Friday, March 30, 2007

Brazilian Institute for Oriental Studies

Apparently, the Institute for Oriental Studies at the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Brazil is a real organization and this was their real logo. After the logo proliferated across the Net and won awards, the institute's website went offline.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Order of Letters in a Word

"Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer is in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe."

This was a popular email forward a few years back. However, this anonymous software engineer believes the notion to be false, and wrote a program to prove it:

Rgaadin Nfheuealn's Web Log

classic joke

What is the difference between a duck?

One of its legs are both the same.

The Wild Hunt

The Wild Hunt
Peter Nicolai Arbo
1831-1892 Norwegian

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Wild Nights

Wild Nights--Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile--the Winds--
To a Heart in port--
Done with the Compass--
Done with the Chart!

Rowing in Eden--
Ah, the Sea!
Might I but moor--Tonight--
In Thee!

--Emily Dickinson

This is an illuminating piece on one of the most memorable of American poems:

"Dickinson's 'Wild Nights'" by James L. Dean in Explicator

"A third possibility is that 'Thee' refers only to the sea, and it is this latter that I would like briefly to discuss.

"If we take 'Sea' to mean something like 'high seas'... and assume that at sea passionate nature unleashes itself--then we have an interesting paradox to deal with. The speaker desires something at once impossible and possible. Ships do not moor at sea, unless, of course, they are under command of an extravagant adventurer who delights in the paradox of mooring where it is impossible to do so. Such an extravagant statement is typical of Dickinson, as, for example, in the well-known line, 'I taste a liquor never brewed.'"

Monday, March 26, 2007

Mongolia Mining Less Attractive

Unfortunately, this was the perfectly predictable result of last year's "Windfall Tax" on mining companies:

"TORONTO, March 5 /PRNewswire/ - The attractiveness of Mongolia for mineral exploration has dropped significantly in the eyes of mining executives, according to the Survey of Mining Companies 2006/2007, released today by independent research organization The Fraser Institute. Mongolia's ranking fell significantly, dropping to 62nd from 33rd last year, reflective of the regulatory difficulties and lack of openness experienced by mineral exploration companies operating in Mongolia in the past year.

"'Our experience with the survey has shown that above all, mineral exploration companies value stability and certainty when it comes to government policy,' said Fred McMahon, co-ordinator of the survey and the institute's Director of Trade and Globalization Studies."

-Mongolia Web

Konchog, Floki

I can't believe I've never mentioned Konchog. He's this big American Buddhist monk. He cuts one of the most distinctive figures in UB, running around the city in his orange and red robes. I caught him last year in the Turkish restaurant across the street. Turns out he is living pretty much next door to me, on the other side of Centrepoint. Very nice guy. I see him every once in a while. Last December, we chatted near the State Department Store amidst the Santa Claus decorations, and I couldn't resist tossing him a cheeky "Merry Christmas." His response was "Yeah, thanks," which is nearly how I respond to the phrase. Anyway, he's looking for a home for his young St. Bernard, Floki, so if you know anyone in the Mongolian countryside who could take care of a big dog, let him know: Dreaming of Danzan Ravjaa - Konchog is a formidable blogger.

Book Cover from Jeff

This is definitely the same book.