Friday, March 30, 2012

Tweet Police

"It’s better to have arguments out in the open. Not just better in theory but in practice too.

The British state has moved far beyond the good, old advice that ‘the best answer to bad arguments is better arguments’."

The tweet police - Spectator

The Daily Mail

"In Britain, unlike in the United States, television tends to be a dignified affair, while print is berserk and shouty. The Mail is like Fox in the sense that it speaks to, and for, the married, car-driving, homeowning, conservative-voting suburbanite.

The Mail presents itself as the defender of traditional British values, the voice of an overlooked majority whose opinions inconvenience the agendas of metropolitan élites. To its detractors, it is the Hate Mail, goading the worst curtain-twitching instincts of an island nation, or the Daily Fail, fuelling paranoia about everything from immigration to skin conditions.

The Mail is the most powerful newspaper in Great Britain. A middle-market tabloid, with a daily readership of four and a half million, it reaches four times as many people as the Guardian, while being taken more seriously than the one paper that outsells it, the Sun. In January, its Web arm, Mail Online, surpassed that of the New York Times as the most visited newspaper site in the world, drawing fifty-two million unique visitors a month."


Hate it. Lowest common denominator drivel.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Metal Map

via Copyranter




Guilty of being an idiot

"Our children and their children will conduct their lives online in a way we can hardly imagine"

"Spite and impotent fury should not be allowed to hide under the magnificent cloak of free speech."

"The Muamba-Stacey case feels like a watershed. Is it, as some have claimed, a wild over-reaction to a drunken lout and an attack on free speech? Or does it mark the moment when society decided it had finally had enough and began to enforce some rules of decency in the lawless bandit country of the internet? Guardians of unfettered expression may react to Liam Stacey’s conviction with that oft-quoted defence of the offensive, “I disapprove of what you say, but I defend to the death your right to say it”. Not me. Not when I’ve seen for myself how the anything-goes online culture is a bullies’ charter, emboldening raucously amoral people to terrorise the weak, insult the strong and desecrate the dead."

The curse of the internet trolls - Telegraph

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fukushima: Alone in a Nuclear Zone

Birth of a book

Easter Eggs

Via xkcd

The Business of War

"SOFEX takes place every two years in Amman, and is largely the brainchild of Jordan’s king, Abdullah II, who has a penchant for special operations and massive displays of artillery. Over the course of a week, more than 12,000 attendees tromped around 30-odd tents staked across the desert, hosting approximately 300 vendors. The atmosphere was insidious but open, an organized free-for-all in which American companies like Northrop Grumman, Boeing, and General Dynamics sold weapons to almost anyone who could afford them."



Via Scott Adam's Blog

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tipping Point

"The skeptics have decided that evidence isn't really evidence -- it's a grand conspiracy of thousands to fool the public -- so no amount of evidence will matter. Nevertheless, this is worth noting:
Global Warming Close to Becoming Irreversible, by Nina Chestney, Scientific American: The world is close to reaching tipping points that will make it irreversibly hotter..."
"Global Warming Close to Becoming Irreversible" - Economist's View

1. Does irreversible = catastrophic?

2. The long time periods involved with the Global Warming issue means that nothing will get done inside the framework that we provide for a democratic elected leaders. It's a long term problem that cannot be fixed with short term interests of get elected, etc. Much like the global financial debt situation, this is another issue that will get kicked down the road again and again. Would you give up your car(s)?


"IN ANCIENT Greek mythology, a three-headed dog guards the gates of hell and prevents the damned from leaving. It's not a bad metaphor for the present euro crisis, as Jay Shambaugh makes clear in a paper presented as part of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, entitled "The euro's three crises". The single currency is saddled with not one but three serious problems, he explains: a banking crisis, a debt crisis, and a growth crisis:
"Crucially, these crises connect to one another. Bailouts of banks have contributed to the sovereign debt problems, but banks are also at risk due to their holdings of sovereign bonds that may face default. Weak growth contributes to the potential insolvency of the sovereigns, but also, the austerity inspired by the debt crisis is constraining growth. Finally, a weakened banking sector holds back growth while a weak economy undermines the banks. This paper details the three crises, their interconnections, and possible policy solutions. Unless policy responses take into account the interdependent nature of the problems, partial solutions will likely be incomplete or even counterproductive."
So far, the euro zone has made the least progress in addressing the growth corner of this triple crisis."

