Saturday, September 29, 2007

Vittles in the Barrio

Got a tip on where to get good foodstuffs in our barrio:

The block of the old Mercado Norte, bordered by Rodriguez Peña, Vicente Lopez, Montevideo and Las Heras (mainly the first 2 of these streets) has the finest selection of small shops in the area that sell meats, vegetables, fiambres and cheeses, bread, fish, etc., etc. (It also has a large Norte grocery store.)

I've highlighted the block that the streets surround in yellow:

Friday, September 28, 2007


We're a little sad these days. Thinking about leaving so much behind. Trying to find homes for our pets and knowing that we'll be leaving behind friends and family has got us in the dumps. Lucky for us there's Cat Stevens music and Harold and Maude. If you don't know the movie, here's a taste:

Harold and Maude
In one particularly poignant moment in the film, Maude asks young Harold what kind of flower best describes him. He absently points at a hedge of little white flowers and says "one of those, I guess." Maude asks him why, and Harold says it is because they are all the same. "Oh," Maude says, "but they're not. Some are big. Some small. Some grow to the right. Others to the left. All kinds of observable differences. You know Harold, much of life's problems derive from people who are this (holding up a unique little white flower), but allow themselves to be treated like that."
Now I think its time for some CSPAN.

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Bad Waters in Buenos Aires

I'm growing more and more excited about our impending move to Buenos Aires, Argentina. I just can't wait to explore the city and I can't imagine anything going wrong. Everything is going to be just perfect. Yeah, Right.

Confirmation Bias.

In psychology and cognitive science, confirmation bias is a tendency to search for or interpret new information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions and avoid information and interpretations which contradict prior beliefs. It is a type of cognitive bias and represents an error of inductive inference, or as a form of selection bias toward confirmation of the hypothesis under study or disconfirmation of an alternative hypothesis.

So, with that in mind... have a look

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Escape to Argentina? WWIII?

I think Argentina is a great place to be if you're looking for a western mega-city but gee whiz.

Scoopit - The Greater Depression: Escape to Argentina ? / NZ News

And let me give you a tip, okay? Forget about Europe, it's going to become a petting zoo. It's like Disneyland with real stones instead of paper Mache stones. I mean, Europe is on the slippery slope. I wouldn't touch Europe with a ten-foot pole. If this war with Islam gets out of control, Europe is going to be an epicenter. It's going to be a disaster. I'll tell you where you ought to look. Argentina is the place to be. It's the cheapest country in the world. It has low population, incredibly beautiful, the climate is great. One hundred years ago, it was in competition with the US for being the best place in the world and the richest place. But it went downhill radically, radically.

But let me tell you something. It's turning around I think. And what's going to happen is driven by the fact that everything in Argentina costs between 10% to 30% of what it costs in North America. That's correct. It's that cheap. It's free. It's free. It's free for us as North Americans. But the Europeans really think it's free with that strong Euro. So you're getting a massive immigration from rich Europeans that can see the handwriting on the wall and like it down there. And I really like it down there. It's just a great society, great society, great place to hang out, prices are right. I mean this can solve most of your investment problems right there, just by transplanting yourself, if you've got some capital. Furthermore, Argentina is going to be insolated from WWIII to a good extent.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Truth About Argentina

Ricardo López Murphy -- Argentina's Ron Paul?

Be sure to watch the entire clip...

Blow My Mind Frank

On the topic of sex, business and even Al Gore's wife, Frank was such an honest and original voice.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Kirchner Signals Sanity Latin America
``Terrorism can't be tolerated, neither by those who support, finance or protect it, be it people or countries,'' Kirchner said.

Big sigh of relief. Thank goodness.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

News Roundup

Beware of Venezuelans Bearing Gifts -
But thanks to investigative reporting by the Argentine daily La Nación, we now know that there was good reason for Guido Alejandro Antonini Wilson to think he could just walk off that plane with a bag of money. As it turns out, the Argentine government of President Nestór Kirchner has a policy of allowing Venezuelans tied to the government in Caracas to come and go freely at Buenos Aires' Aeroparque airport, with no scrutiny of their baggage whatsoever.

