Saturday, July 30, 2011

Raining outside, dinner inside

New Michelin boots

Hard masters swim this morning, lots of IM, then breakfast, now waiting for the car to get new boots fitted.

Waiting room has local tv and inevitably there is a cute girl saying "Oishi" about food. Back to Twitter.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Debt


Where's your Kapitall?

"1. The European government budget problems are much bigger than everyone thinks and is highly linked to banks and dangerous.
2. US Bank stocks are a buy and making enough money now to dig themselves out of the losses they had over the past three years
3. GOLD IS IN A BUBBLE! Bubbles always go on way longer than once you realize it’s a bubble. It’s not time to short but ok to sell.
4. Real Estate Investment Trusts are way overvalued. Check out the chart below of the Dow Jones REIT ETF
5. The U.S. stock market is fairly valued
6. The U.S. debt showdown is not as scary as the politicians are spinning it to be. Everyone will still go to work, the gas station will have gas, your kids will still love you etc.
7. European Banks are in trouble. It’s worth repeating."

David Neubert - Kapitall.com


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why the debt ceiling?

The truth is that the United States doesn’t need, and shouldn’t have, a debt ceiling. Every other democratic country, with the exception of Denmark, does fine without one. There’s no debt limit in the Constitution. And, if Congress really wants to hold down government debt, it already has a way to do so that doesn’t risk economic chaos—namely, the annual budgeting process. The only reason we need to lift the debt ceiling, after all, is to pay for spending that Congress has already authorized. If the debt ceiling isn’t raised, we’ll face an absurd scenario in which Congress will have ordered the President to execute two laws that are flatly at odds with each other. If he obeys the debt ceiling, he cannot spend the money that Congress has told him to spend, which is why most government functions will be shut down. Yet if he spends the money as Congress has authorized him to he’ll end up violating the debt ceiling.

In the past few years, the U.S. economy has been beset by the subprime meltdown, skyrocketing oil prices, the Eurozone debt crisis, and even the Tohoku earthquake. Now it’s staring at a new problem—a failure to raise the debt ceiling, which would almost certainly throw the economy back into recession. Unlike those other problems, however, this one would be wholly of our own making. If the economy suffers as a result, it’ll be what a soccer fan might call the biggest own goal in history.

As it happens, the debt ceiling, which was adopted in 1917, did have a purpose once—it was a way for Congress to keep the President accountable. These days, the debt limit actually makes the President less accountable to Congress, not more: if the ceiling isn’t raised, it’s President Obama who will be deciding which bills get paid and which don’t, with no say from Congress.

In reality, debt-ceiling votes merely perpetuate the illusion that balancing the budget is easy. That’s why politicians like the debt ceiling: it allows them to rail against borrowing more money (which voters hate) without having to vote to cut any specific programs or raise taxes (which voters also hate).

By turning dealmaking into a game of chicken, the debt ceiling favors fanaticism.

We may nonetheless end up with a halfway sensible budget deal. But that would be the result of luck, not design. Instead of figuring out ways to raise the debt ceiling, we should simply go ahead and abolish it. The U.S. economy has plenty of real problems to deal with. We shouldn’t have to wrestle with ones we’ve created for ourselves.

Smash the Ceiling - James Surowiecki - The New Yorker

TdF recap







via The Big Picture, Part 1, Part 2

"More than any other sport, bicycling has been linked to drugs. Podium finishers in nearly every Tour over at least the last two decades have failed drug tests, admitted to doping or been linked to high-profile investigations.

Viewers have tended to regard the winners with a bit of disbelief.

But the sport appears to have turned the corner and is regaining some credibility, thanks to the antidoping efforts of a new generation of riders, managers and fans. There is, as yet, no conclusive proof of this, as one cannot prove a negative. Still, we now believe that cycling is cleaner than it has been at any time since 1990.

Most telling has been the noticeable slowing down in performances in the crucial mountain stages."



"Wasn't this supposed to be a Tour to Ignore?

