September 2008

Great interview the brilliant Lee Kuan Yew

by Limbic on September 24, 2008

[Note: Sorry about the crappy CNN video below. It seem to work only with Flash 8 and above and then, only sometimes]

The beautifully spoken Lee Kuan Yew expounds on statesmanship, the art (or futility) of nation building, Pakistan, China, Iraq, Georgia and other contemporary matters.

Video – Part 1

Video – Part 2

Here is a sample of from the transcript…

What is it I am trying to do? I am trying to create, in a Third World situation, a First World oasis.

I am not following any prescription given me by any theoretician on democracy, or whatever. I work from first principles, what will get me there — social peace and stability within the country, no fight between the races, between religions, whatever, fair shares for all, everybody is a homeowner.

I want investments. I’ve got nothing expect skilled manpower, infrastructure. I build up the infrastructure. I educate the people.

We have the best educated work force anywhere in Asia, and I would say, within another 10 years, anywhere in the world. They’re all educated in English, which is our working language, and they keep their mother tongue, whether it’s Chinese, Malay or Tamil, Urdu, or whatever.

Must I follow your prescription to succeed? Do I want to be like America? Yes, in its inventiveness and its creativeness.

But do I want to be with America, like America, with its inability to control the drug problem? No. Or the gun problem? No.

These are my choices. I go by what is good governance. What are the things I aim to do? A healthy society that gives everybody a chance to achieve his maximum.

Later, on China…

ZAKARIA: When the world saw the Beijing Olympics, and they saw the opening ceremonies, they saw a kind of birth of a new great power. How should we think about it? Should we be apprehensive?

LEE: What we saw — and I was there with a lot of other of the VIPs — was a reflection of their capabilities, their potential. It’s not what they have achieved industrially or technologically. This was a show that they had seven years to prepare for. And they were carefully thoughtful about what they wanted to present to the world. They wanted to remind the world that they are an old civilization, 5,000 years. They discovered gun powder, paper, movable type, printing. They built the Great Wall.

That’s the kind of capabilities for disciplined effort that built the Great Wall, the Grand Canal, and eventually will build them a technological society.

ZAKARIA: So you don’t worry about them.

LEE: What do they want? Every year they know they are closing the gap. That gap is a huge one.

ZAKARIA: Technologically between them and the West.

LEE: Technologically and industrially.

I mean, what you see along the coastal provinces is just about 20, 30 percent of the population, the advantaged part of China. If you go to the inland parts, you will see a very different China.

So they know that to catch up is 30, 40, 50 years. So, let’s not quarrel with anybody. That would abort the whole process.

Every year they grow stronger economically, industrially, catching up technologically. Any external problems will diminish their growth.

What do they have to worry about? Internal problems, social unrest, disparity in development, wages, farmers against the city dwellers, and so on.

The danger comes when you have, say, in 20 years a new generation that didn’t go through the Cultural Revolution, never went to the Long March, and who believe that China has arrived. So, this is a new phase they are moving into.

And worldwide problems — the biggest problem of all is climate change, energy.

[From: CNN Transcripts]

Via Fareed Zakaria and  CNN.com – Transcripts

For more in this brilliant statesman, see:

Official Site: http://www.lee-kuan-yew.com/

Wikipedia:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Kuan_Yew

Video Search: http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=lee+kuan+yew&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&resnum=4&ct=title#

An Overview: http://www.usp.nus.edu.sg/post/singapore/government/leekuanyew/leekuanyewov.html

Lee Watch (tracking him): http://leewatch.info/

This is where I saw him intereview: http://edition.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/fareed.zakaria.gps

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/19940301faessay5100/fareed-zakaria/a-conversation-with-lee-kuan-yew.html

http://fareedzakaria.com/ARTICLES/other/culture.html

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/1997/08/04/229722/index.htm


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Muto – a wall painted animation

by Limbic on September 24, 2008

This really is beautiful and brilliant!

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Original site: BLU > MUTO

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Electoral Geography 2.0

by Limbic on September 22, 2008

Whilst researching political trends in Serbia recently, I discovered a brilliant site called Electoral Geography 2.0 that contains election result maps of just about every major international political election, going back in some cases to 1867.

But that is not all. It introduces the field of Electoral Geography, something I had never heard of before. The website founder, Alexander Kireev, explains:

All socials processes develop non-uniformly in geographical space.
There are no exceptions. Take any social phenomenon and you will see
that it has some geography. Electoral geography, for example, studies regularities and patterns of election results.

Electoral geography is a constituent component of
political geography, a science which studies development of all
political processes inside geographical space. However, election
results are only natural result of numerous social, economic and
political processes. Studying the geography of elections is senseless
without knowing what is behind these results and what political
processes preceded them and what these results mean. It is also
senseless to study electoral geography without thorough knowledge of
the socio-economic characteristics of the territory where the election
is taking place. That is why electoral geography is
an exceptionally integrated science: it cannot exist without its
constituting sciences, especially political science and geography.
However, history, economics and sociology also play important roles.

