_Daniel Sigman, 40, Princeton, N.J. Biogeochemist examining the forces that have shaped the ocean's fertility and earth's climate over the past 2 million years.

_ Mary Tinetti, 58, New Haven, Conn. Geriatric physician focusing on accidents involving the elderly and identifying risk factors that contribute to morbidity due to falls.

_Camille Utterback, 39, San Francisco. Artist who uses digital technologies to create works that redefine how viewers experience and interact with art.

_Theodore Zoli, 43, New York. Bridge engineer who has made major technological advances to protect transportation infrastructure when there is a disaster.


Source: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Pre-Internet dating.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

U.S. Labor Force

Interactive map here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Impressionist at heart

La Fenêtre, 1925

Or was he a forward looking modernist?

Pierre Bonnard [1867-1947], "reveled in the wizadries of light and the surprises his own sensations held in store fore him."

The painter's art gives a human value to objects and reproduces things as they appear to a human eye. And this vision is full of changes, full of movement.

"Bonnard divided his time between the Mediterranean world of Renoir and the regions beloved of Monet, the Ile-de-France, the Seine valley, the Channel beaches."

From the Economist:
There was nothing of the romantic artist in a garret about Bonnard. He appeared to live a bourgeois life. His studio was a smallish upstairs bedroom; it didn’t even have an easel. He would just cut off lengths of canvas and tack them to the wall. When a picture was finished, he cropped off any remaining blank canvas.

Henri Matisse, his near contemporary, was a close friend; “Work Table”, finished in 1937, shows his influence. Like Matisse, Bonnard has been dismissively labelled a decorative artist, a painter of happiness. This exhibition should put an end to that. The 1946 “Portrait of the Artist in the Bathroom Mirror” is almost terrifyingly bleak. “Bouquet of Mimosas”, painted the year before, offers no hope-filled, sweetly perfumed vision of early spring. Instead, it conjures up a deadly poison that seems to seep out of the flowers.

from a father to a son

Los Angeles, California
November 8, 1958

To an eighteen year old Christopher Trumbo

My dear Son,

I have at hand your most recent letter addressed, I believe, both to your mother and to me. That portion which I assume was designed to capture my attention has. I refer to your addled account of an exchange between you and Mike [Butler] relative to mensal checks from home. You may be sure I shall give it much thought.
You also inform us you haven't made holiday travel reservations because you haven't the money to pay for them. Artful fellow! Do you truly think me so stupid as to send the fare directly to you, who'd squander it in high living and end up stranded on Christmas Eve begging poor-man's pudding in some snow-swept Bowery breadline?
The procedure is this: go at once to an airline office and make round-trip reservations [not deluxe, not milk-run either]. Do it immediately, for the seasonal rush is already at hand. Notify me of the airline, flight number, date and hour of arrival, and within twenty-four hours a check made over to the airline will be delivered into your greedy fist. Take it to the seller and the deal is consummated without laying you open to temptation.
I am sending you two books I think appropriate for a young man spending five-sevenths of his time in the monkish precincts of John Jay Hall. The first is Education of a Poker Player, by Henry O. Yardley. Read it in secret, hide it whenever you leave quarters, and you'll be rewarded with many unfair but legal advantages over friend and enemy alike, not to mention that occasional acquaintance who has everything including money.
The second book I think you should share with your young companions. It is Sex Without Guilt, by a man who will take his place in history as the greatest humanitarian since Mahatma Gandhi-a manual for masturbators. That is to say, in one slim volume he has clarified the basic theory of the thing, and then, in simple layman's language, got right down to the rules and techniques. This in itself is a grand accomplishment; but what most compels my admiration is the zest, the sheer enthusiasm which Dr. Ellis has brought to his subject. The result [mailed in a plain wrapper under separate cover] is one of those fortuitous events in which the right man collides with the right idea at precisely the right time. It makes a very big bang indeed.

- Excerpt of a Dalton Trumbo [1905-1976] letter in Additional Dialogue: Letters of Dalton Trumbo, 1942-1962, pp.443-451

18th century recipe

Yorkshire Pudding

4 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
9 oz all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup meat drippings

Complete cooking instructions here.

Yorkshire pudding was originally called dripping pudding in the 1737 book The Whole Duty of a Woman.


"Life is a game of recovery. There is no perfect decision. If you want to try to make the perfect decision, you won't make any decision, and then life sort of takes its own course on you."
- Margot Micallef, Canadian Business, July 30, 2009, p.63

Friday, September 18, 2009

great wall

An earlier reference to the Great Wall of China here.

oldest temple of worship in the Americas

By the wishes of Hernán Cortés, Templo y Hospital de San Felipe de Jesus was constructed in 1524 on Aztec ruins to assist in the treatment of the soldiers who were wounded while fighting in wars against the Aztecs.

An earlier reference to Cortés here.

people were terrible

The Rich Banquet while the Workers Fight, 1923

José Clemente Orozco [1883-1949] also believed people were spiritual.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Life satisfaction vs. GDP

"For most of the world, life satisfaction declines with age; the exception being the very richest countries—including the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand, where life satisfaction is U-shaped with age, falling at first and rising after middle age."

Income, Health and Wellbeing Around the World study here.

noble sentiments

"The best armour of old age is an early life well spent in the practice and exercise of virtuous deeds."
- Cicero


"There really is no direct equivalent in English [for the Filipino word Perya]. It's not as grand as a carnival, not as permanent and posh as an amusement park, there are no pumpkins nor cows in competition like a country fair. It is what it is - a Perya."

