Monday, November 16, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Brazil experienced a total blackout that left 800 cities and some 40 million people totally in the dark on the night of November 10th due to a storm damaged transmission line from a major dam.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Results of google search for "search timeline".
Google view timeline page
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
"One of the more enduring legacies of Ashoka Maurya was the model that he provided for the relationship between Buddhism and the state. Throughout Theravada Southeastern Asia, the model of ruler ship embodied by Ashoka replaced the notion of divine kingship that had previously dominated (in the Angkhor kingdom, for instance). Under this model of 'Buddhist kingship', the king sought to legitimize his rule not through descent from a divine source, but by supporting and earning the approval of the Buddhist sangha. Following Ashoka's example, kings established monasteries, funded the construction of stupas, and supported the ordination of monks in their kingdom. Many rulers also took an active role in resolving disputes over the status and regulation of the sangha, as Ashoka had in calling a conclave to settle a number of contentious issues during his reign. This development ultimately lead to a close association in many Southeast Asian countries between the monarchy and the religious hierarchy, an association that can still be seen today in the state-supported Buddhism of Thailand and the traditional role of the Thai king as both a religious and secular leader."
Thursday, October 29, 2009
At the global level, criticism encourages citizens to be rebellious without taking responsible action against causes such as poverty or the environment. At the national level, debate without end can subliminally subjugate a country’s people to feel powerless against corruption or drugs. At the personal level, voicing one’s criticism can mislead one to think that I have had my say against what has made me unhappy and therefore I don’t need to do anything more about it. In the long run, one is left with an increasing feeling of anxiety without knowing its origins.
In our present world of increasing complexities there are also increasing possibilities towards solutions. Criticism not only will not help us find solutions, it will trip us over if not outright put a wall up in between us and those possible solutions. I love the internet because it has shown me how endless solutions can be found. It has taught me how to ask questions, and when my questions can not deliver me the answers I know that I have asked the wrong questions.
So I would like to encourage you to pause if you become aware of yourself criticizing something. Reframe your mind, re-ask your questions. Don’t just use the internet, ask even the unlikely stranger who may be passing you by just to give you that original answer. Finally, don’t just ask questions. If you have felt compelled to criticize, to ask about something, understand that something deep inside has impelled you to take responsible action for it. Clear up these little things that bother you one by one as attentive as you would if you were weeding your garden and you will never have to carry the weight of anxiety in your life.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
A website is actually a collection of web pages that link here and there depending on what you click. All the web pages contain text and images which is stored in a different place. The place where all the text and images are stored is called the web server. A web server will have access to the internet which is connected to a certain website. When someone clicks on the website address, it will be link to the web server and download the page onto the screen of the monitor.
In other words, web server allows you to see the text and images through your web browser. Among the browsers available in the market is Internet Explorer, Firefox or K-Meleon.
In some cases, the computer could be turn into a server but it must have a fast internet connection speed. A computer turned into a server must be kept running at all times and will need extra care when managing it. Therefore, many people usually do not choose this way of having their server. They will choose a proper company to have their web server with a web hosting company. Web hosting companies will many servers where they can provide services to thousands of website owners. The main priority is to keep the servers working at all times. Reputable companies such as GoDaddy maybe a little more expensive, but there record for ‘uptime’ i.e. how long do they host sites without having any problems is 99.99%.
For a website to run smoothly, a space on the web server with internet connection is required to store web pages. Space in the web server is calculated in MB. The more MB you require, the more it will cost. Besides that, internet connection which is used to connect the website to the internet is known as bandwidth. Bandwidth will be the key for surfers to access the website and is counted in GB or MB. The bandwidth provided will be different from different companies. Customer support is also another important thing when it comes to good web hosting company. Companies which provides customer help line is definitely a bonus. Besides that, companies today also provide email support. The ability to explain term in a simple manner is very important because not all customers have a great knowledge about computers.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Another favorite organization of mine that if I were living in Thailand, I would be a regular member of is The Siam Society.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
- Mural Paintings in Thailand (Three categories to choose from: by region, by period, and special projects)
- Cave Art (Click on the regions on the map and it will bring you to provinces of the region chosen, after which will be a list of caves that are located in that province. Clicking further will lead you to a page with brief description, location of cave and sample images of the cave paintings/art.)