Here is, for example, a map of the election results in the 2008 Serbian legislative elections:

 

If you are a map lover, this is a fascinating site. Please note the appeal from the founder:

I would be very grateful if you could send me any interesting electoral statistics or maps, especially if you speak a language that I don’t speak, which obviously makes it more difficult for me to find electoral statistics.

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From Politiken.dk (Daily Newspaper):

Recruits flooding to HA

Hell’s Angels applications increase tenfold in connection with immigrant showdown.

Interest for membership of the Hell’s Angels suppoort group AK81 has exploded. – Foto: BORBERG THOMAS

The Hell’s Angels biker group is experiencing a flood of new applications for membership, in particular for its support group AK81. The group normally receives only few enquiries in its web-based guest book, but the past week alone has seen 250 queries.

Seventy-five of those enquiring have asked to become members of the AK81 group, or to be invited to Hell’s Angels parties in order to gain affiliation.

AK81 is a support group for the Hell’s Angels. The acronym stands for the Danish words Altid Klar (Always Ready), while 81 are the alphabet numbers for H and A.

The increase in membership enquiries comes in connection with a showdown in recent weeks between immigrant groups and the Hell’s Angels as well as shows of strength by Hell’s Angels members who have walked the streets of Copenhagen and Århus en masse.

The Hell’s Angels home page has introduced a special AK81 page providing direct mail to the group, thus preventing police from being able to track approaches.

[From: Politiken.dk]

The Balder Blog takes a slightly more right-wing view:

The biker group Hells Angels seem to be coming back at the at the moment still dominating immigrant gangs, with their new support group AK81, which is increasingly gaining support from Danes who are not first and foremost interested in bikes or crime, but who have grown increasingly hostile to especially muslim immigrants, after ever increasing street violence, knife attacks, robberies and rape from the side of muslim immigrants.

The rates for violent crime and especially rape related cases have gone up dramatically with the increasing number of muslim immigrants. Large numbers of Danes, not otherwise interested in motorcycles or gang related criminal activity, are reported to sign up under the new banner of the HA support group AK81 ‘81′ being synonymous with the letters HA), and AK probably referring to the famous AK 47 ‘Kalashnikov’ submachine gun, as well as meaning Always Ready [Altid Klar] in Danish.

[From: Balder Blog]

One has to worry when Denmark, one of the most advanced and enlightened countries on earth, seems completely unable to handle its immigrant problems. Decades of extremely generous welfare and multiculturalism has led not to a happy and well integrated muslim minority, but a hostile and increasingly extremist one.

This business with the Hells Angels is interesting. Some Far Right blogs are touting this as signs that desperate whites are so fed up with immigration that they are rallying behind the Hells Angels, who are being portrayed as heros fighting for white rights. I have heard from Danish contacts that this fighting between the Hells Angles and certain immigrant gangs has nothing to do with racial tension and everything to do with crime. The Hells Angles, Banditos and other bike gangs have been in league with the immigrant drug gangs for years, but recently some deals have gone wrong and warfare has erupted.

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Thomas H Benton examines the claims that “Americans, particularly those now entering college, have been rendered “stupid” by a convergence of factors including traditional anti-intellectualism, consumer culture, the entertainment industry, political correctness, religious fundamentalism, and postmodern relativism, just to name some of the usual suspects.” he is convinced that “over the past several decades, we have become less knowledgeable, more apathetic, more reliant on others to think for us, more susceptible to simple answers, and more easily exploited” and that this “stupidity crisis” could lead to “the end of democracy, the economic decline of the United States, the extinction of humanity as we know it”.

On Stupidity Part 1

On Stupidity Part 2

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Horrific blast in Pakistan

by Limbic on September 20, 2008

It looks like todays blast(s) in Islamabad, Pakistan have completely destroyed the Marriot Hotel with the wreckage burning fiercely.

The people being interviewed are describing trully horrific scenes, with one local journalist saying it is the biggest bomb he has ever seen in Pakistan.

BBC News

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Twitter Epigrams and Repartee

by Limbic on September 18, 2008

Some great Twitter epigrams and witticisms:

@sacca: You can’t really appreciate the vapidity of most people’s taste in music until you live directly above a traffic signal.

@tempo: Evolution is a sorting process that is the very antithesis of random. (in response to http://is.gd/1Do1 )

@davorg: Conference Driven Development – submitting talks to conferences so that it will galvanise you into doing the work you’re talking about.

@sourcegirl: procrastination is our brain’s way of saying that something is not as important as we may think it is…

@gstein: OH: isn’t a smoking area in a restaurant like a peeing area in a pool?

