Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
Kerviel hid his November losses in a batch of wonderfully fresh croissant.
Kerviel was known to start work as early as nine in the morning and still be at his desk at five or even five-thirty, often with just an hour and a half for lunch.
One colleague said: "He was, how you say, une workaholique. I have a family and a mistress so I would leave the office at around 2pm at the latest, if I wasn't on strike.
"But Jerome was tied to that desk. One day I came back to the office at 3pm because I had forgotten my stupid little hat and there he was, fast asleep on the photocopier.
"At first I assumed he had been having sex with it, but then I remembered he had been working for almost six hours."
As the losses mounted, Kerviel tried to conceal his bad trades by covering them with an intense red wine sauce, later switching to delicate pastry horns.
At one point he managed to dispose of dozens of tranactions by hiding them inside vol-au-vent cases and staging a fake reception.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
ONCE may be a musical, but it is miles away from the traditional Hollywood idea of people bursting into song. Glen Hansard (frontman for indie rock band The Frames) plays the guy, a street musician who is playing for change when he meets the girl (Marketa Irglova), an immigrant from the Czech Republic. The pair immediately bond over their shared love of music and the film chronicles their tentative relationship. Each moment feels stolen from real life, and the story is at once familiar and fresh. Driven more by music than by dialogue, ONCE features a stirring soundtrack of heartfelt indie rock sung by Hansard and Irglova. Before his foray into film, director John Carney (ON THE EDGE) played bass in The Frames, and his passion for music is clear in this modern musical that hits every note perfectly. rottentomato
Watch it or Play it via Amazon (UK or US, take your pick).
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
First, there’s the answer cyclists would have you believe: “We shave our legs in order to clean gravel out of our legs when we fall, and to make it easier for the masseuse to give us a good post-race massage.”
Unfortunately, this answer is a lie.
The honest reason cyclists shave their legs is very simple: vanity. We’ve worked so hard to get the legs we’ve got; we want to show them off.
Why do you wear those clothes?
Cyclists wear tight lycra shorts with a “chamois” — which is French for “diaper-like item that is supposed to keep your butt from being rubbed raw, but doesn’t” - sewn in. The lycra’s job is to keep the chamois in place. The lycra’s secondary job is to make your package fall asleep from being compressed into one place for hours on end.
Cyclists also wear a polyester zip-up “jersey,” a shirt designed to quickly evaporate all the sweat from your upper body, while expertly retaining the stink the sweat creates. Modern jerseys are so well made that they will smell terrible after even one use, and will never release that smell.
Fun fact: The proper way to dispose of an old jersey is to call the local HazMat team, which will properly discard said jersey at the nearest nuclear waste facility.
What’s going on with your shoes?
Really dedicated cyclists never want to be separated from their bicycles, and so have invented special shoes that actually snap on to their pedals. Like ski boot bindings and skis, except for nobody wears ski boots attached to skis in rush hour traffic.
The idea behind these special shoe/pedal combinations is to let cyclists transfer as much power as possible from their legs to their bikes, pulling up on the cranks as well as pushing down on them.
The practical effect is that when cyclists come to a stoplight, there is a 70% chance they will not be able to detach their shoes from their pedals and will fall over sideways. If you ever witness this, be certain to take pictures or hopefully video; there’s nothing quite as memorable as a cyclist wrestling his bike as if it were a rabid badger. You and your family will treasure these images for generations to come.
Sometimes when I’m in my car and pass a cyclist, I get an urge to either shout at the cyclist, honk, or throw a beer bottle. Is that OK?
You bet it is. All we ask is that when you yell at us, you shout slowly and clearly. Even as often as it happens, I have not yet once understood the actual words automotive passengers yell at me as they go by.
I must confess: I feel I am a poorer man for missing these messages.
What’s the point of cycling? I mean, you’re just turning your feet around in a circle. How can you call that a sport? How can you even call that “fun?”
Most cyclists wrestle with this question their entire lives, without ever coming close to the answer. The best I can offer is something a wise man once told me:
“Life is pain. And cycling hurts. A lot.“
Why do you ride in groups? And why do you wear matching outfits?
We ride in groups because we like to imagine that our silly outfits don’t look as silly in a group as they do individually. We wear matching outfits to avoid the likelihood that we’ll otherwise look sillier than one another.
It’s a vicious cycle, and must be broken.
I have met three recumbent cyclists in my lifetime. All three were angry and had beards. Why is this?
