Image by Rezwan

Overcrowded passenger ferry capsized in the Padma River in Munshiganj, Bangladesh

The World Cup Goal-E Project

This street in Bangladesh has a colorful world cup celebration

New Chum Hill Ruins

Remnants of Kiandra gold mine at New Chum Hill, #nsw #australia

August 27, 2010

Black Pepper clam and Nasi Goreng

Seafood at D'ocean, best Seafood in Jakarta.

** Sent from a mobile device **

August 26, 2010

Crowdsourcing SubTitle Translation

I have started doing some voluntary subtitle translations (into Bangla) in different video websites like Universal subtitles and Witness. Here is one such example (choose Bengali as subtitle):

Earlier I did a number of subtitling for Dotsub. And ain't translation fun!

August 25, 2010

Top 19 Free Photo Sites For Bloggers

August 19, 2010

Husband Day Care Center

A question for readers. What can this place actually be?

Image via Anusha Seth, taken somewhere in Mumbai, India.

August 13, 2010

Dengu Map Helps Fighting Dengu

"More than 2.5 billion people around the world are at risk of contracting dengue, and 50 to 100 million people get sick from it every year. Dengue is present in more than 100 countries, and dengue is on the rise in many parts of the world. In Jakarta I know two person who contracted Dengu in recent weeks.

Dengue thrives in both cities and rural areas of the tropics and subtropics and is caused by a virus that is transmitted by mosquitoes. The symptoms are similar to a severe flu, and can be quite painful. There is no cure and no vaccine. Fortunately, dengue rarely causes death, though severe complications, like dengue hemorrhagic fever, can be lethal." Via (Google Blog)

The Dengue Branch of the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) has created DengueMap to show recent reports of dengue around the world and regions where people are at risk to catch it.

This map may be used as a guide for the assessment of dengue risk throughout the world. The dark blue regions represent areas of ongoing transmission risk as defined by CDC based on data from Ministries of Health, WHO and other international health organizations, journals, and knowledgeable experts.

Be aware of the disease and fight it.

Quote Of The Day

The man of power is ruined by power, the man of money by money, the submissive man by subservience, the pleasure seeker by pleasure. - Herman Hesse (1877-1962, German-born Swiss Novelist, Poet)

August 10, 2010

At International Sports Club of Indonesia in Ciputat

Its a hot day and the kids are enjoying dipping in the pool at a school event at the edge of Jakarta.

August 09, 2010

Nuclear Detonations Across The World

Today is the 65th anniversary of Nagasaki bomb blast. There has been 2053 nuclear detonations in the world from 1945 to 1998 and only two were act of war (Hiroshima & Nagasaki). Consider what the impact of the two detonations had over the rest of the world and the world would be destroyed if say one fifth of all those bombs detonated were used to kill each other.

Here is an animated map by Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto showing the test sites and originator countries of the 2,053 nuclear explosions during the period 1945-1998 (via Boing-Boing):

Some interesting facts:

Explosions by countries - USA 1032 (including Hiroshima & Nagasaki), USSR 715, France 210, UK 45, China 45, India 4, Pakistan 2.

The explosions peaked during the 1960s and gradually slowed down in the 1990s.

I wonder what permanent damages the holed up test sites have done to the world?

August 08, 2010

The Great Aussie Rickshaw Ride

Let me introduce to you a great project from Australia. From the website of the Great Aussie Rickshaw Ride [GARR]:
Spanning ten weeks and five states and territories, the Great Aussie Rickshaw Ride will launch some 400 Aussie rickshaw wallahs on a 2000-kilometer quest to raise awareness about global poverty.

The message is simple: alleviating global poverty is achievable through people powered change. It happens when people like you, people who care, decide to take action.

Central to the Great Aussie Rickshaw Ride is the humble rickshaw – our people-powered vehicle for change.
On why GARR chose the cycle Rickshaws in Bangladesh:
During the GARR our Aussie rickshaw wallahs will be pedaling cycle rickshaws made in Bangladesh. These three-wheel machines are typical of the estimated half a million rickshaws that choke the streets of Dhaka.

