Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Best music video I've seen this year...



Watch in HD if you can. Choice tune too.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

2009, a year of awesome firsts

I've never done a best of list, and this won't be my first. But I am excited to summarise all the things I managed to do for the first time ever this year.
  • Made my own, edible, and awesome, hollandaise sauce
  • Learned to scuba dive
  • Surfed (a bit)
  • Went to Swaziland
  • Went to Chicago
  • Went to Melbourne
  • Bought a tent
  • Won 6 bottles of 1975 Nederburg cab sav
  • Bought a dining room table
  • Read 'Everything is Illuminated'
  • Ate chicken feet in old chinatown
  • Ate fish for the first time in about 4 years, and didn't die
  • Explored constitution hill properly (it's massive)
  • Visited the Hector Pietersen memorial
  • Shouted indignantly at lawyers without looking like a buffoon
  • Went to the Old Mutual Trophy Wine show, which is like the best, ever. Will definitely go back next year. Will buy much Kleine Zalze shiraz in the meantime.
  • Went to Clarens
  • Finally made it to one of my niece's birthday parties (viva government leave, viva)
  • Went to a lesbian wedding, which was totally awesome
  • Started playing hockey again
  • Hit a six in our cricket league (got hit for many sixes too, but hey)
  • Beat some wily ou ballies at the squash club, so I must be improving
  • Stopped smoking while at the office (technically this is accurate, but it doesn't mean I don't smoke the odd one during working hours).
  • Got a PO Box
  • Opened a Capitec account
Roll on 2010!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Best of 2009 Part 1 (a little early I know)

Okay, so it is that time again for some reflection...

It's great once things start slowing down at work, we actually have time to think about things other than the next meeting and or daily task. So we reflect - what went well, what didn't and what we'd like to focus on in 2010. Looking back to the beginning of this year it is quite amusing to see the 'best of 2008' lists what we posted as well as some new years resolutions. How often do we carefully craft resolutions that we don't revisit? and how often do we inadvertently achieve goals that we forgot we set?

So my reflection goes a little something like this...

BEST OF 2009

Most played Album: Vampire Weekend, Dear Reader,
Best concert: # 1Dear Reader & #2 Vusi,Habib & Lady I can't remember the name of at Bushfire Festival in Swaziland
Best wedding: Mez & Lara
Most expensive purchase: Plane tickets to CT
Most missed Birthday Party: Al’s 30th
Series most addicted to: Gossip Girl (Have just finished season 2!), Spooks
Best (& most rewarding) Holiday: The Otter Trail
Best Books: The Bookthief, Stieg Larson’s Girl with the Dragon tattoo (& other 2 books)
Best new form of exercise: Nia dance
Best movies: Drama: Rachel getting married, Comedy: The Hangover,
Proudest moment: Completing the Otter Trial
Most Challenging : The world of banking
Best Breakfast: Fry up at Parks Cafe in Parkwood
Most stupid: Chasing dude (i.e thief) who broke into our bedroom on the weekend of my 30th
Best old hobby that I have started again: Photography
Best restaurant: Hartford House in the Midlands
Best cultural experience: Seeing Eyton Road production in CT
Best new find in CT: Picnicking at the RoundHouse Camps Bay
Best new find in JHB: Pecha-Kucha evenings
Most grown up : Finally getting my own financial advisor

Rap freestyle battle translated

From the TTL blog...


Thursday, 17 December 2009

A corporate finally stands up to a trade union

So Ramond Ackerman of Pick n Pay (please note no apostrophe on the n) just told Saccawu to get fucked... admittedly in slightly more acceptable language. The union has said that Pick n Pay is historically a racist organisation, so they are going to go on strike in the middle of the Christmas season. It stinks a bit too much of an opportunistic ploy to demand an above inflation pay rise. In response Ray-Ray told them to take their ungrateful arses off to another employer. PnP have sited many policies and practices to refute what Saccawu have said. Helz might be able to tell us if what they are saying is founded from her time at PnP.