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
เมื่อต้นเดือนสิงหาคม ข้าพเจ้าได้เริ่มเรียนหลักสูตรเกี่ยวกับประวัติศาสตร์ของประเทศเม็กซิโก อันมีชื่อว่า Diplomado: 'Recorrido por la Historia de Mexico" ของมหาวิทยาลัย UNAM
กลุ่มหน่วยกิตแรกซื่งมีระยะเวลาสองเดือน เป็นเรื่องเกี่ยวกับประวัติอันเก่าแก่ในพื้นที่ซึ่งได้มีการตั้งชื่อว่า "mesoamerica" โดยอาจารย์ผู้ศึกษาชาติพันธุ์ นาย Paul Kirchhoff เป็นเรื่องราวที่น่าสนใจมากเสียจนอดใจไม่ได้ ต้องนำมาเขียนบันทึก เล่าสู่กันฟัง เผื่อมีเพื่อนคนไทยคนอื่น ๆ อาจมีความสนใจด้านนี้ด้วยกัน
ในขั้นแรก ต้องบอกเล่าให้ผู้ที่อาจสนใจว่า ประวัติศาสตร์เมโซอเมริกายุคก่อนคริสโตเฟอร์ คอลัมบัสค้นพบอมเริกา มีระยะเวลาตั้งแต่ประมาณห้าพันปีมาแล้ว จากปี 2500 ก่อนคริสตศักราชจนดึงช่วงการบุกเบิกอาณานิคมของอาณาจักรสเปนในศตวรรษที่ 16 โดยมีการแบ่งเป็นช่วงเวลาที่มีลักษณะต่างกันสามช่วงใหญ่ ได้แก่ Preclassic, Classic และ Post-Classic ซึ่งในแต่ละช่วงสามารถแยกย่อยเป็น Early/Middle/Late Preclassic หรือ บางครั้งเรียกว่า Early/Middle/Late Formative และอีกสองเวลาย่อย Early/Late Classic และ Early/Late Classic ตามที่แสดงไว้ในตารางตอนท้ายข้อความ
ยุคเมโซอเมริกาก่อนโคลัมบัสนี้ มีกลุ่มอารยธรรมเก่าแก่ที่น่าสนใจหลากหลายกลุ่ม ที่ขึ้นชื่อเป็นที่รู้จักมากที่สุดได้แก่ อารยธรรม Teotihuacan ซึ่งเป็นที่ตั้งของปิรามิตที่ใคร ๆ ที่อุตสาห์่บุกเดินทางมาถึงเม็กซิโกต้องไปสักการะ และกลุ่มอารยธรรม Olmec และ Maya ในชายฝั่งตะวันออกด้านอ่าวเม็กซิโกดินแดนของพายุเฮอริเคนซึ่งดุกว่าพายุใต้ฝุ่นแถบบ้านเรา
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
We're supposed to trust Google that they can point us to who the experts are, right?
So here's who and what comes up when you ask "what is social media"?
I skipped the wikipedia page, but that's the best source of easy reading on definition of any subject. The next interesting looking reference was by a website who call themselves 'the social media guide', mashable.com's "Just What is Social Media, anyway?" The discussion there seems to be against the mix of 'social' and 'media' and around if the commercialization drive of online media should be supported or not.
Then I quickly clicked through pages 2, 3, 4.... on my google search page, and I noticed quite a lot of pages of Spanish origin referring to said term. It seems that this term doesn't exist in the Spanish language, so the english term is used directly. Here's the first interesting one:"6 mentiras relacionadas al Social Media". Then from (what looks like a great pro site, with lots of goodies for online publishing tips) that offers content in English, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish, "Social Media Marketing: Guía Para Principiantes".
Being the curious cross cultural person I am, I went to Google Thai and keyed in the same term, and this was one of the interesting results I got: social media images. There is a surprising amount of content in Thai related to social media, most related to 'social media marketing'. No doubt for the Thais, social media's a marketing tool. Thai is a limited language that is really pushed to incorporate changes in the modern world that the language simply cannot keep up with. However, if you're imaginative enough and stick to using simple words rather than having the lofty mentality of those who create Thai dictionaries, one Thai blog re-interpreted social media as 'mouth and sound of society' and 'media's flood', expressing a pretty worried view about its threat to online security. A pretty astute feeling about how our developments for online security is going to be always a step behind the development of new media tools.
