Saturday, February 28, 2009

Scandanavian Nonbelievers, Which Is Not to Say Atheists (New York Times Permalink)

Scandanavian Nonbelievers, Which Is Not to Say Atheists (New York Times Permalink)
By PETER STEINFELS Published: February 28, 2009
Americans may believe that a society with little religion would be immoral. Phil Zuckerman, a sociologist, found the opposite in Denmark and Sweden.

Generation B: Boomers in Line , ,

Published: 09'
In frigid temperatures, mid-career job applicants wait to be seen by prospective employers.

What Are You Doing? Media Twitterers Can’t Stop Typing

The TV Watch (New York Times Permalink)
What Are You Doing? Media Twitterers Can’t Stop Typing
By ALESSANDRA STANLEY Published: February 28, 2009
The Internet has revolutionized society by giving anyone — including journalists — an instant and unfiltered outlet for self-expression.

Friday, February 27, 2009

In hard times, more U.S. women try to sell their eggs

In hard times, more U.S. women try to sell their eggs

(Source Reuters)
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Drawn by payments of up to $10,000, an increasing number of women are offering to sell their eggs at U.S. fertility clinics as a way to make money amid the financial crisis.
Nicole Hodges, a 23-year-old actress in New York City who has been out of work since November, says she has decided to sell her eggs because she desperately needs cash.
"I'm still paying off college. I have credit card bills and, you know, rent in New York is so expensive," Hodges, who has been accepted as donor and is waiting to be chosen by a couple, told Reuters Television.
Hodges said there was also some satisfaction in helping an infertile couple have a child. "Yes, the money is very nice, but it's nice to be able to let a mother who wants to be a mother be a mother," she said.
Fertility organizations across the country said there had been a growing interest. The Center for Egg Options in Illinois has seen a 40 percent increase in egg donor inquiries since the start of 2008.
New York City's Northeast Assisted Fertility Group said interest had doubled and the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine said it had received 10 percent more inquiries.
The Reproductive Science Center of New England, which does not deal directly with egg donors, said it had gone from no inquiries to now receiving several a month.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends that total payments to donors be capped at $10,000.

Is Alternative Energy a Giant Capital Pit?

Alternative Energy Is a Giant Capital Pit, Kedrosky Says: "There's No There There"
Many green energy advocates say the annual $15 billion of related spending in Obama's plan isn't nearly enough, while critics say so-collared green-collar jobs are a myth and, regardless, won't do much to help an unemployed machinist in the Rust Belt.
Investor and blogger Paul Kedrosky of Ten Asset Management says such debates miss the broader point: Unlike during the growth of computers, when the industry coalesced around the Mac and Windows OS, there is no agreed upon alternative energy platform. As a result, nobody really knows how much money we need - or don't need - to invest in clean tech, which he says is more akin to drug discovery (biotech) vs. traditional tech.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

London Fashion Week with

London Fashion Week
Invitations to Schwab’s show came with inbuilt 3D glasses which saw the audience peering through them to see 3D marble prints popping out from the curvaceous dresses. Featuring tulip-shaped skirts, waist-cinching belts and slash details, the collection gave a nod to the 1950s and was a true celebration of women’s curves.

Japan's 40 Richest

Special Report
Japan's 40 Richest
(Forbes: Tatiana Serafin, 02.18.09, 10:00 PM EST)
Even the soaring yen couldn't pull up the fortunes of Japan's richest people.
At least someone is making money these days.
Japan's retail tycoon Tadashi Yanai, whose Uniqlo stores sell affordable apparel, has added $1.4 billion to his wealth to become Japan's richest person for the first time. He is now worth $6.1 billion and has moved up to No. 1 from No. 6 last year, becoming the fifth person in as many years to take the top spot in Japan.
Yanai's good fortune aside, most of Japan's richest lost money in the past year as the country slipped into a recession, business confidence hit its lowest level in 34 years, and the Nikkei stock index dropped 45% since its June peak. More ...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Marlies Dekkers on Trend de la Crème

Marlies Dekkers on Trend de la Crème

Gothic Church-Inspired Lingerie by Marlies Dekkers Is Paradoxical Chic

If you've ever wondered what nuns wore under those dowdy habits, look no further than the Summer '09 lingerie collection by Netherlands-based Marlies Dekkers. Her designs, which she describes as 'beautiful and seductive, but at the same time powerful and independent' combine modern detailing with Gothic cathedral arches. (Sound familiar?) "I just won't rest until women all over the world are proud of their own bodies, determined and seductive in all aspects of their lives," boasts Marlies. "If I can help this come about with my designs then I will be a very happy woman!" Amen, sister. Amen.

