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Bali, Indonesia, March 2018

August 16th, 2018

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Late as usual but… the family took a trip to Bali for a few days. Relaxing trip, spending time in the pool and walking the beach. We did take a day tour and see a few of the sights. We stayed in Seminyak, and the beach had sand like icing sugar. Would have been awesome except there was too much trash. This was March right when this video of a diver swimming through a swarm of trash [theguardian.com] came out. I’ve been to Jakarta for work many times and to Bintan a few times, same story there. Indonesia has a problem, a massive problem.

We drove up into the mountains to see Mount Batur [wikipedia.org] and Lake Batur. A long drive for mediocre weather to obscure the top of the mountain. We stopped at a museum, setup as part of the Batur Geopark, part of the Global Geoparks Network [wikipedia.org]. But everything was in Indonesian so we didn’t spend too much time there.

On the way back we stopped at Tirta Empul [wikipedia.org] temple. Lots of statues and people taking their ritual bath. The temple is built around some natural springs which were cool to watch, rolling the sand at the bottom of a couple of crystal clear pools. Did I mention the status? I loved the status.

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As we were finishing our walk around Tirta Empul it started raining. Hard. Even with an umbrella I got soaked from what Forest Gump would call rain that “come straight up from underneath”.

For our last stop we visited Uluwatu Temple [wikipedia.org]. This is one of the spots on Bali you have definitely seen photos of. The temple is perched on sheer cliffs at the southernmost tip of the island. Of course we stayed for the sunset and “fire dance”, or more properly “Kecak Dance”. Given that it’s sold as a fire dance there was not as much fire as I expected.

There are many more places in Bali that I would like to see, so maybe I will push to go back for a holiday again soon.

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Tokyo, April 2018

July 20th, 2018

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I was lucky to be in Japan in April, a few days after the peak of the sakura bloom. I had a Sunday afternoon free and one evening. In all the pictures of sakura I strangely find this photo to be my favourite. Click on the image to see the whole set.

Progress

June 26th, 2018

The world is much better than in the past and it is still awful.

Dr. Max Roser, in Memorizing these three statistics will help you understand the world [gatesnotes.com] on Gatesnotes.com.

the idea of the article is important; knowing a few basic statistics about the world will help everyone to understand and contextualize the news and social media noise we encounter all day. To make an informed judegment on the veracity of online, and offline, claims, too often qualitative and editorial, about the world. Doom and gloom sell, “if it bleeds, it leads” but now is the best time to be alive.

John Hamon

June 6th, 2018

Today in my Facebook feed:

Finally I know who the man in the picture is! [confusion.cc] It’s been 17 years since I saw his face, and mistook it for someone my Ex knew.

Banks are watching…

May 17th, 2018

This article [newyorker.com] in the New Yorker is depressing in third world corruption stench of the whole thing, but there is some silver lining: The fact that banks are submitting such detailed reports about possible fraudulent activities, and beyond just money movement they are paying attention to the context. This is heartening, if a bit Big Brother scary.

Banks are legally mandated to file suspicious-activity reports with the government in order to call attention to activity that resembles money laundering, fraud, and other criminal conduct

In paperwork filed with the bank, [Cohen] said that the company would be devoted to using “his experience in real estate to consult on commercial and residential” deals. Cohen told the bank that his transactions would be modest, and based within the United States. In fact, the compliance officers wrote, “a significant portion of the target account deposits continue to originate from entities that have no apparent connection to real estate or apparent need to engage Cohen as a real estate consultant.” Likewise, “a significant portion of the deposits continues to be derived from foreign entities.”

Ronan Farrow, in Missing Files Motivated the Leak of Michael Cohen’s Financial Records [newyorker.com]

Money-humping

May 10th, 2018

New favorite term: Money-Humping. Ah Gizmodo:

“When the rich and ethically disinclined are busy money-humping each other, all kinds of weird connections are bound to pop up.”

Tom McKay, in It’s Sure Weird That the Russian-Linked Firm That Paid Michael Cohen $500,000 Also Registered Alt-Right Websites [gizmodo.com]

Don’t they breed well enough on their own?

April 23rd, 2018

In the city of Xichang, located in the southwestern Sichuan province, there is a massive, artificial intelligence-powered roach breeding farm that is producing more than six billion cockroaches per year.

AJ Dellinger, in This AI-Controlled Roach Breeding Site Is a Nightmare Factory [gizmodo.com].

Read the article. Really, read it. This is the setup for a horror or armageddon movie plot. Six billion AI raised cockroaches escape and take over Southern China… Armageddon. Or Horror. Actually, horror-armageddon.

Must be a meme for that…

April 16th, 2018

In the mid-`90s, public use of the internet boomed, and it’s been downhill ever since.

Sam Rutherford, in “Samsung’s Smartphone That Can’t Connect to the Internet Is Actually a Great Idea” on Gizmodo.

That computes.

Xi internet never forgets

March 20th, 2018

President’s Xi Jinping’s plan to construct a social credit system based on the principle of “once untrustworthy, always restricted”

Reuters, from China to bar people with bad ‘social credit’ from planes, trains [reuters.com].

This is worse than the The Internet Never Forgets [confusion.cc].

Penis Facial

March 19th, 2018

It’s not really called a “penis facial”. On the company website, it goes by a far more palatable name: the Hollywood EGF facial. It involves a cleanse, an intensive TCA peel, micro-needling, an electrifying mask, and, finally, FDA-approved Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) serum.

“EGF is derived from the progenitor cells of the human fibroblast taken from Korean newborn baby foreskin – which helps to generate collagen and elastin,” Louise explains. So the EGF used in the treatment comes from skin cells produced in a lab.

Rosie McCall, in “Penis Facials” Are Hollywood’s Favorite New Beauty Trend, Yes Really [iflscience.com]We are literally one step short of bathing in the blood of virgins… thank you Hollywood.