This might seem like just another ordinary left vs right tif, but I think there is something more to it. If you remember, a couple months back Trevor Manuel told business (quite rightly in my mind) that they are a bunch of pussies, who keep on complaining about the strength of the labour movements in the country, whilst always giving in to their demands. This might be the first case of business heeding Trev's call and showing a bit of backbone.

If this does become a trend, there will most probably be a power struggle in the next year or so. The unions will not give up their power too easily, and therefore will try and flex their muscles. Maybe a municipal strike just before the World Cup? But union membership has been decreasing since 1994 (i think?), so something like that might cause a backlash where the unions lose favor in the country. So any such struggle could in in turn could affect, or at least reveal, their influence in the political arena.

Just a thought.

Charlie and Cleo



Here are some pics of my new kitties - have a nap in the kitchen while I was cooking. They are incredibly cute, despite what you dog lovers may think! (Charlie is the ginger boy and Cleo is the Tortoiseshell)

RIP Manto...

And hopefully her crazy HIV / AIDS treatment ideas will die too....

Monday, 14 December 2009

I know no-one cares, but

Because I work on banks I'm becoming a little obsessed. I'm doing my own consumer research so I have nasty anecdotes to drop into the endless conversations I have with these bank dooses.

I opened a Capitec account because Capitec is awesome and will hopefully end up fixing most of the problems I work on all by itself. It wasn't a great customer experience, but who cares when its so cheap, and when I get like 7% on positive balances below R10,000. I just haven't had a chance to start using it, because they don't offer to switch your debit orders across for you - a project for the Christmas break.

Enter the latest experience, with FNB. They have online account applications, which is awesome. Their site also says clearly that debit order switchin is available for most new accounts, including the one I wanted to open. So I applied online for a Smart Accout. It's the cheapest transaction account from FNB at R59 a month for unlimited electronic transactions and FNB ATM transactions. Huge penalties for going outside this bundle (like using another bank's ATM), but it's still a very competitive offering. It isn't a cheque account, so no cheque book and no overdraft, and for that you save R20 a month. Worth it.

Of course with our anti money laundering laws you still have to physically enter a branch and verify your address and and ID number in order to open an account. So I went on Saturday morning, to the shiny Melrose Arch branch. Highlights are:
  • The online application process creates a pre-populated customer file for cheque account applications only. So for lowly Smart Account customers, applying online is a waste of time. Site doesn't say that.
  • Then, after about ten minutes of her doing stuff in silence, I asked about the debit order switching. She said no, that's only for cheque account customers. So I said ok thanks then not to worry, I don't want the account. Made a point of telling her the website doesn't say that either. Blank face.
  • Now the customer file has been created but the account is not yet active. The only way to get rid of it is to open the account then close it. For that I have to sign a lot of stuff. So I must wait. It's been like 20 minutes already, and I have other things to do.
  • She wants R50 deposit to open the Smart Account. I said I had no cash, and besides I don't want the account now that I have been told that FNB's website is misleading about the debit order switching service (or she's poorly trained).
  • Another wait while she talks to her manager. Ok no deposit needed as the account will be closed immediately.
  • Sign sign sign.
  • Type type type.
  • Ok I need R8 to close the account please sir. What? You must be joking. No, to close a Smart Account FNB charges an R8 admin fee. I said nooit, not in a million years will I pay R8 to close this account.
  • Another wait while what is probably a very similar conversation with the manager goes on.
  • Manager comes to ask me a bunch of questions about my employment status and salary, and tries to sell me the R79 cheque account. I explain that I have a bank account and want the Smart Account with debit order switching or no FNB account at all. He says ok fine, we'll write off the R8, as if he's doing me a favour.
  • Write it off? Write what off? This account has been open for a maximum of ten minutes, and never used.
What a joke. And of course they don't care that I spent nearly an hour in their branch without buying anything, because they'll always make massive profits from dopey South African retail customers. Just not from ME!

Nedbank is next.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Jewish humour that isn't lame

Thanks for that lame-o video Phil, but you aren't doing the yids any favours.

Jews, like any other cultural/religious denomination, have strengths and weaknesses. Some of our strengths are creating insular communities, nepotism, and xenophobia.

