Monday, December 29, 2008

Economics Network

Neat site serving as an open-source online textbook in various Economics topics.

War in the Middle East

Since Saturday, Israel has launched an air raid on Gaza, killed over 300 Palestinians already, to fight Hamas. Read an Al Jazeera article from today here.

Some extracts:

"Israel's military is in an "all-out war" with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Ehud Barak, the defence minister, says.

...
Israel said it began pounding the Gaza Strip with missiles fired from warplanes and helicopter gunships in order to halt the rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian fighters.

...
Four young girls from the same family in the northern town of Jabaliya and two young boy from Rafah were among those killed in the latest raids, Palestinian medics said."


The conflict between Israel and Palestine is deeply ingrained in land disputes which have spilled into cultural and religious divides. To read on about the history of this conflict, check out the Wiki article.

<above photo from BBC news homepage, 12/29/2008.>

SMS Costs in the United States

My brother and I once had a conversation about how little it might actually cost cell phone service providers (AT&T, T-mobile, etc.) to send out our text messages. This article by Randall Stross came up in the New York Times this weekend; and brings to light some more detail about this.

Some extracts:

"All four of the major carriers decided during the last three years to increase the pay-per-use price for messages to 20 cents from 10 cents. The decision could not have come from a dearth of business: the 2.5 trillion sent messages this year, the estimate of the Gartner Group, is up 32 percent from 2007. Gartner expects 3.3 trillion messages to be sent in 2009.

... The written responses to Senator Kohl from AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile speak at length about pricing plans without getting around to the costs of conveying text messages. My attempts to speak with representatives of all three about their costs and pricing were unsuccessful.

... But consider what is left out: In the past three years, the volume of text messaging in the United States has grown tenfold, according to CTIA — the Wireless Association, a trade group based in Washington. If T-Mobile enjoyed growth that was typical, its text messaging revenue grew fivefold, even with the steep drop in per-message revenue."

<above photo courtesy of this website.>

Friday, December 26, 2008

Shoe Flinging, Continued

Turns out Iranians are following Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi's footsteps (no pun intended). According to a BBC article, they have been flinging shoes at caricatures of George Bush.

To add on top of this, someone who had issues with the New York City Metropolicatan Transportation Authority (MTA) also tried flinging his shoes!

I guess Mr. al-Zaidi sparked an iconic trend, and even if it is stopped/prevented by authorities worldwide, I think it's definately going to go down in history (and perhaps replicated elsewhere, as we are seeing now).

Photo above courtesy of BBC website.

Oops

Merry Christmas! (huh?)

Lacking Classrooms

I was catching up on what's been going on at home, and I came across an article that mentioned that secondary-eligible students in the Rukwa region will not able to attend secondary school because there is a lack of classrooms.

This presents one cause of several that lead up to students not being able to progress beyond secondary-level education in Tanzania. While our Government continues to try and improve conditions that make secondary education more feasible, I think it's also important to think about how else we can help secondary-eligible students progress... Yes, we can try market-oriented measures to up the income of low-income workers. Yes, we can try improving and increasing the number of classrooms. Yes, we can try attracting more teachers. Yes, we can try and improve access to employment opportunities after secondary education attainment.

But could we also try to see if there are other alternatives to "a school"? Are there other educational mediums that we can use for secondary-eligible students who were/are not able to enroll into schools?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

acoldbutthankfulxmaseve






For those that looked at the title and said "wha-? who-?".. decifered: a - cold - but - thankful - xmas - eve

Took the above photo from the Zanzibar Blue Dolphin Tour company website (Asanteni). I played with it in Gimp, and got a painted-like copy... looked chill.

Time's supposed to fly only when you're having fun. It seems like it's been a not-so-fun year but it's gone by mad quick. I don't know. In any case, there is a lot to be thankful for. Golden Jubilee, everything else that was inaugurated during Golden Jubilee, and getting my first job were just a few things.

I managed to get my Echoing Green app in on the 1st of this month, and so far, the journey to retirement seems relatively on point.. Relatively.

I need to post photos tonight.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Added News Gadget, etc.