Who had the stomach for another gut punch? Professional cycling had tormented its fan base. Repeated performance-enhancing scandals, apologies, accusations, investigations and denials had cast too many long, inexcusable shadows over a beautiful sport. It was hard to compartmentalize, to rationalize, to believe. And forget about defending a cycling habit to baffled friends.

The 2011 Tour de France appeared skippable. Alberto Contador was returning as defending champion and a heavy favorite, even though in early August, he would face a hearing on doping charges lingering from last year.

But the 2011 Tour proved to be refreshing and unpredictable, and utterly worth it."



Monday, July 25, 2011

What next?

"Apple is to the post-PC era what Microsoft and Intel combined were for the PC era. They control the dominant software platform and reap the majority of the profits from hardware. When people argue that Apple has somehow already grown as big as it can get, they’re not seeing the size of the opportunity that remains ahead. Imagine how big a combined Microsoft and Intel would have been 20 years ago. Then consider that the post-PC/mobile market is going to be bigger than the PC market."

iPad and the Opportunity Ahead - Daring Fireball

And then consider China. And India.

Count the Correct Calorie

“This study shows that conventional wisdom — to eat everything in moderation, eat fewer calories and avoid fatty foods — isn’t the best approach,” Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health and lead author of the study, said in an interview. “What you eat makes quite a difference. Just counting calories won’t matter much unless you look at the kinds of calories you’re eating.”

Still Counting Calories? Your Weight-Loss Plan May Be Outdated - NYT

Panda on the brink of extinction

"The other evening I went to the cinema to see Kung Fu Panda, imagining it would be a charming animated morality play about a small Fiat. The film annoyed me slightly, but not as much as the cost of the pick’n’mix.

Being an ascetic sort of bloke, I didn’t take much:­ two bananas, two pink prawns, one fondant-filled bootlace, a single liquorice allsort sandwich and one teaspoonful each of jazz discs, jelly beans and chocolate raisins. This little lot was barely visible in the corner of the Montgolfier-designed paper bag they give you, so imagine my astonishment when it came to £1.47.

I realise nothing ages me quite like complaining about the price of sweets, but flippin’ Norah – £1.47! I’d eaten the lot long before we’d reached the end of the forthcoming feature attractions. So to keep myself amused, I performed a calculation and concluded that pick’n’mix works out at about £330 a gallon.

Next to that, 97 RON looks like cracking value.

In the future of transport I can imagine petrol and pistons being used for fun, and electricity and electric motors being used for moving around.

This is the great paradox of the transport and energy debate. If I’m right, then the future of my Porsche Boxster is assured. Weirdly, it’s my Fiat Panda that will become extinct."

A Panda on the brink of extinction - James May

102rpm

Bit like Cadel Evans?

"The 109,000-horsepower Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C, which first set sail in the Emma Mærsk in 2006, weighs in at a rotund 2,300 tons, and it's 44-feet tall and 90-feet long. It has 14 cylinders that each consume 6.5-ounces of diesel fuel every cycle. The massive mill churns at only 102 rpm.

So far there are 25 such engines patrolling the world's oceans, and another 86 are on the way."

World's largest diesel engine makes 109,000 horsepower - Autoblog

Friday, July 22, 2011

Space Shuttle: The complete missions



"NASA's 30-year Space Transportation System (STS) program came to an end on 21st July 2011. The Space Shuttle fleet delivered the Hubble Space Telescope, the International Space Station, and dozens of satellites, space probes, crew and supplies. Two Shuttles were lost: Challenger in 1986 and Columbia in 2003. The touchdown of Atlantis at Kennedy Space Center marked the end of an era, after 135 missions. This video shows all of them in chronological order. http://www.nature.com/spaceshuttle"

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Paradox of Tolerance

"The tolerance paradox arises from a problem that a tolerant person might be antagonistic toward intolerance, hence intolerant of it. The tolerant individual would then be by definition intolerant of intolerance. This problem is at the heart of the dilemma faced by pluralist societies who wish to embrace diversity, but in doing so ostensibly exclude those who do not embrace diversity, which includes a large portion of the world's population."

via Wikipedia

Americanisms

"Britain is a very distinct country from the US. Not better, not worse, different. And long live that difference. That means maintaining the integrity of our own gloriously nuanced, subtle and supple version - the original version - of the English language."