A three-headed beast - The Economist

Monday, March 26, 2012


"The drinking was reduced, although I was getting a bit bored with it anyway, once I had children, and realised that 5.30am starts in the company of tiny people with squeaky voices were not compatible with a hangover: it was like a headachey Dorothy being mobbed by Munchkins."

Comfort eating and drinking is costing us our lives - Telegraph

Plus what it does to your ability to get up and exercise early morning. Not bored of it over here though.


"Although it is possible to become healthier by exercising, long daily sedentary periods cause a health risk despite physical activity."

Exercise Is Not Enough for Sedentary Workers - Science Daily

That's just great. Not.

Friday, March 23, 2012


  • He’s had a Thump over the Head with Sampson’s Jawbone
  • Sir Richard has taken off his Considering Cap
  • Knows not the way Home
  • He carries too much Sail
  • The Malt is above the Water

and many more.. Ben Franklin’s 200+ Synonyms for “Drunk” - Mental Floss


"There was a lot of bawdy humour in this business, absolutely. In particular before it all got Americanised, trading floors in the City could be horrendously politically incorrect. You'd have this melting pot with on your right someone remotely connected to the English aristocracy, on your left someone with a PhD in maths, and further down an ex-plumber. One of them would have Crohn's disease, so he'd break wind constantly. He'd take his shoes off during work. Then he'd put them back on, saying 'I am going to look at a Frenchman', and off he was to the loo. I miss that camaraderie, the fun of it.

It was a great time. You've got moments of intense panic and excitement, interspersed with long periods of boredom when there's not much going on. You do go through some wild times together and it breeds a great kind of camaraderie.

We were doing it for the money, all of us. But it was also a great laugh in its own right."

Equity derivatives salesman: 'The fun got squeezed out of it. That's why I quit' - Guardian

Captain Hook

Made from approximately 500,000 fish hooks, individually hammered in. The piece took around 6 months of work with the help of 30 assistants divided over different sessions. Yoan Capote

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race 2012

via The Big Picture

Is a Calorie a Calorie?

"The “calorie is a calorie” argument is widely used by the processed food industry to explain that weight loss isn’t really about what you eat but about how many calories you eat. But if it were just about calories, you could eat only sugar and be fine. In fact, you’d die: sugar lacks essential nutrients.

“There are dozens of factors involved in weight regulation. It’s hard to lose weight, because the body is set up to defend fat, so you don’t starve to death; the body doesn’t work as well to tell people to stop eating as when to tell them when to start.”

“If you’re eating a lot of fruits and vegetables,” Nestle says, “you’re not taking in as many calories as you would if you were eating fast food and sodas.” Yes, that’s a calorie issue; the latter group is way higher in calories than the former. But though there’s a difference between eat less and eating better, “eating better makes it much easier to eat less.”"

Is a Calorie a Calorie? - NYT

The Best Nanny Money Can Buy

"According to Pavillion’s vice president, Seth Norman Greenberg, a nanny increases her market value if she speaks fluent French (or, increasingly, Mandarin); can cook a four-course meal (and, occasionally, macrobiotic dishes); and ride, wash and groom a horse. Greenberg has also known families to prize nannies who can steer a 32-foot boat, help manage an art collection or, in one case, drive a Zamboni to clean a private ice rink.

As one of New York City’s elite nannies, Muneton commanded around $180,000 a year — plus a Christmas bonus and a $3,000-a-month apartment on Central Park West.

But price is useless — or worse, misleading — in differentiating among the adequate. I’ve often assumed that a $40 bottle of wine is twice as good as a $20 bottle even though the American Association of Wine Economists has essentially proved that the price of wine has almost no bearing on enjoyment. When nonconnoisseurs buy an expensive bottle, they’re acting like new parents hiring a nanny: they’re basically paying for a false sense of assurance. Or hoping to impress somebody."