A Credit Crisis time Rolls Royce

A Credit Crisis time Rolls Royce?
The 200EX points to a new Rolls-Royce for people who are just wealthy, not super-wealthy.
Opulence light

The 200EX features a new, lower and wider Rolls-Royce grill. "We wanted this to be less reminiscent of the traditional 'Parthenon' style and more like a jet intake," Rolls-Royce designer Ian Cameron said in a statement.
A production version of this car will go on sale early next year. Pricing is expected to be between $250,000 and $280,000, considerably less than the $340,000 starting price of the larger Phantom.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Spaceship-like car to hit U.S. roads

Spaceship-like car to hit U.S. roads
(03:15) Rough Cut Reuters Video

Feb 18 - A three-wheeled, all-electric vehicle is set to go into mass production later this year despite a snub from the U.S. government.
There is also a gasoline version. The two-seater Aptera electric version has a 100 mile range per charge and can be recharged by plugging into a regular electric outlet.
The gasoline version has a range of 100 miles per gallon (42 km per litre) because of its low drag and weight.
With 4,000 orders already, the California-based company plans to make about 10,000 cars initially, with a price tag of between $25,000 and $40,000 depending on whether buyers want an electric, hybrid or traditional power train.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mexico: The Third War

Mexico: The Third War
February 18, 2009 | 1923 GMT

By Fred Burton and Scott Stewart
( Source Stratfor Global Intelligence, click on link to read the article)
Mexico has pretty much always been a rough-and-tumble place. In recent years, however, the security environment has deteriorated rapidly, and parts of the country have become incredibly violent. It is now common to see military weaponry such as fragmentation grenades and assault rifles used almost daily in attacks.
In fact, just last week we noted two separate strings of grenade attacks directed against police in Durango and Michoacan states. In the Michoacan incident, police in Uruapan and Lazaro Cardenas were targeted by three grenade attacks during a 12-hour period. Then on Feb. 17, a major firefight occurred just across the border from the United States in Reynosa, when Mexican authorities attempted to apprehend several armed men seen riding in a vehicle. The men fled to a nearby residence and engaged the pursuing police with gunfire, hand grenades and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). After the incident, in which five cartel gunmen were killed and several gunmen, cops, soldiers and civilians were wounded, authorities recovered a 60 mm mortar, five RPG rounds and two fragmentation grenades.
Make no mistake, considering the military weapons now being used in Mexico and the number of deaths involved, the country is in the middle of a war. In fact, there are actually three concurrent wars being waged in Mexico involving the Mexican drug cartels.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa

Click on image and download PDF
With anticipation growing ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, the official Match Schedule has been released. To find out where the games will be played in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Mangaung/Bloemfontein, Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth, Nelspruit, Polokwane, Rustenburg, Tshwane/Pretoria between 11 June and 11 July 2010.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Amsterdams toerisme zakt in

Volgens de laatste cijfers heeft Amsterdam met een sterke teruggang van het toerisme te kampen.

Niet geheel onverwachts overigens.
De dure Euro speelt een rol evenals de inmiddels wereldwijde recessie.
Voor de toeristen speelt de voortdurende puinzooi in Amsterdam ook een rol, niet in de laatste plaats de wijd verspreide opbrekingen en de Noord-Zuid lijn chaos.
Factoren van de belang zijn ook de dure en niet bepaald gastvrije Horeca, de onbewuste gevolgen van de betutteling (die ook tot toeristen doordringt), en in het algemeen het gebrek aan allure van de stad. De grauwsluier van de gezapige middelmatigheid die al jaren over de stad hangt wordt ook door de toerist gevoeld.
Verder het onvermogen van het Gemeentebestuur om een effectief prostitutiebeleid te voeren (c.q. de Wallen en de hoeren).
En niet in de laatste plaats de bijkans eeuwigdurende verbouwingen van de belangrijke musea.
Het zakkenvullend parkeerbeleid van de gemeente begint inderdaad vruchten af te werpen in die zin dat er ook gewoon minder dagjesmensen en auto's komen.

