Archive for the ‘Society and Culture’ Category

Everything is relative…

A picture is worth a thousand words.  Tom, on his really great (and famous) astronomy blog, has a picture that I often look at when I’m taking myself (or my problems of the day) too seriously.  A reminder that we really are very small (and so are our problems…) !!!

Great Little Eco Video

Hereunder a really sweet eco video done by American artist Andyra Dorfman.  I’m always mightily impressed by this type of creativity melding old (drawing, painting, poetry and music) with new (youtube, video editing, photography).  This video is remarkably well done, poetic and very on-message.  Kudos !!!

Quote of the day

“The future is here; it’s just not widely distributed yet.”
William Gibson

After Outsourcing, please welcome Crowdsourcing

We have all been confronted with the various “benefits” of outsourcing in this era of globalization. We have had Indian operators answer the phones on various call center tasks and most of our tee shirts and baseball caps are now made in China. We have benefited from this as consumers (cheap goods and services) while we have been questioning this as workers (will my job be next to go?). This is the subject that Thomas Friedman has explained so well in his excellent book: The World Is Flat.

The next new thing: Crowdsourcing. Wired, in a typically excellent article, defines it as “The new pool of cheap labor: everyday people using their spare cycles to create content, solve problems, even do corporate R & D ». These spare cycles are even less expensive than the low cost corporations of India or China since what’s being sold is something that had no exploited value before. This is again a new way in which the web monetizes society. Welcome to more of Web 2.0 !

Jeff Howe, the author of the Wired article, has devoted a blog to this subject : crowdsourcing.com.

A New Website About Tea

aboutteacup.jpgToday, following a lot of research and thought, I have created a new site dedicated to tea simply called About Tea. Here follows the text of the introductory article :

“This site is dedicated to tea. Everything and anything about tea. This will include customs, history, economics, social impact, varieties, grades, objects, cultivation, destinations, news, events, recipes, how-to’s, stories, art, literature, legends, book reviews etc… etc…

Tea is a universal beverage. It is a symbol of hospitality in many countries. With that in mind, welcome to this hopefully fascinating journey through the world of tea.”

I hope that this will be of interest to some of you and that you will join me in this new adventure !!!

And the losing streak continues…

Paris lost today it’s bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics. The winner is London. The whole country was mobilized behind the bid and as seems to be the trend of late, we lost. Or more accurately, Chirac lost… to Blair … as usual !!!

I don’t really like politicians in general but I have to admit to some envy of the British and the prime minister they have. In France, we have a loser. In Britain, they have a winner. It makes all the difference in the world.

A bottle of milk gives you … a Royal Family !

According to this Associated Press article, for approximately the price of one bottle of milk per year, in Great Britain, you will get all the pageantry and pomp of the english Royal family. In a communiqué from Buckingham, this is presented as “good value for money”. Not cheap mind you, just “good value for money”. I wanted to repeat that so it’s real clear that in today’s world even grand traditions which are very much a part of a specific country’s identity need to justify the fact that they’re relevant and affordable. I would love to see what stuffy Prince Charles thinks of such a press release ;-)

To alleviate French depression…

embrouille.jpgWe now have a wonderful government in France. The prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, has never faced a voter in his life and the number two man in this government, Nicolas Sarkozy, is only thinking about what he should do (and not do) to get elected president two years from now. The unions, the Left, and every traditional special interest in France are honing their weapons to make sure that the country remains completely static. And to top it all, the european summit scheduled this weekend is already being called a failure even before it has started. Time for a little satirical humor to get us out of this black mood : this illustration does it just fine ;-)

Ridiculous and Idiotic France !!!

I usually don’t rant on this blog because there’s enough negative stuff in life as it is. However, the results of the referendum held this weekend in France are so disappointing that I can’t help but SHOUT MY FRUSTRATION !!!

This country just massively voted against it’s own interests and for all the wrong reasons. Partly out of protest, partly out of fear, they have voted against a constitution designed by a frenchman (ex-president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing) with French interests and values at it’s core. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. It’s totally ludicrous !!!

Chirac has made another historic blunder in calling this referendum (he could easily have passed the constitution in parliament). He will be remembered in history as someone who managed to have a very long political career while making one massive mistake after another. Thank God, he’s 72 and can’t last much longer. This man is, and has always been, a disaster for France. The only thing he ever cared for is his own political survival and interests and this at the expense of an entire generation who has had to live through the mess he has created time and time again.

As for all the countries out there who have been confronted with French arrogance and high-mindedness (i.e. almost every country in the world) : have yourselves a field day because it doesn’t get better then this. There is no end to the ridicule that can and should be piled on the French voters and their political leaders who have just given the entire planet an object lesson in stupidity.

The iPod : Fashion Phenomenon

ipod-dance-blue.gifI’m just back from New York (it was Fashion Week…). But the biggest fashion phenomenon going on was without a doubt the iPod. Everywhere I looked there were the white earbuds. At the Apple Store in Soho, I saw them blow out of 100 iPod Shuffles in less than an hour (the 1 Gb version, they didn’t have the 512 Mb one in stock). The iPod ads were everywhere. No wonder they’ve sold more than 4.500.000 of them in the last quarter. It was all really quite cool. There’s a vibe surrounding this thing that’s plain fun. And it truly feels like run(a)way success for Apple !!!

Here are some links on the net to be part of the iPod tribe :

The iPod Shuffle ad from Apple (the song is great…)
Here you can iPod your photo ;-)
If you want to do it yourself, here’s a good tutorial for Photoshop users…