- Golden Years
As Singapore turns 50 some people are challenging the official narrative.
- Veteran foreign journalists to leave Thailand following threats
The sad part is that they feel they have to leave in order to assure their safety.
- The Mediterranean’s urban sprawl: ‘You know a city’s near by the plastic in the sea’
The Mediterranean’s coastline is being heavily urbanzied.
- 40 brilliant idioms that simply can’t be translated literally
I love idioms, and this is a pretty good collection.
- Chinese Businessmen Paying $80,000 to Hunt Polar Bears in Canada
“I don’t want to live on this planet anymore!“ — Professor Farnsworth
- The Benefits of a Lunch Hour Walk
Even though I don’t do it enough, I’m a big fan of lunch hour walks myself.
- How I Brightened My Bank Job with Crystal Meth
I think I’d do the same if I had to work for a bank.
- Soldiers’ ration kits tell us a lot about their nations
A very interesting photo series.
- The Strange Tale of the North Pond Hermit
This is quite a long read, but well worth it.
- The Life of a Pot Critic: Clean, With Citrus Notes
New laws, new jobs.
- It’s the Umami, Stupid. Why the Truth About MSG is So Easy to Swallow
Always good to challenge one’s assumptions. This time: MSG.
- Lệ Hải: Saigon’s Gangster Queen
This life story would make for an excellent movie.
- My Brief and Curious Life As a Mechanical Turk
Talk about alienation at the workplace…
- Degrees of Difficulty
Unexpected visa problems for foreign exchange students in Malaysia.
- The subliminal power of city fonts
Cities and fonts, two things I enjoy in the same article.
- Professional Cuddlers Embrace More Clients
Nope, not from The Onion.
- Sukhumvit shakedown
A good summary for everyone who hasn’t been following these incidents.
- A girl tries to break Egyptian social taboos
Courageous and uplifting.
- The One and Only: Hun Sen
Hun Sen, the man who ruled Cambodia for the last 30 years is the world’s longest serving leader.
Here’s my annual reading list post. 2014 saw me read less than I wanted to, but exploring my new hometown (Bangkok) and learning Thai used up a lot of my free time. That said I still managed to get in a decent amount of books, caught up on more comics and added a 4th language (Thai) to my reading, although so far that’s been limited to children’s books.
- Tom Vater: The Cambodian Book of the Dead
- A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda: On the Way to Krisna
- Timeri N. Murari: The Taliban Cricket Club
- Jonas Jonasson: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
- Luis Sepúlveda: Historia de una Gaviota y del Gato Que le Enseñó a Volar
- Charles Bukowski: Post Office
- David Sedaris: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls
- Tom Vater: The Devil’s Road To Kathmandu
- Jean-Claude Izzo: The Lost Sailors
- Sean Eads: The Survivors
- Charles Bukowski: Factotum
- Benny Lewis: Fluent in 3 Months
- Paco Ignacio Taibo II: Some Clouds: A Hector Belascoaran Shayne Detective Novel
- Charles Bukowski: Women
- Aldous Huxley: Brave New World Revisited
- NoViolet Bulawayo: We Need New Names
- Alex MacCaw: The Little Book on CoffeeScript
- Ernest Cline: Ready Player One
- Andreas Altmann: Der Preis der Leichtigkeit : eine Reise durch Thailand, Kambodscha und Vietnam
- Charles Bukowski: Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame
- อีสป: ราคานิทานอีสป2ภาษา อินทรีกับชาวนา
- Marco Ferrarese: Nazi Goreng
- Nnedi Okorafor: Who Fears Death
- Nick Wilgus: Mindfulness and Murder: A Father Ananda Mystery
- Vikas Swarup: Six Suspects
- Haruki Murakami: Norwegian Wood