Argentina's Kirchner says rates must come down | Bonds News |
BUENOS AIRES, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Argentine President Nestor Kirchner said on Saturday that the government would do everything it could to bring down interest rates, after interbank lending rates shot up in the last two months .

"Interest rates must come down. They will come down. We are going to take all the necessary measures," Kirchner said in comments to Mitre Radio.

"Banks must understand that the country has to work for everyone. There are some people in the financial sector who still don't seem to understand that," he said.

Interbank rates, or call money, shot up in August to higher than 20 percent when the global credit crunch ignited a flight in Argentina to safe-haven dollars.

But rates came back down lower than 8 percent this past week after a series of measures by the Central Bank, including buying back its own notes, auctioning and selling repurchase agreements, and temporarily relaxing the minimum average deposit rule for banks.

I suspect that by necessary he intends to invoke the full power of the government.

Argentina-Iran Row Over Terrorist Bombings -- 09/24/2007
The foreign ministry over the weekend criticized Mohsen Baharvand, whose official rank is business attache, for his statements about Kirchner, saying they were "unacceptable" and unbecoming the envoy of a foreign country.

Baharvand caused a stir when he told the Clarin newspaper that if Kirchner during his speech accuses Iran of involvement in two bombings in Argentina in the early 1990s, "many countries will interpret this [as a sign] that Argentina supports the war [against Iran]."
I would bet that Argentina and the rest of South America will not end up on Ahmadinejad's side. Anyone disagree?

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On Culture Shock

Stage 1: The Honeymoon

Wow! I just love Disney Land. Look there's Mickey. Wanna go on a ride?

Stage 2: Isolation

Holy crap! Will this never end? They just want to sell us stuff. Did you know everything here is monitored by camera and there are underground tunnels where they hatch their plans for absconding with our money.

Stage 3: Integration

Did you know goofy is pursing an advanced degree in urban design? He's such an interesting fellow.

More about the 3 stages here:

WorldWide Classroom: About Culture Shock
Americans, for instance, who go abroad in various governmental and business capacities, are usually members of the middle class and carry the values and aspirations of this class, some of which are an accent on the practical or utilitarian - work as a means to personal success, and suspicion of personal authority.

Accustomed to working in large hierarchical institutions like business corporations, governmental agencies, or scientific foundations which have a life of their own and persist in time, Americans tend to become impersonal. Individuals no matter how able are replaceable parts in these large institutions.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man.

AFP: Iran warns Argentina ahead of Kirchner UN speech
BUENOS AIRES (AFP) — Iran has warned Argentina against joining the enemy camp if Argentine President Nestor Kirchner criticizes Tehran at the UN General Assembly, the Iranian ambassador said in an interview Friday.

Kirchner is expected to mention Argentina's probe into alleged Iranian involvement in a deadly attack on a Jewish association in 1994, a leading representative of the Argentine Jewish community told AFP.

Authorities have yet to convict anyone for the bombing of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association that left 85 dead and 300 injured.

But if Kirchner accuses Iran of wrongdoing, "numerous countries will understand that Argentina is in favor of war," the Islamic republic's ambassador to Buenos Aires Moshen Baharvand told the daily Clarin.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Supreme Leader Tax

I'm watching a talk on CSPAN from the AEI on Iran and I just learned of a 6% tax that is paid into the personal account of the Supreme Leader of Iran. Now I find this *really* hard to believe, so I went to google and I have yet to find anything authoritative.

I did find another blogger who thought this "fact" was blog worthy.

Makes corruption in Argentina look sophomoric, no?

Marathon Pundit: February 2007
The straightest of shooters, Iran expert and Pajamas blogger Michael Ledeen discusses with moderator Austin Bay the mullahocracy of Iran.

One thing I didn't know: Every purchase in Iran has a 5 to 6 percent "Supreme Leader tax" into the pocket of Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei.

