April 29, 2010

Roz Savage: Why I'm Rowing Across the Pacific

The accumulation of a tiny action of each individual, the accumulation of good decisions matter...and this does not apply only to create an eco awareness.

April 25, 2010

To Maintain Kingdom of Thailand OR To Change to Republic of Thailand?

It is not easy to see any way out from the present impasse in Thailand, which has seen successive governments at the mercy of mob rule while the security forces have failed to do their duty.

Much of the international press and media has romanticized the events in Bangkok as some kind of grassroots democracy at work, in which the poor rural masses have come to Bangkok to confront the cruel ruling classes. This is utter nonsense. Thailand is being torn apart by gangs of hoodlums masquerading as democrats and pretending they are embarked on the pure quest for fresh elections. Mobs of "red shirts," proclaiming allegiance to exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, are in command of a glitzy hotel and shopping district close to Bangkok's main financial area.

There is big money backing the red shirts, with large numbers of demonstrators being paid 1,000 baht a day, five times the agricultural wage, and their leaders having recourse to the comforts of five-star hotels. The red shirts have also shown good planning and organization and the support of modern weaponry. Some Red leaders have said they are going to wage "war" against the government.

If it is war against the government, this is not democracy. It means that the only democracy the demonstrators will accept is theirs. A BBC correspondent in Bangkok claimed that Thaksin had "empowered the poor." Other Western commentators have painted Thaksin as some democratic hero turfed out of office by military thugs acting on behalf of Thailand's elite vested interests.

William Pesek of Bloomberg astutely noted that Thaksin's "economic policies, dubbed 'Thaksinomics,' were never more than Tammany Hall-like doling out of cash for support." Thaksin certainly had some good ideas, like providing money for poor farmers and trying to establish cheap health coverage, but they were mostly borrowed from previous leaders and spoiled by corruption and the bigger pursuit of vote-buying.

Any civilized government would find it impossible to accept what the red shirts are doing. The mobs move in convoys, randomly blocking all traffic, and storm Parliament, threatening to lynch the prime minister, then go to his house and throw excrement and threaten to kill him. When authorities move in to disperse them, they fire rocket grenades and snipers use laser guidance to pick off officers.

There is no easy way out for Thailand because almost every potential leader has been compromised. Thai politicians have long been thought to be as corrupt as those anywhere in the world. But hitherto the conservative bureaucracy and business elite could be relied upon to see that the country ran relatively smoothly, with backstop from the military if necessary and a cautionary word from King Bhumipol Adulyadej if things really got out of hand.

But when it came to the crunch, the military failed. They ousted Thaksin when he was at the United Nations in September 2006, and then showed that they lacked the imagination and intelligence to run the complex, developing country that Thailand has become. They further disgraced themselves by failing to take action against the previous royalist "yellow shirt" demonstrators even when they took over Bangkok's international airport.....

Please read the full article...

April 23, 2010

“Death is the Road to Awe” Timelapse

Timescapes: "Death is the Road to Awe" from Tom Lowe @ Timescapes on Vimeo.


This breathtaking timelapse was created by Tom Lowe of Timescapes, showing footage from his first film, “Southwest Light”. Do check out the website for more amazing videos.

Reasons You Have Belly Fat

You're Doing Crunches, Not Cardio
While ab exercises will tone your core muscles, they won't do anything about the layer of fat covering them up. Cardio is a must because it's the only way you can burn calories, which will decrease your overall percentage of body fat, and slim down your tummy.

Your Cardio Isn't Intense Enough

While cardio will burn calories and help you maintain your body weight, if you really want to melt away unwanted pounds, you need to do at least 12 minutes(after warming up) of continuous, heart-pumping, high-intensity cardio at least four days a week in order to see results.

You're Skipping Breakfast
It would make sense that eating less would help you lose weight, but you should never skip meals, especially the first meal of the day. Eating breakfast jump-starts your metabolism, regulates your blood sugar levels, and gives you energy until lunch. Make sure your breakfast choice is high in protein and fiberto fill you up and eliminate the need for you to snack on M&M's mid-morning.

