Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
However, this "solution" is not really as radical as it sounds: it already exists in a variety of forms, legal and otherwise. For example, many countries have special fast-track visas for investors or high-net-worth individuals--a legal option. On the illegal side, many trafficking syndicates charge huge fees to move their clients across borders, fees that can be collected in a variety of permutations: cash, kind, in advance, in arrears, and so forth.
For Prof. Becker's idea to really work, nation states must completely secure their borders, something even the mightiest nations on earth seem incapable of doing.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Look, can we get this straight, right from the get-go, from the first whistle: It’s football, O.K.? Football. Not soccer. It’s never been soccer. Nobody but midwestern cougars calls it soccer...
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
He performed Puccini's Nessun Dorma and several South African songs at the 2008 Ibrahim Prize Ceremony in Alexandria, Egypt, on 15 November 2008:
Siphiwo Ntshebe - 15 November 2008 (38.2 MB, .flv)
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
2/25 Some Brazil fans in the parking area.
3/25 A vendor of South African football paraphernalia.
4/25 A view of the stadium from the parking area.
5/25 "When the fans go marching in."
6/25 A view of the stadium from the road.
7/25 Riding high...
8/25 And now for my next trick...
9/25 Outer security.
11/25 Inner security.
12/25 Inside the Calabash.
13/25 The theme of this story.
14/25 Stadium filling up steadily. Team Côte d'Ivoire are on the pitch.
15/25 Both teams warming up before the match. Stadium quite full.
16/25 84,455 expectant fans.
17/25 The officials do some last-minute checks.18/25 The snappers get ready for their prey.
19/25 Getting the formalities out of the way.
20/25 Just before kick-off. The calm before the storm.
21/25 And they're off! First half action.
23/25 Second half action. Brazil entrenched in enemy territory. General Julio Cesar surveys the battlefield from the rear.
24/25 Game over: Côte d'Ivoire put up a brave fight, but ultimately Brazil secure a comfortable 3-1 win.
25/25 The Calabash of Light.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work - a life's work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand here where I am standing.
Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.
He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed - love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.
Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts."
- Richard P. Feynman
The world looks so different after learning science. For example, trees are made of air, primarily. When they are burned, they go back to air, and in the flaming heat is released the flaming heat of the sun which was bound in to convert the air into tree, and in the ash is the small remnant of the part which did not come from air that came from the solid earth, instead. These are beautiful things, and the content of science is wonderfully full of them. They are very inspiring, and they can be used to inspire others.
Another of the qualities of science is that it teaches the value of rational thought as well as the importance of freedom of thought; the positive results that come from doubting that the lessons are all true. You must here distinguish--especially in teaching--the science from the forms or procedures that are sometimes used in developing science. It is easy to say, "We write, experiment, and observe, and do this or that." You can copy that form exactly. But great religions are dissipated by following form without remembering the direct content of the teaching of the great leaders. In the same way, it is possible to follow form and call it science, but that is pseudo-science. In this way, we all suffer from the kind of tyranny we have today in the many institutions that have come under the influence of pseudoscientific advisers.
We have many studies in teaching, for example, in which people make observations, make lists, do statistics, and so on, but these do not thereby become established science, established knowledge. They are merely an imitative form of science analogous to the South Sea Islanders' airfields--radio towers, etc., made out of wood. The islanders expect a great airplane to arrive. They even build wooden airplanes of the same shape as they see in the foreigners' airfields around them, but strangely enough, their wood planes do not fly. The result of this pseudoscientific imitation is to produce experts, which many of you are. [But] you teachers, who are really teaching children at the bottom of the heap, can maybe doubt the experts. As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.
When someone says, "Science teaches such and such," he is using the word incorrectly. Science doesn't teach anything; experience teaches it. If they say to you, "Science has shown such and such," you might ask, "How does science show it? How did the scientists find out? How? What? Where?"
It should not be "science has shown" but "this experiment, this effect, has shown." And you have as much right as anyone else, upon hearing about the experiments--but be patient and listen to all the evidence--to judge whether a sensible conclusion has been arrived at.
In a field which is so complicated [as education] that true science is not yet able to get anywhere, we have to rely on a kind of old-fashioned wisdom, a kind of definite straightforwardness. I am trying to inspire the teacher at the bottom to have some hope and some self-confidence in common sense and natural intelligence. The experts who are leading you may be wrong.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
And for comparison, here's how other commentators described the goal:
- First, my favourite, Byron Butler: "Maradona, turns like a little eel, he comes away from trouble, little squat man, comes inside Butcher, leaves him for dead, outside Fenwick, leaves him for dead, and puts the ball away...and that is why Maradona is the greatest player in the world! He buries the English defence..."