Ledeen knows of no other such "tax" among the world's nations.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Buenos Aires and Books

One of the aspects of Buenos Aires that excites me is its book culture. I have no idea how long it will take me to learn to read in spanish but I look forward to it. I was telling Julia the other day that there's a nice bookstore near the place we are trying to buy. Here's some info:

El Ateneo Bookstore - Buenos Aires - Argentina 1860 Ave. Santa Fe

I hope they have wifi.

Here are some folks taking a very different approach to the book trade.

Broadband Adoption in BA

Net4Now :: News Story
Head counters at Argentina's National Statistics Institute have released their quarterly report on Internet usage in the country, which shows a steady growth in broadband adoption.

The public statistics body began researching the Internet usage trends back in 2002 and started publishing quarterly reports in 2004. Five years ago, the total number of internet connections was near one and a half million, at 1,468,073. In 2007, that number nearly doubled to a total of 2.7 million users.

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We're not in Kansas Anymore

I'm thankful their are people like Rob watching al jazeera.

Scary what things one must consider when moving to Argentina. We're not in Kansas anymore...

I'll Take Urban, Please.

I was reading Jacob's Cities and the Wealth of Nations tonight and decided to google her idea of "import replacement" being the vehicle of urban development. As per usual, I got a little side tracked along the way and found these images and ideas at City Comforts. Nice, no?

Back to Import Replacement:

At the same time, Jacobs makes it clear that development can only happen in one way: import replacement. A city develops by having entrepreneurs and inventors take apart imported goods and learn how they work and how to produce parts for them until they can produce them more cheaply than they can be imported. The example she keeps referring to is Tokyo's bicycle industry, which replaced American imports with
local production. Once a city replaces an import, it can use the extra money it gets to import other, typically more expensive goods, triggering further import replacement. This process is coupled to the full cycle of division of labor, in which division of labor involves adding new work, which in turn triggers more division of labor, and so on.
Now this bit about division of labor seems to be in the air lately. Over on the Kanbandev yahoo group we are talking about division of labor, the craft development model, and lean as it applies to software development. Then, during lunch, I was listening to the econtalk
podcast with Ed Leamer and it came up again -- no surprise for an academic econmics podcast, but still.

This was a great podcast and I look forward to listening to it again:
Ricardian model doesn't apply to everywhere (neither does
Heckscher-Ohlin). Economies of scale idea is implicit in Adam Smith. James Buchanan, earlier podcast (Mike Munger, Division of Labor): Two reasons for specialization: we're different, and extent of the market. Leamer: It's not really economies of scale, but rather keeping the human capital operating for long periods of time during the day.
EdLeamerBuilding a pin requires two tasks, building the shaft and building the head. When done by one person, most of the person's capital sits idle, as opposed to at a factory, which minimizes the capital costs. Market
creates specialized activities, legal system is now highly specialized, deployed for long hours during the day. Multitasking helps a little, but the brain is physically constrained by being in separate people.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Assorted Bits

People often complain about how difficult it is to get things done in Argentina. Well, Santa Cruz, CA is far from a efficient environment to do business in. Today we found out that a recent largish money transfer was miss handled by our local bank. Seems it was missing information and improperly formated. I knew I shouldn't have allowed the 22 year old new-hire to process my order. Oh, well. Not his fault.

It's 2 AM in the morning and I can't sleep. Time to study some spanish...
1402735083 87E8F5Dd19 OMy tongue is in a rut and subsequently I can't trill my "R"s to save my life. It's as if I have some sort of proprioceptive disorder or something. I just can't get my tongue to trill those bloody "R"s. Time to look for help....

The technical term for this feat of the mouth is called a alveolar trill and the trick is to develop toungue strenght:

How to roll your "R"s?
It is the strength in your tongue and your ability to shape your inner mouth that make the trill possible.

The sound is made because of the Bernoulli's principle, an aspect of physics which defines the movement of fluids and gas over different shapes, and one of the principles of flight. In other words, the shape of your tongue will partially resemble an airplane wing, with the exhaled air passing over the top of the stiff, shaped lower tongue and vibrating the tip against the ridge like the flaps on an airplane wing.