A recumbent bicycle is a bicycle that lets the rider sit in a reclining position, rather than in an upright position. “Bent” cyclists, as they like to call themselves, are angry because they are convinced their way of doing things is absolutely correct, but nobody cares or wants to join them.
Nobody wants to join recumbent cyclists, ironically, because recumbent cyclists are so angry.
Recumbent cyclists all have beards, by the way, because they are all also Marxists.
I’ve noticed that road bikes have “drop bars” that curve down so you can grip them much lower than you otherwise would. What What is that low position for?
Cyclists almost always put their hands on the topmost part of handlebars. The sole exception is when they are pretending they are Lance Armstrong. If you see a cyclist riding with his hands “in the drops,” so to speak, you may be assured that he (or she) is conducting a narrative about how he (i.e., Lance Armstrong) is dropping the competition, putting them in a spot of bother, and otherwise forcing them to unpack their suitcase of courage.
I apologize for the weird metaphors. Your cycling friends got them, I promise.
I often hear about doping running rampant in cycling. Are there any clean cyclists out there?
Is cycling all you think about?
No. I also think about eating. And I dedicate a fair amount of time to thinking about eating while cycling. And to what I will eat after I finish cycling. And to how long I have to wait after eating before I can ride.
One of my neighbors is seriously into bike riding and has asked me to join him for an easy ride. Should I go?
Under no circumstances. By “easy ride,” he means that he intends to take you on a four hour tour across three mountain passes. He will ride just a little bit faster than you the entire time, using body language to urge you to keep up. Within two hours your lungs will be burning, your heart will explode and you will wish for death.
Worst of all, he will not realize the misery he has put you through and will tell his riding buddies that he thinks he’s got you “hooked.”
I hear that bike saddles make you impotent. Is that true?
I don’t know. This numb sensation I’ve got down below won’t go away, so it’s difficult for me to find out.
I’m interested in getting into shape and think a bicycle might be a good way to do it. How much money do I need?
You’re in luck. Bikes are relatively inexpensive. You just need a few things to get started: a bicycle, a helmet, bike shorts, bike jerseys, bike socks, bike shoes, floor bike pump, extra tubes, seat bag, tire levers, CO2 cans, CO2 adapter, lube, water bottles, bike rack for the car, bike gloves, bike glasses, energy bars, energy drinks, bike computer, plus a few other accessories.
The great news is all of this together shouldn’t cost much more than a typical Lexus.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Lost 4.9 billion euros ($7.2 billion) before taxes after trader went beyond permitted limits on European stock index futures
Bank of Montreal 2007
Wrong-way bets on natural gas led to a pretax loss of about C$680 million ($663 million)
Amaranth Advisors LLC 2006
Trader Brian Hunter's bad bets on natural gas triggered $6.6 billion of losses
Refco Inc. 2005
Declared bankruptcy after hiding $430 million of debt
China Aviation Oil (Singapore) Corp. 2004
Lost $550 million on speculative oil-futures trades, forcing debt restructuring
Allied Irish Banks Plc 2002
Trader hid $691 million in currency market losses
Plains All American Pipeline LP 1999
Lost $160 million because of unauthorized crude-oil trading by an employee
Long-Term Capital Management 1998
Lost $4 billion after a debt default by Russia
Peregrine Investments Holdings Ltd. 1998
Collapsed from at least $300 million of debt bought from insolvent companies
National Westminster Bank Plc 1997
Disclosed $125 million charge to cover options-trading loss
Deutsche Morgan Grenfell 1996
Fired fund manager Peter Young for unauthorized trading and paid $279 million to bail out investors
Sumitomo Corp. 1996
Disclosed a $2.6 billion loss on unauthorized copper trades by Yasuo Hamanaka
Daiwa Bank 1995
Disclosed a $1.1 billion loss from unauthorized trades
Barings Plc 1995
Collapsed after trader Nick Leeson racked up $1.4 billion in losses
Orange County, California 1994
Lost $1.7 billion from debt and derivatives used to expand its investment fund
Kidder Peabody & Co. 1994
Took a $210 million charge to reflect what it said were false bond trading profits by trader Joseph Jett
Trader Juan Pablo Davila lost more than $200 million speculating on copper
Metallgesellschaft AG 1993
Lost more than $1.5 billion trading oil futures contracts
Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc. 1990
Filed for bankruptcy after pleading guilty to charges of insider trading and stock manipulation
Merrill Lynch & Co. 1987
Mortgage trader accused of racking up $377 million loss in unauthorized trades
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The album is released under the special Creative Commons license that replaces traditional copyright, thereby granting the record buyer the right to freely copy and re-distribute the music and video to all of his or her friends. In other words, the consumer is given the choice to either buy a record in the store or legally download the music for free from Tone's or her record label's website.