- Shamini Flint: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder
- D.D. Johnston: Peace, Love & Petrol Bombs
- Mohsin Hamid: How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
- Rodolfo Pardi: The most important Chess Pattern – Critical Squares
- Dan Kennedy: Loser Goes First: My Thirty-Something Years of Dumb Luck and Minor Humiliation
- Junot Díaz: This Is How You Lose Her
- David Sedaris: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
- รัชนี ศรีไพรวรรณ: หนังสือเรียนภาษาไทย
- Ali Almossawi: An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments
- Avdi Grimm: Confident Ruby
- Terry Pratchett: Unseen Academicals
- Ioan Grillo: El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency
- Mikel Santiago: Historia de un crimen perfecto
- Charles Bukowski: Mockingbird Wish Me Luck
- Johnny Cash: Cash
- Marc-Uwe Kling: Die Känguru-Chroniken: Ansichten eines vorlauten Beuteltiers
- Barend Jan Terwiel: Thailand’s Political History: From the 13th century to recent times
- John Siracusa: OS X 10.10 Yosemite: The Ars Technica Review
- Marc-Uwe Kling: Das Känguru-Manifest
- Marc-Uwe Kling: Die Känguru-Offenbarung
- Namita Gokhale: The Book of Shiva
- Julia Alvarez: In the Time of the Butterflies
- Peter F. Hamilton: If at First…
- Simon St. Laurent: Introducing Elixir: Getting Started in Functional Programming
- David Eisenberg: Études for Elixir
- David Eisenberg: Études for Elixir
- Anthony Grey: Saigon: An Epic Novel of Vietnam
- Scott Snyder: American Vampire, Vol. 2
- Jeff Lemire: Sweet Tooth, Vol. 1: Out of the Deep Woods
- Jeff Lemire: Sweet Tooth, Vol. 2: In Captivity
- Jeff Lemire: Sweet Tooth, Vol. 3: Animal Armies
- Jeff Lemire: Sweet Tooth, Vol. 4: Endangered Species
- Jeff Lemire: Sweet Tooth, Vol. 5: Unnatural Habitats
- Jeff Lemire: Sweet Tooth, Vol. 6: Wild Game
- Jason: I Killed Adolf Hitler
- Fábio Moon: Daytripper
- David Mazzucchelli: Asterios Polyp
- Brian K. Vaughan: Saga, Volume 3 (Saga #13-18)
- Fujiko F. Fujio: DORAEMON Vol.4
- Ed Brubaker: Deadenders
- Matt Fraction: Sex Criminals, Vol. 1: One Weird Trick
- Scott Snyder: American Vampire, Vol. 3
- Neil Gaiman: Marvel 1602
- Ales Kot: Zero, Vol. 1 An Emergency
- Fujiko F. Fujio: DORAEMON Vol.5
- Jeph Loeb: Spider-Man: Blue
- Mark Waid: Irredeemable, Vol. 1
- Mark Waid: Irredeemable, Vol. 2
- Mark Waid: Irredeemable, Vol. 3
- Jonathan Hickman: The Manhattan Projects, Vol. 1: Science, Bad
- Mark Waid: Irredeemable, Vol. 4
- Mark Waid: Irredeemable, Vol. 5
- Mark Waid: Irredeemable, Vol. 6
- Mark Waid: Irredeemable, Vol. 7
- Mark Waid: Irredeemable, Vol. 8
- Mark Waid: Irredeemable, Vol. 9
- Mark Waid: Irredeemable, Vol. 10
- Hugh Howey: Wool: The Graphic Novel
- Joe Sacco: Palestine
- Ales Kot: Zero, Vol. 2: At the Heart of It All
- Mike Richardson: Crimson Empire, Volume 2: Council of Blood
- Brian K. Vaughan: Saga, Volume 4
I know, I usually publish the Information Overload on Sundays, but my schedule has become so irregular…
- 15 Things You Shouldn’t Believe About Africa
What I can’t believe is that this needed to be written…
- The weird afterlife of the world’s subterranean ‘ghost stations’
The Guardian City blog is one of my favorite web sites at the moment.
- The Dalai Lama and the Politics of Reincarnation
It will be interesting to see how this pans out.
- A Young Chemist Explains How Legal Highs Work
People clearly want to take drugs, so maybe policy changes are in order.
- Life in Timbuktu: how the ancient city of gold is slowly turning to dust
It did say it’s one of my favorite web sites, didn’t I?