Viewpoint: Why do some Americanisms irritate people? - BBC

The article brought many responses, as British readers shared their pet peeves about the language as spoken by Americans. Some are just examples of bad grammar.

2. The next time someone tells you something is the “least worst option”, tell them that their most best option is learning grammar. Mike Ayres, Bodmin, Cornwall

40.I am increasingly hearing the phrase “that’ll learn you” – when the English (and more correct) version was always “that’ll teach you”. What a ridiculous phrase! Tabitha, London

41. I really hate the phrase: “Where’s it at?” This is not more efficient or informative than “where is it?” It just sounds grotesque and is immensely irritating. Adam, London

While others are purely cultural differences.

14. I caught myself saying “shopping cart” instead of shopping trolley today and was thoroughly disgusted with myself. I’ve never lived nor been to the US either. Graham Nicholson, Glasgow

18. Take-out rather than takeaway! Simon Ball, Worcester

29. I’m a Brit living in New York. The one that always gets me is the American need to use the word bi-weekly when fortnightly would suffice just fine. Ami Grewal, New York

36. Surely the most irritating is: “You do the Math.” Math? It’s MATHS. Michael Zealey, London

And a couple are just inexplicable.

20. “A half hour” instead of “half an hour”. EJB, Devon

44. My brother now uses the term “season” for a TV series. Hideous. D Henderson, Edinburgh

Americanisms: 50 of your most noted examples - BBC

via Neatorama

Murdoch

via DxM
"Once the media business made the collective decision to always put money above editorial judgment, I think scandals like the News of the World affair became inevitable. Because once media companies abandoned the notion that their business was somehow different from other money-making businesses, that there were no longer places they wouldn’t go to generate product, it became inevitable that the corporate media game would become nothing more than an all-out, relentless quest for sensational, titillating material."

How Rupert Murdoch Dragged Media Into the Swamp - Rolling Stone - Matt Taibbi

More Tour

Loving this photo blog blog.onev.com.au

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Eco-office

Thor de France

Sweet Stage Sixteen.. brilliant stuff from Thor, plus Contador woke up and Schleck the younger spat the dummy.

"The next three days will be the strongest possible test of Leopard’s mantra – True Racing. At the moment, all they are doing is True Chasing. Evans and Contador have got them on the run." Son of the Manse - Cycle Sport

Looking forward to the last few stages.

Meanwhile read Consistent Cav, an exceptional talent - BBC and Nobody Suffers Like Jens Voigt - WSJ

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

During

Before

Posting

Current in the middle of a house move in Tokyo. Boxes everywhere. Quite exciting to have a new place after 8yrs in the old apartment, but some nostalgia too. Bittersweet feelings. Swam this morning and managed to visit Ikea solo to purchase 590kg of stuff according to the delivery clerk. Yikes. That'll be a lot of flatpack constructing come Friday then. Most importantly, Jimmy from Shinagawa is now Jimmy from Moto-Azabu but think we'll keep the old title for now. :)

Sent from my telephone

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Friday, July 08, 2011

Socially Awkward

"Rule No. 1 when launching a social network: Make everyone wait in line.

Rule No. 2 is to deliver a better service.

Google+ is a chance for social networkers to start over."

Google Makes Facebook Look Socially Awkward - WSJ


"For all the wonder and power that Google+ appears to offer, it is yet to be seen how big of a hit it will be with users. I´m betting, however, that users will indeed enjoy the new Google+ quite a bit. The stock market is definitely giving Google an initial plus. Google´s stock is up on the order of 12% since Google+ was first launched.