Some of our weaknesses are our general lack of sporting ability (that American swimmer and Joel Stransky aside), and for the most part, being dorks. Dorkdom is pretty hot right now though, and one Jew that does dork to the max is John Safran. He made a series a few years ago called John Safran Vs God, which is one of my favourite tv shows ever. His latest show is called John Safrans Race Relations, in which he explores issues of cultural identity - specifically whether one should marry/procreate within ones race or religion. It's a pretty broad topic, and he doesn't really do it justice, rather, he focuses on his own conundrum about feeling that he should marry a Jew, but being attracted only to Eurasians (pretty hot eurasians i might add). If I'm honest, this show isn't as good as his last but GADDAMN he does some stupid shit and it's funny all the same.

The website is here - made up cleverly to look like facebook (note his eurasian friends), and you can watch the last episode (screened last night) here. This last one was one of the best, so check it out sharpish before they take it down and make you buy the dvd.

Shalom,

Interesting Sidenote : Talya once met John Safran, and while her description of their meeting suggests that he may have been flirtatious, he never requested her number, and now we know why.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Monday, 7 December 2009

World Cup tickets

So stoked! I got Argentina vs Nigeria (Ellis Park) and Netherlands vs Denmark (Soccer City) for my group games. And will most likely have Mexico (maybe France) vs Argentina in my round of 16 game (also at Soccer City). Rocking!

I work for it so I am allowed to poke fun

Like Jews telling Jew jokes - it's OK.

New Element Discovered in South Africa to Be Included On The Periodic Table:

The Nuclear Physics Department of the University of Stellenbosch has discovered the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from 4 days to 4 years to complete.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2 - 6 years. It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each re-organization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration.

This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

World AIDS Day

Good News on WAD in RSA... Sorry to blog, but its hot news in the office and I reckon should be everywhere. These changes are long overdue, yes... but very exciting to see them being brought in as policy for April 2010.
Provided these changes can be managed properly this will have significant effects on prolonging lives!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Friday, 27 November 2009

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Ahem, Mr President,

don't be a doos!

The new NPA boss used to run the organisation I currently work for. Everyone here who knew him said he was never too bothered with this whole independence idea, or being objective, or acting without fear, favour, or prejudice. Now he's running the most important cog in the state prosecution machine. This is about as close as the ANC has got to making a mockery of the Constitution, in my humble opinion.

AND, AND, not to state the obvious, but there's now no way Mabandla will be investigated now for tampering with Pikoli (ex-NPA head), nor will the NPA reinstate proceedings against Zuma.

All swept under the carpet nice and tidy like.

Can't wait for the Zapiro on this one. Fucking disappointing.

Some stuff from the internets

I dont know whether to laugh or cry... Side-hugs explained by the Lords of Apathy.

Also, download this killer mix by Pocketknife of flagrant fowl. As the text suggests, its a bit of a winter mix, but it's a cracker nontheless.

I'm off to South America next week, so expect lots of meat pictures shortly.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

And, like, what?

Norwegian city offers reward for gingerbread vandals

OSLO, NORWAY Nov 23 2009 13:05
comments 0 comments | Post your comment

A reward was offered on Monday after hundreds of gingerbread houses were destroyed over the weekend in the Norwegian west coast city of Bergen.

Local businesses offered 100 000 kroner ($17 700 dollars) for information about the assailants. A police investigation was under way.

Bergen has, since 1991, held a regular exhibit of gingerbread houses, forming what is touted as the world's largest gingerbread city as part of the run-up to the holiday season. A local newspaper pledges a donation for each gingerbread house to the Save the Children charity.

Inhabitants of Bergen responded to the vandalism by baking new gingerbread houses. About 100 were delivered on Sunday afternoon. The opening has been postponed until next week.

But there have also been angry comments posted on local media sites and the social networking site Facebook with calls for the assailants to be placed in a medieval-style stocks.

Church of Norway bishop Halvor Nordhaug called for reconciliation.

"We should not lynch anyone over some gingerbread houses," the bishop told the BT newspaper.