Bangladeshi rickshaws are the most colourful in all Asia and have been called ‘mobile works of art’. A quarter of the cost of a rickshaw may go into its artwork.
Read more here.

Image courtesy GARR Facebook page.

The mission of the ride:
The ride will visit towns and cities, speaking in halls, universities, parks, schools, churches, (or anywhere that will take us really) about poverty alleviation and how Australians can help.
The inspiration:
The idea began with a man named Jeff whose passions include cycling and helping the poor of Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world. In an inspired moment, Jeff combined the two to make the Great Aussie Rickshaw Ride. Jeff believed that a mammoth rickshaw marathon, could help Australians become aware of global poverty.

Pat and Di Jeffs have fond memories of a recent trip to Bangladesh, during which they were inspired to take part in the Great Aussie Rickshaw Ride to help alleviate global poverty. Image courtesy World Countries - Australia

You can see the actions of the Great Aussie Rickshaw Ride in this Facebook album and get informed by following their Twitter account.

Please join the Facebook page of GARR to keep yourself informed and contact the organizers if you want to get involved.

August 07, 2010

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari Faced Shoe In Birmingham

Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari has recently been criticized for showing apathy towards the recent disaster and troubles in his country and shying away for a tour in Europe.

Reports are coming that an elderly man had thrown his both shoes at him today as he attended a 1000 people strong political rally in Birmingham.

Mr. Zardari was addressing the Pakistan People’s Party’s convention in Birmingham when the shoes were thrown and landed just short of him. There are videos of the rally and the news and people are searching for a clear footage of the incident.

Pakistani Twitter users are all over this news with interesting remarks like these:
_samiran: Time Line flooded with #ZardariFacedShoe now interested to find out which company made the shoe. And did Zardari saab has 10% in it also!
rai_azlan: i condemn this Joota event as Jooty ki bhi koi Izat hoti hy #ZardariFacedShoe
irfantariq: As per geo no video is available of shoe throwing #pakistan #zardari #zardarifacedshoe
mohsinhijazee: We're ahead of USA. Two shoes in comparison to one. #zardarifacedshoe
drumairali: look at the courage of the old Man he threw not one but both his shoes at him....your a legend Sir..... #zardarifacedshoe
quest4clarity: #PPP saying protests are a sign of their success, WTF?! #ZardariFacedShoe
samishah: Next time: Exploding shoe! #zardarifacedshoe
kadnan: make sure u will be rejoicing in same tone when a shoe hurls at your darling political/religious leader #ZardariFacedShoe
kadnan: the man who threw shoe at Zardari has been arrested #ZardariFacedShoe
rai_azlan: Police has let the Baba ji go after a small talk, #ZardariFacedShoe
rai_azlan: question of the DAY: was the Shoe branded???? #UKP, #PPP, #CHITTAR, #ZardariFacedShoe
shahidsaeed: I repeat "Award winning" bloggers who never cared 2 post abt the flood celebrating shoe throwing is pathetic & disgusting #Zardarifacedshoe
And if you want to be a part of the action you can play the throw the shoe at Zardari game in 3 levels (I scored 47!).

Image courtesy Icemetal at Yfrog

Mall Artha Gading at Kelapa Gading in Jakarta

August 06, 2010

Hiroshima & Nagasaki In Pictures

Today, August 6th, marks the 65th anniversary of the American bombing of Hiroshima. Monday is the 65th anniversary of Nagasaki. To commemorate those dates, LIFE.com has created a gallery of never-seen pictures by LIFE photographers Alfred Eisenstaedt, Bernard Hoffman, and J.R. Eyerman -- all three of whom were there, on the ground, very shortly after both cities were destroyed.

