Wednesday, April 12, 2006

e - demonstration !

You are a “political animal” (as Greek philosopher Aristoteles would have put it…) but too busy to demonstrate through the streets ? Well, since 1988 an American idea helps you get back into the political process via e-mail. “Move On” is a group of nonprofit organizations launching online petitions with individual comments, e.g. for a torture ban, against the Patriot Act renewal or against pro-corporate media ownership rules. “Move On” members may also raise money for social security ads or even coordinate a housing programme for hurricane victims. “Move On” claims to have over 3 million members across America, you can check www.moveon.org for information. And guess what- the idea breaks fresh ground in Europe ! For example German activists Christoph Bautz and Günter Metzges, based in Bremen, have recently organized their own online network “Campact”, addressing their petitions to German MEPs. They are loud in their praises of “Move On” and they claim to have 6.500 news-letters subscribers. For more information just check www.campact.de

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

"WHY WE GO TO THE U.S.A. ..."

In Europe 2005 German weekly "Die Zeit" published a striking report on scientific research in Europe and in the USA, written (in German) by two young European scientists: R.Minckewicz from Poland, born in 1974, and M.Köris from Germany, born in 1979, both working at MIT in Boston. The European "high potentials" urged the European Commission to learn from the American experience and practice and they gave their reasons for having left Europe as young University graduates.
They say that now they have to stay in the USA...

1. ...because they can work at a huge Research Center with 1.000 professors and more than 10.000 employees; a University that can be proud of its 59 Nobel Prize winners, but also of its annual budget of 1,8 million €...

2. ...because MIT scientists deliver excellent and "pioneering" scientific work, they have numerous inventions patented and they know how to run research at a profit...

3. ...because in Boston even a youngster is entitled to reach a crucial decision on his own research program, senior professors would not block his plans and activities...

4. ...because billions of dollars are available for research projects, but only in free and transparent competition; the money is not given as a favour and projects are not granted as "jobs for the boys"...

Sunday, January 29, 2006

ENGLISH MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND !

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German. As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy.
The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter. In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.
Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.
Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".
During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensi bl rite n styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza pepl.

( Warning: Don’t take this story very seriously, as an enthusiast for BOTH the English and the German language I just had to laugh with all that. Thanks to the distinguished journalist
Ms Polymeridou in Athens, who e-mailed me the story…)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

HOW TO MAKE A MILLION DOLLARS !

Believe it or not, Alex Tew, a 21-year-old kid from Wiltshire, England, has earned his first million $ on the Internet in only 5 months !

Alex Tew's crazy idea : www.milliondollarhomepage.com, a billboard divided into 1.000.000 pixels costing only one dollar each and sold in blocks of 10, mainly in the U.S. and in Europe, with a minimum investment of $ 100.
Alex Tew's starting capital : $ 80 for a basic web-hosting package plus $ 1.000 ( borrowed from his parents ) for a press release.

Now, why should a U.S. company buy pixels on this site ?
For the simple reason that it may place ads on the purchased space and link web users to its own homepage for a fraction of usual Internet advertising cost.
‘I don’t believe it, it doesn’t make sense’ Alex Tew told the BBC Interactive News in September 2005. Today his Homepage is a million-dollar-business, CNN calls it ‘an online Times Square’ and Alex tells the BBC :
‘It snowballed. As I made money, more people talked about it and the more people talked about it, the more money I made’ !

EL PROBLEMA SOCIAL BRASILEÑO

Es un análisis original : En sus libro “Brasil y la economia social de mercado”, Emilio Fontela y Joaquín Guzmán analizan el probema social brasileño y proponen soluciones desde el punto de vista de las experiencias de los países nórdicos.
La elección de Brasil como ‘case study’ es clara, porque en Brasil la distribución de la renta es la más desigual del mundo ! Además, en el proceso de globalización, todos los países hacen frente a nuevas problemas. Hoy no tenemos un conflicto entre capitalistas y obreros, sino entre integrados y excluidos. Los autores estiman que la ortodoxia economica no garantiza un desarrollo social. Por eso, buscan “un compromiso nacional” para reducir la exclusion y proponen que el Estado intervenga directamente para mantener el desarrollo social y la redistribución de renta !

(Fuente : Guillermo de la Dehesa, presidente del ‘Centre for Economic Policy Research’ sobre “Brasil y la economía social de mercado”, El País, Diciembre 2005).

Saturday, December 31, 2005

BEST WISHES !

Wish You All a Happy New Year !

Let’s hope that 2006 will be better than 2006 and worst than 2007 !

Some of my “good intentions” for the New Year :

Improving my blog, attracting more readership !

Touring Burgundy, the most traditional wine region in France !

Reading John Grisham’s “Skipping Christmas” ( No! Ho! Ho! ), before celebrating Christmas time in 2006 !

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

BUSINESS WITH MOZART

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the 18th-century Austrian composer and womanizer had become a legend in his own lifetime. He could have become rich as well, but unfortunately money went through his hands like water. Admittedly his famous operas did not really pay off, for example he got no more than (what today would be in Austrian money…) 11.000 euros, that is less than 10.000 $, for his opera masterpiece „Le nozze di Figaro“, composed in 1786. But Mozart managed to take advantage of his reputation in Vienna’s high society. Being a “Kammerkompositeur” (Imperial Chamber Composer), he earned an extra annual salary of 20,000 €, doing nothing more than writing dance music for court balls. In those days Viennese families were paying him over 20.000 € a year for piano-lessons!

In 2006 the Austrians will celebrate the so-called “Mozart anniversary year”, turning their Wunderkind into hot cash. Today the Mirabell Food Company sells over 60 million pieces of creamy “Mozart Chocolates” annually, smokers collect Mozart-ash-trays, little children love dice games inspired by “ Die Zauferflőte”, Mozart’s last musical effort. Anything else? Well, for all “bon vivants” I would suggest the “Mozart-bra”, just touch it and you will hear “Eine kleine Nachtmusik”, Mozart’s sensual serenade for string instruments…

All in all, the Vienna tourism industry counts on additional 250.000 overnight stays in the “Mozart-year” 2006 and expects an extra turnover of over 3 million €, that is more than 2 million $.
Not bad for a 9-million-people-country, right ?

(Source: “Rondo”, German magazine for classical music, Nr. 6/2005)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

GENOSSE DER SCHWYTZER BOSSE !

Gerhard Schrőder soll in Rente gehen ? Kommt nicht in Frage, der „Genosse der Bosse“ hat noch einiges vor ! Wie die „Franfurter Allgemeine Zeitung“ neulich berichtete, wird der Medienkanzler Berater und Artikelschreiber beim renommierten Schweitzer Verlag Ringier. Űber Geld wird in Zürich nicht gerne gesprochen, doch Schweitzer Journalisten fänden eine hohe sechsstellige Jahrespension durchaus angemessen. Gar nicht so schlecht für einen part-time-job, nämlich vorerst zwei Tage in der Woche. Es fragt sich nun, ob und wie das Geld überhaupt besteuert wird. Gegen die Luxussteuer war Schröder bereits zu Kanzlerzeiten, nun steht ihm sogar die „Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung“ mit weisem Rat zur Seite. Der Kanzler wäre doch gut beraten, eine „Schröder-GmbH“ zu gründen, über die er seine Auslandshonorare laufen lassen könnte, so der Schweizexperte der Zeitung. Kostet nur 20.000 Franken und 14 Tage Anlaufzeit, spart viel Geld ! Da wird wohl der Lafontain mit seinen
weisen Büchern kaum mithalten können...