Security around the pavilion where the gingerbread houses were to be displayed has been stepped up. -- Sapa-dpa

The Selebi case

Ya whatever who cares about the case when you a) you're pretty sure Selebi will walk, somehow, and b) you have actually met and chatted to the State's final witness!!

Here

This guy Gilder was a top spy for years. I met him at a SAIIA conference organised by one of my former colleagues. I tried to make a funny but it wasn't funny, apparently. But I get that a lot from less verkrampte people. Then I asked about all the Kebble stuff in the Mail and Guardian (this was at least 2.5 years ago). Gilder said "what stuff?" and then walked away. Ha ha. He's an old hardcore communist from back in the Joe Slovo days, and also happens to be Jewish.

Anyway the point is that he's supposed to testify against Selebi but Selebi's lawyers have affidavits from the new State Security Minister and some other guy to the effect that Gilder's information is confidential on the grounds that, should it be disclosed, it may threaten national security. So a new Zuma-appointed Minister supporting supposed Mbeki-ite from the previous administration. Weird, and suggests that the Minister may actually be acting in faith, not because he wants to help Selebi. Oh but ya, dodgy dealings spread so far and wide under Mbeki that pretty much everyone has something to hide, and so everyone protects everyone else in the name of something bogus like national security.


Hopefully the judge tells Selebi's lawyers and the Minister to fork off!

Monday, 23 November 2009

It's Monday

And I have a gripe.

Does all the 2010 World Cup preparation going on, partcularly the bits that have nothing to do with stadium building, sometimes annoy you? It annoys me, and I'll tell you why. It's a really obvious point that no-one seems to want to make (or made jonks ago and is now bored with), and that also annoys me.

South Africa is building and developing and establishing all kinds of things, in the name of the World Cup, which need to be built anyway. Not just roads and airports (actually the new Durban airport SA does not need, especially since it's much more expensive for airlines compared to the existing one), new mass transit systems, or dressed up public spaces in Soweto and other not-so-pretty parts of urban South Africa, but promises of more effective policing, traffic control, attention to human safety, better municipal services, a steady electricity supply, Telkom's promise of uninterrupted broadband and broadcast services, and so on. Telkom's advertss bragging about all they're doing for FIFA (their words) really grate my carrot. Do it for your paying customers you bunch of lazy-ass monopolists!

The most annoying recent announcement: a new nerve centre to track and remedy literally anything that goes wrong during the World Cup. In other words, a functioning call centre for emergencies. Um, ja, we already have that hotline and that fancy call centre in Midrand, but it doesn't seem to work very well.

Why do we need a World Cup to do all these things? I'm vey happy the country is making changes, and even more happy that we seem to have the financial resources to make them. But I'm very annoyed that the impetus behind them doesn't seem to exist without the prospect of hosting a major world event on the horizon, and the world attention that comes with it. We're only doing these things either because FIFA says we must, or because we're worried that outsiders will develop a bad opinion of the country (or develop further pre-existing prejudices).

I can think of lots of reasons why South Africans are more worried about what Europeans think of it than what South Africans think of it. I am also aware that some first world countries suffer similar problems. But none of this makes me less annoyed.

Who doesnt love Ewoks?

Watch until then end, these little animals get the party started!

From Lords of Apathy.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

From Saturday

For Ker and Al:



(sorry about the sound quality)

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Holy fuck.

I'm speechless. I just dont know what to say.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Or:

Oh. And.

Just wanted to make sure that you guys have been sharing in the joy that is the XX:



(Going to see them Monday)

Tightrope

I know this is a little old now, but it did give me some joy this morning:

Eish

Jacob Dlamini, a Business Day columnist, just rose to the top of Julius's and Jimmy's hit list. He must secretly be a Zille sycophant. But of course! That's what everyone who disagrees with the ANCYL is. Here.

Watch out for the inevitable Floyd Shivambu backlash to his boss being called a thug by this right wing counter-revolutionary coconut. Because need I remind you, Floyd means what he says and says what he means!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Australia, land of Professional Removalists and non-racialisticalists

Australians' general spelling and grammar capabilities are noticeably poor. Did you know that removalism is a profession? And did you know that apostrophes are almost never needed in words written on signs or banners? Or that the abbreviated version of "you are" is exactly equivalent to the word "your", particularly if the author is a crap company trying to reassure the proverbial novice consumer that "your our number 1".

