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AP Moller Maersk – FT articles

In an extraordinary coincidence the Financial Times has two articles on AP Moller Maersk today. The first is an interview with the company’s CEO, Nils Andersen and the second on the Arctic shipping routes.

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2013 in Recommended articles

 

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Estonia Vs Cyprus

Estonian geeks developed the code behind Skype and Kazaa (an early file-sharing network). In 2007 it became the first country to allow online voting in a general election. It has among the world’s zippiest broadband speeds and holds the record for start-ups per person. Its 1.3m citizens pay for parking spaces with their mobile phones and have their health records stored in the digital cloud. Filing an annual tax return online, as 95% of Estonians do, takes about five minutes. How did the smallest Baltic state develop such a strong tech culture?

The Economist – read more

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2013 in Recommended articles

 

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Football tactical analysis

Tactics Board 1

When Jonathan Wilson released his history of football tactics, Inverting The Pyramid, he started something. Now, helped by the rise of Twitter and niche writing in general, tactical analysis is a more accessible part of the British football media than ever before. We asked Wilson about the boom…

The Inside Left – read more

 
 

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Football related articles

The first 3 links are related. They are about corruption in football.

‘Fake’ Togo football team at Bahrain match being investigated. This is incredible. The incident took place three years ago. I am quoting from the BBC news story dated 14 September 2010.

Togo’s football authorities are investigating allegations that a fake national team played a match against Bahrain earlier this month.

Bahrain won the friendly match 3-0, but said they were surprised by the poor quality of the Togolese team.

Togo later said it had never sent its national team to play in the game, staged at the national stadium in Riffa on 7 September.

Togo’s sports minister said he would ask Fifa to investigate.

But Fifa says it has not yet received any official complaint and so has not launched its own investigation.

The following two are from The Economist magazine and these are actually what led me to finding out about the above incident. The first is Welcome to the beautiful game while the second is Ref!

The fourth and final link is written by my favourite football analyst/tactician Michael Cox and its heading is Of pace and peaks: Some attackers’ careers on fast forward and it’s about at what age players actually reach their peak and the emphasis that managers put on the pace of young strikers.

Around 15 years ago, there was a strong consensus about when footballers reached their peak. Conventional wisdom suggested it was a fairly standard process, regardless of position — top-class internationals generally produced their best form close to, or shortly before, their 30th birthday

 

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For Belgium’s Tormented Souls, Euthanasia-Made-Easy Beckons

WSJ – click me

“Assisted suicide differs from euthanasia in that the patient himself, not a doctor, administers the lethal dose. That is crucial for many Americans, and polls suggest U.S. voters are more open to assisted suicide than euthanasia, though opponents claim one can lead to the other. Still, the battle on both sides is heating up.”

 

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The Lethality of Loneliness

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New Republic – click me

“As expected, he found the students with bodily symptoms of distress (poor sleep, high cortisol) were not the ones with too few acquaintances, but the ones who were unhappy about not having made close friends. These students also had higher than normal vascular resistance, which is caused by the arteries narrowing as their tissue becomes inflamed. High vascular resistance contributes to high blood pressure; it makes the heart work harder to pump blood and wears out the blood vessels. If it goes on for a long time, it can morph into heart disease. While Cole discovered that loneliness could hasten death in sick people, Cacioppo showed that it could make well people sick—and through the same method: by putting the body in fight-or-flight mode.”

 

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Strategies for playing at war

Wargaming.net have offices at the renovated building near the Presidential Palace in Nicosia. I knew the company was behind the MMO World of Tanks but i was under the impression that this was a Russian company. It’s actually Belarusian.

wargaming-net_logo

Link – click me!

“Tanks are cool,” says Mr Kislyi, who at 37 was born long after those battles ended. Wearing a well-cut open-neck shirt and a big grin, he looks nothing like a hard-bitten warrior. He does have something to smile about, though. His company has 1,600 emp­loyees, up from 120 three years ago, and revenues have soared from €18m in 2011 to €218m last year, all thanks to World of Tanks.

 

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Portugal: Waiting it out

Link – click me!

“Instead of adapting, we turned inward,” says Pedro Santa-Clara, professor of finance at Lisbon’s Universidade Nova. “Funded first by EU funds and then cheap overseas credit, we invested in non-tradable, non-competitive sectors like public infrastructure, construction, telecoms, energy, banks and retail distribution. Restructuring the economy was delayed by as much as 15 years.”

