Deathstyles of the Rich and Famous

The recent Slate article on the deathstyles of the rich and famous is hilarious. I suppose, I found it all the more amusing as I am an adventure traveler who in the past 12 months explored the Sahara on foot, stayed with locals in Morocco, hiked, biked and rafted through Patagonia, ice climbed glaciers, snorkeled with sharks, explored Mayan ruins in Belize, extreme skied and snowmobiled in Jackson Hole and flew a balloon in Turkey. Oh, and did I mention I am learning to fly? 🙂

Check out the full article at: www.slate.com/id/2143671/

Miami Vice is dark, fast paced and fun

I am usually not a fan of Colin Farrell, but I actually like him in this movie. The movie and gun battle never reach the heights of Heat, but is very enjoyable nonetheless. I am happy they did not resort to campy remakes with cameos, etc. and instead went with a completely new and dark story line.

Non-sequitur: It’s interesting how all the darker movies seem to be better these days – e.g.; Batman Begins. I suppose it’s harder to write a really good comedy and the darkness may also reflect our national mood. That said, I really wish a comedy similar to Wedding Crashers comes out soon!

The Video History of Amazon by Jeff Bezos

I have always admired Jeff Bezos as an entrepreneur because he actually did what he set out to do. Many other entrepreneurs who succeeded got lucky. That is not to say they were not smart, successful or deserving – after all they were smart enough to capitalize on their luck when it presented itself. However, Jeff is rather unique in having thought through which industry to enter and why and in being supremely logical in its execution (e.g.; choosing to be in Seattle to be near Ingram).

In the video, Jeff presents the history of Amazon and its vision with lots of fun anecdotes. The one about the Bulgarian who sent a floppy disk with $200 in cash hidden inside of it with a note saying: “The money is in the floppy disk. Custom officials steal money but don’t read English” is priceless 🙂

Watch the video at: http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/1/

Scoop is enjoyable light summer fare

After the masterful Match Point, I was intrigued to see what Woody Allen would do for his next movie. I was slightly disappointed, but Scoop is nonetheless enjoyable light summer fare. Like Match Point, this is a murder mystery and Scarlett Johansson plays one of the main characters. This is where the similarity ends. While Match Point was a tense drama that kept you at the edge of your seat, Scoop has a tongue-in-cheek and frivolous tone. Every time the movie goes in investigative mood the music from Swan Lake goes on. It’s silly but cute. Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson act well. I am also happy to report that for once Woody Allen plays the father figure instead of the lead man. His jokes are a bit rehashed from his earlier works but still enjoyable. Go see it, you will be entertained.

I am almost ashamed to admit it, but I liked My Super Ex Girlfriend

I suppose it’s all a question of expectations. I was overworked and needed a bit of respite so I went to see the movie expecting it to be completely ridiculous and over the top. Guess what? It did not disappoint – it was even more ridiculous and over the top than I expected – and the stage was set from the very first scene. It’s completely predictable, but oh so much fun 🙂

Window to the future

People are notoriously bad at predicting the future further than a few years down the line. We think geometrically and have a really hard time dealing with exponential growth. As a result it’s hard for us to imagine what the future will be like in 25 years with the continued doubling of processor power every 18 months.

A recent article in Fortune called Quantum Leap tells a credible story of brain prosthetics, telepathy, video games where you can see, hear, touch, taste or smell anything and much much more!

Read the full article at:
http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/08/07/8382582/index.htm

Parkinson’s law is so true!

Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

“Thus, an elderly lady of leisure can spend an entire day in writing and dispatching a postcard to her niece at Bognor Regis. An hour will be spent in finding the postcard, another in hunting for spectacles, half-an-hour in a search for the address, an hour and a quarter in composition, and twenty minutes in deciding whether or not to take an umbrella when going to the pillar-box in the next street. The total effort which would occupy a busy man for three minutes all told may in this fashion leave another person prostrate after a day of doubt, anxiety and toil.”

Interestingly, Parkinson observed a similar manifestation in the British Civil Service, noting that as Britain’s overseas empire declined in importance, the number of employees at the Colonial Office increased.

According to Parkinson, this is motivated by two forces: (1) “An official wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals” and (2) “Officials make work for each other.” He also noted that the total of those employed inside a bureaucracy rose by 5-7% per year “irrespective of any variation in the amount of work (if any) to be done”.

The analysis first appeared in an article in The Economist in November 1955 and was then articulated in a book Parkinson’s Law: The Pursuit of Progress, (London, John Murray, 1958).

You can download the entire article here. It is absolutely hilarious and very refreshing for everyone frustrated with the seemingly endless increase in the size of government and its inefficiency.

I’m back :)

I am not back to the U.S. yet – I probably won’t be back for another month as this business trip keeps getting extended – but I am back to blogging 🙂 Not that I ran out of things to say – quite the contrary – but I got so busy with work that I no longer had time to blog. To give you a foretaste of what’s to come, upcoming posts will cover how Chinese farmers are funding U.S. consumption, travel recommendations for Turkey, discussions on renting versus owning, the state of the U.S. economy and the usual posts on movie and book reviews.