Saturday, May 28, 2005

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

I planned to watch the Kung Fu Hustle this afternoon but I planned my time poorly and didn't make it. I took an afternoon nap instead and went to watch Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room instead. It was playing in the nearby Camera 7, so we could walk there from our apartment.
The film was very good. I checked the reviews before going but I am never sure if my taste is the same as what the critics say, so I was still pleasantly surprised. The film is great in showing how greed made people who perhaps otherwise would lead decent lives make decisions that were obviously unethical. The analogy to the Milgram experiment was of course brought up and it was the first time that I saw a video of that experiment. So far I only imagined it but watching the short clips of it was fascinating.
Another amazing part of the movie were recordings of conversations between Enron traders which clearly showed how these traders deliberately were manipulating the markets to screw California during the famous rolling black-outs. They were going as far as to tell the power plants to shut down for fake reasons when they anticipated higher demand for electricity. It makes you wonder why more people didn't end up in prison. You can see a few fragments of these recordings in a CBS News article and in this truthout article.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

White Raven (Biały Kruk)

Last week I read the White Raven by Andrzej Stasiuk. While the translation was pretty bad in my opinion, I still liked the book a lot. One of my friends has the version in Polish and if I have time, I will read it to see what the original writing is like.

Friday, May 20, 2005


I was just reading about this game in the Newsweek and today the Wired RSS feed in the new cool Google site that can be customized to show articles from Wired among other content choices brought up this article about the new game, Spore. In Spore, you get to create the world starting from a single cell and going through more complex organisms to civilizations. Eventually you can even visit other planets. A neat idea.

Star Wars

Last night I watched Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. When I was growing up I loved the original Star Wars movies but by now I'm not that excited anymore and I'm not sure if I would go to watch it (especially on the opening night) if I didn't get free tickets from work. Once you get to the mood, the film wasn't bad actually. It is of course easy to criticize it for not-so-great acting and uninteresting dialogues but this is not supposed to be the movie strength. You should look at the film from the point of view of a 10-year old kid to appreciate it.
Watching the lightsabers in action I couldn't stop thinking of this article describing their design at the cool How stuff works site.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Flying greenbacks

A restaurant I went to yesterday had these interesting origami-like toys made of dollar bills. I took one picture but they had a longer collection. A nice idea.

Blogger Mobile

I had these two posts last week to try out the new Blogger Mobile. It is a very cool feature. In case you haven't heard about it, the idea is that you take a picture with a call phone; compose a message with that picture and a caption and send it to Blogger Mobile. As a result a post is automatically created for you. All this without you being close to a computer. This is perfect for documenting travel and all these spontaneous things that don't require a long text.
Now if only the camera in my cell phone took decent quality pictures...

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Tofu and baicai (Chinese cabbage) at the Porridge Place in Cupertino.

Construction on my way to work.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I watched the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy yesterday. I liked the book when I read it many years ago but the film didn't impress me too much. It wasn't bad enough to make me very unhappy that I spent my Saturday afternoon on it but I wouldn't recommend it unless you have plenty of free time. Re-read the book instead.

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