Image credit: Bernard Hoffman/TIME & LIFE Pictures, used with permission
One scene shared by all of the 20th century's bloodiest wars might have been lifted straight from "The Road Warrior": a spectral landscape; buildings obliterated; blasted trees; a lifeless wasteland. The picture above, for instance -- a photograph never published, until now-- while mirroring every bleak, war-battered panorama from Verdun to Iwo Jima to Pork Chop Hill, was in fact made by LIFE's Bernard Hoffman in September, 1945, in Nagasaki, Japan. But far from chronicling the aftermath of sustained, slogging armed conflict, Hoffman's picture -- along with others seen here for the first time -- depicts devastation produced in a few, unspeakably violent seconds. On the 65th anniversary of American planes dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (August 9) -- killing 120,000 people outright, and tens of thousands more through injury and radiation sickness -- LIFE.com presents never-before-seen pictures from both cities taken in the weeks and months following the bombings. Included, as well, are excerpts from issues of LIFE published after the war that convey the powerful, discordant reactions -- relief, horror, pride, fear -- that the bombings, and the long-sought victory over Japan, unleashed.

Image credit: Bernard Hoffman/TIME & LIFE Pictures, used with permission

Japanese doctors said that those who had been killed by the blast itself died instantly. But presently, according to these doctors, those who had suffered only small burns found their appetite failing, their hair falling out, their gums bleeding. They developed temperatures of 104, vomited blood, and died. It was discovered that they had lost 86 percent of their white blood corpuscles. Last week the Japanese announced that the count of Hiroshima's dead had risen to 125,000." -- From the article "What Ended the War," in LIFE, 9/17/1945. Above: Hiroshima, 1945, two months after the August 6 bombing, photographed by Bernard Hoffman. Descriptions of the suffering endured by survivors in both Nagasaki and Hiroshima -- burns that would not heal; agonizingly bent, twisted limbs; ceaseless, excruciating headaches -- lend weight to the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's oft-quoted (and perhaps apocryphal) utterance that, in the the event of an all-out nuclear war, "the living will envy the dead."

Bangladesh: Visitors Share Their Thoughts On Grameen Ventures

grameen bank head office
Grameen Bank Office in Dhaka. Image by Flickr user Rainer Ebert. CC BY-SA

Since its launch in 1976 as a research project in rural Bangladesh, the Grameen Bank has walked a long way to become what it is now, a microfinance organization and community development bank with affiliated ventures in many countries of the world. More than three decades later and boosted by many awards including the Nobel Peace Prize (jointly with its founder Dr. Muhammad Yunus in 2006), it has expanded into a family of social organizations.

Each year many volunteers and activists from the world come to visit the Grameen organizations to learn how they work and gather first hand experiences. This summer, eight students and faculty members from the Master of Public Administration program of the Northern Kentucky University (NKU) in Kentucky, USA are completing an internship in Bangladesh at Grameen Bank. They have made numerous field visits and are recording their experiences in their blogs using texts, pictures and videos.

Beth, the MPA program editor shares her experiences in her blog “They're taking me to Bangladesh“. It was hard for her to adapt to the rural infrastructure during field visits and she commented:
Being in the country at the villages is so much different than the city. It is greener. The air is less polluted and it definitely is much quieter.
A number of students are also blogging about their experiences. Mike posts some videos in his blog ‘Wait… this is how many miles away?!?!?!!'

This video contains the first visit of the NKU team to Dhamrai, the center meeting, etc.:

Brandi ventured to learn more about Bangladesh and she was able to attend a Bangladeshi wedding. She is excited about her visit to Grameen Shikhka (Grameen Education) and writes her experiences in two posts titled “I can never forget how blessed I am” and “Grameen here, Grameen there, Grameen everywhere”.

Tim elaborates about Grameen Shikkha and how children are having their education besides working to earn livelihood:
Yesterday and today we visited a school programs called Grameen Shikkha, a non-formal school program for slum children and initiative of Grameen which aim is to offer a basic education (English, Bangla, math skills, social sciences and the environment) so that when they grow older, their employment opportunities are enhanced. Odds are that without this program, these children would have no education opportunities. [..]
School runs from 2pm to 5 pm. Outside of these hours, all of these children work. Most get up early to work (around 6 am) in whatever their family business is – mostly tailoring – in this neighborhood. After class, they return and work until at least 10 pm. The work because the family needs them to as those who live in the slums earn very little (anywhere from $4 – $11 per day depending on what the children there told us their goods sold for) and need their kids to help. [..]
These kids work six days a week with this schedule. I will never complain about my workload again…can you imagine being a child and not having the time to play?