- Martin Tyler: "But we haven't been able to control the play in midfield, the way Maradona has been able to do...And he's hurting England again here! It's a brilliant run! It's one of the World Cup great goals!"
- Barry Davies: "Oh! You have to say that's magnificent! There is no debate about that goal. That was just pure football genius. And the crowd in the Azteca Stadium stand to him. Inside one, away from another, and the coolness under pressure to play the ball home with the side of his foot."
Monday, June 14, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Messi was easily Argentina's best player. He displayed all the qualities football fans were hoping to see from him in this tournament: deft close control, explosive bursts of pace, mesmerising dribbles, visionary playmaking, and great shots on goal. It took several amazing saves from Enyeama, Nigeria's goalkeeper and the overall man of the match, to deny Messi the goals that would have crowned a memorable performance.
But the biggest star of the game was a short, paunchy, middle-aged man with a greying beard. He was dressed in a dark, finely-cut suit. He prowled the touchline throughout the game, frequently trotting over to retrieve balls that had gone out for a throw-in, before passing them into the outstretched hands of the thrower with a nonchalant flick of his shoe. His body was a living barometer of the match, capturing every twist and turn in its tissues; his face its display. In his playing days, the man had won universal acclaim as the greatest footballer of his generation. In the eyes of many, myself included, he is the greatest footballer of any generation. And yesterday we saw why: Maradona's passion for the game is undiminished; his presence on the field, even when he isn't playing, is undeniable; and his purpose, victory, is undaunted.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
South Africa 1 - 1 Mexico
Overall, a good performance by South Africa. And what an awesome goal by Siphiwe Tshabalala--the first World Cup goal ever scored on African soil. To put the result into context: Mexico is 17th in the FIFA rankings, whilst South Africa is 83rd! However, you couldn't have guessed that from the game.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Click to enlarge and you can challenge yourself with a little game of Name the Flag.
It all kicks off on Friday.
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
"A man cannot be a successful scholar without acquiring certain virtues which are of value outside universities: He must train his memory; he must learn to distinguish good from bad arguments; he must discipline himself to work hard. He needs firmness of purpose and honesty of mind. He must learn to reason dispassionately, and dispassionate discussions lead to tolerance. All these are useful qualities, which are transferable to ordinary life."
--David M. Balme
Monday, June 07, 2010
Sunday, June 06, 2010
"What would happen if we exchanged brains?"Talk about a googly. A most interesting conversation ensued, including a remembrance and discussion of movies past ("Big").
Saturday, June 05, 2010
And that, you would have have thought, was the end of that. Unfortunately, it wasn't. During the trial, the Post had published an article by Prof. Muna Ndulo, a distinguished academic at Cornell Law School, who also happens to be Zambian. The Post was then charged with contempt of court for publishing comments on a court case that was sub judice. The trial ended earlier this week: the Post was found guilty and Fred M'membe, its editor-in-chief, was sentenced to jail for four months with hard labour. Mr. M'membe, whatever his other qualities might be, is certainly a man of remarkable moral courage. As I write this, Mr. M'membe is already behind bars, although he is sure to appeal his sentence.
Sadly this entire episode is only part of a growing catalogue of the Zambian government's absurd and paranoid actions against its perceived enemies. A truly free society is impossible unless the members of that society are able to freely comment upon and discuss their government's performance. It is counter-productive for any government to deal with unpleasant messages by killing innocent messengers.
Updates (8 June 2010):
Friday, June 04, 2010
Thursday, June 03, 2010
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Steve(n Paul) Jobs was interviewed at the D: All Things Digital conference yesterday and he was fascinating as always. There's a sort of transcript available. Here's my favourite part:
Kara: “What do you do all day?”
Jobs: “I have one of the best jobs in the world. I get to hang out with some of the most talented, committed people around and together we get to play in this sandbox and build these cool products….Apple is an incredibly collaborative company. You know how many committees we have at Apple? Zero. We’re structured like a start-up. We’re the biggest start-up on the planet. And we all meet once a week to discuss our business…and there’s tremendous teamwork at the top and that filters down to the other employees…and so what I do all day is meet with teams of people and work on ideas and new problems to come up with new products.” (Emphasis mine)
The vast majority of organisations haven't learnt this lesson yet (and perhaps never will): Bureaucracy stifles innovation.
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed.
--Albert Einstein, The World As I See It