The record label is Urlyd, a small Danish independent and the first label in the world to distribute physical sound carriers to retail stores under the Creative Commons license. The concept is to embrace illegal piracy by making it legal, seeing this as an advantage in the sense that it will enable more people to experience Tone's music."If people enjoy what I do, they can support me by buying the record in the stores. This will give them the video part as well. But otherwise I hope they will download the music for free just to check out what I do."
|1|| ||My Mind Exploded||03:40|
|2|| ||Wake Me Up||03:48|
|4|| ||Open Secret||04:16|
|5|| ||Work It||04:54|
|6|| ||How Hard Do You Try||03:59|
|8|| ||Sounds Like A New Number 3||01:58|
|9|| ||I Am Long||04:10|
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Video: Electrocute yourself
Article: Compex Sport is a scary, yet oddly compelling, device
New center for skiers offers more space for visitors to relax; friendly to families, but many slopes also for intermediate, advanced skiers (452)
2 Niseco Grand Hirafu (Kucchan, Hokkaido)
Slopes offer good powder for beginners, advanced skiers alike; offers dramatic view of Mt. Yotei; town's streets have international feel due to presence of many foreigners, mostly Australians (429 )
3 Nozawa Onsen (Nozawa Onsen-mura, Nagano Prefecture)
Gentle slopes for beginners command magnificent view; old inns with hot springs create distinguished atmosphere (354)
4 Appi Kogen (Hachimantai City, Iwate Prefecture)
Offers long runs that are not too technical; area dotted with spas; has hotel directly linked to ski slope as well as nearby rental units, small inns (310)
5 Lake Tazawa (Semboku City, Akita Prefecture)
Runs offer striking view of Lake Tazawa; hot spring village boasts otherworldly atmosphere with both old and new spas (305)
6 Hakuba Goryu (Hakuba-mura, Nagano Prefecture)
Beds for quick naps and rooms can be rented; lift tickets can also be used at neighboring Hakuba47 resort (300)
7 Rusutsu (Rusutsu-mura, Hokkaido)
Vast area surrounded by three mountains provides excellent long runs; massive facility also caters to shoppers, other holidaymakers; hot spring facilities opened from this year (268)
8 Sahoro (Shintoku-cho, Hokkaido)
Offers Club Med hotels for European atmosphere, as well as Sahoro Resort Hotel for quiet relaxation (246)
9 Alts Bandai (Bandai-machi, Fukushima Prefecture)
Famous for local curry dish; diners who voice dissatisfaction with curry upon first taste receive refund; parking space, restaurant tables can be reserved in advance (242)
10 Blanche Takayama (Nagawa-machi, Nagano Prefecture)
No snowboarding allowed; boasts excellent facilities, ski schools for children; food is also good; upper slopes for intermediate skiers have deep snowpack (238)
10 Shiga Kogen Yakebitai-yama (Yamanouchi-machi, Nagano Prefecture)
Quiet slopes dotted with stately trees offer magnificent, relaxing view; long runs with gentle turns fun for leisurely cruising (238)
These resorts were ranked based on reviews by 22 "experts" and the results of an on-site questionnaire survey. The questionnaires, which were mailed to about 90 major ski resorts with daycare facilities, asked the resorts questions on such topics as the stock of rental items and maintenance of amusement facilities for kids, toilets, and bathing facilities. The answers to these questions were then rated.
Each reviewer was asked to provide a top 10 ranking of ski resorts they felt provide a comfortable environment for beginner and intermediate skiers. They emphasized family-friendly services over the skiing conditions, and large, well-known ski resorts dominated the top positions.
Friday, January 18, 2008
"will soon be forgotten: after all, there was a national outcry by the civil liberties movement when the idea of a police force was mooted in the UK in the mid 19th century.
..you might reflect that you don't really want to be part of this heavily-funded programme to create an arid global virtual republic, where your own self and your relationships with your friends are converted into commodites on sale to giant global brands. You may decide that you don't want to be part of this takeover bid for the world."