Quite a surprise to me, I must say. I didn't notice it when I was last there, because I was working, hard. This time I was slacking off and enjoying annoying Grek the Highly Strung, and therefore had time to smell the roses and notice these atrocious Australianisms all around me. If you want to be like America by making up words and changing all the things the Empire bestowed upon you, then stop recognising the Queen as your Head of State. No, Kevin Rudd is not your head of state. (He is however an arrogant and rather annoying little megalomaniac). Note, however, that while bad spelling is tolerated, perhaps even encouraged, being a racialisticalist definitely isn't. Even if many many Arsestralians are racialisticalists.

Greg is known variably to his friends in Australia (very few of whom are actually Australian) as Muckless, Muck, McLovin, or Fogel. I only found this out on my last day there gawdammit! I probably spelled Muckless incorrectly too - there's some terrorist reference in there. Anyway if you have that many nicknames you know must be loved and admired by those around you.

All in all my holiday down unner was pretty rad. We ate so much good food and drank so much good coffee. Wow. The 2kg of lamb at Grek's birthday braai was a particular highlight; the culinary delights of Esselen Street, Sunnyside, Pretoria, don't quite compare.

Talya is well, down in perfect Melbourne, which is a pretty awesome little coastal city. The photos of her Argentina trip, all 62345 of them, are impressive. Don't worry Hels, the gifts were duly delivered to Grek, although I will admit we forgot to take Tally's to Melbourne. No matter, she's visiting Sydney soon. Oh ja and for those who know Brent Liebenberg, he's also living there now, and is also well and totally, leg-humpingly, in love with Melbourne.

Some pics from the trip...



Oz Grek

Sunday, 1 November 2009

The Big Carrot

Despite the early delays (cancelled connections and lost evenings spent at Emperors Palace for the Zini Posse) and lost baggage - we did finally make it to Lake of Stars!! I had hoped to post this last weekend - hoping to be speedy off the mark - but (un)surprisingly that didn't happen.

It was an amazing holiday - had four days of madness: dancing under the stars on the beach by the lake and another 3.5 days of chilling in one of Malawi's National Parks (Liwonde): my mind finally went quiet for the first time in recent memory, a feat for my mind at the best of times.

After a few unexpected days in Lilongwe (visiting markets and wild life sanctuaries, playing uno by the pool) we headed down in our shuttle, cruising with (ken nearly lost his head with excitement when it became clear who our shuttle buddies were) The Very Best posse (Esau, the-rather-unfortunately-named-RadioClit, Kingston - the entourage - and Molaudi the MC from Polokwane now living in Europe and hanging with Justice and co) to the Festival site (near Mangochi for those interested in the geography). Lake of Stars is less of a music festival and more of a beach party - an Amazing Beach Party. While I was expecting more southern African music discoveries, and certainly some of the big names in Malawian music played (Lucias Banda & The Black Missionaries to name a couple), it was more European DJs and MCs. Having said that, dancing on the sand to the early hours, drinking Malawi Gin and Pineapple Fanta and hanging with the Zini Posse was so much fun. Then you wake up and nurse the sleep deprivation while combatting the heat hanging out on the shore and swimming in the lake - when its 40 degrees and the gin is hurting: Bilharzia be damned :) once recovered you head back over to the festival site to do it all again... and Repeat.

