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Friday, May 06, 2016

Abstract gastronomy

Raw Orkney scallops, kelp, oyster cream, carrots, and horseradish at Clove Club.

I am in a bad mood (my wife is in the hospital), but even in a sunny mood I hate modern restaurant food. Not only the food, if two square inches of kelp can be called food (zero calories), but all the pretentious environment and rude employees. That is BEFORE the bill and the unsubtle imposition of 10-20% tip.

Instead of restaurants, I am surviving on canned tuna.  

Thursday, May 05, 2016

The making of a tragedy

The Economist comes out very strongly against Donald Trump. Because his vision in foreign policy is the Pax Romana, the peace of Augustus, in which the rest of the world sends tribute to the capital and is grateful for the garrisons.

Trump opposes trade deals, globalization; he is a non-opportunistic protectionist. "We can't continue to allow China to rape our country," he said. "That's what they're doing. It's the greatest theft in the history of the world."

Morocco in Israel

Intimate Corner
Fake Portal
I am working in remaking a large Moroccan style wedding hall in the South. Some impressions: 


Kitchen: Based on Eggplants
A working cat

Grease Interceptor

Obama's Apology in Flint

"Let me begin by saying I understand why you are angry and frustrated. I want to come here today to apologize," he said, while protesters chanted "Flint lives matter".

“Now, I do not believe that anybody consciously wanted to hurt the people,” he said. “And this is not the place to sort out every screwup … but I do think there’s a larger issue."

“It’s a mindset that believes the less government is the highest good no matter what,” he continued. “It’s an … ideology that undervalues the common good, says we’re all on our own.”

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Believe or not

Finance moves to the net

All kinds of financial services are provided on the internet - on mobile phones - by software alone. Alibaba is a large bank, processing payments, offering credit to online vendors and consumers, offering higher interest rates and asset management services. That is, hedge funds on the internet, private stock exchanges. Pays 5% annual interest on overnight deposits (pic. Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba).

Yet Israeli banks are very healthy and profitable.  Bank Hapoalim, the largest bank, reported net profits of more than three billion shekels ($790 million), up from NIS 2.7 billion ($698 million) in 2014. Deposits and loans also increased during 2015. Bank Leumi announced net profits of NIS 2.8 billion ($727 million) for last year. It appears that the competition has not reached them yet.

In fact, Alibaba is prospering in the financial services business because in China there are no large credit card companies. Much of what he does in China is done here by Credit Cards. What is more convenient, will the phone replace cards?

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

The Red Army lives in Kever Benjamin City

It is Commemoration Day יום הזכרון and I discovered a freshly erected monument honoring the Рабоче-крестьянская Красная армия (The Red Army). In Eastern Europe - Poland, Hungary, Latvia - they are transferring (to landfills) many similar monuments, so we could have had a nice big one with golden ornaments - for free.  The Soviets live - here!

Family Visit in Uganda

My little daughter bought a ticket to Uganda, intending to stay two months till start of the college. She will visit our relatives there and discover the sources of the Nile.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Let's change the subject...

Aeroflot the Soviet sorry Russian airline is offering the best deal to fly to the USA. It is via Moscow. The best looking hostesses. Great vodka. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Homofacient Cats

Prof. (Theoretical Physics) Gregory Cochran has proposed several plausible theories, such as that homosexuality is caused by tiny brain parasites like Toxoplasma gondii, and that all scientists before his coming were idiots. Toxo is a really interesting parasite and cats are its ‘definitive host’ – that is, toxo can only complete its lifecycle within the intestine of the Fluffy Vermin.  Rectofossal writes:
When mice are infected with toxo they permanently lose their innate fear of cats – mice have evolved to flee the odor of cat urine, but toxo affects mouse brain chemistry to make the smell attractive. In this marvelous bit of co-evolution mouse gets infected with Toxoplasma, loses fear of Fluffy Vermin, is attracted to smell of pussy (c’mon, you just soooo knew that was coming), wanders up to Fluffy Vermin to say ‘will you be my friend’ and is promptly eaten, thus allowing toxo to complete its life cycle. 
Toxo’s impact on risk aversion isn’t limited to mice. Within the past decade many independent studies have shown that toxo is implicated in higher rates of workplace accidents and suicides as well as car crashes. It is also an important risk factor for schizophrenia probably because toxo has two genes for making l-DOPA, the precursor molecule to dopamine. Dopamine system dysfunctions are associated with schizophrenia and ADHD.

Boys infected with toxo grow taller and are more masculine looking. Hypermasculinity is
frequently associated with homosexuality (pic).

30% of the world’s population is seropositive for toxo.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Flint Water Nightmare (cont.)

The story is well known. Flint's Emergency Manager wanted to save 1 million US$ per year by changing the water sourcing from Detroit to the Flint River. A perfectly rational decision. The City's water people was a bunch of incompetent clowns and botched it badly. No one died nor got hospitalized, all that there is a few high lead concentration lab results. The moment that these result became known, the water supply was switched back to Detroit. For the last year the water had no lead. But Flint inhabitants loved being poisoned by racists and they are still pretending that the water is dangerous (and wash in donated bottled water)  and keep playing the victims of discrimination.

I think this is a very bad strategy and it will destroy the City of Flint. No business will locate in Flint, no middle class people will be attracted to visit or buy a home in Flint. The city received 25 million US$ federal assistance, but the additional expenses are eating up that budget. The water crisis has resulted in over 50 civil lawsuits that name the City of Flint or its employees and officials as defendants. With all the litigation and discovery request for documents, additional IT personnel and assistant city attorneys had to be hired, increasing the legal dept. budget to 6 million US$ per year.  And the legal nightmare is just beginning. The decay of Flint is terminal.

The Main Issue in Britain

Reading about British politics, it appears that the main issue being debated is Israel. The head article and half of the content of the Labour List blog is dedicated to antisemitism. The Left used to focus on abolishing Britain's nuclear forces, on boycotting apartheid, but all those issues have faded and now they obsess about Israel. They are far from inoffensive, it was the British Left that destroyed Rhodesia and South Africa. The Zionist solution to Europe's incurable anti-semitism was to leave Europe and come back to the East we are from. We must look towards India and China. I also think also Iran is our natural ally, they will understand it when they emerge from the Ayatollah craziness.