BTW, it was only recently that Google made a huge jump in Thai cyberspace when they added Thai as an automatically translatable (really, really bad translations though) under their system. Only six years ago, I was nearly searching in vain for blogs in Thai, and for webpages that had a familiar format to what I was accustomed to in English cyberspace that weren't discussion forum format so popular with the Thais.
Call me geeky or what, but the pace of evolution of the internet never fails to amaze me.
A side note about online security, I've got to commend Canada's determination to be on top of protecting its citizen's privacy (half of Canada's population uses Facebook), as was announced by CNET, "Canadian officials take issue with Facebook privacy". I just hope that it doesn't add to the increasing tits for tats that will push governments and nations into more paranoid and more xenophobic modes. Look at the visas slapped on to the Mexicans for alleged violation of its refugee program. Look at this announced oncoming flu vaccine battle. At the same, how paradoxial can it get? Look at this trend that will push us to more insecurity, despite which some foolish governments looks like they are going for it. Oops, sorry to end up on such a pessimistic mood. Blame it on the late hour, the obsessiveness that blogging creates in a person, or blame it on the nature of media and texts.
My interest in new media grew from media classes I audited with the Marshall McLuhan Program on Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto during 2003-2005. Derrick de Kerckhove, Mark Federman, and Twyla Gibson were teachers that have encouraged and inspired me to question the effects of media on society, organizations and individuals. Reading Marshall McLuhan and Harold Innis expanded my previously naive notions of what media can be and drew me into a fascination with its role as transformers of culture and society.
It was with those evenings of trudging snow-covered roads across Bay Street to the Coach House where Marshall McLuhan himself inspired other minds to think about these questions that started me on the path of blogging. Media had moved human societies from Gutenberg's 15th century re-ordering of our senses from oral and tactile to our present modern predominance of visual and distant, hence 'reasonable/reasoning', critical perspective. It was at that coach house that I was awakened to an awareness of the electric, internet-induced sense of immersive experience most of us let ourselves into unnoticed.
That year, 2003, the class required blogging was exciting. There were thought-provoking researches on social media such as Danah Boyd's and Ann Galloway's. There was the great triumph of how blogging won a round in politics with Howard Dean's campaign only to be let down by the nature of politics that wasn't ready yet for this new kind of democracy. The dotcom bubble burst was a necessary dampener on the euphoria that normally accompanies new playgrounds as engrossing as the world wide web had become. I witnessed blogs come and go. Our class blog died as soon as the class concluded but I kept on blogging even if it was a bit hard to "speak" to only oneself. I liked the outered introspection, no-need to apologize navel gazing it allowed me.
It was also during this time that I was fortunate to meet with Juan Luis Saurez who became a good family friend. He adopted my husband, Cuauhtémoc, and myself into his fantastic (and complex) world of 16th century Baroque. I was thrilled that JL and Fernando Sanchez created cvltvre.com and feel honored to be invited to be a part of this beta version.
It is with this spirit of honor that I would like to give feedback about cvltvre.com's structure, its strengths and weakness, what can be improved on... from my humble perspective. little experience with blogging, and impressions acquired from net surfing.
I would like to invite other members to join this discussion because I feel that while this site's greatest offer is content, clarifying what we want from this site, where we think it can go, and fine tuning its structure will help towards its growth and move from beta to a public launch that can give us an exceptional new media tool supporting the social network of people in love with cultures, languages, the Baroque, complexity, all those strange and exciting concepts growing out of the University of Western Ontario, Department of Modern Languages' unique group of thinkers and their extended reach.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
As recent as only five years ago, I was really frustrated searching the internet for content about Thailand in English that went beyond the usual tourism promotion and general culural promotion. So it is with pleasant surprise that now (with a bit of persistance to look beyond common search words) I am discovering a new world of Thai content, especially those offered by literate young Thais who grew up in an internet assisted world.
One website I discovered recently launched their first publication of an internet newsletter of the Overseas Thai Economic and Finance Association. Here's what Kanda Noknoi, their economics editor wrote in an introduction to their newsletter:
"Some Thai economists including myself, finance scholars and finance professionals gathered in San Francisco in January at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association. One subject of discussion was the professional challenges that arise from differences in early education system. For most of us, the major challenge is the lack of training for expressing ideas. In Thailand we were trained to excel in taking exams by reproducing simple exercises and reciting class materials. Challenging instructors was unacceptable and conformists were rewarded in classroom. For these reasons, we tend to be risk‐averse, reserved and have poor writing and public speaking skills. We gradually improved these skills in graduate school but continue to need coaches after graduation.
