Thursday, February 22, 2007

My Wife Discovered Flickr and Tabblo

Click here to go to our pictures at Flickr.
Click here to go to our pictures at Tabblo.

I personally like Tabblo better because it is very easy for us to arrange pictures on the pages.  It is also made with my favorite programming language, Python.  (Well, Python and a lot of Javascript, I suppose.)

Monday, February 12, 2007

How Could You Not Listen To Jennifer Connelly?

I have been telling people about the stupidity and the immorality of buying and wearing diamonds for a few years while receiving mostly perplexed looks and polite smiles from the people I tried to convince. Needless to say, I am quite a failure at this.

However, in the movie Blood Diamond, Jennifer Connelly's character summed it up infinitely better than I could have done. She said, "People back home would not buy a diamond if they knew it cost someone their hand."

Wanting and buying diamonds, besides being an example of how we are fooled by brilliantly evil marketing strategy to pay enormous sum of money for artificially-scarce commodity, also provides great incentives for mistreatment of the poor and the children. Child enslavement, mutilation, and murder are done just to bring us some stupid shiny rocks. A good summary of all the various reasons we should stop wanting diamonds can be found in this article and this article.

I also would like to point out that we have the technology to synthesize diamonds atom-by-atom, resulting in better quality gems than any naturally occurring diamonds. (This reminds me that, once upon a time, aluminum was priced more highly than gold, due to the difficulty of extracting pure alumninum from rocks. Now, after appropriate technology was discovered in 1886, aluminum is abundant and cheap enough that we can throw away aluminum foils. I suspect that I will use diamond-based semi-conductors, diamond-powder coated electronic devices, and forever-sharp-diamond-edged knives in a decade or two.)

--- - ---- - ----- ---------
P.S. Jennifer Connelly, besides being one of the most beautiful actresses in the world, can actually act, and very well at that. She got an Oscar for her role in A Beautiful Mind. I saw her movies since she was a teenager, and I thought, "Good thing this girl is pretty, she cannot act." I'm very happy to see that I'm completely wrong. Starting in the late 1990's, it became more and more apparent what a good actress she has become. Some of her roles I enjoy include a lesbian college student in Higher Learning, the leading role in Dark City (one of my top ten Sci-fi movies), a political activist in Waking the Dead, and a drug addict in Requiem for a Dream.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The U.S. Empire Is Crumbling

Although it made me very sad, I have to agree with the Game Over: Thirty-Six Sure-Fire Signs That Your Empire Is Crumbling article by David Michael Green. The U.S. is damaging itself tremendously by persuing the wasteful and murderous policies.

I spent most of my adolescent and young-adult life in the U.S. and remember it as a great place with great people. I have many wonderful friends from the U.S. It's amazing what a mess the country has become in a few short years. The situation is a dramatic demonstation of what "Democracy" with an easily fooled (or outright stupid) population, immoral-and-overly-profit-oriented press, and some election cheating can do to a country, even a great one such as the U.S.

I hope the new Congress will stop and reverse this decline in time and won't allow the Invasion of Iran to happen.

Meanwhile, I am continued to be frustrated by the lack of result in cleaning up Thailand's mess left by the exiled-but-still-very-rich election stealer. I hope the effort shows some effectiveness soon, or my country will be setback again by another election by a stupid/easily-fooled population, immoral-and-overly-profit-oriented press, and election stealing before the year's end.