Then it all comes to an end and Ken and co have to head back to Lilongwe so Kerry found a new friend in the toilet queue at the Fest (Jenny from Northumberland) who, thankfully, was also keen to leave the party behind and head down south away from the revelry to Liwonde and Chinguni Camp - recommended and an easy trip from the festival site. We were all supposed to head to the park before the festival together but SAA's errant and unpredictable flight schedule scuppered that plan. In retrospect I am so glad I got to go to the park after the festival to chill out and regroup. So after a few hours on the mini bus, kids and chickens were very well behaved, we arrived in Liwonde and arranged a ride to the camp. Chinguni is simply beautiful, breathtaking. There is no electricity and the only sounds are fish eagles by day, hippos in the eve and hyenas at night. The food was amazing! And the bar/fire pit overlook the water estuary where water buck and elephants graze all day long. The camp is run by a wonderful afrikaans couple from.... Potchefstroom! Mariska and Pieter were awesome. So much fun reminiscing about Oppi with them and learning more about Malawi. My camera battery died so I have very pics from this part of the trip but no pictures I would have taken could possibly have done it justice anyway.

Malawi


Suffice to say, I want to go back and see more - it just isn't enough. Malawians are warm and welcoming, it is easy to get around and there are so many different areas to explore. Thinking a drive through Mozambique and then heading to the north of the Lake - who's in?

Dont worry, Phil is OK.

Just a quickie to let you know that Emcee Krekin is doing fine. He has slept through the last two nights, and is gradually weaning himself off the pre-bed whiskeys. We went down the coast for a few days last week and did some rad snorkelling, though the water was very cold and i struggled to catch my breath after jumping in. Phil has more insulation, so he was ok (Philimon might have pictures of this, but i forgot my camera).

Yesterday was my birthday braai/bbq and thankfully (because i had been stressing about it for a while) it went off perfectly, and the braai'd lamb was (if i do say so me'self) a triumph. Honourable mention to Asher and his kitchen skills... dude got up at 7am to go to the markets with me, made all the salads in a single morning, cleaned the prawns, and squid, and still had time to tidy up the kitchen before taking his lady out for dinner for their 1 year anniversary. Ag cute.

I dont have too many photos, but i've uploaded some here...
Alex might notice that we used her hand made scarf as a blindfold when taking a swing at the pinata (its too warm in Sydney so i dont get as much use out of it as i'd like, so this way everyone could enjoy it). Anyway, Samurai Alves-san bust open the pinata with a couple of well timed knocks and little Ema ran to pick up the sweets. I'm a bit sleep deprived so i might go get a coffee or go back to bed.

Thank you all so much for my gift, its AWESOME. It has so many of my favourite David Goldblatt shots and saves me having to log on to the internets every time i want to se them (or dream about owning them). Really, what a cracker present.

ps. Sorry we never called back Kezzah, we were all wiped out and passed out after people left (it had been a long day) but hopefully we can organise a three-way with Talya in Melbourne (he he).

SHALOM!

Friday, 30 October 2009


Aaaaarrrrrgggghhhh...., this is embarrassing!

Happy Birthday Greggles!!

hope you and phil are up to no good to celebrate in sydney today!
Sorry we can't join the fun - but we will make up for it when you are in CT next year.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Friday, 23 October 2009

Stadia

So the world cup is getting closer.

Here's a pic of Grinaker's celebration of completing Soccer City the other day.


And they turned on the lights at Cape Town stadium last night.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Very cool ideas

Goodbye, Macroeconomics

By Eli Noam
Published: October 14 2009 00:46 | Last updated: October 14 2009 00:46

We are in the midst of a severe economic crisis, the second in about a decade, and the third for Latin America and Asia. It appears that information based economies are volatile. This is partly due to the fundamental price deflation in some of the core information services and products, and partly due to the much greater speed of transactions that outpace the ability of traditional institutions to cope. Information technology contributes to the volatility. But can the same technology also provide new tools for stabilisation?

Cyclical swings in the economy are as old as mankind. The Bible tells us about seven fat years in Egypt followed by seven lean years. Each economic system has its economic policy instruments to deal with swings. In ancient Egypt, Joseph’s warnings led to the creation of granaries. In feudal ages, the tools were control over the composition of coins, and severe restrictions on land and its workforce. These policies, in turn, became outdated for the industrial age, which pursued aggregate demand enhancement by governmental spending and taxation, control of the money supply, and manipulations of interest rates.