At least I'm not alone.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Libertarian Dream

Libertarians come in many flavors, of course, but they share certain enthusiasms beyond free-market economics. They are often great consumers of science fiction, with an avid interest in space travel. And they have an almost unlimited enthusiasm for biotechnology, especially for advances that might allow us to manipulate our natures and extend our lives. Taken together, these elements constitute what might be called the libertarian dream--the dream of shaping your own meaning, liberated from family, from the past, from tradition, from biology, and perhaps even from the earth itself.

Oh, please.

[hat tip to
art de vany]

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Happy Buenos Aires

This just in:

Buenos Aires, Sept 15 (Prensa Latina) A Dutch citizen was arrested at Ezeiza international airport, in this capital, carrying more than 26,000 pills of ecstasy, Argentine authorities said on Friday.

The 58-year-old man, whose identity was not disclosed, came from Amsterdam, Holland, and arrived in Buenos Aires on Thursday night via Madrid on an Iberia flight.

Sources from the Customs Police were surprised because the man had succeeded to get around security measures at two modern and well-equipped European airports.

They added that due to their low content of amphetamines, it is hard to detect the pills, but the Argentine officers showed great skill in their work.

This was the largest shipment of ecstasy seized in Argentina over the past ten years, they said, and the third drug capture over the past three days, so experts think drug addiction is increasing in the country.

I'd like to think this has less to do with addiction and more to do with the upcoming Bjork concert. ;-)


Friday, September 14, 2007

Morning Coffee

Still having the most fun? Hope she lands on her feet.

So, that's the trip. It was a very nice ten day getaway. The only downside was returning to work on Thursday and being informed that I no longer had a job.
Here's another local design and development firm. I wonder if there's a more accurate named for these types of businesses?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

When I Grow Up

Via crummy, I took the career quiz. In bold are the careers I've considered many of which I've already held.

  1. Interior Designer
  2. Exhibit Designer
  3. Animator
  4. Video Game Developer
  5. Multimedia Developer
  6. Computer Animator
  7. Artist
  8. Business Systems Analyst
  9. Graphic Designer
  10. Web Developer
  11. Medical Illustrator
  12. Database Developer
  13. Computer Support Person
  14. Industrial Designer
  15. Computer Programmer
  16. Desktop Publisher
  17. Venture Capitalist
  18. Potter
  19. Craftsperson
  20. Cartoonist / Comic Illustrator

Morning Coffee

Apparently the coffee in Argentina sucks and the state controls what you can name your kids. Lucky for me, I'm not planning on kids but the coffee issue...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Nightstand


I no longer go in for those self help business books you see a lot of these days but I really did enjoy reading Seth Godin's the dip. It's a short book about quitting. This was a fun and fast read.

Next up, some Warren Elis.

Julia's Rules for Surviving a Relocation

As you may know, Julia and I are in the process of moving to Buenos Aires, Argentina. This move entails a wholesale liquidation of our possessions, the purchase of property in a foreign country, and the possible loss of employment. Yowza!

Needless to say, things have been a little stressful in casa evans. Being a clever soul, Julia's in the processes of formulating some rules that should help us maintain our sanity while we seemingly put everything at risk.

  1. Only one person can e paranoid at a time
  2. Reason first, emotions second.
  3. Move something forward each day
  4. Kepp the big picture in mind
  5. If the ultimate risk is small enough, then jump
  6. Our home is wherever we are together.
  7. We can let go of everything but each other.
  8. Beer, music and beautiful things help.
My additions would be:

  1. Watch Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain or maybe Zardoz. ;-)

Organization Man & Urban Spaces

This post is going to be a hodge podge of pictures, quotes and thoughts. Don't expect much.

The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces (Hat Tip teczno )

The strongest similarities are found among the world's largest cities. People in them tend to behave more like their counterparts in other world cities than like fellow nationals in smaller cities. Big-city people walk faster, for one thing, and they self-congest
Surely the Shared Context cause of this phenomena and it explains why Julia describes her short stay in Buenos Aires as San Francisco in Spanish.

