Saturday, October 27, 2007

More Cheddar for Steve


Last night the better half and I went over to Los Gatos for the OS X Leopard release. I'll write more about it later but here's my initial pros/cons list.


Highlights



  • Time Machine


  • CoverFlow in the finder


  • objective-c 2.0


  • Scripting Bridge


  • Updated Interface Builder

Suckage

  • Real Java Support




Friday, October 26, 2007

Fortune Cookies

Wonder what's really happening with inflation in Argentina? Here's an Indicator:

Argentina's benchmark inflation-linked bonds have tumbled 24 percent this year, making the country's debt market the worst performer in the world, according to data compiled by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bloomberg.

`Argentine inflation-linked debt is the single worst long- term asset in all of emerging-markets,'' said Paul McNamara, who manages more than $1 billion of fixed-income at London-based Augustus Asset Managers.
Political Leaders

Homework-Find-X-Here-It-Is

I don't know what's worse: blatantly cooking your books and thinking it'll all work out (Nestor), or believing god has some plan for you and your nation (George). Historically, I think the god delusion has caused more suffering but failing to understand and appreciate the realities of trade in this day and age is inexcusable.

Take the Chinese government, for all their many flaws, they've figured out that if they want to feed their people, they'll have to play the trade game and that means playing by a set of rules - become a bad actor and no one can/will trade with you and your people will suffer and soon you'll be out of power. Keep the people happy. Keep your power. Pretty simple.

And how do you keep the people happy? Give 'em the means to pursue their happiness.

Now, if you're flush with oil, you can run around like some trustafarian but eventually it's gonna catch up with you or your progeny. It's the later case that I find so tragic -- think generations of young men without meaningful work, ala the Kingdom of Saud.

Small tangent... Confucian Meritocracy. Heard of it? I hadn't until recently:
The Confucian view is that political leaders should be the most talented and public-spirited members of the community, and the process of choosing such leaders should be meritocratic, meaning that there should be equal opportunity for the best to rise to the top. Historically, Confucian meritocracy was implemented by means of examinations, and there have been proposals to revive and update Confucian examinations for contemporary China.
I wonder what Aristotle would make of this? In any event, I think I'd prefer a system where people are competing to be the most competent (for some measure of competency) rather than the most appealing to the largest and most active voting blocks. Obviously, People would game the system and fiddle with the tests and test administration ( think gerrymandering ) but I wonder if, on balance, we wouldn't end up with a more optimal system of governing.

Maybe a Meritocracy would help prevent the National Statistics Institute from being so easily dismissed by politicians. On second thought, probably not.

Should I be Worried?

Hell yeah! But no one here gets out alive.

Jim-Morrison---The-Doors-Poster-C10293914

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Moving Quotes

I'll miss the sea, but a person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside, allowing him to grow. Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken. --Duke Leto Atreides



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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mistakes Were Made

Consider this a kind of internet confession.

You just don't up-and-move to a foreign country without making a few mistakes. and today I had to clean up one of mine.

Like a bone-head, I placed an add for my Jeep on craigslist the same day I placed it on ebay. I expected the sale to be protracted and thought I would cast a wide net. I couldn't have been more wrong.

I first setup and auction on ebay motors and, figuring it wouldn't sell, placed an add on craigslist. I priced the jeep for a quick sale but little did I know the phone would immediately start ringing once I place my add on craigslist. Within the hour, the Jeep was sold and in route to its new home in San Jose.

But what about the ebay auction!? I'm not going to embarrass myself by giving the details of how I failed to cancel the auction, suffice it to say, the auction went on even though I no long was in possession of the vehicle. Cringe.

Long story short... Turns out the auction would have brought in twice the cheddar as the craigslist sale and because I was unable to cancel the auction, I sold the Jeep twice. Ouch!
I cleaned up the mess with the ebay buyer, but boy do I feel like a schmuck.

I hope this is the worst of it, but I somehow I doubt it.

Retard

The Bunny House - The fine art of sex selling design: hooker flyers, postcards, advertising, posters, etc.

"Recoleta Escorts"



Recoleta (neighbourhood). Your place from 9am to 9pm / With the best escorts


I'll have more to say about this once I finish my morning todo list.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

New Post

Some hopeful words on Argentina's future from Bill Bonner.