As junior researchers, we are constantly interviewed by senior colleagues from other institutions. Hence, effective communications in seminars, conference presentations, conference receptions, lunches, dinners, coffee breaks and 2‐minute elevator rides are necessary. The most frequently asked question (FAQ) I receive in the initial encounters is “Where did you do your Ph.D.?” Where scholars earned their Ph.D. is equivalent to last name in the Thai society, since they both determine the degree of instant acceptance. Having a Ph.D. from a reputable school can create welcoming atmosphere, which usually leads to the FAQ No. 2 “Who did you work with?” or “Who was your advisor?” and the FAQ No. 3 “What was your thesis about?” A brief explanation of my thesis often results in the FAQ No. 4 “What do you work on now?”
After the FAQ No. 4, the conversation about research may not continue. Uninterested individuals usually politely switch to other topics such as teaching or personal background. Some may abruptly end the conversation. At that point, where I earned my Ph.D. becomes entirely irrelevant. If I cannot get someone to be interested in my work by speaking, I will likely not be able to do so by writing. If that person organizes a conference, I will likely not get invited to discuss or present papers. If that person is an editor of a journal or an editor’s friend, I will likely not get invited to review papers as a referee. If the person is a referee for my paper submitted to a journal to be considered for publication, my paper will likely not be carefully read or accepted. In this industry, we either publish or perish, thus communication skills are critical for a survival. As I continue along the research track, the importance of the FAQ No. 4 increases over time, because I am expected to create new products like firms in any industry. My research productivity or lack thereof is observed by senior colleagues. To keep producing work to satisfy the expectations, I need information about market demand and supply conditions.
As a market for creativity, the research industry has comparable information transmission mechanism to the entertainment industry. The FAQ No. 3 “What was your first role?” or asking Snoop Dogg “What was your first song?” Jolie, Clooney and Snoop Dogg are clearly talented. However, to continue producing work requires more than talents. To be specific, successful artists have excellent producers and marketing team. Likewise, successes of young researchers depend also on the producers and the marketing team. The role of producers is played by the Ph.D. advisors and/or the senior colleagues. The marketing team includes the researchers themselves, former classmates, the Ph.D. advisors, former colleagues and current colleagues.
Professional associations play a complementary role to the producers and the marketing team. To be specific, the primary function of professional associations is to transmit information about market demand and supply conditions by various means of communication: journal publications, conference presentations, workshops, newsletters, social events, rumors, chitchats and gossips. The secondary function is to promote research by granting awards or funding. The associations in the area of economics and finance are classified by categories such as the field of research and the region of residence or research interests, and designed to serve members’ needs. Thai researchers share some needs with those from other Asian countries, given similarity of learning culture. It is encouraging that a number of those from India, Japan, China and Korea have succeeded at the international level. These scholars in fact alleviated the problem of information asymmetry by forming professional associations.
As a professional association, the OTEFA is in the start‐up stage. Its management structure and activities are subject to debates among members. Within one‐year time frame, the newsletter editorial team will circulate the bylaws for reviews, discussions, proposals for changes and voting for an approval. There are issues we can explore, such as new activities. For instance, in the long run we may consider ally the OTEFA with the Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA). That will provide an opportunity to run a parallel session in the annual meeting of the ASSA, to promote research by Thai researchers and students, along with quantitative research on the Thai economy and its financial issues by scholar from any countries. We may possibly consider interacting with other associations.
Today the job market for researchers in economics and finance cuts across borders and types of institutions. Researchers in economics and finance are employed by universities, research institutes, financial institutions, government agencies and consulting firms in various countries. I believe that the information transmitted by the OTEFA will contribute to the professional advancement of Thai researchers and finance professionals at the international level in the future. Although such advancement does not instantaneously result in the economic advancement of Thailand, it certainly represents a progress."
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I was looking through a history book for ideas about how to shape my post on 1910 but got sidetracked by an account of a "financial war" in the year 1932. It’s curious how we tend to overlook small details in history when it is overshadowed by larger events like the end of absolute monarchy and the birth of Thailand’s first constitution.
