Monday, August 08, 2011

Slouching Toward a Double-Dip, for

"Imagine your house is burning. You call the fire department but your call isn't answered because every fire fighter in town is debating whether there will be enough water to fight fires over the next ten years, even though water is plentiful right now. (Yes, there's a long-term problem.) One faction won't even allow the fire trucks out of the garage unless everyone agrees to cut water use. An agency that rates fire departments has just issued a downgrade, causing everyone to hoard water."...By Robert Reich

Triple-A Idiots

"You have to hand it to Standard and Poor's. Forget their two-trillion dollar math error. The whole idea that these clowns are evaluating the creditworthiness of the United States is just loony.
For starters, these are the same people who brought us the crisis, by blessing junk sub-prime loans as AAA securities. And they did so because they were paid as consultants by the same financial scoundrels who created the securities.
The executives of the credit rating companies -- not "agencies," for these are private, profit-making, essentially unregulated companies, not public entities -- belong in prison...."

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Midnight in Paris, where Brassaï meets Sohrab

It’s nearly impossible to do justice to “Midnight in Paris”, arguably Woody Allen’s best work since “Deconstructing Harry (1997)”, without spoiling its marvellously crafted plot which is filled with ingenious, charming, funny and sometimes ridiculous surprises. After all when even the official trailer of the movie –Hollywood’s favourite method for spoiling the plot – is behaving so discretely; it’s only polite to follow suit.
I won’t talk about the plot. Rather, I’ll write about the pleasure of finding two of my favourite artists, hidden behind many layers of this masterpiece: the visual style of the Hungarian-born photographer Gyula Halász – known as Brassaï – and the vision of Persian poet/painter Sohrab Sepehri.
When it comes to depicting Paris’ nights, the influence of Brassaï is anything but subtle, as if Allen is paying hommage to this master photographer. Afterall, “Midnight in Paris”, is – more than anything - about nostalgia, Paris and the magic of the night, and what is more relevant to the essence of this movie, than Brassaï? Is it possible that the idea of “Midnight in Paris” appeared to Woody Allen when reading this comment by Brassaï?
“Night does not show things, it suggests them. It disturbs and surprises with its strangeness. It liberates forces within us which are dominated by our reason during day time”
Yet, I have to admit that the undeniable presence of Sohrab, and specifically the loud and clear sound of his poem “Footsteps of Water” (Sedaa-ie Paa-ie Aab) is as hard to explain as it is to ignore! Could it be that the Iranian-born cinematographer, the brilliant Darius Khondji, has slipped a translated copy into Woody Allen’s pocket, to alter the attitude of the nostalgic maestro toward the subject?

"و نپرسيم پدرهاي پدرها چه نسيمي، چه شبي داشته اند.
پشت سر نيست فضايي زنده.
پشت سر مرغ نمي خواند.
پشت سر باد نمي آيد.
پشت سر پنجره سبز صنوبر بسته است.
پشت سر روي همه فرفره ها خاك نشسته است.
پشت سر خستگي تاريخ است."

“And we can forget what the fathers of our fathers have done.
As I think that behind our steps there will not be life,
And behind our steps the birds no more sing,
And behind our steps the breeze stands still,
And behind our steps the windows are closed,
the pines are asleep.”

"Midnight in Paris” is original and hysterically funny. It’s gorgeous, brilliantly-casted, deep, corky and romantic. But for me, the peak of the movie was the mysterious – and imaginary - encounter of Allen, Brassaï and Sohrab, as if it is impossible to watch the last sequence of the movie without thinking of Sohrab...
چترها را بايد بست.

زير باران بايد رفت.

"And we must close umbrellas,
We must stay under the stroke of drops of rain.
And we must take, all together,
the mind, the memory and the heart
to the rite of descending water."

English Translation of Sohrab’s Poem: Maryam Dilmaghani

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Future of Manufacturing Is Local

The Lost Beatles Photographs (PHOTOS)

"In November, 2010 HarperCollins published my book The Lost Rolling Stones Photographs: The Bob Bonis Archive 1964-1966, and now I'm pleased to present the companion book, The Lost Beatles Photographs. The photographs are unlike any others seen before. Bob had a gifted eye and unequaled access. These photos are candid, intimate, unguarded and have an honesty that transcends and humanizes the subject."

Food Inflation Kept Hidden in Tinier Bags

Where have I seen that?! mmmmm....wasn't it 1984!

Cellphone Radiation May Alter Your Brain. Let’s Talk

A recommended read for everybody who owns one!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Can we automate creativity?