- Is There a Parallel Universe That’s Moving Backwards in Time?
The title of this website says it all, “I fucking love science”.
- Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
Lots of bad press for the Thai police lately, but I also always like other viewpoints.
- China’s Economy: Don’t Bet on Beijing
The Diplomat confuses me. While some of their articles are interesting, I’m still wondering about their overall agenda.
- The skin I live in
The excellent Southeast Asia Globe with an article on transgender sex workers in Singapore.
- A quick history of why Asians wear surgical masks in public
After having lived in China, I don’t even notice them anymore.
- Why Does Time Fly as We Get Older?
In case you wonder, here are five different theories.
- Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Protesters Clash With Police In Surreal Scenes
Sometimes a picture really does say more than a thousand words.
- China is Hong Kong’s future – not its enemy
I like differing points of view, here’s one on the current situation in Hong Kong.
- “Es ist schlimmer als das Töten”
About acid attacks on women. While the interview is in German, the photos have no language.
- What It’s like to Fly the $23,000 Singapore Airlines Suites Class
Now that’s traveling in style.
- Coming up easy
Like with many other drugs, people can’t seem to make up their mind about kratom either. Curse or blessing?
- 8 Lessons Learned from Visiting Every Country in the World
I’m a sucker for all things travel related.
- ‘In 1976 I discovered Ebola, now I fear an unimaginable tragedy’
Despite the sensationalist title, this is actually a very interesting interview with the researcher who discovered Ebola.
- Thailand’s Full-Moon Parties Have Become a Trashy Disgrace
Never went, don’t plan on ever going. Here’s why.
- What Europe Would Look Like If All the Separatist Movements Got Their Way
I for one would be happy to truly have a Europe of regions instead of countries.
- These Stunning Photos of Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You
Climate change in the Arctic.
- Is China’s Market-State Juggernaut Grinding to a Halt?
Personally I’m not convinced by the argument, but that doesn’t mean I can’t share the article.
- Ersatzreligion Liebe
A very interesting and critical article about romantic love (in German).
- Global middle class nears one billion mark
Very interesting and certainly challenged some of my perceptions/expectations.
- Israel’s N.S.A. Scandal
A NYT op-ed related to the Snowden leaks.
- “Traumdeutung ist der Königsweg zur Seele”
A German language article about Sigmund Freud, written in a quite original way.
- Mantis shrimps can see cancer, and scientists have now created a camera that does the same
These cameras could play an important role in non-evasive cancer detection.
- The Real Reason al-Qaeda Is Establishing an India Branch
If the assumptions in this article are correct AQC seems to think very long term and strategically.
- The Soviet city is dead: long live Beijing
On urbanism and city planning in Soviet Russia and China.
- The Rise And Fall Of The Dreamcast
The Dreamcast was my favorite console and will always have a special place in my heart.
After an almost 2 year hiatus, it’s time to revive this series, although I’m not yet sure if it’s going to be weekly again.
- 10 Lessons From Real-Life Revolutions That Fictional Dystopias Ignore
Ignoring artistic license, there are some interesting points here regarding real life revolutions.
- Enter Pyongyang
An interesting video about the normally extremely secluded DPRK.
- How ISIS Works
Some background information on organization, finances, etc.
- Life in Ulaanbaatar’s tent city is hard
A nice piece on the tent slums of Ulaanbaatar.
- Tunisian street art – in pictures
Amazing pictures from the “Djerbahood” project.
- How quitting my corporate job for my startup dream f*cked my life up
IMHO one of the more reasonable startups pieces I read lately.
- In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment for a Novelist
The times they are a-changin’…
- “Music is a weapon” – Alec Empire on Digital Hardcore
A good read not only for ATR fans.
- Khartoum: the most selfish city?
This article certainly enhanced my limited understanding of Sudanese issues.
- Stir crazy
The SEA Globe writes about the Thai prison system.
When I originally bought my Kindle Fire HD 7”, I was madly in love with it. However, after the initial euphoria was over, I got very annoyed with the dumbed down user interface and the limited availability of apps in Amazon’s app store.