Grameen Shakti, solar powered electricity system for rural Bangladesh. Image by Flickr user Marufish. CC BY-SA
Lynne writes about her experiences in posts like Grameen Fisheries, Danone and Eye Care and Poverty is Poverty and Smiles are Smiles. She is overwhelmed by the Bangladeshi hospitality.

Tori Ames posted a lot of pictures in her posts, e.g. about Grameen Fisheries and Social Business, street children and a government primary school. She writes:
I really love Bangladesh and its beauty. I am sure you can tell that from my posts.
Brandi writes in her last post:
Today is our last day in Bangladesh and I can’t believe the trip is coming to an end. I’ve had such a wonderful time learning about Grameen Bank and the country as a whole. There is so much that I will miss about this country that I am hoping I have written enough, taken enough photos, and committed enough to memory to not let the things I love here escape me.
Read the NKU student blogs to learn more about the Grameen Bank and Bangladesh.

First Published in Global Voices

August 05, 2010

The world According To The Americans

The world according to the Americans (via The Rab Experience)

August 02, 2010

Singh is king in Jakarta streets

August 01, 2010

Coffee: Stimulating Your Sense Of Well-Being

"A cup of coffee commits one to forty years of friendship." - Turkish proverb
Ever got confused with the variety of the coffees? I was when I saw Blue Mountain on the menu. I really had no idea what it was and I couldn't tell the difference till I read about the varieties.

Coffee beans by Flickr user datenhamster.org. Used under a CC license BY-NC-ND

Coffee comes from blending roasted coffee beans with water and/or milk. These beans are seeds of coffee cherries that grow on trees in over 70 countries. The first cultivation of coffee can be traced in Yemen in 575 A.D. From the Muslim world, coffee spread to Italy (Sixteenth Century), then to the rest of Europe, to Indonesia, and to the Americas. The Dutch contributed to mass planting of coffee beans in its former colonies - in Ceylon and in Indonesia since the Seventeenth century.

Coffee was once a luxury, but now it has found a place in the rational dietary of all the civilized peoples of earth. It has become something more than a beverage. People drink coffee because it adds to their sense of well-being. Coffee is also a stimulator because of its caffein and caffeol contents. The caffein increases the capacity for muscular and mental work without any harmful reaction. The caffeol supplies the flavor and the aroma and the fragrance that induces an addictive sense.

A good coffee can be produced when the coffee beans are carefully roasted and properly brewed, producing a natural beverage, which is often aided by a good coffee machine.

Varieties of Coffee:

The two most commonly grown varieties of coffee are the Coffea arabica, highly regarded with less caffeine; and the 'robusta' form of the Coffea canephora, stronger than arabica. Ripe coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried for sale. The seeds are then roasted to varying degrees to obtain the desired flavor.

Coffee arabica has different varieties, each with unique characteristics and probably you have heard of these:
  • Blue Mountain - From Jamaica's blue mountain region
  • Bourbon - Produced in Réunion and Latin America.
  • Colombian Coffee - 12% of Coffee market, freshly roasted, bright acidity, intensely aromatic
    Ethiopian Harar
    - Complex, fruity flavor resembling red wine
  • Mocha - From Yemen, Not to be confused with the preparation style (coffee with cocoa).
  • Panama - From Panama, Costa Rica, highly regarded
  • Santos - Arabica from Brazil
  • Sulawesi Toraja, Kalossi - From Indonesia, Sulawesi exhibits a rich, full body, well-balanced acidity (slightly more than Sumatra) and is multi-dimensional in character. It has dark chocolate and ripe fruit undertones. It is an excellent coffee for darker roasting
  • Timor, Arabusta - From Timor, Indonesia, a hybrid of two species of coffee; coffea arabica and coffea canephora (also called Robusta).
  • Typica - worldwide known in different names - Criollo, Arabigo (Americas) Kona (Hawaii) Pluma Hidalgo, Garundang (Sumatra) San Bernado, San Ramon (Brazil) Kents, Chickumalgu (India)
Preparation styles:

Coffee may be brewed by several methods: boiled, steeped, or pressured. Brewing coffee by boiling was the earliest method, and Turkish coffee is an example of this method.