VSB-fonds ontslaat personeel en halveert budget

VSBfonds blijft actief in Mens & Maatschappij en Kunst & Cultuur

Als gevolg van een reorganisatie blijft VSBfonds de komende jaren alleen actief in de sectoren Mens & Maatschappij en Kunst & Cultuur. Hiervoor is een jaarlijks donatiebudget van € 26 miljoen beschikbaar. Het fonds stopt per 16 februari 2009 met het toekennen van donaties aan projecten op het terrein van Sport en Natuur & Milieu.
VSBfonds heeft duidelijke keuzes gemaakt en niet voor de 'kaasschaafmethode' willen kiezen. Hierbij is het fonds teruggegaan naar zijn wortels die ruim 200 jaar terug in de tijd gaan. De focus van zijn rechtsvoorgangers op 'ontwikkeling en beschaving van de gewone mens' wijzen, indien vertaald naar de huidige tijd, naar kern activiteiten in de sectoren Mens & Maatschappij en Kunst & Cultuur. Sport en Natuur & Milieu staan net iets verder af van dit gedachtegoed.

VSB-fonds ontslaat personeel en halveert budget
(Bron NRC)
Het fonds richt zich alleen nog op de sectoren ‘mens en maatschappij’ en ‘kunst en cultuur’. Van de 68 medewerkers worden er 33 ontslagen.
De maatregelen zijn een gevolg van de ineenstorting van Fortis, waarin het VSB-fonds met 2 procent van de aandelen (50 miljoen) een groot belang heeft. Door de enorme daling van het aandeel Fortis werd het vermogen van het VSB-fonds vorig jaar gehalveerd. Het donatiebudget gaat met meer dan de helft omlaag naar 26 miljoen euro per jaar.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Het Creationisme is pure onzin

Het Creationisme is pure onzin en feitelijke pseudowetenschap

Ik had niet gedacht dat ik in dit Darwin jaar (en, International Year of Astronomy, the Universe is Yours to Discover) nog stelling zou moeten nemen tegen een stel idioten die het in hun hoofd gehaald hebben om huis aan huis miljoenen brochures te gaan verspreiden om het Creationisme te propageren.
Maar binnenkort valt de Bijbellezers propaganda dan toch in de brievenbus.
Ik ben benieuwd of die met miljoenen steun van Urkervissers en andere Biblebeltfanaten gefinancierde brochure ook in de bussen met de Nee/Ja stickers voor ongewenst drukwerk gaat vallen.
Ook vraag ik me af of die zwartekousenkerk brochure met zwart geld gefinancierd is, in Urk werd indertijd nogal wat zwarte vis via de afslag verkocht.
Maar voor de oprechte gelovigen in die kringen geldt al heel lang: "het doel heiligt de middelen".

Heel lang geleden zat ik op een christelijke basisschool en eens in de week kwam daar zo'n gereformeerd domineetje godsdienstles geven.
Op een zeker moment ging het over het heelal, toen stelde ik in mijn jeugdige onwetendheid een vraag waarop de heer godsknechtje geen antwoord wist en zei dat ik dat soort dingen niet mocht vragen.
Zodoende ben ik al op zeer jeugdige leeftijd Atheïst geworden en met veel plezier gebleven.
(Het was net in de tijd dat de Spoetnik over Nederland kwam, en ik met een nachtkijker ook het heelal begon te bestuderen en er allerlei vragen opkwamen.)
Wie op de website van de Creationisten kijkt en ziet wie er in het Comite van Aanbeveling zit, weet precies uit welke hoek de wind waait. (Conservatieve intolerantie en anti-wetenschappelijke ideeën scoren hoog, Christelijke Taliban avant la lettre).