So yesterday morning I finally set aside around 2 hours to do the following:
- Root the device (How To: Root the Kindle Fire 7” HD or 2 with Linux/MAC)
- Install Google Play (Install Google Play Store Noob (Simple) Version)
- Install Nova Launcher (Nova Launcher on the KFHD7!)
- Disable OTA updates (How to Disable Amazon OTA Updates)
All in all the process went pretty smoothly and I now I have a mostly uncrippled Android tablet. There are some small glitches, but they are certainly less annoying than having a very limited device. At first I couldn’t get the Kindle app to run (it’s a modified version that’s pretty tied to the Fire’s native launcher), but after a bit of fiddling around it’s now working. Some people also opt for not selecting any launcher as default action for the home button, so they can easily switch between the Kindle experience and a more tablet like launcher.
If you own a Kindle Fire that you don’t use much maybe you should give rooting a try, it may re-kindle your interest in the device.
Today I spent quite some time on a rather hard to track down problem. I had some specs using VCR, which worked perfectly locally, but just wouldn’t run on CircleCI. In fact, it seemed like CircleCI didn’t in fact use the VCR cassettes at all, but instead make a real API call, which failed because the necessary credentials weren’t available in the environment (which was kinda the point of using VCR in the first place).
Turns out the problem lay in the combination of using the VCR setting
configure_rspec_metadata! and the option
core.ignorecase = true, which is standard in newer versions of Git. What happened was that at one point I changed the case of a word in a test description, which changes the auto-generated name of the folder VCR will create the cassette in. But since the folder name wasn’t changed from git’s perspective, I never realized that. So when the code was checked out on CircleCI, VCR encountered the spec with the metadata (
vcr: true), but couldn’t find the cassette since the checked out folder had the wrong case. It therefore proceeded to run the spec against the live API which failed.
All in all this cost me about 1.5 hours, and I only managed to find a solution thanks to a helpful colleague and CircleCI’s option of letting you SSH into the machine the tests run on, which is how we discovered the second folder that was created.
TIL that git’s not case-sensitive. I’d rather have found out another way.
Same post as every year, here are the book I read last year. However, this time around there are several novelties: first off, my Spanish got good enough to actually read books, so there are 3 languages now (English, German, Spanish). Also my Kindle Fire allowed me to get back into comics, so I (re-)read a lot of the classics and great stuff I missed out on over the years. Last but not least this is also the year where I started listening to audiobooks, mostly because they are really practical on long bus journeys because they keep you occupied but you can still enjoy the landscape.
The links are affiliate links by the way, I have to finance my reading habit somehow ;–)
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson
- Chronic City, Jonathan Lethem
- The Sheltering Sky, Paul Bowles
- Eleven, Mark Watson
- Aristoi, Walter Jon Williams
- Sin noticias de Gurb, Eduardo Mendoza (Spanish)
- Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Essays in Humanism, Albert Einstein
- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving
- A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan
- The Bad Girl, Mario Vargas Llosa
- Dog, Daniel Pennac
- An Easy Thing, Paco Ignacio Taibo II
- One Life To Ride, Ajit Harisinghani
- The Lost Continent, Bill Bryson
- Reise durch einen einsamen Kontinent, Andreas Altmann
- Damned, Chuck Palahniuk
- El Rey Solito, Rafael Estrada (Spanish)
- Bhakta – Eine indische Odysee, Walther Eidlitz
- Food Inc.: A Participant Guide, Karl Weber
