If you use a gel antiperspirant, chances are that you have experienced the travel problem when the gel gets squeezed out of the container as the airport staff abuse your luggage in a number of ways when you can't see them. The solution for this minor irritation is simple: twist the dial at the bottom counter clockwise for a few turns. This places an air bubble on top of the gel so when the container is squished, the gel stays in and the air gets out.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Yesterday I finally bought myself a remote control for my camera. With it it's now possible to take long exposure pictures of the nighttime. As a bonus, there was a lunar eclipse as well. Unfortunately, by the time it turned red it was close to the horizon and very dim.
The moon is starting to get covered by the Earth's shadow.
Fully covered but the air pollution has a dimming effect.
A long exposure of the night sky.
Տպագրող՝ Ankakh_Hayastan at 11:35 PM
Monday, August 20, 2007
For the last couple of days I've been mulling about a blog post for the wealthy nations. Why are some nations wealthy and some are not? It seems that the wealth of nations is built with the tears and blood of other nations most of whom are now poor.
We have a handful of wealthy nations - the US, Japan, Germany, UK, the rest of the G8 countries, and depending on how you define wealth, a handful of other nations. Most of these wealthy nations are either former colonial powers, or have been aggressive in conquering other peoples resources. At first glance, Japan seems to be the underdog of this club but remember that prior to the two nuclear bombs dropped on them, they were quite aggressive in looting and pillaging the East Asian nations. They might have lost a lot of resources during the war but a lot of the wealth was still preserved. Their mistake was to take on another wealthy nation - the US. The US is a different beast - it has been an imperial power since before the days of Teddy Roosevelt's presidency.
What is Armenia to do in this environment? The Armenian nation has been the colonized and hasn't been a colonizer since the days of Tigran Metz a couple thousand years ago. Before she can start conquering another nation, there is the huge task of returning what has been conquered from us - we all know what these territories are.
It's a difficult task. Militarily it's an impossible thing to do. Diplomatically it can be done easier if the opportunity is seized at the right moment just the way Turkey did when they managed to take what now is Eastern Turkey right after WW1.
There seems to be another avenue. It won't make Armenia a wealthy nation but it will make sure that Armenia is not a poor nation. I have written about developing clusters of economic excellence. I identified a few areas that this might be possible to do a while ago.
Here is a study of that might be helpful in implementing such a development program (here is a light primer on how the study was done). To develop some of the clusters might be easier for Armenia than another country - there are already existing scientific infrastructures that can be utilized for generating high value added intellectual property.
Տպագրող՝ Ankakh_Hayastan at 9:39 AM
Sunday, August 19, 2007
A few days ago there was an earthquake in Peru with a death toll of 500 people that is certain to rise as the rubble gets cleared. The government seemed to be disorganized and for some 36 hours there was no aid provided to the survivors. They started breaking in to the stores to get some food.
When I read about it, I was appalled at the disorganized fashion the government was dealing with the issue. When I expressed my concern about the developing countries being unable to care about their citizens, she pointed out the New Orleans tragedy and the disgusting way the American government dealt with its citizens. It took the Peruvians 36 hours to get relief to their citizens when it took 3 days for our government to start thinking about doing something.
Here is the latest report from BBC on the earthquake.
Տպագրող՝ Ankakh_Hayastan at 7:01 PM
Saturday, August 18, 2007
This is the stall where I buy my veggies; it's in the front yard of a local farmer. They have their goods on display - they stock it once in the morning during the weekdays, or occasionally during the day on the weekends. You select whatever you want, weigh and use some math skills to come up with the amount you need to pay. Once you know it, which is not very hard to calculate as all the prices are divisible by 25 cents, you deposit the money in the little gray box (next to the pickle cucumber container).
Տպագրող՝ Ankakh_Hayastan at 9:23 PM
Friday, August 17, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Does anyone know if political analyst Richard Giragosian has a website or a blog? His articles on the geopolitical situation around and in Armenia are probably one of the very few serious efforts to analyze the situation. The majority of his views come from his press conferences that are reported in the Armenian media but I suspect a lot of it gets lost when the semi-competent journalists prepare their reports for print.
Տպագրող՝ Ankakh_Hayastan at 1:16 PM
Monday, August 13, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Thursday, August 09, 2007
That governments can be corrupt, inefficient and wasteful is not a secret to anyone except for the most optimistic people. Even democracies like Switzerland and other lesser ones in the West are not insured from such ills. In my town in the US millions of dollars get wasted on pet projects that are mismanaged - be it Republicans or the Democrats who initiate these projects.
One area ripe for corruption is the intergovernmental landing. You have the IMF and the World Bank that lend money to developing nations to implement projects that are meant to improve the economies of these nations. It all sounds great on paper but the reality is quite different. A lot of the money is spent on Western 'consultants', and whatever is left over, goes into the pockets of government officials through shady deals with local contractors.
Armenia is not immune to this either. With foreign debt over 1 billion dollars and growing, one would expect to see some infrastructure improvements. After all, the country is tiny and doesn't take much to improve a piece of land inhabited with 2.5-3 million people. But it hasn't happened. There have been some reports about wasted loans, and the complacency of government officials, including the dashnaks (who, incidentally, trumpet their anti-corruption policies any chance they get).
Garbis at Notes From Hairenik has a nice recap of the revelations.
Տպագրող՝ Ankakh_Hayastan at 11:33 AM
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
BBC, CNN, NPR and other news sources are extremely excited about the Georgian accusation that a Russian plane fired a missile into Georgia. Russia has denied it; I don't really know what happened so i can't comment on the event itself.
I constantly get amazed on how much attention is given to any minor issue that arises between Georgia and Russia. Admittedly, the Western media likes to bash Russia whenever they get a chance. But when it comes to Georgia, they do it with more vigor. No other third world tiny nation garners as much media attention as Georgia. I still cannot decide whether such unhealthy passion is good for the region, and especially Armenia, or not.
Տպագրող՝ Ankakh_Hayastan at 11:25 AM
Monday, August 06, 2007
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Mark Mardell from BBC has a blog entry about food. Incidentally, he complains about the tasteless foods in EU and praises the meals he has had in Turkey and Italy.
Lucky for him, he doesn't live in the US. I believe the US has the most tasteless foods in the world. The apples may not taste like cardboard but they lack the intensity of flavor you can get elsewhere. Maybe it's the fertilizers used to grow it and the wax on the skin to give it shine and preserve it. Or the chickens don't taste as good as say Armenia even though the commercially available chicken there are produced in large farms using the same techniques. Maybe it's the 15% brine they put in meat in the US that is the difference.
With all the paranoia about the Chinese food I can say that their food tastes far better than what we get in the US. I am not alone in saying that. I admit nostalgically going to American chains while in Beijing when getting tired of local food but after each visit there was a tremendous sense of disappointment. You pay ten times as much money for a far inferior taste and service.
Տպագրող՝ Ankakh_Hayastan at 12:22 PM
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
For the last two days I am traumatized. I avoid spending money on any Turkey related products or services. But a couple of days ago I went to a Turkish restaurant. In our town there are only a handful of places where you can get normal (read Middle Eastern) food and one of them is a Turkish owned one.
It resembled the Simpsons scene where Homer eats Pinchy - he is sad and yet enjoys the food.
Տպագրող՝ Ankakh_Hayastan at 4:24 PM