Dat Minister Maria van der Hoeven (toen Wetenschap, nu floppende Economie) een aantal jaren terug heel onwetenschappelijk het Creationisme en 'Intelligent Design' aanprees is nog daar aan toe, - het was in de Bush tijd die de oorlog in Irak begon met 's morgens vroeg in de Bijbel lezen om wat kruistochten inspiratie op te doen (het heeft hem weinig geholpen).
Maar dat we nu na alle EO nonsens nog een zootje dooie bomen in de bus krijgen met propaganda om vooral niet zelfstandig te denken vind ik wel het toppunt.
Desondanks: "Leve de vrijheid van meningsuiting!"
Hoewel, het is net alsof verdomme iemand je een traktaatje van de Jehova's in je fikken duwt in plaats van de Scientific American.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

What is exactly a trend?

What is exactly a trend?

How about: “A statistically significant change in performance of measured data which is unlikely to be due to a random variation in the process.” That won't get the creative juices going. So consider the following definition, which we came up with years ago and which still holds pretty well:
A manifestation of something that has unlocked or newly serviced an existing (and hardly ever changing) consumer need,* desire, want, or value.
At the core of this statement is the assumption that human beings, and thus consumers, don't change that much. Their deep needs remain the same, yet can be unlocked or newly serviced. The 'unlockers' can be anything from changes in societal norms and values, to a breakthrough in technology, to a rise in prosperity.
Example? One of the core human needs is to be in control, or at least to have the illusion of being in control. No wonder then, that the online world is so addictive. After all, it firmly puts the individual in the driver's seat.
Just give it a try: apply the above definition to your daily spottings and observations of how consumers behave, and how that behaviour is forever changing, and you will find that many seemingly unconnected business success stories will start to make sense. Successful innovations often satisfy existing, dormant needs in new and attractive ways.

Rereading Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs never hurts.

20 Evolution Revelations to Celebrate Charles Darwin’s 200th Birthday

20 Evolution Revelations to Celebrate Charles Darwin’s 200th Birthday (CLUSTER)

(TREND HUNTER) Charles Darwin would have been 200 years old today, and to celebrate the man who developed the theory that the human species evolved through a process he called natural selection, we have amassed this… [More]

When the chips are down, Singapore singles go dating

When the chips are down, Singapore singles go dating

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Singapore's economic downturn may prove to be Cupid's ally as dating agencies in the city state have reported a spike up in the number of singles signing up to find partners, the Straits Times said on Saturday.
Matchmakers, online dating networks and agencies were bracing for a slowdown when the economy took a turn for the worse last year but instead have seen a jump in their numbers, the newspaper said.
"Members have been telling me that they are feeling more anxious and lonely, and the economic recession has made them more worried," Matthew Tan, founder of a dating web site, told the English-language daily.
Some agencies pulled in up to 50 per cent more members while others have attracted almost twice the number of participants in the past four months from the same period last year.

Austerity is hip and becomes cool

Austerity is hip and becomes cool

Patrick Deneen alerts us to an encouraging new trend: making austerity cool. It's not really coming about out of an intent to be virtuous, but out of necessity, given the grim economic forecast. In an interesting twist, though, USA Today reports that people are becoming competitively frugal -- turning "keeping up with the Joneses" inside out. That's great! Forecasters suggest that this is not just a temporary thing, but a long-term shift:
Small cuts can also have a big effect on the economy. If cutting back becomes a cultural mind-set, it can be very hard to turn around.
"The new status isn't how much you've got, but your ability to show what you don't spend," says futurist Watts Wacker, who advises businesses on trends.
"This is a seminal moment. It's not a fad that will die out when the economy picks up."
Read more on Patrick's Blog

Friday, February 13, 2009

Luxury out of style?

Luxury out of style?
(01:38) Report Reuters Video

Feb. 12 - Luxury retailers are finding themselves out of vogue in the recession.
Half of all consumers who make more than $200,000 a year think luxury brands are becoming commodities. That mentality is wreaking havoc with luxury retailers who find themselves struggling to cope with the recession. Bobbi Rebell reports.
# Milton Pedraza, CEO, The Luxury Institute
# Howard Davidowitz, CEO, Davidowitz and Associates

The International Year of Astronomy 2009, The Universe Yours to Discover

The International Year of Astronomy 2009

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 is a global effort initiated by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and UNESCO to help the citizens of the world rediscover their place in the Universe through the day- and night-time sky, and thereby engage a personal sense of wonder and discovery.
Everyone should realise the impact of astronomy and other fundamental sciences on our daily lives, and understand how scientific knowledge can contribute to a more equitable and peaceful society. IYA2009 activities are taking place locally, nationally, regionally and internationally. National Nodes in each country are running activities throughout 2009 which will establish collaborations between professional and amateur astronomers, science centres and science communicators. 136 countries are already involved and well over 140 are expected to participate eventually.