What annoys and simultaneously worries me the most out of everything that’s been going on with the economy in Cyprus is that there is absolutely no vision of where we want to take this country, let alone how to do it. Collecting foodstuffs and organizing charity events is not a solution. We need to create more jobs and to do that we need to invest in more competitive industries. Industries which have a future.

Cyprus newspapers are full of “articles” of how the construction and retail industries have collapsed and how the government can pass legislation to help. Yet these two industries are insulated and non-competitive. Tourism and professional services industries are the only big ones we have and the latter depends on a piece of paper with Russia which can go up in flames at any time.

As for being a medical centre i just don’t see it happening. Especially on a bigger scale. Forget about government officials visiting Israel for this purpose. Israel expects us to refer patients to their hospitals and not the other way around.

Everyone is looking at gas as being the future instead of investing in other areas such as IT.  Cyprus’ IT infrastructure, tech education and business should be one of the priorities of any government and its people for example. It makes up for any competitive disadvantage we may have for being an island in the south-east corner of europe. This is not a suggestion based on evidence, just instinct of course but i’m not a person who can help shape this country’s economic future. Those who can, are trying to hold on to the past instead of focusing on how we can move on to something else.

Portugal’s situation described in this FT article has strong similarities with Cyprus’.

A waiter awaits the arrival of customers to a restaurant at the Alfama neighborhood in Lisbon

“Economic growth is a tough business,” says Prof Santa-Clara. “It means shutting down uncompetitive businesses and redeploying people to more productive industries. You don’t turn a café waiter into a factory worker or a shop assistant into a healthcare specialist overnight. It’s a painful yet inescapable part of the transition to higher growth.”

Others question the feasibility of training an older generation of shopkeepers, café owners and tradespeople who have lost their livelihoods for new roles in the export-driven economy that economists see as the only viable future for Portugal. Mr Vieira Lopes says: “Many of the people over 40 who have lost their businesses are poorly qualified and will find it to difficult to find new employment, even when the economy recovers.”

 
 

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The Curse of Reading and Forgetting

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“Recently, a colleague mentioned that she had been rereading Richard Hughes’s “A High Wind in Jamaica,” which was first published in 1929 and is about a group of creepy little kids who become the unwanted wards of sad, listless pirates. She praised it, and her recommendation sent me to Amazon. The title was familiar, as was the vibrant cover of the New York Review Books reissue. One cent and $3.99 for shipping, and the book was on its way. A couple of weeks later, I opened to the first page and started reading. By the fifth page, I realized that I had read this novel before, and pretty recently, about three years ago, when another colleague had also praised it and lent me his copy.”

kafka_on_the_shore

This is something that i’m experiencing currently with Kafka on the Shore. I first read it during my 2nd year at the university, 13-14 years ago. I am now re-reading it and although I’m on Chapter 4 , admittedly it has short chapters, i still can’t remember anything. There is no “oh yeah…” moment yet. The only proof that i have read this book before is the actual hardback i bought (and recently gave away) and the rating i gave it on Amazon at the time.

“This embarrassing situation raises practical questions that also become ones about identity: Do I really like reading? Perhaps it is a failure of attention—there are times when I notice my own distraction while reading, and can, in a way, feel myself forgetting. There is a scarier question, one that might seem like asking if one is good at breathing, or walking. Am I actually quite bad at reading after all?”

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2013 in Books, Recommended articles

 

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Cardboard Children: Change Or Die

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WHY IS BOARD GAMING UNCOOL?

And it IS uncool. And you could argue that cool doesn’t matter. But it does. Cool always matters. The definition of cool is the only thing that can be argued about. And even that’s a pointless argument, because “cool” is something you can feel. For young people, board gaming isn’t attractive. It has an image problem. A major image problem.

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WHAT MESSAGE?

Fuck. What IS the message? It isn’t that Agricola is a great farming game. Or that Cosmic Encounter is the BEST space game. We’ve done all that. The message is that people need to be beside each other. That’s all the message ever was. People beside other people, smiling at other people, touching other people. And people means every person. Everybody. It doesn’t matter what the game is. As long as it’s something that makes you laugh in close proximity to another person. Good people. Good drink. Good laughs. Good fun. Together.

 

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