Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Running Mate

Of the two, Mr McCain has the easier choice. Lexington would plump for Mitt Romney, a youthful-looking 60-year-old with plenty of executive experience—a former governor of Massachusetts who rescued the Salt Lake City winter Olympics from disaster. He goes down well with many conservatives. And he is a businessman with credibility on Wall Street and an impressive record of re-engineering failing corporations. True, he is a Mormon with unreal hair, and he and Mr McCain don’t like each other much. But running for the White House is not a road trip.

[…] given this wealth of choices Mr Obama would do well to be careful: he needs someone with a delicate combination of executive experience and personal gravitas. Mr Biden likes to shoot his mouth off. Mr Nunn is anathema to liberal activists who are already furious with Mr Obama’s move to the centre. Mr Richardson is too gregarious for his own good. Mr Gore may be too big for the job, in every sense. The three remaining candidates—Messrs Warner, Bayh and Kaine—may be a little on the dull side. But given Mr Obama’s race and charisma, a boring white man may be exactly what he needs.

Lexington | Cobbling together a dream ticket | Economist.com.

The Economist’s recommendation for the running mate of both the Republican and Democratic candidates. Let’s see how it folds out.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Farewell Yousef Shahine

One of Arab cinema's most admired figures, he made his first film in 1950 and tackled authoritarianism and religious fundamentalism in his work.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Egyptian film legend Chahine dies.

A prominent Arab film maker passes away. He showed us how to best fight authoritarianism and fundamentalism: through art and culture. Art and culture are the light that sheds away extremism and the breath of fresh air upon which liberty thrives. May his soul rest in peace.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Last Lecture

"I mean I don't know how to not have fun. I'm dying and I'm having fun. And I'm going to keep having fun every day I have left. Because there's no other way to play it," he said in his Carnegie Mellon lecture.

'Last lecture' professor dies of cancer - Education- msnbc.com.

Professor Randy Pausch, author of best seller book The Last Lecture, dies. He leaves us with a strong message to achieve our childhood dreams and have fun, because in the end we might not have as much time as we think.

Often we are advised to live as if it was our last days. The Last Lecture offers a genuine perspective as its author was fighting terminal disease. I have yet to read the book and I look forward to.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Mandela

Nelson Mandela, the man credited with ending apartheid in South Africa, has marked his 90th birthday by calling for the rich to do more for the poor.

"If you are poor, you are not likely to live long," he said at his village house in Eastern Cape province for a birthday interview.

BBC NEWS | Africa | Mandela at 90 makes call for poor.

Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest figures of our time, celebrated his 90th birthday with a call to bridge the gap between the rich and poor. Mandela played an instrumental role in bridging the gap between whites and blacks in his country after years of suffering under racial discrimination.

He was imprisoned himself for 27 years and later became the country’s first black president. After he was inaugurated as president he walked towards a white policeman, his former captor, and shook his hand telling him "today you have become our police". The policeman was reduced to tears.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Economics of Love

AS my fine professor of economics at Columbia, C. Lowell Harriss (who just celebrated his 96th birthday) used to tell us, economics is the study of the allocation of scarce goods and services. What could be scarcer or more precious than love? It is rare, hard to come by and often fragile.

Everybodys Business - Lessons in Love, by Way of Economics - NYTimes.com.

This is an interesting article in which the author offers lessons in love by the way of economics. Let me try to add a lesson or two to the mix:

– Elasticity: in economics elasticity measures the response to price change. If demand for a product is elastic then a price change will cause a change in demand. If demand is inelastic then price change (usually up) will not lead to change in demand (usually down). Necessities such as water or petrol to some degree are fairly inelastic; even when prices go up, people have to consume them.

So is love elastic or inelastic? As much as we would like to believe that love is unconditional, healthy relationships don't take love for granted and treat it as an elastic product that will be affected by how much is put into it (the price).

– Compliments and substitutes: in economics a product or service can have compliments (car and petrol) and substitutes (car and public transportation). A compliment sometimes is necessary, and if it is not available you may have to use a substitute (if you run out of petrol you may have to use public transportation). Love however, has many compliments but no substitutes. So make sure you always compliment it with care, kindness and affection lest you lose it.

Oh one more note to self and this applies to both love and economics: talk is cheap, so put your money (and action) where your mouth is!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Real Champ

[Y]our press conference comment that you learned nothing from the match is not true, or at least it should not be true. As you said, this loss is devastating, the most devastating of your career. In life, we all face such devastation at some point or another. We lose someone we love, or we fall short in some way or another. I speak from experience. These feelings are part of the human experience. So you have learned something--at the very least, you have learned what it is like to lose something very near and dear to you. Yes, it is devastating. There is no other word to describe it. You will never be the same again, and the pain will never leave you alone. The next lesson is to learn to somehow go forward in spite of the pain. This is a lesson that many never learn. You have the opportunity to learn this lesson now, and show the world what a real champion is.

Roger Federer - News Detail.

A Federer fan’s comment following the epic Wimbledon final. It felt like watching a great movie with a sad ending. Like watching the Titanic. Probably down the line what will be remembered is what a great movie it was not how it ended. Same goes for the match.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Bad Example

Once one of the main proponents of democratisation, he has cooled on prospects for expanding the electoral system beyond municipal councils, fearing the rise of Islamist sentiment and ruefully watching the political paralysis in the Gulf’s most democratic state, Kuwait.

FT.com / Comment & analysis / Comment - Man in the News: Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani.


In the old days we were the good example to follow for Gulf states. Then we became insignificant. Now it appears we are the bad example to avoid!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

War and Peace

I have embarked on a literary challenge. It is described as one of world’s greatest novels. Probably one of the longest too (1000+ pages long)! In a way it is four books in one. It is Leo Tolstoy’s masterpiece War and Peace.

My desire to read this novel is probably as complex as the novel itself. In a time of instant gratification and magazine literacy, I yearned for more! It just seems we are feeding on microwaved instant dinners, and I wanted a proper meal cooked and enjoyed to the fullest!

In Internet age we are aware of so much at our fingertips, yet experience so little with our lives. I wanted to read something that would fill the void that comes with comfort. We have found comfort but not meaning. This meaning is only as deep as our experiences are. We cannot click our way through it. It comes with the good and bad, ups and downs, happy and sad, war and peace..

So wish me luck in my endeavor. Until then.