Automatic coffee machines brew coffee using gravity. hot water drips onto coffee grounds held in a coffee filter, allowing the water to seep through the ground coffee while extracting its oils and essences. The liquid is collected in a pot, and the spent grounds are retained in the filter.

Coffee may also be brewed by steeping in a device such as a coffee press. Caffè espresso, or just espresso is a concentrated coffee beverage brewed by forcing hot water under pressure through finely ground coffee.

From the different coffee beverages, some common ones are listed below:

Espresso-based, without milk
  • Caffè Americano - is a style of coffee prepared by adding hot water to espresso, giving a similar strength to but different flavor from regular drip coffee.
  • Long black - is similar to Americano, but prepared in different order; most common in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Ristretto is an espresso drink where the weight of the ground coffee is equal to the weight of the brewed shots. The result is a "shorter" shot that is sweeter and more flavorful.
Other varities - Bica, Lungo

Espresso-based, with milk
  • Caffè latte is often called simply latte, which is Italian for "milk", A latte comprises one-third espresso and nearly two-thirds steamed milk. ("café au lait" in France, "café con leche" in Spain, "kawa biała" ("white coffee") in Poland, "Milchkaffee" in Germany, "Grosser Brauner" in Austria, "koffie verkeerd" in Netherlands, and "café com leite" in Portugal)
  • Caffè macchiato, is an espresso with a little steamed milk added to the top, usually 30-60 ml (1–2 oz), sometimes sweetened with sugar or flavored syrup. This differs from latte macchiato below which is milk "marked" with espresso.
  • Cappuccino comprises equal parts of espresso coffee and milk and froth, sometimes sprinkled with cinnamon or powdered cocoa.
  • Galão is a Bica (Portuguese espresso) to which is added hot milk, tapped from a canister and sprayed into the glass in which it is served.
  • Mocha is a latte with chocolate added.

Brewed or boiled, non espresso-based
  • Black coffee is drip-brewed, percolated, vacuum brewed, or French-press-style coffee served without cream. Some add sugar.
  • White coffee is black coffee with unheated milk added. Some add sugar.
  • Kopi tubruk is an Indonesian-style coffee similar in presentation to Turkish coffee
  • Indian filter coffee, particularly common in southern India, is prepared with rough-ground dark roasted coffee beans (e.g., Arabica, PeaBerry), and chicory. The coffee is drip-brewed for a few hours in a traditional metal coffee filter before being served with milk and sugar. The ratio is usually 1/4 decoction, 3/4 milk.
Alcoholic coffee drinks
  • Black coffee with brandy, or marc, or grappa, or other strong spirit.
  • Irish coffee - with Irish whiskey, sugar, and cream.
  • Café royal, with a flambéd and slightly caramelized teaspoonful of sugar and cognac.

Frappe by Flickr user Klearchos Kapoutsis. Used under a CC license CC-BY

Cold coffee drinks:
  • Iced coffee is a cold version of hot coffee, typically drip or espresso diluted with ice water
  • Frappé is a strong cold coffee drink made from instant coffee. Preparation: one spoonful of instant coffee (and sugar if one wishes) in a shaker with some water (and milk). It is shaken hard enough for one minute, then icecubes are added and it is served with a drinking straw because of the "foam" that is produced.
  • Ice-blended coffee (trade names: Frappuccino, Ice Storm) is a variation of iced coffee.
  • Affogato is a cold drink, often served as dessert, consisting of a scoop of ice cream or gelato topped with an espresso shot.
Further reading: All About Coffee, by William H. Ukers

Disclaimer: This entry was produced under the influence of drinking a cup of Toraja Arabica coffee made in Turkish style.