The Best Nanny Money Can Buy - NYT

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New Policy

Via Greg Mankiw

Yesterday reading

"For years, physicians and scientists have been aware that statins, the most widely prescribed drugs in the world, can cause muscle aches and fatigue in some patients. What many people don’t know is that these side effects are especially pronounced in people who exercise."

Do Statins Make It Tough to Exercise? - Well - NYT

"Thanks to the Elder Index, I now know that if I were a single adult over age 65 in good but not excellent health, renting a one-bedroom apartment in Essex County, N.J. — where I actually do live, and where in a few years I will most likely be that reasonably healthy old person — I would have to pay $28,200 a year to meet my basic needs."

The Future: No Lattes, No Movies - NYT

"SPEAKING two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world. But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter."

Why Bilinguals Are Smarter - NYT

Monday, March 19, 2012


Funky Monkey

"But ever since this idea popped into my head, I couldn't help but try to make it for the fun of it to see what it would look like if Charlton Heston found a few glowsticks, turntables, and an insatiable urge to dance."

New adage

Prices from March 16, 2008 — the day Bear Stearns went belly up — to today, March 16, 2012.

JPMorgan Chase +22.3%
Wells Fargo +19.8%
Goldman Sachs (21.5%)
NYSE Euronext (50.1%)
Morgan Stanley (50.7%)
Bank of America (74.1%)
Citigroup (81.7%)

To Hell with the Rumor, Sell the News (Bear Collapse) - TBP

Camp 14

"His name is now Shin Dong-hyuk. His overall physical health is excellent. His body, though, is a roadmap of the hardships of growing up in a labour camp that the North Korean government insists does not exist. Stunted by malnutrition, he is short and slight – 5ft 6in and about 120lb (8.5 stone). His arms are bowed from childhood labour. His lower back and buttocks are covered with scars. His ankles are disfigured by shackles. His right middle finger is missing. His shins are mutilated by burns from the fence that failed to keep him inside Camp 14."

How one man escaped from a North Korean prison camp - Guardian

Buried Treasure

"I was able to start compiling a rough catalog of what might be hiding in the junkyard behind those steel doors, or at the family’s nearby warehouse: a pair of one-off prewar Maybachs; one of two Iso Grifo Spyders (designed and engineered by Giotto Bizzarrini, who also has the Ferrari 250 GTO on his résumé); one of 29 alloy-bodied Mercedes Gullwings, lighter, faster, and rarer than their steel siblings; a couple of BMW 502s and 507s; a half-dozen or so Lamborghini Miuras, with their mighty V12 engines; and the last surviving example of the seven Horch 855 Spezial Roadsters ever built, a specimen once owned by Eva Braun that was for a time on loan to the Audi Museum in Germany. (Audi was founded by August Horch.) Parked one on top of the other are dozens upon dozens of Porsche Carrera carcasses baking in the Southern California sun, the paint slowly burning off their bodies.

To put it in non-autophile terms, some of the Kleins’ treasures are at the level of a bottle of Thomas Jefferson’s Bordeaux or a double-sided Kandinsky. Bruce Meyer, the 70-year-old Los Angeles–based real estate investor and celebrated car collector—he prefers the term enthusiast—remembers walking into Klein’s ramshackle warehouse, which was surrounded by barbed wire and cacti, and seeing cars worth millions “stacked up like cordwood.” Mike Kunz, head of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine, California, has been a client of Porche’s for years, relying on the Kleins for essential parts for museum-worthy cars. He said he felt as if he were in “a strange film noir where all these hyperexotic cars, some of them crashed, are just decaying away.” He tried to find the right words for the experience. “It’s so contra to what those cars are. It’s such an extreme difference to go from beauty and glamour to what they are now, in their decrepitude.”"

Wheels of Fortune: The $10M Mercedes-Benz 500K That Vanished - Car & Driver

Friday, March 16, 2012

Graveyard of Empires

"The US Army is designed to fight battles and win wars.