This small detail of how bad public financial management can put a government in a tough spot seemed to be a more worthy subject to write a blog post about to relieve myself a bit (just a teeny, weeny bit) of my self-imposed theme of economics which doesn’t seem to gather much attention here (yet still a point of interest close to my dear subject), so 1910 got pushed aside and here’s an interesting anecdote from the year 1932 in Thai history:
Anyway, the connection between 1910 and 1932 was that 1910 was when one of Thailand’s greatest king past away, leaving the country in a bit of a shock and vacuum. From the short period of 1910-1932 we saw two kings come and go.
King Prajadhipok didn’t expect to reign but many unfortunate events left him with a legacy of chronic problems, one of which was the finances of the state. The budget was heavily in deficit and the royal accounts a nightmare of debts and questionable transactions.
Pages 235 to 239 of David K. Wyatt’s “Thailand: A Short History” makes an interesting reread. So many echos of the present found in the past. I hope my readers can find the book on some dusty bookshelf, I don’t want to be accused of plagiarism or infringement of copyright.
So the Great Depression hits Siam and the price of rice dropped by two-thirds, inducing a spiral of reduced cash income, less taxes, credit falling apart, inability to buy retail goods and government expenditure cut by a third.
If Wyatt’s publisher’s reads me, I am asking permission to quote some words here and now (I know I can get away with a limited number of words):
“To make matters worse, a financial crisis developed as, under the prodding of the British financial adviser, Siam doggedly maintained the gold standard as the basis of its currency, while Britain abandoned it. This came to mean that Siam’s rice was priced much higher than competing rice sold in currencies that had left the gold standard. It also brought about a significant outlfow of gold from Siam.”
“The crunch came as the government prepared the budget for B.E. 2475, the financial year that was to begin April 1, 1932. Battles raged.....”
Public dissatisfaction, prophecies, drafted constitutions, coup d’etat and “Promoters” (49 military and naval officers and 65 civilians) later, history was made.
Debt and monetary standards, I wonder who’s going to be in government when that nasty knot unravels our system again.
Part II (added)
King Prajadhipok inherited a bad account he couldn’t undo coupled with complex incidences happening in and outside of Thailand. His administration’s inability to split the pie properly could have been the crucial tipping point for that important political change in Thailand.
Here’s my summary of the internal and external events that contributed to political malaise during that time:
- Huge budget deficits inherited from King Vajiravudh. Some of which were: 8% of 1910’s budget went to the new King’s coronation ceremonies costly nationalist to build Rama VI’s personal power base, such as, for a special palace guard and Wild Tiger Corp (a paramilitary group). Wild Tigers Corp was most expensive... nearly 20% of royal budget, 1.6 million out of the 96. million state budget-10% royal expenditure; 23% to military expenditure; Privy Purse and Ministry of the Palace were consuming nearly 10 percent of the annual budget
- Inability to find an accounting standard to control government expenditure causing power struggles within and between ministries and eventually laying off govt. work3. Financial mismanagement that aggravated the situation, such as borrowing from abroad, unpopular salary taxes, taxing land owned by peasants
- No policies for distribution of income, Thais becoming increasingly left out of economic activities dominated by Chinese and foreign merchants
- Lack of social investments, especially insufficient budget in support education, only 3 percent of the budget was allocated to education
- Rising affluence of Chinese minority accentuated by nationalistic sentiments, anti-Chinese and fear of communism among the Thais, anti-Japanese among the Chinese who had private schools and own press
- Only one dominant industry: rice export, controlled by Chinese merchants
- The post war environment, rise of nationalism, fear of communism, perceived threat of China’s proximity
- The great depression, price of rice fell
- Delayed exiting of the gold standard exchange regime, silver and gold just bled out of the country
One of the first things Pridi Panomyong and the People’s Party did once they took over government in 1932 was to propose an economic development plan. The Plan was rejected as being too socialist. Industrialization, however, was set into motion with establishments of a number of state enterprises. First being the Fuel Division of the Ministry of Defense which later became the Fuel Organization (1953), the precursor of PTT (so my posts are more connected than I thought). Other key state enterprises set up that was the beginning of industrialization (much earlier than the 60s as I originally thought) were: a spinning and weaving factory, also under the Ministry of Defense, to produce military uniform, later to become Siam Cotton Mill (1953); a paper mill; and a sugar refinery.