Source here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

the brain feels no pain

The only part of the head that feels physical pain is skin.

Image source here.

Cash Cow

The Growth Share Matrix is a framework to help companies think about the priority (and resources) that they should give to their different businesses, explains the Economist here.

best tennis point ever?

An earlier reference to Federer here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


British Luxury brand, Alfred Dunhill, have just announced the launch of their new Christmas 09 catalogue, which is full of the most luxury items a man could wish for this year.

This particular item is a Shagreen Rubik’s Cube made from Stingray skin and modelled on the exact same dimensions of Erno Rubik’s 1974 invention.

These cubes are handmade in British workshops and each square has been polished to one of 6 brilliant shades. This is yours for just £995.

France investigates rash of telecom worker suicides

French Labour Minister Xavier Darcos is to meet the head of the country's main telecommunications company to discuss a number of suicides among its staff.

Twenty-three employees of France Telecom have killed themselves since the beginning of 2008.

Unions blame tough management methods at the multinational, which was privatised in 1998.

But France Telecom says the rate of suicides is statistically not unusual for a company with a 100,000 workforce.

BBC story here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

web therapy

"Lisa Kudrow stars as a therapist with limited time and patience for other people's problems in this original improvised Web series."


You're not that fast. How come you're always where the puck is?
Wayne Gretzky
I skate to where the puck is going. Hockey is seeing 7 moves into the future.

live in the sentences

"You write to find out what you're writing. You're both the author and the reader."
- E.L. Doctorow [born 1931]

Garrison Keillor makes a similar remark here.

Risk of Physical Damage from Alcohol

St. Mary's Counselling Service: 519 745 2585 x 32

Friday, September 11, 2009

Britain's last cavalry charge

Winston Churchill participated in the Battle of Omdurman, September 1898.

An earlier reference to Churchill here.

An easy way to make micro loans

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Europe by Net


filmed during store hours

"Ikea Heights is a melodrama shot entirely in the Burbank California Ikea Store without the store knowing."


how does the Internet see you?

Enter your first and last names here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

left brain chatter

Interviews with Jill Bolte Taylor here and here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

anti-noise invention

Sunday, September 6, 2009


"We take Snacks to their limit, and show what they're capable of with a little ingenuity, a little cash, and a lot of imagination."


Unpimped snack image source here.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Thatching in England video here.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Published in 1966, Gay Talese's Frank Sinatra has a Cold is regarded, except by Talese, as the finest example of 20th century non-fiction magazine writing:

"He was, as usual, immaculately dressed. He wore an oxford-grey suit with a vest, a suit conservatively cut on the outside but trimmed with flamboyant silk within; his shoes, British, seemed to be shined even on the bottom of the soles. He also wore, as everybody seemed to know, a remarkably convincing black hairpiece, one of sixty that he owns, most of them under the care of an inconspicuous little grey-haired lady who, holding his hair in a tiny satchel, follows him around whenever he performs. She earns $400 a week. The most distinguishing thing about Sinatra's face are his eyes, clear blue and alert, eyes that within seconds can go cold with anger, or glow with affection, or, as now, reflect a vague detachment that keeps his friends silent and distant."

Read more here.

12 steps

Internet Addiction Center Opens

Do you have a problem? There may be help: a $14,000, 45-day Internet-addiction center called ReSTART opened in July in Redmond, Washington—not far from Microsoft’s headquarters. ReSTART claims to be the first rehabilitation center for Internet addiction in the United States, though there are several such centers already in Asia. It uses the cold-turkey approach. Its only patient has been a World of Warcraft addict who now “spends his days in counseling and psychotherapy sessions, doing household chores, working on the grounds, going on outings, exercising and baking a mean batch of ginger cookies.” Read it at Associated Press

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Due to Moore's Law, where capacity doubles every eighteen months, within fifteen-years everything that's on the Internet now can and will be stored on one's own personal Smartphone.

kill or cure?

Will what you do/eat/wear give you cancer?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

a drama waiting to happen

"His name is synonymous with conservation, but he killed thousands of birds. He was jailed for bankruptcy, but dined with Dukes, Earls, and Presidents ... Nobody really knew how to make a bird look alive." Audubon painted birds "the way he saw them, which was alive and flying, doing what birds do," despite Audubon's own early lament: "my pencil gave birth to a family of cripples."
- American Masters profile of wildlife artist John James Audubon [1785-1851]

Queen's Cocktail

2/3 Gin
1/3 Red Dubbonet
Lemon Twist
2 ice cubes

fruit pulp and sugar

general observation

"General Taylor was not an officer to trouble the administration much with his demands, but was inclined to do the best he could with the means given him. He felt his responsibility as going no further. If he had thought that he was sent to perform an impossibility with the means given him, he would probably have informed the authorities of his opinion and left them to determine what should be done. If the judgment was against him he would have gone on and done the best he could with the means at hand without parading his grievance before the public. No soldier could face either danger or responsibility more calmly than he. These are qualities more rarely found than genius or physical courage."
- U.S. Grant in his Memoirs on "Old Rough and Ready" General Zachary Taylor

Out of 42 Presidents, historians rank Grant 23rd and Taylor 29th here.