So when the present economic crisis hit, governments dealt with it in a traditional way through broad-based stimulus spending and through interest rates. But it is unclear whether the remedies of the industrial age apply. Demand is not the main problem of the information economy. People consume more bits and minutes than ever. The problem is prices, together with the inability to monetise many information activities. This leads to early over-expansions to gain market share, and subsequent contractions.

Nor is the pace of these macro-responses adequate for the accelerating speed of the information economy. By the time the emergency moneys have been actually spent, we are likely to be out of the recession and they might stimulate inflation.

The new type of problem, in contrast, is the enormous flow of computer-based economic activity that is increasingly impenetrable to interpret or respond to. Yet proponents of the traditional tools mostly got upset when the new elements of the economy undermined their traditional tools.

As e-money emerged, symposia were full of professors of macroeconomics and central bankers lamenting the difficulty of controlling this new supply of money. In other words, the efficiency of the advanced economy had to serve the efficiency of monetary policy, not the other way around.

Instead of suppression, how could the new technologies create new tools for government?

The most important aspect is the ability of the new technology to differentiate and customize. On the internet, each packet is identified as to sender and receiver. Which means that one can identify users, and uses. And if we can identify, we can differentiate.

This is very powerful. Traditional macroeconomics was very aggregate. It was their essence. The reasons were two: for theorists, it was easier to write equations that way. And for policy implementation, it was difficult, in very practical administrative terms, to disaggregate the many economic agents in a society.
But now, we have tools that can differentiate. With proper legal authorization, a central bank could charge different overnight rates to different banks or vary reserve requirements. Sales and other taxes could be varied selectively for different products, regions, or users. Tax credits could be tied to spending for particular uses. Stimulus money could go towards spending or investments that are above the level of last year.

To give a close analogy: In the past, toll roads could charge motorists only in a very undifferentiated way. But now, with automated billing and stored payment systems, we can charge different prices by time of day, by frequency of use, by the characteristics of the driver, by the characteristics of the car, and by the proximity of a driver’s residence to public transportation alternatives. In sum, we possess a much finer tool than before to stimulate and to depress demand for transportation, and to do so at a lower cost due to the ability to pin-point incentives.

We need, of course, to deal with some implications. One is on individual privacy. To differentiate one needs to know a lot. But this problem could be resolved through a system of pseudonyms and trusted intermediaries. A second problem is international trade. Basically, could a government differentiate in favour of its own people? The World Trade Organisation rules say no. But that is likely to become a relic of the industrial age.

The industrial age was the age of massification. Mass production. Mass consumption. Mass media. Mass advertising. But not any more. All around, we see customisation and individualization. Macroeconomic activity by government will eventually follow, and become a sub-aggregated ‘mezzo’ economic policy. Economists, technologists, and policy analysts should work to develop these tools.

The writer is professor of finance and economics at Columbia University.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Not a good look

Why the fuck is Sasol doing business in Iran? Mind you, if they dont, the frogs will...

In other news, Australians are racist, but they dont understand why.



I cant tell you how many people have posted this on their facebook pages with the line 'Is this racist?' or 'I think this is ok because Australians know how to laugh at themselves' or some such shit. Mu'fuggah, if you need to have it explained to you, you've already lost...

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Andrew Bird

Hey y'all

Turns out that someone filmed most of the Andrew Bird gig I was at on Thursday night (from a very similar angle to the one in which I was standing). Such a phenomenal show, despite the fact that he was a little sickly:









And the best part (when he played with St. Vincent at the end), doing a Dylan cover:



Makes me get goosebumps watching again.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Friday funny

Brought to you by the SA police brains trust...

"Police National Commissioner Bheki Cele will soon be referred to as "general", he said in Johannesburg on Thursday.

"It will not be a distant future when you will be speaking to 'general' rather than 'commissioner'," Cele said at a media briefing following the launch of a television programme to be used in the fight against crime.Moves to change the ranks within the police force were under way after President Jacob Zuma made the call earlier this year.

"The process is under way ... internally we are almost there."

Deputy national commissioners Hamilton Hlela and Magda Stander were compiling the changes to the ranks and these would be submitted to Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa soon.

Stander, speaking on the sidelines of the briefing, said the ranks were "demilitarised" in 1995 and this had an impact on the South African Police Service.