It is misapplied in attempting to bring a medieval nation locked in 7th Century Theology and brutality into the the 21st Century.

It is using an afterburner jet engine to dry dirty laundry on a can be marginally effective but is always seconds away from disaster.

Afghanistan suffers from treating women like chattel, 80% illiteracy, Tribal-Warlord governance, liberal heroin abuse, language of revenge, and an Eye-For-An-Eye biblical justice system and the worst corruption in the world.

Compound this with Militant Islam, Terror as an Institution, the ruthlessness of the Taliban, the manipulative tentacles of the ISI, and a nefarious neighboring Pakistan.

Like Alexander, the British Empire, and the Soviet Union found out beforehand, Afghanistan is the Graveyard of Empires. But even more brutalized will be the future of its people when the Americans finally leave. There will be booming industry in grave digging and shortages of coffins.

Afghanistan will never be Switzerland...OR even Swaziland. It will be what it has always been for 14 centuries, an illiterate neolithic tribal society...but with AK-47s."

via Comments - The Economist


“If you look at the Chinese data, you should stop debating about a hard landing. China is in a hard landing. Car sales are down, cement production is down, steel production is down, construction stocks are down. It’s not a debate anymore, it’s a fact.”
Chinese Economy Already in ‘Hard Landing,’ JPMorgan’s Mowat Says - Bloomberg

"In China: Triumph and Turmoil, a new Channel 4 series that begins tomorrow, the historian Niall Ferguson examines the dramatic economic ascendancy of the world’s most populous nation and what that means for the rest of the world.
“It is one of our comforting and enduring myths that as China becomes more modern and sophisticated, more like us, it will come to adopt our values,” he observes. “I’m not sure it’s going to be like that.”"
Niall Ferguson: China's got the whole world in its hands - Telegraph

Watch China: Triumph and Turmoil - on Channel 4 Very good. As recommended by @knotty44.

One Point Nine Nine

"The Tokyo Metropolitan District released the results of its survey of households yesterday. As of January 1 of this year, Tokyo had 12,686,067 residents living in 6,368,485 households, an average of 1.99 residents per household. Considering the number of families with children in the TMD, the balancing number of persons registered as living alone is simply immense -- over 60% of all households registered."

Fewer Than Two - Shisaku

The Moral Limits of Markets

"Market thinking so permeates our lives that we barely notice it anymore. A leading philosopher sums up the hidden costs of a price-tag society.

The years leading up to the financial crisis of 2008 were a heady time of market faith and deregulation—an era of market triumphalism. The era began in the early 1980s, when Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher proclaimed their conviction that markets, not government, held the key to prosperity and freedom. And it continued into the 1990s with the market-friendly liberalism of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, who moderated but consolidated the faith that markets are the primary means for achieving the public good.

Today, that faith is in question. The financial crisis did more than cast doubt on the ability of markets to allocate risk efficiently. It also prompted a widespread sense that markets have become detached from morals, and that we need to somehow reconnect the two. But it’s not obvious what this would mean, or how we should go about it.

Some say the moral failing at the heart of market triumphalism was greed, which led to irresponsible risk-taking. The solution, according to this view, is to rein in greed, insist on greater integrity and responsibility among bankers and Wall Street executives, and enact sensible regulations to prevent a similar crisis from happening again.

This is, at best, a partial diagnosis. While it is certainly true that greed played a role in the financial crisis, something bigger was and is at stake. The most fateful change that unfolded during the past three decades was not an increase in greed. It was the reach of markets, and of market values, into spheres of life traditionally governed by nonmarket norms."

What Isn’t for Sale? - The Atlantic

Thursday, March 15, 2012

From buttresses to winglets…

"Road-car aerodynamics, then, are no simple matter. And they can't even be directly translated from that other brain-scramblingly complicated matter, race-car aerodynamics. We mostly tend to think only of drag and lift - or even negative lift, aka downforce. But there's a whole lot more to say. Designers have to think about the airflow that cools the powertrain, brakes and, increasingly, high-power electrical parts, too. They have to keep the glass and mirrors clean. And control noise. While maintaining practicalities like safety and space.