I think in future information we currently deem to be personal will be in the public domain. Facebook will target advertise, but then Google has been logging all your web searches since they started in order to do exactly the same. To name just two. This is inevitable. I endeavour to embrace it. To a degree. This article actually had me thinking about trying to delete my Facebook account. I wonder (and hope) that these huge global all encompassing fads (such as Facebook, Big Brother, Pop Idol, reality shows) will flare out. I want bespoke tailored goods and services. Steve Jobs recently stated that people don't read anymore (in response to questions regarding whether apple would compete with the amazon kindle).
Thursday, January 17, 2008
“You’re communicating with phantoms,” Mr. Siegel said. “Everyone is presenting themselves in a fraudulent fashion to make themselves be one thing or another. If they really lead to fulfilling relationship and connections, then there’s nothing wrong with joining these sites. I just question how often they do it.”
“I feel for people who have been on MySpace, Friendster and Facebook and have wasted all this time building this shrine to themselves, which, let’s face it, is what all these social networking sites are,” Ms. Riley said. “They own a space in the World Wide Web.” But, “me, I feel just sort of lost in it.”
Mr. Goldstein, the publicist, also proclaimed himself oppressed by the electronic faux-bonhomie of Facebook. “It’s important to me to be able to spend time without people,” he said. “That seems to me like a good thing and not something to be afraid of. Maybe that’s what people are so scared of, facing the anxiety of their own mind.”
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
My cholesterol is high.. freaks me out. A bit.
MacBook Air Y225,000 1.8GHz 2GB RAM 80GB 4200rpm HD
MacBook Y192,500 2.2GHz 2GB RAM 250GB 5400rpm HD
MacBook Pro Y315,500 2.6GHz 2GB RAM 200GB 7200rpm HD
Powerbook 1.67GHz 1GB RAM 250GB 5400rpm HD
Now as would normally be the case in these circumstances I woud pull out the AMEX and go with the most costly, highest spec choice. However, I was waiting for the rumoured ultra-portable to be announced as the thought if something highly portable in terms of size and weight was very appealing. Now that it has I am a little underwhelmed at the specs. An upgraded MacBook looks like a better bet to me. White or Black though?
Click the pic for a full slideshow
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
The Nordica “Master the Mountain Coordinator” is set up with one of the new Subaru/Nordica Official Vehicles, a trailer full of Nordica Demos and gets to hit the road to some of the best ski areas in the West. Each week, the responsibilities are to conduct professional consumer demos at each scheduled event and manage the demo fleet. Between events lies an unbelievable opportunity to ski some unbelievable terrain and get to know some of the best ski towns in the USA.If you are looking for an opportunity to get into the manufacturer’s side of the industry and are a well spoken, responsible individual, we have a great job for you.
If you are interested, please send a brief resume to firstname.lastname@example.org."
Crikey, that will be a full inbox. I wonder how my CV will go down :)
washingtonpost good article
In normal circumstances, it is hard to get excited about insoles but these ones had a remote control. Any clothing with a remote control is exciting.
..the hours wore on and the least well-equipped members of the group started to whimper, I remained almost disturbingly immune to the deteriorating conditions. The lesson from my Peak District adventure was clear. Flashy kit is not a waste of money. I can’t tell you that it’s the difference between life and death. But it’s close. It wasn’t me, after all, that stopped in a muddy, windswept field on the brink of tears, no longer able to feel anything important, and say: “You lot carry on. I’m just going to stay here. I can’t pedal any more. Just leave. I’ll be all right.”"
OR without the spending..
" The cheapest tip is to put newspaper under your jersey, a trick used by early Tour de France competitors, though it can quickly get soggy Put a layer of aluminium foil under your insoles for extra insulation Cycle against the wind on the way out and with it on the way back.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Then I came across this article, within which the following quote stood out for me..
I really like the bespoke-ness of the magazine, but I too doubt it is a viable business. If there are only 5000 subscribers as the article states, then I may not even have the option to re-subscribe. We shall see.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
In any case, whoever ends up in the oval office will preside over one king-hell of a clusterfuck. In the immortal words of TV's erstwhile "Mr. T," I pity da fool who gets elected into this mess. There will be a whole continent full of bankrupt, re-poed, and idle former WalMart shoppers, many of them with half of their skin tattooed and many of that bunch all revved up to "roll heavy and gun up" against the folks who screwed them.Which leads me to my penultimate observation of the moment: 2008 will be the year that celebrity wealth goes into hiding. A land full of people crying into their foreclosure notices will take a dim view of the Donald Trumps and P. Diddys luxuriating out there and may come looking for scalps -- though in the case of Mr. Trump they'll be sorry they woke up the wolverine that lives on his head. Basically, though, I'm not kidding. Conspicuous displays of wealth will be so "out" that Mr. Diddy might take to club-hopping in a 1999 Mazda."