@amandachapel:@lisahoffmann “I’ve had conversations with people I never would have met otherwise.” Like hanging out at the bus terminal.

[From Twitter Epigrams and Repartee – O’Reilly Radar]

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One to Watch: Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki

by Limbic on September 18, 2008

Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki

I am one of Guy Kawasaki’s loyal fans that Bob Sutton mentions in the first paragraph of his review of Kawasaki’s brilliant new book, “Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition“.

If you love Guy’s smarts and irreverent charm, you’ve got to read this book. If you have never read his blog or books — or seen him speak — this is the place to start if you want to understand why Guy has such a huge and loyal army of fans. Guy has had a lot of different careers, including at Apple as an evangelist, a venture capitalist, the master of ceremonies at wildly popular entrepreneurship Boot Camps during the boom, and now on his blog “How to Change the World.” And now you can get the best of his experience and gentle wackiness all in one place.

Last week, I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of his new book, Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition. I started glancing through it, and instantly, I was hooked and — even though I was supposed to be doing other things — I read it from start to finish. This isn’t a clean linear business book, although the chapters are organized around themes like starting, raising money, innovating, communicating, hiring and firing, working and so on. It is a collection of the best stuff from Guy’s blog and other places, with editing and tweaking. And even if you are rabid reader of the blog, you will want to own a copy of this book.

You can read the rest of the review at Bob’s site: Bob Sutton: Reality Check: Guy Kawasaki’s Magical New Book

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Intel: Servers Do Fine With Outside Air

by Limbic on September 18, 2008

This might come as a shock, but one of the biggest expenses in Data Center operations – air conditioning – responsible for up to 50% of all power requirements, might be based on a myth:

Do servers really need a cool, sterile environment to be reliable? New research from Intel suggests that in favorable climates, servers may perform well with almost no management of the environment, creating huge savings in power and cooling with negligible equipment failure.

Intel’s findings are detailed in a new white paper reviewing a proof-of-concept using outside air to cool servers in the data center – a technique known as air-side economization. Intel conducted a 10-month test to evaluate the impact of using only outside air to cool a high-density data center, even as temperatures ranged between 64 and 92 degrees and the servers were covered with dust.

Intel’s result: “We observed no consistent increase in server failure rates as a result of the greater variation in temperature and humidity, and the decrease in air quality,” Intel’s Don Atwood and John Miner write in their white paper. “This suggests that existing assumption

[From Intel: Servers Do Fine With Outside Air « Data Center Knowledge]

It will be very interesting to see what Steve O’Donnell at The Hot Aisle says about this.

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Book Review: Nudge by Thaler and Sunnstein

by Limbic on September 18, 2008

Looks like we have a Tipping Point / Made to Stick / Fooled by Randomness type instant classic here:

This year has seen a glut of books on topics in that strange area occupied awkwardly by behavioural economics, cognitive psychology, and experimental philosophy. Some fail to distinguish themselves, merely rehashing the many ways in which we aren’t perfectly rational creatures. Others, however, find an original angle to tack the last 30 years of work since Daniel Kahneman first thought “but wait, real people don’t make rational choices”. Nudge (Thaler and Sunnstein, Yale University Press, 2008) is from two leading University of Chicago economists and takes a public policy angle that has been rewarded in the bestseller lists.

The authors (who refer to each other by their last names, even in the blog that accompanies the book, an awkward affectation that makes me picture two 1950s men in suits at a work cocktail party) have coined a new term: libertarian paternalism. By this they mean that policy makers can use your brain’s decision-making shortcuts to steer you towards good behaviour while still leaving you free to choose bad. It’s opt-out public policy.

Libertarian Paternalism is a brilliant phrase because it has something for everything: libertarianism for the Small Government suit, paternalism for the Smug Liberal. Nudge has been required reading in the halls of English and US power, because it promises that you can have your cake and eat it. You can make decisions for other people, but not be hated by the people who don’t like you making decisions for other people! What’s not to love?

The book has a simple structure: first the authors walk us through our cognitive biases, the flaws in our decision-making apparatus; then they take us through different real-world scenarios such as social security, healthcare, and education; and finally they deal with objections and suggest future avenues of exploration. In each subject area, the authors suggest “nudges” (the authors endow the word with the same near-religious air that accompanies “social graph” and “RoR” in Web 2.0 circles) that will gently encourage people to do the right thing. For example, we tend to fear losing things more than we anticipate gaining things, so the authors suggest we not immediately deduct money from salaries to increase retirement savings (which would be perceived as a loss) but instead reduce future raises and put the reduction towards retirement. Then backing out would require losing the retirement saving you were doing (a loss, felt more keenly than the gain of the spending money).

[From Book Review: Nudge – O’Reilly Radar]

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