August 17th, 2008

At work, Self portrait

I think...

Putin and his lapdog are a few months too quick on the trigger. Bush won't hesitate to nuke Moscow if God tells him to. And considering what God has told him in the past, who knows.
At work, Self portrait

More Russia

On the bright side, a resurgent Russian empire powered by high oil prices may be just what the Americans need to inflate their tires, put solar cells on their roof and eventually trade in their SUVs for a hybrid or electric car. Put up signs on the gas stations showing how much of the gas price goes to Russia ("Putin tax"). This should be calculable from the proportion of the world's oil that comes from Russia (second largest producer, I believe) corrected for the cost of shipping and refining. It should still be a very noticeable amount when you fill up your tank.

The thing is, Russia failed to fully implement capitalism during its window of opportunity. Instead, oligarchs gained personal control of much of the economy, and later this ownership has gradually drifted back to the government. This model does not fully tap the benefits of a market economy, and Russia still has an outdated manufacturing base and a shallow and feeble banking and insurance system. If the oil price crashes, so does Russia. The recent torrent of oil money into Russia has largely been spent right away on beefing up the military and buying goodwill for the new ruling party. The country has not set aside a substantial fraction of its petroleum wealth the way Norway did, for instance. Therefore they are vulnerable to a rapid spread of energy-saving technologies, renewable energy, petrol substitutes and of course a global recession, any of which would send the oil price down. A combo of several of these could pull the rug out under Putin, although I cannot guarantee that his successor would be better - some of the alternatives today seem outright crazy by comparison.
Porcupine

Observation:

Some unknown woman is harvesting the berry bushes here. It is definitely not one of the landlord's family, which I have already met. It could be one of the neighbors though. I don't know them all so well.

Truth to tell, it was kind of overdue, the berries were starting to fall off.

Let's hope she mows the lawn as well. I did not get quite finished yesterday.
  • Current Music
    Sims 2 pop channel
NewAge

" Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."

Petrol pump pilgrims keep faith (BBC News)
After months of praying for lower gas prices, an American prayer group takes responsibility* for the recent price fall.
God heard their prayers and in His great mercy sent recession, economic chaos, unemployment and despair so that the oil price could fall?
All this supposedly at the behest of people who didn't even bother to read the first chapters of the first gospel, or they would have known that Jesus specifically tells us not to pray on street corners, among which I am pretty sure gas pumps qualify.

(*Or perhaps "claims responsibility" would be better here.)
  • Current Mood
    amused amused
Osaka

Mnemosyne (spaced repeition software)

Thanks to a recent post by ironphoenix about the unusual life of Piotr Wozniak, I came across the concept of spaced repetition software and the excellent website of his program Supermemo. The website has a lot of nifty theory along with helpful hints for users of the software. It is in fact so good that their Sourceforge competitor links to it. This free alternative, called Mnemosyne, is very much simpler, even rudimentary compared to the newest versions of Supermemo. On the other hand, Supermemo has a strong desire to take over your life and change the way you input information into your brain. Most notably, incremental reading, which is to say that you mash any article into tiny bits and read these over a fairly long period of time in between hundreds of other bits of other articles. This creeps me out, as if modern life were not too fragmented as is.

Mnemosyne on the other hand is deceptively simple. Collapse )
  • Current Music
    "Heaven" (performed by the voices in my head)
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