Monday, January 07, 2008
By Wayne Curtis NYTimes
CONGRATULATIONS ON SELECTING SEAT 21C! This manual is intended to familiarize you with the many options available to you.
Before BUCKLING in, please note that the man standing in the aisle next to you is about to make a request. He wonders if it would be okay for you to switch seats with his wife, who is in the middle seat three rows ahead. She is the one seated between the former linebacker and the canola oil salesman, and is peering over the seatbacks at you with wide and imploring eyes.
The man will ask this in a voice sufficiently loud that all passengers seated within several rows will look up from their sudoku puzzles and await your answer. If you say no, the passengers will all wonder: Why do you hate married people? You must be a bitter and lonely person. Note also that there is no overhead luggage space three rows ahead, so you will have to wait for the entire plane to empty to come back and retrieve your bags. Have a good flight up at 18E!
Once permanently seated, grasp both ends of SEAT BELT and press firmly together. If you hear only a dull metallic clanking sound rather than a smart “click,” extend half of the seat belt to your seatmate and awkwardly suggest that he must be sitting on your half.
If you would like a small and insubstantial PILLOW and cannot locate one, ring the flight attendant call button located directly overhead. If the flight attendant does not appear within five seconds, press the button repeatedly and with increasing urgency. If the flight attendant tells you no more are available, wait five minutes and repeat process.
On either side of you is an ARMREST. If you look down and see that it is currently occupied by the ham-sized elbow of your seatmate, it is often possible to claim your space by simply pressing your clammy forearm against his with a casualness that suggests that you hadn’t noticed that you were even touching. (Note: this is effective chiefly in man-to-man seating configurations.)
Ahead of you is the marsupial-like SEAT BACK POUCH. In it you will find a magazine featuring ads for foreign language software favored by farm boys hoping to impress hot Italian models; an emergency evacuation card depicting families who seem disturbingly calm for people about to abandon a sinking airliner for a shark-filled ocean; stray bits of Life Saver foil; and a boarding pass stub from someone named Richard from Ohio.
Also, you will find the SKYMALL CATALOG, from which you may order a product called “Poop Freeze,” described as a spray refrigerant that “chills animal waste to -62°F, creating an outer ‘crust’ that enables you to quickly place in a bag and dispose.” Feel free to spend the remainder of the flight trying to process this information.
Once the plane is airborne, you may RECLINE YOUR SEATBACK by pressing the button inside the armrest. If you chose not to recline, be aware that the person ahead of you will soon do so fully and abruptly, causing sharp discomfort on and around the patella but rewarding you with a panoramic view of several acres of scalp. You may mitigate this situation, at least psychologically, with a loud and audibly moist “sneeze,” or by directing your personal air jet to the top of the encroaching head.
Directly ahead of you is the TRAY TABLE, which may be lowered for “snack service.” The circular depression in the upper right corner is for your plastic cup, an item you may find oddly wide-mouthed for something conveying sticky beverages in an environment subject to sudden and dramatic up-and-down and to-and-fro motions. Also, note the cup is designed such that empty mylar pretzel pellet bags stuffed in them to facilitate trash collection will not remain there, but will repeatedly and mesmerizingly creep back out and onto the tray table.
Once the plane arrives at its destination, be aware that your SEATBELT BUCKLE is specially designed to disengage most efficiently if you place your hand on it for several minutes prior to arrival at the gate. The instant the seat belt sign is turned off and the soft gong sounds, snap it open vigorously, then swiftly stand up and lunge for the overhead bins. Those seated on the aisle should immediately advance one or two rows before others crowd in and hinder forward motion. Those in window seats should also stand immediately, adapting the attractively hunched Cro-Magnon stance under the luggage bins for the 12 minutes before your row is released for deplaning.
We hope that you find your seat comfortable and your flight pleasant. We know you have a choice of many other seats, and we thank you for choosing SEAT 21C.
Thought this had some funny bits.. back from Bali.. was great fun.. great holiday.. sooo happy to back at the office.. not. It IS nice to be back with the dogs though.