Truth is, aero goodness depends not so much on what a car looks like to the untrained eye, but on how the details, many of them hidden, work together. That tends to mean not just computer modelling but near-endless tunnel testing. At the Detroit show, I asked Honda designer Jon Ikeda about the aero on his NSX Concept. He said it hadn't been tested yet: "It's got stylists' aerodynamics, and that usually doesn't work." Adrian Whittle says of the Mondeo: "We spent so much time with the stylists in the tunnel. Aerodynamics really is a black art. The only person who actually understands it is Adrian Newey."

How does aero work? - TG

Wrecking Crew Orchestra

Dear Mrs Murray,

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lego Death Star

"..So, a to-scale Lego Death Star (first version) would be 0.022 times the diameter of the REAL Death Star. This would put the diameter of the Lego Death Star at 3.52 km. That’s a pretty big Lego model.

Here are some other questions that I didn’t get around to answering:

  • If you wanted to build it in orbit, how much would it cost to get all the material up there?
  • Suppose you can have as many people as you like working on the model; how long would it take to build?
  • If the model were in orbit, would the gravitational force from the mass in the model be enough so you could walk on it?
  • Really, I cheated with some of my data. I just looked at a couple of models to get the piece-density and the mass-density. Look at many more sets and make a plot of number of pieces versus model volume to get an estimate of the piece-density. Do the same for the mass density.

Oh, I noticed that a few more of the Lego Star Wars models were not to scale. This needs to be fixed."

Could You Build a Scale Lego Model of the Death Star? - Wired

"The Lego Millennium Falcon was so cool because it was to the proper scale for Lego mini figs. No, we are not talking about the Millennium Falcon on the Lego store; this older one that they don’t sell anymore (the Ultimate version)."

Find a nanny on your flight

Will this work? Would your kids sit with and/or pay attention to a stranger? Age and kid dependent I am sure. Nice idea though.

Dangerous Birds

"In one experiment, just telling a man he would be observed by a female was enough to hurt his psychological performance."

"Researchers have begun to explore the cognitive impairment that men experience before and after interacting with women. A 2009 study demonstrated that after a short interaction with an attractive woman, men experienced a decline in mental performance. A more recent study suggests that this cognitive impairment takes hold even w hen men simply anticipate interacting with a woman who they know very little about.

Simply anticipating the opposite sex interaction was enough to interfere with men’s cognitive functioning.

Overall, it seems clear that whenever we face situations where we’re particularly concerned about the impression that we’re making, we may literally have difficulty thinking clearly. In the case of men, thinking about interacting with a woman is enough to make their brains go a bit fuzzy."

Why Interacting with a Woman Can Leave Men "Cognitively Impaired" - Scientific American

"Although the studies on their own don’t offer any concrete explanations, Nauts and her colleagues think that the reason may have something to do with men being more strongly attuned to potential mating opportunities."
Erm, that's one way of putting it.

Red Meat

"Did yesterday’s front page story about the perils of red meat consumption (“blamed for one in 10 early deaths”) drive you to muesli at breakfast?

It’s not that I don’t give a hoot about my health, it’s just that my risk assessment strategy tells me being born gives a person a 100 per cent chance of dying, so I proceed with that in mind. It is also true that every single person I have ever known who has lived to a great age happened to be a hearty red meat eater and prodigious boozer (Telegraph readers should note that heavy drinking raises your risk of tripping over your cat by 48 per cent, of insulting a colleague by 62 per cent, of saying “Yesh, offisher” by 75 per cent, and of waking up in bed with the wrong person by a whopping 98 per cent). These were active people who walked, gardened, shot, fished and swam. Their sheer gusto for life seemed to counterbalance all the steak, lamb and claret.

When you take a more forensic look at the recent study on red meat, the scientists admit their findings could be skewed by the fact that some steak-pie lovers are portly, chain-smoking strangers to exercise."

