Thursday, November 24, 2005

Congrats JHC!

And all this time we thought you were educating yourself in the art of medicine on the shores of St. Georges. Instead, you were educating yourself in the art of Elton John on the shores of his loins. But be proud of yourself and use your real name, instead of David Furnish. Well, either way, congratulations JHC!

inching closer towards free trade

the EU has agreed to trim it's sugar subsidies in an effort to potentiate the upcoming wto meeting in hong kong (part of the doha round). from the FT article:

After three days of talks, the ministers decided to cut the EU’s guaranteed sugar price by 36 per cent over four years. This was instead of an initially envisaged cut of 39 per cent over two years.
...Poland, Latvia and Greece refused to endorse the final compromise.
The EU has 312,000 sugar beet farmers and Brussels currently buys sugar from European producers at €632 a tonne, three times the world market price.
The UK Industrial Sugar Users Group on Thursday deplored last-minute concessions that would still leave the EU price about double the world sugar price. “This deal takes the easy way out by simply dumping increased compensation costs on consumers and industrial users,” it said.

i always wondered about the EU could export so much sugar (the world's number 2 exporter after brazil) w/o having the necessary climate to grow sugarcane, and now i know...sugarbeets.

sugar was also a sticking point in cafta. i like this from the 'truth about trade' article:

Sugar growers and refiners gave $2.4 million in contributions to Democratic and Republican candidates in the 2003-04 election cycle, more than any other agricultural group...The best-known donors are big sugar cane growers in Florida and Louisiana, especially the Fanjul brothers, who come from a family of sugar barons in Cuba (their holdings were expropriated by Fidel Castro) and now produce cane near the Everglades.

Jose "Pepe" Fanjul, president of Florida Crystals Corp., raised enough money for the Bush campaign to gain entry into the elite group of GOP "Rangers." His brother Alfonso, who specializes in contributions to Democrats, gained notoriety during President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial, when it emerged that Fanjul's phone call to the Oval Office had interrupted a presidential meeting with Monica Lewinsky.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

computer's thoughts during endgame

computer's thoughts during endgame
Originally uploaded by jhc.
the mit advertising lab blog points to thinking machine 4, a beautiful chess applet (built on processing) that shows the computer's 'thoughts' during gameplay. definitely check it out...

some other nice information viz links in the original post as well...

flash art

via tim bray, an incremental drawing of a woman, starting with the skeleton...more in tim's post. slightly non-work safe. (ie, pixelated boobs and bush).

Monday, November 21, 2005

non-literacy and technology

jan chipchase, on textually illiteracy and mobile communications technology. very interesting.

BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Smoker tried to open plane door

hilarious, via the bbc:

A French woman has admitted attempting to open an airplane door mid-flight so that she could smoke a cigarette.

Sandrine Helene Sellies, 34, who has a fear of flying, had drunk alcohol and taken sleeping tablets ahead of the flight from Hong Kong to Brisbane.

She was seen on the Cathay Pacific plane walking towards a door with an unlit cigarette and a lighter.

She then began tampering with the emergency exit until she was stopped by a flight attendant.

she then proceeded to send the cathay pacific flight attendant to an ethnic ghetto.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


stephen johnston has a writeup on some happiness literature.

democratizing innovation: chemistry and pharma

to begin, a little background: dr. jean-claude bradley is a chemistry professor at drexel who is very interested in using information technology to augment his didactic efforts (podcasts, screencasts, immersive gaming environments, wikis, blogs etc). he's chronicling these adventures on his excellent blog, drexel coas e-learning.

onwards to the topic at hand: recently, dr. bradley has started the useful chemistry blog, giving his students real world problems to work so that they can apply their knowledge to tangible ends.

for example, he has procured a list of compounds (from the find-a-drug project) with possible anti-malaria and anti-hiv properties. his students have been tasked with finding the most efficient synthetic route to these target compounds, which will then be assayed for efficacy.

very interesting work...i wish i was taught chemistry in this way, and i hope that this model of distributed discovery and innovation will play a large role in improving people's lives.

if the internet has taught me anything...'s that east asians are crazy: from eating silkworm pupae to perfecting the art of spinning pencils on their thumbs, they just really know how to make me scratch my head.

along those lines, check out these beautiful paper structures; each is placed ontop of the the remaining piece of original paper, giving you a peek into their hidden internal architecture. i think they're from korea, but i'm not sure...please enlighten me if you know better. via tom coates.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

business at the bottom of the pyramid

rajesh jain posts on stuart hart's new book, 'capitalism at the crossroads'. here's an excerpt:

Unilever's Indian subsidiary, Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL), provides an interesting glimpse of the development of native capabilities in its efforts to pioneer new markets among the rural poor. HLL requires all employees in India to spend six weeks living in rural villages, actively seeks local consumer insights and preferences as it develops new products, and sources raw materials almost exclusively from local producers. The company also created an R&D center in rural India focused specifically on technology and product development to serve the needs of the poor. HLL uses a wide variety of local partners to distribute its products and also supports the efforts of these partners to build local capabilities. In addition, HLL provides opportunities and training to local entrepreneurs and actively experiments with new types of distribution, such as selling via local product demonstrations and village street theaters.

...Today more than half of HLL's revenues come from customers at the base of the economic pyramid....Even more important, through its new strategy, HLL has created tens of thousands of jobs, improved hygiene and quality of life, and become an accepted partner in development among the poor themselves.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

unevenly distributed future: hong kong

kottke has a great writeup of his trip to hk. the octopus cards were most impressive:

...It's a pay-as-you go stored value put $100 bucks on it and "recharge" the card when it's empty (or when it's even more than long as your balance is positive when you use it, you can go into a HK$35 deficit, which you pay when you recharge the card). You can use it on pratically any public transportation in the city: buses, trains, MTR, trams, ferries, etc. It works with vending machines, at 7-Eleven, McDonald's, Starbucks, and the supermarket. You don't need to take it out of your wallet or purse to use it, just hold it near the sensor. Your card is not tied to your identity...there's no PIN, you can pay cash, they don't need to know your credit card number, SS#, or anything like that. They even make watches and mobile phones that have Octopus built it, so your phone (or watch) becomes your wallet.

tropically depressed

tropical depression 27

tropical depression 27 just rolled through our neighborhood. it was the first of this season's storms to actually effect grenada's weather, and i gotta say, it was mildly shitty for a minute. we got our asses flooded on saturday, and then it was just nonstop rain until today. and the damn thing was 100 miles away: i can't begin to imagine the levels of feces that would have been dropped on our heads if it was an actual hurricane passing directly overhead.

anyway, it was kind of a nice respite from 24/7 sunshine and good vibes. our dorm stanking of wet dog, however, is a minus. now back to our regularly scheduled program...

Monday, November 14, 2005

All Hail

the greatest
Originally uploaded by jhc.
behold: the hines.

whole foods, libertarianism

interesting interview with whole foods ceo john mackey, where he discusses economics, philosophy, and sociology as they relate to business.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

flight patterns

flight patterns
Originally uploaded by jhc.
check out these visualizations of flights over american airspace produced by aaron koblin, [via acts of volition]

Monday, November 07, 2005


After reading this article from about two Carolina Panthers' cheerleaders, I am so for the Pittsburgh Steelers getting cheerleaders, as long as they perform in the men's bathrooms.