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CNN top news stories October 25, 2008

Posted by CK in Funny.
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Recently, there have been many times that some of the the top stories in the CNN international edition sound like stories from the Onion News Network. Right now, the last two top stories are:

The other day I was thinking about this again and there were like 5 top stories that I would swear are a joke.
Nothing spectacular about this comment, I just found it funny how news considered by a major news network as “top stories around the world” can sound like complete satire.

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FireStatus October 8, 2008

Posted by CK in Software.
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I must say that I’m not too much into social networks and the like. I used to have a Facebook account, which I deleted. However, countless other people are using them on a daily basis, so those of you who are fans of Firefox will probably find great use in FireStatus. FireStatus is an extension that will let you monitor status updates of your friends in multiple networks (currently supported: Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed) and also post your status updates on them. It has been developed by three old-time friends from the university. As I am familiar with their work and expertise, I’m sure FireStatus will constantly grow better and more feature-rich.

Some more info about the extension at the authors’ sites: here, here and here.

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. October 4, 2008

Posted by CK in Miscellaneous.
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The title of this post is not my idea; It comes from Michael Pollan‘s (latest?) book, “In defense of food: An eater’s manifesto“. I was lucky enough to stumble upon the book as I was looking for a recipe book the other day.

Anyways. The book was an eye opener. Basically it goes over the western dietary patterns of the last century, connects decisions and trends with marketing, governance and business, and shows that our view of food is fundamentally wrong. Our “reductionist” view of it, looking at its ingredients one at a time, overlooking the way they work together but also the social dimension of eating, has lead to worse food and health situations. He shows that certain theories that the nutritionists have been following dogmatically, might not hold to their entirety (or at all, for that matter). The lipid hypothesis is the most obvious case of those, but more examples are mentioned in the book. Additionally, he explains why processed food (typically, the only kind of “food” that you can find nowadays at the super market shelves) is neither healthy, not good from a nutritional point of view. Then, Mr. Pollan goes on to make a point for fruits and vegetables. In my 34 years, I have heard countless times by family and doctors alike, that I must eat much more fruits and vegetables. Michael Pollan was the first who managed to convince me.

When reading things like this, I need to see references all the time, for each and every statement. Call it professional twist if you wish, but there are not many other ways I can be convinced. The author is making a good and fruitful (no pun intended) effort to document everything he says, using many, many bibliographic references to scholarly literature. Although I have no doubts that in the process he probably missed work that may point to the other direction, I will opt for selecting the view that he proposes. It is reasonable and stands on solid enough ground.

Strongly recommended reading. I am now looking forward to reading his previous book, which is also a best-seller, but even more popular: “The omnivore’s dilemma“.

Economist Predicts Widespread Hunger & Cold Homes October 3, 2008

Posted by CK in Miscellaneous.
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I picked this one up from Digg. CSInvestor is featuring a series of videos of Peter Schiff, an investor who has foreseen the economic crisis a couple of years back and wrote a book about it. Schiff heavily objects the US government intervention, saying it makes things worse than they are. Instead, he supports leaving free market and the recession itself to regulate things and drive a change in the way the US economy works. Economy is not my field so I can’t argue whether he’s right or wrong, nevertheless these are highly interesting remarks. Additionally, he says that things can only get worse, and foresees social unrest.

As always, time will tell.