Another work by , William Whyte is The Organization Man. More blockquotes from teczno:

We have, in sum, a man who is so completely involved in his work that he cannot distinguish between work and the rest of his life - and happy that he cannot. ... No dreams of Gothic castles or liveried footmen seize his imagination. His house will never be a monument, an end in itself. It is purely functional, a place to salve the wounds and store up energy for what's ahead. And that, he knows full well, is battle.

Pages 196-198, on strategies for personality tests:

When in doubt about the most beneficial answer to any question, repeat to yourself: I loved my father and my mother, but my father a little bit more. I like things pretty much the way they are. I never worry much about anything. I don't care for books or music much. I love my wife and children. I don't let them get in the way of company work.
I know this guy -- Organization Man. I've even been compelled to become this guy, but I can't. I'm not fit for that box but somehow... wish I was.

Pages 208-209, on pure vs. applied research:

The failure to recognize the value of purposelessness is the starting point of industry's problem. To the managers and engineers who set the dominant tone in industry, purposelessness is anathema, and all their impulses incline them to highly planned, systematized development in which the problem is clearly defined. ... In pure research, however, half the trick is finding out that there is a problem - that there is something to explain. The culture dish remained sterile when it shouldn't have.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb has been making the same point while on his book tour for The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. He talks about how many medical breakthroughs were the result of accident while at the same time we poor scads of money into research that fails to deliver results.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when I read on wikipedia that Whyte was a mentor of Jane Jacobs.


The term ChildFree is in the wikipedia but not in the Britannica encyclopedia. Talk about slow and stodgy. Evolve or die, folks.

676Px-World Population %28Un%29.Svg
Fragments from the Pilgrimage of Yerma from the album "Lorca" by Enrique Morente

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Morning Coffee

New Domestic Flights in Argentina Coming Soon...

Those travelling Argentina's skies will soon have more choices. AirPampas is a new airline started by the former leader of Aerolineas Argentinas, Antonio Mata. AirPampas is expected to take a part of Aerolineas' 85% share of the domestic air travel market in Argentina. I expect it will be good to have a little more competition in this area.

Wonder what it will cost to fly from Buenos Aires to Cordoba. Lot of smart people in Cordoba.

Microsoft is having its yearly MSDN event in Buenos Aires in a couple of weeks. Maybe I'll make attending next years event a goal. Oh, and it looks like there is a BarCamp coming up.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Recoleta Pics From Julia

I suppose I should figure out how to plug flickr into this blog but for now, here are a few pics that Julia took last week.

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1346595693 678Cf6Eeeb

Geek Culture Alive and Well in Argentina

Geek culture seems to be alive and kicking in Argentina if Happy Hacking is any indication.

Mrfeed Blanco

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Yep. There's a long story about how we got here and I'll try to write something about it later today. It's not a done deal yet, but we're well on our way.

Recoleta -  Luxury 2 Bedroom/ 2 Bath Loft (FSAM12)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Life Transmorgrified

transmorgrify - definition from Ninjawords (a really fast dictionary):
(v) : to alter the form of something completely

Julia presented the reserva today and we are expecting acceptance of our offer within a day or two, then things get serious.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The World Shakes

Julia left for BA this morning and it looks like she's taken some tremors with her.

Magnitude mb 4.6

Date time 2007-09-02 at 00:14:33.3 UTC
Location 23.82 S ; 67.11 W
Depth 100 km
Distances 188 km W Jujuy (pop 305,891 ; local time 21:14 2007-09-01)
232 km W San pedro (pop 58,430 ; local time 21:14 2007-09-01)


Saturday, September 1, 2007


So, I bought a Mac and I can't get anything done. It's a beautiful machine and OS X is just great but moving around the window manager is a mini paradigm shift. Find a good blogging tool took awhile too but I found one and I'm using it to write this. I'm now using ecto for blogging.

BTW, I'm writing this while watching a panel discussion on new media sponsored by the Aspen Institute. Michael Eisner just made some very anti Web2.0 statements. Not surprising I suppose given his background.

Okay, on with testing out the features of ecto.

This is a test block-quote.
And here are some bullet points:

  • One
  • Two
  • Three