A mind-blowing argument by "Stephen Wolfram", arguing that the mathematic that we use today (and hence, physics, engineering and etc) has its roots in history, and it is only one of the many possible mathematics that we could have been using...

Is Autism a male disorder?

From BigThink

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Libyan Fight for Democracy, or a Civil War?

A must read for anyone who is interested in the subject

Religion may become extinct in nine nations, study says

Since I'm a strong believer in human stupidity, I'm not very hopeful about this, but I guess it's a good news, after all!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Me VS Marketing - Stravinsky for Valentine

Here is an actual marketing material from TSO (Toronto Symphonic Orchestra) that was sent to mailing-list subscribers:

"Oops! Did you forget to do something special for Valentine's Day?!

The TSO is giving you the chance to make up for it with a special offer!

2 tickets for $120* to Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring"

Now a word with the good folks at TSO marketing team:

Unless you’re dating Susan Sontag, going to “Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring” is a terrible idea for Valentine’s Day!

I can only think of one situation where this modern and excessively unromantic music could become a swell idea for V-day and that is when you’re bored with your relationship and you’re looking for a bullet-proof idea to get her to breakup with you! In that case, taking your significant other to a Stravinsky concert on Valentine’s Day might be just what you’re looking for. In any other situation, please think of a better marketing pitch!

Because this is just Gaddafi-meets-Ahamdinejad’s sense-of-style, off!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Top 10 Buildings: Eastern Europe

Read the article

Many Genocides To Be Commemorated On Holocaust Memorial Day

Hats off to Rabbi "Jonathan Romain". Read the story

The Competition Myth by Paul Krugman

Read the article

100 Percent Renewable Energy Achievable By 2030

Could the world reach a 100 percent renewable energy goal in less than 20 years? New research says we can. Read the full story

Rebel Yoga

"TARA Stiles does not talk about sacred Hindu texts, personal intentions or chakras. She does not ask her yoga classes to chant. Her language is plainly Main Street: chaturangas are push-ups, the “sacrum” the lower back. She dismisses the ubiquitous yoga teacher-training certificates as rubber stamps, preferring to observe job candidates in action."

Read the full story

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How weretched are the companions of the left hand: A left-handed manifesto!

Among the countless hours of my life that were wasted by the Islamic regime in Iran; in their pathetic quest for religious indoctrination, I vividly remember that particular session in the elementary school in which, we were told by the teacher: “at the end of the judgment day, those who prevail – and rise to heaven – will hold the resume of their deeds in their right hands, but those who hold it in their left hands will burn in hell for eternity”

Well, that was the moment that I realized that I won’t have any luck with religion, for that I always hold almost anything of value in my left hand, anyway! And so does the 8-15% of the population!

I wouldn’t concern myself if the injustice was confined to the imaginary world of afterlife but unfortunately, it doesn’t. According to Dr. Diane F. Halpern of California State University at San Bernardinoand Dr. Stanley Coren of the University of British Columbialeft-handers were more than five times (7.9 percent to 1.5 percent) as likely to die in accidents, often while driving. One reason, they suggested, is that left-handers live in a world designed for right-handers.”

And mortality rate is not the only concern. It is also about the ease-of-use and the loss of performance. In fact, the society has persistently ignored the need of left-handers for customized tools - for any device that does not offer a symmetric use – including automobiles, many kitchen utensils, sports equipments, professional tools, musical instruments, photography equipments, to name a few.

And in rare cases where the left-hander’s version is available, those items are scarce, expensive and difficult to find.

Let us think about it. While almost one out of every nine people on this planet is left-handed, why shouldn’t designers and manufacturers be obliged to accommodate lefties? Why designers aren’t required by law, to offer a left-handed alternative for every device that does not provide a symmetric use?

I am sure that the business has enough ingenuity to accommodate left-handed users, without incurring a significant loss, provided that we left-handed, either exert enough pressure on the industry – through demand boycott – or force our elected representatives to push through proper regulations to protect the rights of our ignored minority.

Now that one of us, is the president of the United States (Barak Obama) and another is the prime minister of England (David Cameron), isn’t it the time to demand our right for equality? We can’t get any stronger than this.


* Then (as to) the companions of the right hand; how happy are the companions of the right hand! And (as to) the companions of the left hand; how wretched are the companions of the left hand!

Verses 8 and 9 from Qoran’s The Inevitable (Al-Waqia)

China Improves Energy Efficiency By 20 Percent In 5 Years

"China met a five-year target to improve energy efficiency by cutting power to industry and imposing rolling blackouts, even though a massive economic stimulus increased energy use." Read the full article