Meat-lovers be warned: steak will be very rare - Telegraph

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tomorrow Never Dies

As VIX drops below 15 for the first time in almost a year, the clarion calls of 'all-clear' should perhaps be tempered with the record-steepness of the volatility term-structure. Simply put, everyone and his mom is now selling short-dated vol but mid-term vol remains stubbornly high - in English, we're safe today but tomorrow could be a disaster - or given medium-term risk outlooks, short-term traders are the most complacent they have ever been.

The writing of covered calls - or overwriting to juice returns - seems to be reaching crescendo levels given this steepness. Writing premium is a no-brainer trade until it reaches down your throat and rips your guts out..."

As If There Was No Risk Tomorrow - ZH

Car vs. Bike REBOOT

Pagani Huayra

"I sense that there’s more to enjoy here than with the Veyron. The Huayra has more soul somehow. Each component is machined by hand with absolute precision; it’s as if Pagani was originally a watch manufacturer that turned its hand to supercars. The Huayra feels like it should be sold on Bond Street rather than from a car showroom. Yes, the price may be stratospherically high, but so is the quality of the construction. Horacio Pagani has a favourite saying from the great Leonardo da Vinci: ‘la perfezione è fatta di dettagli’. Roughly translated, it means ‘perfection is made by details’. That’s the Huayra all over."

Pagani Huayra, the details -

Monday, March 12, 2012


"And this is why we need good preschools. They are not a panacea, and their impact varies depending on quality, but early childhood education is still an essential first step toward eliminating the achievement gap. Life is unfair; some kids will always be born into households that have much less. Nevertheless, we have a duty to ensure that every child has a chance to learn what he’s capable of."

Does Preschool Matter? - Wired

Brought on by attending my daughter's preschool Spring Show this morning, which was crammed full of as much crying as singing. The teachers did a great job herding and separating. Milly was, obviously, the best.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Jag Bookshelf

via dezeen 
Very nice house too.

Invisible Children

KONY 2012 is a film and campaign by Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.


"What's the Latest Development?
Shortly after a half-hour video about the Ugandan war lord Joseph Kony went viral, garnering millions of views in just hours, the inevitable backlash began. The video was produced by a small non-profit called Invisible Children who wants to raise awareness about the crimes Kony has committed, crimes including abducting children to become child soldiers. His actions have earned him the status of the world's most wanted man before the International Criminal Court. Critics are now taking a closer look at the video and the non-profit itself.

What's the Big Idea?
One criticism of the video is that it uses social media to advocate for armed conflict. Foreign Policy's Michael Wilkers says it is extremely dangerous to essentially sell a foreign intervention in a reductive and highly-produced video (apparently that sort of thing must be left to more sanctioned media). The biggest criticism of Invisible Children comes from a blog called Visible Children which accuses the non-profit of spending too much money on awareness efforts and not enough on the ground in Uganda."

via The Big Think

Thursday, March 08, 2012

A Dynamic Object

Seismic sound

"Recorded near Fukushima, the main earthquake sounds eerily like a huge wave crashing into a rocky beach. On the other side of the Pacific, in California, that same seismic wave sounds more like a peal of distant thunder. In both cases, the initial impact is followed by a cascade of popping, crashing, scraping, and twisting sounds—like cars being crushed at a junkyard. Those are the noises the Earth makes as tectonic plates shift and settle into their new places."

via Boing Boing

Before and after

via The Big Picture - Japan tsunami pictures: before and after


Tim Cook’s wrap-up:

“Only Apple could deliver this kind of innovation, in such a beautiful, integrated, and easy-to-use way. It’s what we love to do. It’s what we stand for. And across the year, you’re going to see a lot more of this kind of innovation. We are just getting started.”

via Daring Fireball

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Floodlit construction

The Obama Volt

Presented without comment.

The Latin Bloc is awakening

"The Spanish rebellion has begun, sooner and more dramatically than I expected.

As many readers will already have seen, Premier Mariano Rajoy has refused point blank to comply with the austerity demands of the European Commission and the European Council (hijacked by Merkozy).