"We demilitarised the ranks in 1995 and that impacted on discipline ... there is lots of confusion because sometimes people ... talk about inspectors ... inspectors are supposed to be on buses."



Ah, no love, buses have conductors, like orchestras. Police services have inspectors and detectives, not generals.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Garden Party

A few pictures from Saturday's festivities.















Happy Happy Tally


Hope you are having an amazing day and thinking of you tango-ing your birthday away!!
Wishing we were all together to celebrate but know we will have a belated celebration one of these days! lots of love!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

ZA News is finally here

Watch it:



Read about it.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Album Review


BLK JKS - Mystery EP

I cant tell you how much i wanted to love this album. I wasnt overly impressed with the stuff i had heard from BLK JKS before buying it, but i hadnt really given it a proper listen, and was sure i had missed something (because seriously, these must be the most hyped SA band since, well, ever).

I comfortable with all of the disjointed structureless arrangement, though i dont think it's handled particularly intelligently, but the production is just infuriating. I bought this on vinyl and the pressing wasnt great so i downloaded the digital copies of the songs (free with the vinyl) and even when i concentrated while listening to it on my best headphones, it ended up just sounding like a poorly recorded jam session. The vocals are constantly getting lost behind perpetually crashing cymbals and then reappearing with echo and some more droning white noise. It's impossible to make out any of the instruments, there are snippets of discernible melody, and then just more droning. I'm no sound engineer (where are you Sarah Jarvis?) but this just sounds amateurish, like its being abstract for the sake of being abstract and difficult to listen to, not because it actually adds anything. You know, like a David Lynch movie. That said, when the melodies do emerge, its quite engaging stuff (Summertime didnt make me want to turn the sound down) but not really enough to make me want to listen to it too often.

This is only an EP (that supposedly created some of the hype?) and i'm guessing there will be more variety on the full album, but to be honest, on the strength of this, i wont be rushing to find it.

Frowny face! Disappointed.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FRANCES

I hope you have a fantabulous day hon! Sorry we cannot be there to celebrate with you and the croquet set this weekend!
wishing you a day of cupcakes, cocktails and festivities
Lots of love

Monday, 28 September 2009

Babies

Anybody got any pics of the new addition to the Winearls family?
I have pictures of Paul's new nephew Charlie (10 days old) - I can post these if we need to feel broody.
x

Opposite of under the sea

Ok so it is not as rad as seeing lots of cool fish and getting sore ears... But we also did something rad this past naweek. I conquered my fear of heights (30m high) and got the adrenaline pumping. It was actually alot tamer than we were expecting. I had images of remaining glued to the side of the cliff not being able to look down or willingly jump off a cliff, but you soon get into the swing of it and end up jumping off (well almost, and it's actually not allowed). Check out our sexy outfits - that Paul said made the boys do an egg flip? Anyway.




I went scuba diving

At Sodwana Bay. This long weekend that just passed. With Brig and Jeremy and Jeremy's waterpolo mates. But I don't have any pictures. Saw flying fish, dolphins and whales from the boat, and all sorts of things on the reefs. The lion fish, boxy, rock cod, honeycomb moray eel, and lemon fish were cool, as were the loggerhead turtles.

Anyway diving is forkin rad - no doubt one of the best things I've learned to do in the past few years. I have issues equalising, so it hurts quite a bit sometimes, but eventually I seemed to get it going better and managed to get 3 of my 4 qualifying dives done. Will be going back to the ENT doktor to check if I did any damage! Also passed the thoery test, naturally, even though all the PADI book really tries to teach you is how and where to buy expensive gear from PADI shops.

You should all get your licenses and go diving. Just don't be shocked by the size and general quality of the bonehead population at Sodwana over long weekends.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

My pics from Posberg




10 Ash Street



























Here are the pics of my new house! As excited as I am it is damn stressful and I even cryed yesterday after dealing with the all the financial stuff. Thank God it was all sorted this morning! Moving in date is 1 December and my spare room will be ready for visitors. There will be a house warming and Christmas party all in one this year!