If Google+ does indeed take off, Twitter would appear to be in some serious trouble, and hundreds of other Silicon Valley darlings are likely to become obsolete. On the flip side, thousands of new ideas and startups will be given a new platform and partner with which to make their mark on the world.

For Facebook, the launch of Google+ is a wake up call to innovate even faster, and a mandate to treat users and their privacy better. Facebook is a nimble company, with tons of smart people and they won´t take this new threat lying down. But the threat is real, and it appears to be a powerful one. Facebook will have to scramble.

As for Google, the launch of Google+ is a shrewd move, especially for a company that has failed so poorly in the social space in the past. Google + is as much an effort to make Google´s own products better and more useful as it is an attempt to thwart the Facebook threat. As such, even if Google+ is unable to compete head on with Facebook, it is still likely to represent a big win for Google´s products and its users. I say plus to that."

Google+ is Awesome. Facebook Maimed, Twitter Mortally Wounded? - Singularity Hub

"So far, Twitter has been a case study in how a really good idea can survive the benign neglect of its originators. But eventually, with enough fumbling, even good ideas can be superseded. The latest writing on the wall: no sooner had Google unveiled the new Google+ service last week than its deal to pay Twitter to include tweets in its search service lapsed.

For now, tweets remain the intellectual currency of the digerati, and the links they carry have become a human index of the real-time web."

Second chances running out for a re-tweet- FT

Good riddance

Rupert Murdoch acts to limit fallout - Guardian

Murdoch to Close Tabloid Amid Fury - NYT

Thursday, July 07, 2011

After Dark trailer

Rapha-quette

• At cafés, bars and pubs cyclists must always sit outside, no matter what the season. Why? Well it looks more European and you can keep an eye on your bike, but mainly because there is no place for Lycra in a public bar and a nice Sunday-lunching family does not need to stare at your ugly lunchbox.

• Cyclist’s tan; brown forearms, brown shins and calves, brown nose, ears and cheeks, brown stripe on back of neck, dry, chapped lips, brown fingertips, sunburned triangle at sternum, weird little brown circles adjacent to the thumb where there’s a gap in the mitts. Everything else – feet, ankles, tummy, thighs, forehead, hands etc; sparkling white.

• Cycling, like rock ‘n’ roll and flower-arranging, is an alpha male lingua franca. You can bond with like-minded riders and tag onto club rides all over the world. But when not in the company of fellow cyclists, the first rule of cycling club should always be: don’t talk about cycling club. All road cyclists should have plenty of non-roadie friends who have absolutely no idea what they get up to of a Sunday morning. And that’s just the way we like to keep it. Why? Well, non-cyclists simply don’t understand us. In fact, they think we are weird. (To be honest, we are… a bit.)

• Always black shorts. White shorts are for aerobics teachers.

More here

The World Map Of Useless Stereotypes

NYT
Useless?

Fetch

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A lost generation

"The political and economic impact is pretty staggering." Free Exchange

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Wartime hotel journalism

"It is a measure of how bad security is in Afghanistan that it turns out to be more dangerous to stay in the Intercontinental today than it was then.

Full protection against suicide bombers is almost impossible. It will have occurred to most of the ill-paid guards on checkpoint duty, be they in Kabul or Baghdad, that medals for success in stopping suicide bombers are likely to be posthumous. If they do identify a bomber at a distance they might open fire, but at close range it is more in their interest to wave him on than try to stop or shoot him.

When I lived in the much-bombed al-Hamra hotel in Baghdad, three friendly and jocular guards would minutely search my car every time I returned to the hotel. When I asked them if this was really necessary, they explained they did it "because we know you are not a suicide bomber, but by searching your car carefully we can earn our pay without any danger. When there is a really suspicious car, only one of us does the searching while the others take shelter."

Patrick Cockburn: Don't expect top room service, or information, in a war zone

Making the Range Rover Evoque

Monday, July 04, 2011

Friday, July 01, 2011