Archive for August, 2008

30
Aug
08

Worth its weight in gold

Everyone is more than likely aware of the phrase, worth its weight in gold, but the determination of value based on a per unit measurement isn’t always a simple task.

Here is a collection of things that represents a wide range of monetary value per unit of weight.

29
Aug
08

Most Endangered Languages

The linguistics professor, Peter K Austin reports:

Each language expresses the history, culture, society and identity of the people who speak it, and each is a unique way of talking about the world. The loss of any language is a loss to both the community who use it in their daily lives, and to humankind in general. The songs, stories, words, expressions and grammatical structures of languages developed over countless generations are part of the intangible heritage of all humanity.

28
Aug
08

New Orhan Pamuk novel

Nobel Winner Orhan Pamuk will release his new novel, The Museum of Innocence, this week, as it will appear in Germann at Frankfurt’s book fair August 29, marking the first time a Turkish writer has published simultaneously in a foreign language

The Museum of Innocence, a new book by Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk, will be published in more than 30 languages after its release in Turkey this week.

The entire release is here

26
Aug
08

Want a culture of innovation? Fund our artists.

Innovation is the new buzzword for the so-called value-added economy: Wealth is now created primarily through intellectual capital, not natural resources. Japan and Microsoft taught us that we don’t need coal and wood and mounds of potash: We need smarts.

Our view of the societal importance of art has shifted over the last half century.

Here you can read the entire article.

26
Aug
08

Aflame Books

Publisher and co-creator of Aflame Books, Richard Bartlett opens doors to writers who write in their native languages. Originally South African, Richard speaks, reads, and translates from Portuguese to Afrikaans. Publishing books in translation is considered a niche market and earlier this year Aflame published, Taxi by Khaled Al Khamissi, which proved to be a international bestseller.

24
Aug
08

“Rivers of Babylon” by Peter Pišt’anek

Peter Pišt’anek delivers a post-communist portrait of a still unified Czechoslovakia through country bumpkin protagonist, Rácz.

Rivers of Babylon is a dark sort of satire, with a slightly bitter taste to most of it, but it is satire, and enjoyably amusing at that. Parts are exaggerated — so also the desperation everyone shows when there’s no heat — and there’s some jarring brutality, but it all fits with Rácz’s rise from country bumpkin to nouveau-riche magnate, as he stomps his way to the top without ever becoming more refined. It’s a wry picture of the new eastern Europe, often too close for comfort even in its absurder twists, and it’s an entertaining read.

Read the entire review here

An interview with Peter Pišt’anek, and the 1998 Rivers of Babylon film trailer here.

24
Aug
08

Rising asset prices as a substitute for personal savings

Tyler Cowen’s article: “Finding the Mess Behind the Mess.”

The thinking went something like this: As long as your home’s value rose every year, you didn’t have to set aside so much from your paycheck. If your stocks went up, too, so much the better; don’t forget that the Dow Jones industrial average stood in the 800 range in 1982 and seemed to rise almost nonstop for many years.

Counterproductive measures include: a) further attempts with a fiscal stimulus package–i.e. tax-rebates b) excessive banking regulation–as not to offset the delicate balance of bank lending, savings, and investment. c) Overreaction of past banking mistakes.

23
Aug
08

Correlation between free trade and peace

Don Boudreaux’s article, Want world peace? Support free trade, highlights the unique correlation between free trade and peace.

Protectionists (of whatever party) believe that consumers who buy goods and services from foreigners cause domestic employment – and wages – to fall. Economists since before Adam Smith have shown that this belief is mistaken, largely because foreigners sell things to us only because they either want to buy things from us or invest in our economy.

One easily becomes aware of the contridictory stances politicians have taken in regards to trade protectionism and the long-run prospects of peace.

23
Aug
08

Taking off the touch

Taking off the touch refers to the point of action during the con when the mark’s money is taken. Studies of  behavioral assumptions displayed by con artists have long kept researchers busy developing new cognitive shorthands for gullibility.

The article here highlights Clark Rockefeller’s con brio methods of deception.

Trust games don’t really explain how this congenital gullibility works. To do that, researchers need to observe the actual social world – a place where there is often too little time and too little information coming from too many different places to form a reasoned judgment.

22
Aug
08

Long queues a determinant of healthy society?

Incentive changes throughout the world and the role of spontaneous action..

Though seemingly chaotic and unnecessary to those of us in the “West”, the truth might be that these “mobs” actually work. Their structure– or lack of it– rewards those who want the ticket or item the most, and only displeases those who weren’t industrious (or ruthless) enough to work their way up to the front. This is a form of price discrimination in which those who were willing to “pay” the most, in this case with time and effort, are rewarded, while those who weren’t, aren’t.

View the article here

22
Aug
08

Subsidised world of arthouse films

One of the worst post-mod rants I’ve heard thus far. Click here for the entire article.

What you really need is the capacity to ingratiate yourself with an incumbent artistic elite. If they’ll recommend you to the Ruritanian Film Funding Board you’re on your way. Especially if you’re Ruritanian. Ruritania needs a glorious film industry, just as it needs a national airline. Excellence won’t be a requirement in our now irredeemably relativist world. Indeed, its presence might affront the democratic principle, for everyone must now be as good as everyone else

RuritaniaA self destructive society

21
Aug
08

Open Eye Café

Some of the best espresso I’ve had to date. Open Eye Café uses artisan roasting techniques combined with proper pricing levels, OEC is well ahead of the curve.  This I believe can be attributed to high concentrations of academic and intellectual influences of UNC and the eclectic types residing in Carrboro who demand a high quality café experience.

Take a look and size-up your café of choice..

19
Aug
08

Randomness in entertainment

Lotteries and gambling have been around for centuries, but randomness does now seem to be seeping out into more areas of life. Perhaps it’s an indicator of our wealth. We have large music collections, can afford to buy almost any food the planet produces and travel all over the world. The entertainment options on offer to us are almost unlimited. Trying to make an informed choice between all possible alternatives would take too long: they’re all good, so why not pick one at random?

Click here for the article in its entirety.

19
Aug
08

How long do you spend getting ready?

An interesting discussion highlighting differences in time spent getting ready between males and females.

18
Aug
08

MilkBuff 101

If you enjoy raw improv skit comedy take a look at youtube’s milkbuff. Charles had the opportunity to meet Hiram while attending a film conference in L.A. and subsequently introduced me to milkbuff. I really enjoy the live editing…

One of my personal favs


18
Aug
08

Chinua Achebe’s new collection of essays

Anyone following the current trends in literature will really enjoy this bit about Achebe.

The Nigeria novelist, poet and essayist, Chinua Achebe, has completed a new book to be published later this year (2008),  an event his agents excitedly report “wonderfully coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of his first book-Things Fall Apart, and the world wide re-issue of his African trilogy.”

Tony Mochama with The Standard interviews Achebe here

“Achebe takes the reader on an autobiographical intellectual journey through the thickets of history, race, religion, ethnicity, war and politics. He provides an update of his classic treatise ‘The trouble with Nigeria’ in an essay devoted to Nigeria’s recent sociopolitical history.

Things Fall Apart (1958), considered Achebe’s magnum opus, unveiled the archetypal modern African novel to Western audiences.  Chinua Achebe discusses Things Fall Apart with BBC correspondents.




August 2008
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