Taking what he called a "sovereign decision", he simply announced that he intends to ignore the EU deficit target of 4.4pc of GDP for this year, setting his own target of 5.8pc instead (down from 8.5pc in 2011).

With condign symbolism, Mr Rajoy dropped his bombshell in Brussels after the EU summit, without first notifying the commission or fellow EU leaders."

Spain's sovereign thunderclap and the end of Merkel's Europe - Telegraph

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

New Trousers

via The Consumerist

Indirect Effect

"A year out, public health experts agree that the radiation fears were overblown. Compared with the effects of the radiation exposure from Fukushima, "the number of expected fatalities are never going to be that large," says Thomas McKone, of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health.

And some, including Richard Garfield, a professor of Clinical and International Nursing at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, go a step further. "In terms of the health impact, the radiation is negligible," he says. "The radiation will cause very few, close to no deaths." But that does not mean that the accident has not already caused wide-reaching health issues. "The indirect effects are great," Garfield says.

Experts on the ground in Japan agree. "Mental health is the most significant issue," notes Seiji Yasumura, a gerontologist at Fukushima Medical University's Department of Public Health. Stress, such as that caused by dislocation, uncertainty and concern about unseen toxicants, has been linked to increased risk for physical ailments, such as heart disease. So even if radiation risks are low, "people are still worried," he says. And that can also lead to unhealthy behavioral changes, "including dietary choices, lack of exercise and sleep deprivation"—all of which can have long-term negative health consequences. Many of the survivors are elderly, whom either lost a partner or even an entire family. As after the Kobe earthquake of 1995, the Japanese government has created housing for these disconnected older adults. But, as Garfield notes, "the government can't buy you a new family."

There are also what Garfield calls, "the immeasureable, imponderable" effects of the disaster. Those who relocated from the prefecture report having experienced discrimination and, especially immediately following the accident, were considered somehow "contaminated." Traditional Japanese values also prize stoicism, which means that people who are suffering mental or even physical distress might be less likely to seek the care they need."

Japan's Post-Fukushima Earthquake Health Woes Go Beyond Radiation Effects - Scientific American

Oh, London, You Drama Queen

"London is a violent, angry, catastrophe of a place, dominated by “thuggish” buildings and intent on “eating its children”, according to The New York Times.

"Londoners are “wrathful” and hysterical towards the young, while the police are “brutal”, the courts “cruel” and society seething with racism and inequality, the article by China Mieville, a British science fiction author, claims.

The Olympic park is in danger of becoming a “charnel ground of Ozymandian skeletons”, the writer predicts, while security at the site is “dystopian and surreal”.

Boris Johnson, the mayor, is described as a “ninja of bumptiousness” with a talent for “working rooms full of the easily pleased”."

Resentful, angry and brutal, New York’s view of London - The Telegraph

Great writing, but wilfully ignorant. Boris Johnson description is class though.

Monday, March 05, 2012


"If a company can follow your behavior in the digital environment -- an environment that potentially includes your mobile phone and television set -- its claim that you are "anonymous" is meaningless. That is particularly true when firms intermittently add off-line information such as shopping patterns and the value of your house to their online data and then simply strip the name and address to make it "anonymous." It matters little if your name is John Smith, Yesh Mispar, or 3211466. The persistence of information about you will lead firms to act based on what they know, share, and care about you, whether you know it is happening or not."

via I'm Being Followed: How Google—and 104 Other Companies—Are Tracking Me on the Web - The Atlantic

Knowing nothing

“How did you not notice 24-year-olds were being paid $2 million a year who clearly didn’t know anything?”

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Song Map

Song Map Unlimited Edition - Dorothy/Give/Take

"A road map made up of song titles: from Highway to Hell to Penny Lane, Itchycoo Park to Heartbreak Hotel. And just like places in our own neighbourhood, some are really good and some are best avoided like the plague – remember Love House by Sam Fox? For the real music geek there’s an A-Z key of all the songs featured on the map with the bands that sang them. Unlimited edition Litho Print for £20 plus p&p"


via Gear Patrol

Three Little Pigs