Debt-Free Argentina is Ready to Boom:

It’s going to boom because it has no debt…and it is a major producer of food. And not only that, it’s already made almost every mistake you can make. It’s had socialism, hyper-inflation, price controls, debt, coups d’etat, military governments - you name it

...
Argentina’s economy is growing nearly three times as fast as the United States. It is coming off a major depression, when GDP growth went negative for a year and a half…when the local currency lost two-thirds of its value…and in which the economy actually shrank as much as 16% in a single quarter.

I've ben hearing about this Bonner guy and finally looked him up in wikipedia. I'm always very skeptical of of folks that make money selling financial advice based on wild claims but I hope he's right about Argentina.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bill Bonner on Argentina's Future

Some hopeful words on Argentina's future from Bill Bonner.

Debt-Free Argentina is Ready to Boom:

It’s going to boom because it has no debt…and it is a major producer of food. And not only that, it’s already made almost every mistake you can make. It’s had socialism, hyper-inflation, price controls, debt, coups d’etat, military governments - you name it

...
Argentina’s economy is growing nearly three times as fast as the United States. It is coming off a major depression, when GDP growth went negative for a year and a half…when the local currency lost two-thirds of its value…and in which the economy actually shrank as much as 16% in a single quarter.

I've ben hearing about this Bonner guy and finally looked him up in wikipedia. I'm always very skeptical of of folks that make money selling financial advice based on wild claims but I hope he's right about Argentina.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

When Things Go South

Today I had lunch with my banker friend -- we'll call him M. M grew up in the Czech Republic and I was looking forward to picking his brain regarding the immigrant experience. I was also just happy to see him since we've not had much contact in the last year.

We met in downtown Santa Cruz at a little cafe. After being seated, we ordered brunch and quickly got right to the subject of my move to Argentina. M had lots of questions about my move to Argentina. He wanted to know the details of my real estate, the neighborhood, work, etc.. Soon we got to the real meat of the subject: Why Argentina? I imagine Argentina is a Banker's worst nightmare.

We talked about Argentina's recent past, the upcoming election, the IMF and a host of other things I really don't have any business talking about for lack of any real knowledge or understanding. Eventually, The conversation turned to worst case scenarios. What if there's a military take over? What if the government kicks out foreigners? What if Hugo turns the southern cone into commies?




Being from a former soviet block country, M knows a little something about the consequences of government instability, so I was all ears when he explained how quickly things can go south (punlicious, no). He walked me though his view of the conditions that can lead to a government collapse. The description was peppered with sighs, thoughtful pauses -- uncomfortable memories. He looked troubled.

Which Way Argentina?

I can't even begin to fake an answer to this question. I need to do more home work...

Brazil: A 'Test Case' for Continuation of Free-market Reforms in Latin America - Knowledge@Wharton:

What that poll shows is, across the board, a disillusionment with the sort of lofty, unrealistic claims or expectations that were promoted in the 1990s in the name of economic reform," states McDermott, who has advised governments in Latin America and Eastern Europe. "So what you see now is uncertainty about what to do. The figures show, in general, that people don't want to go back to the old ways but still don't know what it means to have privatization or democracy. They're not happy with most privatizations. But they don't want dictators. They don't really know how to improve the management of their democracies to get results.I wouldn't say there is a 'return to populism.' I think most economists and analysts use that phrase as a sort of jingoistic shorthand to say the Washington consensus isn't going well.

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Second Language Pedagogy

There are a number of different theories of second language acquisition and a vast number of teaching strategies but this has got to be my favorite.

If only it were a castellano class.






Chasing Cool - Music Edition

If you're growing tired of your current playlists or maybe you're shuffle is begging for some new bits you might check out Argentinian Juana Molina.

I'd affectionately describe her music as down-tempo acoustic cotton candy with a twist of electronica. This is just the kind of undemanding musical pudding that can decorate the air waves while you brainstorm your next blog entry.

Some folks compare Juana'a music to Bjork but I fail to see the similarities. I imagine this is marketing speak for: "Hey, you liked that weired Icelandic chick, right? Well Juana's weired too. You should check her out."

I'm reminded more of Brian Eno, Adrian Belew, Robert Fripp and just about anything from Windham Hill Records in circa 1980.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Baggage Allowance

 



Ran across this while I was reading American Airlines' Baggage Allowance fine print. For some reason this just struck me as funny.

Monday, October 1, 2007