Pakistani Blogs

KO is compiling a list of Pakistani blogs. He already has 26 blogs on his list. If you know of any more, whether in Pakistan or expats like me, let him know.

Arrival Day

The Head Heeb has come up with an ethnic holiday for American Jews. As he explains,

349 years ago today, the ship St. Catherine landed at New Amsterdam carrying 23 Jewish settlers. They were not the first Jews to set foot on American soil — the merchant Solomon Franco had visited Boston in 1649 before returning to Holland — but unlike Franco, they came to stay. They were the founders of the six million strong Jewish community of the United States, and the day they landed — September 7 — is Arrival Day.

He is celebrating it today with a blogburst.

This is the first annual Arrival Day Blogburst. Arrival Day will be the first holiday of the American Jewish people rather than the Jewish religion — a celebration of the Jewish community and its contributions to the United States. As such, non-Jews as well as Jews are welcome to join in the celebration. In the wise words of Ikram Saeed, everyone is Jewish today, just as everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

So, let’s be all Jewish today. Jonathan has links to all contributors to the blogburst. If you have a blog, go ahead and write something personal, historical or cultural and let Jonathan know.

Mazel tov, and next year in America.

Woodrow Wilson

Once again Wilsonian ideas are popular, both with liberal hawks and neoconservatives. So I thought I should excerpt some comments about Wilson from the book I am reading nowadays about the Versailles Peace conference at the end of World War I.

Wilson never forgave those who disagreed with him. […]He was also stubborn. […]The French ambassador in Washington saw “a man who, had he lived a couple of centuries ago, would have been the greatest tyrant in the world, because he does not seem to have the slightest conception that he can ever be wrong.” [… Wilson] drew on the most noble language of the Bible yet was so ruthless with those who crossed him.

[…]Wilson wanted power and he wanted to do great works. What brought the two sides of his character together was his ability, self-deception perhaps, to frame his decisions so that they became not merely necessary, but morally right. […]Those who opposed him were not just wrong but wicked.

[…]Wilson had said much about general principles [about the peace conference he was going to] but had mentioned few specifics. […]There were to be few other such occasions [where Wilson let anyone know what his ideas and policy were.]

[…]He was clear in his own mind that he meant well. When the American troops went to Haiti or Nicaragua or the Dominican Republic, it was to further order and democracy. […]During Wilson’s presidency, the United States intervened repeatedly in Mexico to try to get the sort of government it wanted. “The purpose of the United States,” Wilson said, “is solely and singly to secure peace and order in Central America by seeing to it that the processes of self-government there are not interrupted or set aside.” He was taken aback when the Mexicans failed to see the landing of American troops, and American threats, in the same light.

The Mexican adventure also showed Wilson’s propensity, perhaps unconscious, to ignore the truth. […]Lansing [Wilson’s Secretary of State] said of his president: “Even established facts were ignored if they did not fit in with this intuitive sense, this semi-divine power to select the right.”

Does this remind you of some other president? Perhaps someone in our time?

Imitation Fitness Blog

Inspired by Unqualified Offerings, I thought I would post about my fitness struggle.

My problems are somewhat different than his. For one thing, weighing 166lbs and being 6ft tall means I don’t need to reduce my weight. My problems come from two sources:

  • A life spent being underweight: I weighed 125lbs until my early 20s. My license still says my weight is 135lbs. Therefore, my body is not equipped to deal with my current weight.
  • My generally sedentary lifestyle as a grad student: I was reasonably fit before coming to grad school even though I was underweight. However, the last few years have been spent sitting in front of the computer all the time and I have gained 40lbs and 4 inches of waist as a result. It’s not that I don’t do any physical activity, but occasional kayaking/canoeing and hiking trips don’t really count.

My target weight is 165-170lbs, so I don’t need to do anything about that. My waist is a bit above 34 inches while I would like it to be in the 33-34 range. What I really want to do is to build some muscle as well as endurance. Since I like to go backpacking, I am more interested in endurance than muscle.

I did start going to the gym a few months ago, but our school gym was closed over the summer for some construction. Now that it’s open again, I am going there to do some running/walking on the treadmill and some weight training. I don’t like to run outside because:

  • I don’t have a car any more, so I can’t go to a park with a track.
  • The concrete is hard on my knees.
  • And most important, the weather in HOTlanta.

Instead of running at a fast speed doing 6-7 minute miles, I do a slow-run/fast-walk combo with a high grade. This is as tough as running faster on a flat surface.

One problem I realized with my diet recently is the amount of calories I get through drinking. I don’t like the taste of water, so I drink mostly Coke and Gatorade. It turns out I was drinking about 600 calories a day. I am open to suggestions for drinks that taste good and are light and have few calories to quench my thirst. Coke obviously is for the caffiene and sugar.

Spam in Comments

Another blog milestone today: I got spam! Somebody left a comment for enlarging certain parts of male anatomy.

A Dervish’s Dua

Via my referrer logs, I noticed a new blog “A Dervish’s Dua” by Maryam. She has a good post on Muslim feminism as well as a good debunking of Amir Taheri’s claim that hijab is an invention of the 1970s.

Are You a Neocon?

An interesting quiz. Surprise, surprise, I turn out to be a liberal.

Liberals…

  • Are wary of American arrogance and hypocrisy
  • Trace much of today’s anti-American hatred to previous US foreign policies.
  • Believe political solutions are inherently superior to military solutions
  • Believe the US is morally bound to intervene in humanitarian crises
  • Oppose American imperialism
  • Support international law, alliances, and agreements
  • Encourage US participation in the UN
  • Believe US economic policies must help lift up the world’s poor

Historical liberal: President Woodrow Wilson
Modern liberal: President Jimmy Carter

(Via Gene Expression.)

And talking of Woodrow Wilson, he doesn’t come out looking good in the book I am reading nowadays.

Labor Productivity

The International Labor Organization has issued a report about key indicators of the labor market around the world. I was interested in seeing the productivity numbers as well as hours worked. Here is the data for the top 10 countries with the highest output per hour worked.

Country Output per person Hours worked Output per hour
Norway 51,155 1,342 38.11
France 52,444 1,545 35.28
Belgium 54,338 1,559 34.36
United States 60,728 1,815 32.43
Netherlands 42,788 1,340 32.31
Ireland 52,486 1,668 31.38
Denmark 45,531 1,499 30.25
Austria 44,888 1,518 29.56
Germany 42,463 1,444 29.40
Italy 46,509 1,619 28.74

Now, I have taken only one undergrad economics course, so I don’t have any profound comments on this like Brad or Max, but I must say I am more interested in the productivity per hour measure. I am a lazy man and rate leisure and life outside of work highly. Therefore, a high productivity per hour and a low number of hours spent working are important to me. This does show to me that Americans in general work a lot more than Europeans. However, it seems that Koreans take the cake. They work 2,447 hours a year, and that’s down from about 2,740 hours a few years ago.

I also have a question for anyone who knows economics more than I do. Everyone I know in the I.T. and other hitech fields works 50-60 hours a week but doesn’t get any overtime. Do they count as 40-hour work-week for calculation of productivity numbers?

I am Back

I am back from Jersey. It was such nice weather there today (except for the rain) and it’s so HOT in Atlanta.

Our weekend was eventless, though we did wander around Long Island (the Hamptons specifically) and watched the movie Open Range.