You Follow the Three-Meals-a-Day Rule
Eating three meals a day was a standard way of eating many years ago, but the problem with this plan is that you end up starving by the time it's mealtime, which can translate to stuffing yourself silly with huge portions. It's best to eat three regular meals and one or two healthy snacks throughout the day. Spacing out your calories and eating every three or so hours regulates your blood sugar and controls the release of insulin that can cause your body to store more calories as fat.

You're Kicking Back More Than a Few
The one-drink-a-day recommendation isn't just good for your health; it's also good for your waistline. Alcohol can add on hundreds of extra calories, so if you're trying to slim down your belly, ditch the alcoholic bevvies for a month or so, and you're sure to notice a difference.


April 21, 2010

Alain de Botton - On Pessimism

Alain challenges the great bourgeois promise that everyone can find happiness in love and work and suggests that we take on the joys of pessimism instead. He argues that the chances of anyone succeeding in both areas (let alone in one) are extremely remote - and that it is therefore peculiar, and deeply cruel, to base our societies around these values. Indeed, in denying a place for misery and despair, the modern world denies us the possibility of collective consolation, condemning us instead to solitary feelings of shame and persecution.

Watch it here

April 17, 2010

April 15, 2010

Things To Learn

things to learn from Matt Edgar on Vimeo.


Logorama from Marc Altshuler - Human Music on Vimeo.

Directed by the French animation collective H5, François Alaux, Hervé de Crécy + Ludovic Houplain. It was presented at the Cannes Film Festival 2009. It opened the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and won a 2010 academy award under the category of animated short.

April 8, 2010

Creamy, Custard-like Scrambled Eggs

Fresh eggs
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
Cream (optional)
Chopped fresh herbs (optional)
Whisk or fork
Very small saucepan or high-sided sauté pan
Wooden spoon or spatula

1. Choose the smallest saucepan or sauté pan you have. It should be heavy, with a good solid bottom to evenly distribute heat.
2. Pull out your eggs and decide how many you want. I feel that for best effect it's good to do at least two or three. Ideally at least three. Less than that, and it's hard to keep the eggs from cooking too fast.
3. If you want, though, you can also add some cream to help buffer the eggs and make them creamy. (See note below about cream vs. milk in scrambled eggs.) I add about 1 teaspoon of cream per egg, so for this batch of 3 scrambled eggs, I added about 1 tablespoon.
4. Before you beat your eggs, heat your small pan over low heat, and add a small knob (about a teaspoon) of butter. Let it melt.
5. Break your eggs into a small bowl.
6. Beat the eggs thoroughly. This simple step is actually very important to good scrambled eggs. Beat them so that the yolks are completely broken up and incorporated with the whites. The mixture should look evenly yellow — not patchy and half-mixed. If you are using cream, whisk it in now as well.
7. By now your butter should be melted and evenly distributed in the pan. Any foam will have subsided.
8. Pour in your eggs, and make sure the heat is still very, very low.
9. Depending on the amount of eggs you used, and the size of your pan, you should now plan on cooking the eggs for about 15 minutes.
10. The more frequently you stir the eggs, the more custardy they will be. If you stirred constantly they will turn out almost like a creamy pudding! I don't have the patience for that, so I stir every couple minutes, which works out well if you are prepping other breakfast items. You can make toast and coffee and slice up some fruit in the time it takes for these to cook.
11. You can see here the custardy curds of egg forming, around the 5-minute mark.
12. Near the end of cooking the eggs will get much thicker, but still creamy.
13. When the eggs are dry and cooked enough for your taste, season lightly with salt and pepper, and stir in fresh herbs, if you would like. (There are chives in these, which were perfectly delightful.)
14. Bonus step: Don't forget to immediately fill the egg pan with hot soapy water when you take the eggs out! Then the cooked egg will come right off when you go to wash it. If you let it dry and get hard, it's a real pain to wash off.

Additional Notes:
• Some people use milk in their scrambled eggs. I firmly believe that this makes the eggs rubbery. The full-fat whipping cream makes them creamy, but use it or leave it out completely. Don't substitute milk.
• You can hold these in a slightly warm oven, or in a double boiler, to keep them warm for brunch. But they cook so slowly, especially when you are doing a larger quantity, that it should be easy to time them precisely for when you sit down to eat.