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Saturday, May 24, 2003
Saddam Stole Billions From U.N.

While it was known that the oil for food program was abused by Iraq, this article goes into detail of how and why it happened. The title is somewhat suspect since it never details how money that should have gone to the UN did not, just how Iraq was able to have bribe money go to personal accounts.

Looking at the MSNBC article, it would seem to imply that the skimming was stopping as the UN changed the pricing scheme

Previously it had been reported that other countries would illicitly sell Iraqi oil and would profit by keeping a percentage of the oil sold. According to the article bribe money to Iraq would be deposited into Swiss bank accounts allowing Saddam to create a large fortune in US currency.

Drugs Quip Backfires for Jackass Star in Sweden


Steve-O from Jackass was touring through Sweden as part of his own show and decided to tell local police that he had swallowed a condom filled with marijuana. Sweden being one of the country's more opposed to drugs currently has placed Steve-O in a jail cell on a toilet and is going to examine any foreign objects that appear.

Friday, May 23, 2003
BBC NEWS | UK | How does Dyson make water go uphill?

Basically its just an illusion, one person even thought the waterfall itself was falling upward!

Thursday, May 22, 2003
Star Wars kid no longer begging

The closest thing to a begging update in recent times. The Star Wars Kid fundraiser has been closed. After a whirlwind 7 days and lots of media coverage the fund has raised $4334.44 for Ghyslain (his real name). Interestingly even though the money was raised for him, waxy.org is going to speak with his parents about what should be purchased. Shouldn't they just buy the iPod as they stated and then give the extra money to his parents?

CNN.com - 'Meow TV' to premiere this month - May. 21, 2003
Meow Mix cat food company is creating a TV program for cats. Segments include Squirrel Alert, where squirrels run up and down trees to fast music. Cat Critics where housecats watch and critique films on big cats. Cat Haikus, Cat Videos and Cat shout outs are also included.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003
Psyop: The Love’s Not Mutual

Death by Sesame Street. The US army has decided to annoy Iraqi's with culturally offensive music including heavy metal and childrens songs such as Sesame Street. “Trust me, it works,” says one U.S. operative. The eventual goal is to break Saddam supporters, or at least turn them into purple dinosaurs.

Interesting post from FatWallet
"Never leave home without American Express"
"Where do you want to go today?"
"Diamonds are forever"
"Think Different"
"Coke is it"

and so on and so forth.

Before 1950s, the traditional engagement present was a down payment for a house or for the soon-to-be-wife's new car. Something tangible that has an impact on the newlyweds' life together.

In 1950s, DeBeers started a comprehensive and perhaps the most effective marketing campaign in history. The campaign was to turn diamonds into something that every woman MUST have, regardless of the costs. It started with DeBeers providing diamonds to famous celebrities who wore them and were paid to proclaim that diamonds were their best friends. American women, seeing the hype surrounding the diamonds, started to request their husbands or boyfriends to buy them diamond rings. Soon, diamonds became "Owner's pride, Neighbor's envy". One thing led to another until finally, diamonds became "a woman's best friend".

Diamonds are a product of excessive marketing hype started by DeBeers in 1950s (between 1950 and 2000, DeBeers controlled 90% of the world's diamond supply).

I am quite surprised Microsoft did not follow DeBeer's strategy. If it had, then the engagement present would have been a $5000 boxed package of 4 CD-ROMs containing Microsoft Windows XP which would have been a woman's new best friend.

For the record, I never bought a single diamond for my wife. Instead, I bought her 22-karat and 24-karat intricately designed traditional gold jewelry from reputable gold jewelers in western India. Unlike diamonds, gold is timeless and requires no marketing hype.



Wired News: Getting Inside Einstein's Head

Archives of Einstein are now online. This includes unpublished work, photos, and personal/professional correspondence. They also deal with Einstein myths, such as the idea that Einstein was a bad student, and that he worked on the atom bomb.

Monday, May 19, 2003
Lightning strikes twice for golfer

Golfer in rain gets hit twice within thirty minutes by lightning under umbrella. The lightning struck the top of his umbrella and he felt it go down his arm. The second time he felt it go down to his should blade. Feeling somewhat unlucky he finished playing his round of golf just stating that it was a "bad day"

Sunday, May 18, 2003
Red-Light Camera to Cost County $500,000 Plus

The moral of this story is that technology is still run by humans, and just because its a red light camera doesn't mean its right. Apparently this camera was set for the wrong timings of the yellow light which have dropped specifically to allow for camera enforcement. The county finally got busted for it by an activist.