Just added a New York Times World News feed to bottom of the right-hand-side utility bar on this blog. Browsing through the different widgets made me realize how long it's been since I went into the back-end this blog and checked out what's new.

Been giving thought to streaming my twitter updates onto this blog, but then I realized they're almost two different things, ie: Someone reading my blog would not necessarily be into Twitter, and vice versa. So I think for now I'll let the two be their own things...

Having said this, I've begun using Twitter as a perpetual playlist, or randomly post to it when I am on the move and can only text a few words to describe a situation/idea/instance. And to be honest, it can be very fun reading everyone elses Tweets too :)

Ciao for now.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The US Stimulus Plan - Will it work?

My brother sent me this article from the Wall Street Journal the other day. It may have more importance than anything else relating to the Us recession and global economic slowdown.

The article, titled Barack Obama-san, mentions that President elect Obama's plans to pump money into the economy in his term as President may not be the best alternative at a time like this. It tells the story of Japan in the 1990s, when property prices were plummeting, and the stock market sunk 60% over three years. It also tells the story of how one stimulus package after another was thrown at the problem, but the only when leaders made the "decision to privatize state assets and force banks to acknowledge their bad debts, did the economy recover".

Maybe we have some lessons to learn and be precautious about what is being told to us.

Carpe diem.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

World Cup, South Africa, 2010


We have known that the next Football (Soccer, for my American friends) World Cup will take place over the summer of 2010 in South Africa. This will be the first time a World Cup event is hosted on the continent I was born in (at least in my lifetime)!

Today I was looking around at information on the event, and I found 2 website: The official FIFA one, and the unofficial one. FIFA estimates that the tickets will be as follows (all prices in US$, and table is courtesy of FIFA's ticket info page on World Cup 2010):

Match

Cat. 1

Cat. 2

Cat. 3

Cat. 4

1

450

300

200

70

2 - 48

160

120

80

20

49 - 56

200

150

100

50

57 - 60

300

200

150

75

61 - 62

600

400

250

100

63

300

200

150

75

64

900

600

400

150

So in summary: Yikes. I need a job if I am really going to SA that summer... got ideas? Write to me!

Mr. Jiwaji's back to blogging

After some time, my long-time friend Taha Jiwaji has begun reviving his blog. He's always got something cool about technology to say. I'm waiting for him to start posting this photos (dude takes epic shots).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Shoes everywhere

A few days ago, and Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at President Bush, calling him a dog. I found this on BBC today, and it sums the situation up relatively well.

I'll quote some of the article here...

"The brother of the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at US President George W Bush has said that the reporter has been beaten in custody... Muntadar al-Zaidi [the journalist] has suffered a broken hand, broken ribs and internal bleeding, as well as an eye injury, his older brother, Dargham, told the BBC... Meanwhile, offers to buy the shoes are being made around the Arab world, reports say."

Enough said.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

44 Years

Happy Independence Day, Tanzania!

The World Continues To Spin...

Since my last post, a lot's been happening. Seems like every day I review the news, there's a bunch of things that have gone down that I had no idea about. This is partially the reason Neechi and I are working on a filtered news-headlines website... as usual, however, I will keep this under wraps until something has materialized.

About the world, though... a military jet place crashed into an urban area in San Diego, California yesterday, killing three civilians. Also in the United States, a plan by the government to "rescue" auto manufacturers is underway. Elsewhere, protests in Greece continue after a school boy was shot to death, raising tensions between the public and police forces. In Zimbabwe, France's Sarkozy has called for Mugabe's resignation, while Jacob Zuma (Zimbabwe opposition leader) has urged that talks are still in progress.

And back home in Tanzania, the government is starting to realise that more people lack proper housing than previously thought, which is going to call for adjustments in current housing policy. This will all be done with the aim to reach development goals by 2025.

There's a lot more going on, but those are the main things on my radar. In terms of personal projects, I already mentioned some web work between me and Neechi. In addition to that, there is Vyatu, a development blog I am drafting to support the efforts of Collaborative Freedom at Lafayette. I also submitted a second application for Echoing Green for Vijana FM on December 1st! Let's see how that goes...

Till next time, carpe diem.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Gimp helped me do this!

D'loaded the original (first) photo from Interfacelift.com.