- La Ultima Jugada, Fernando Trujillo Sanz (Spanish)
- American Empire: Blood & Iron, Harry Turtledove
- El club de la pelea, Chuck Palahniuk (Spanish)
- The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, Eckhart Tolle
- Delirium, Laura Restrepo
- Myths and Legends of All Nations, Logan Marshall
- Zoo City, Lauren Beukes
- The Impressionist, Hari Kunzru
- The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
- Fundamental Chess Patterns, Rodolfo Pardi
- First They Killed My Father, Loung Ung
- Mi primera vez, Juan Goytisolo et al. (Spanish)
- Mother Night, Kurt Vonnegut
- Eye of the Needle, Ken Follett
- The Awakening of Lovingkindness: Chin Kung
- Essence of Islam: Islamic Propagation Centre International Malaysia
- Bhagavad-Gita, Edwin Arnold
- La Primera Detective De Botsuana, Alexander McCall Smith (Spanish)
- Nonviolent Communication, Marshall B. Rosenberg
- Ruby Under a Microscope, Pat Shaughnessy
- The Magus, John Fowles
- Die Dritte Jungfrau, Fred Vargas
- Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu
- Hello Kitty Must Die, Angela S. Choi
- The Geography of Thought, Richard E. Nisbett
- Machine of Death, Ryan North
- The Paranoid’s Pocket Guide, Cameron Tuttle
- Speaker for the Dead, Orson Scott Card
- Year Zero, Rob Reid
- The Tiger’s Wife, Téa Obreht
- The Bird Artist, Howard Norman
- Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman
- AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers, Ivor W. Hartmann
- Transmetropolitan, Vol. 1: Back on the Street, Warren Ellis
- Transmetropolitan, Vol. 2: Lust for Life, Warren Ellis
- Transmetropolitan, Vol. 3: Year of the Bastard, Warren Ellis
- Transmetropolitan, Vol. 4: The New Scum, Warren Ellis
- Maus 1: A Survivor’s Tale, Art Spiegelman
- Maus, Vol. 2: And Here My Troubles Began, Art Spiegelman
- Transmetropolitan, Vol. 5: Lonely City, Warren Ellis
- Transmetropolitan, Vol. 6: Gouge Away, Warren Ellis
- V for Vendetta, Alan Moore
- Transmetropolitan, Vol. 7: Spider’s Thrash, Warren Ellis
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller
- Lex Luthor: Man of Steel, Brian Azzarello
- Betrayal, Vol. 1, Scott Allie
- Transmetropolitan, Vol. 8: Dirge, Warren Ellis
- Transmetropolitan, Vol. 9: The Cure, Warren Ellis
- Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, Marjane Satrapi
- Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return, Marjane Satrapi
- Transmetropolitan, Vol. 10: One More Time, Warren Ellis
- Crimson Empire, Volume 1, Mike Richardson
- Coraline, P. Craig Russell
- xkcd: volume 0, Randall Munroe
- American Vampire Vol. 1, Scott Snyder
- Blacksad, Juan Díaz Canales
- Blacksad: A Silent Hell, Juan Díaz Canales
- Mind the Gap, Vol. 1: Intimate Strangers, Jim McCann
- Sin City, Vol. 1: The Hard Goodbye, Frank Miller
- Mind the Gap Volume 2: Wish You Were Here, Jim McCann
- Sin City, Vol. 2: A Dame to Kill For, Frank Miller
- Sin City, Vol. 3: The Big Fat Kill, Frank Miller
- Sin City, Vol. 4: That Yellow Bastard, Frank Miller
- Epileptic, David B.
- Saga, Volume 1, Brian K. Vaughan
- Saga, Volume 2, Brian K. Vaughan
- Mind the Gap Volume 3: Out of Bodies TP, Jim McCann
- Fun Home, Alison Bechdel
- Sin City, Vol. 5: Family Values, Frank Miller
- Sin City, Vol. 6: Booze, Broads, and Bullets, Frank Miller
- Sin City, Vol. 7: Hell and Back, Frank Miller
- Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile, Bill Willingham
- Thor MAX: Vikings, Garth Ennis
- Save Yourself, Mammal!, Zach Weiner
- The Most Dangerous Game, Zach Weiner
- Watchmen, Alan Moore
- Doraemon, Vol. 1, Fujiko F. Fujio
- Doraemon, Vol. 2, Fujiko F. Fujio
- Fables Vol. 2: Animal Farm, Bill Willingham
- Doraemon, Vol. 3, Fujiko F. Fujio
- Signal to Noise, Neil Gaiman
- Free: The Future of a Radical Price, Chris Anderson
- Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World, Michael Lewis
- The Art Of Happiness: A Handbook For Living, Dalai Lama XIV
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: The Complete Radio Series, Douglas Adams