Download: 100 Hours of Astronomy - Information Pack

Monday, February 9, 2009

Modern Vintage and Brutal Vintage Advertising

Modern Vintage and Brutal Vintage Advertising

Vintage Badvertising - Hilarious Dated Slogans to Inspire Contemporary Mad Men (GALLERY)

(TREND HUNTER) This is a brilliant collection of vintage advertising campaign slogans--so brilliant, in fact, a part of me suspects that they all may not be totally genuine.

If only advertising slogans such as those… [More]

Mapping a Global Plan for Car Charging Stations

Mapping a Global Plan for Car Charging Stations
By BILL VLASIC Published: February 9, 2009
Shai Agassi, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, is mapping a global plan for car charging stations where batteries can be swapped.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Design Academy, Graduation Galleries

Lidewij Edelkoort, trendwatcher en scheidend directeur van de Design Academy, laat op de Graduation Galleries het werk van haar studenten zien. Van blues in een blokhut tot de ideale bh. (23 oktober 2008)

Rare Bugatti car up for auction

Rare Bugatti car up for auction
(01:59) Rough Cut

Feb 6 - A unique Bugatti from 1937 is to be sold at a classic car auction in Paris.
The Type 57S Atalante Coupe used to belong to the 5th Earl Howe of England, who had the car custom made and was well known for his passion for motor sports in the 1930s.
The Bugatti, which has never been restored and will be presented in its original condition, is expected to fetch a price well into the millions of dollars.
(Soundbite) (English) James Knight, International Managing Director, Bonhams

Friday, February 6, 2009

Fashion models tighten their belts, due to downturn

A model presents this creation by Palestinian designer Hindi Mahdi inside the Saint-Merri Church in Paris as part of his Spring-Summer Haute Couture 2009 fashion collection in this recent photo from January 28, 2009.

"Half-price" models tighten their belts

PARIS (Reuters) - Free designer dresses, an army of admirers and $15,000 to stroll down a catwalk: no wonder thousands of teenage girls aspire to being a top model.
But at the haute couture shows in Paris, the leggy blondes in silk dresses who advertise a life of luxury are finding their world turned inside out by the economic crisis.
"Half price! It's half-price everywhere, in Milan, even in New York," cried Anna Chyzh, a 23-year-old from Kiev who had just changed out of a Stephane Rolland haute couture gown into jeans and was headed to the next show
Like many models from Ukraine, Russia and the Balkans, Chyzh regularly sends money home to support her mother, a freelance interior designer who is having trouble finding work because of the downturn.

At Premier Model Management in London, an agency that has represented Claudia Schiffer, clients who used to pay a daily rate of 3,000 pounds ($4,200) are now arriving with a budget of 1,500 pounds, director Aidan Jean-Marie told Reuters. Read the article...

Indian fashion inspired by Mercedes
(02:13) Rough Cut (Video)

Feb 2 - A fashion show in India's entertainment capital Mumbai showcasing a collection inspired by the characteristics of Mercedes Benz draws a huge crowd.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) GAYATRI KHANNA, DESIGNER: "It is a collection for Mercedes Benz, the design and the characteristics it stands for like luxury, strength, power, style and high definition and quality and using all those characteristics we have designed our collection."

Recharging a high-tech battery industry

Recharging a high-tech battery industry
The country is behind when it comes to advanced vehicle batteries, but innovation and a little stimulus money could head off another OPEC scenario.

NEW YORK ( -- There's a saying as the nation pushes for cleaner electric cars: The United States will end up trading dependence on Saudi oil for dependence on Asian batteries.
Most of the big players in advanced batteries - the ones used to power the cars of tomorrow - are from Japan, South Korea or China.
America's battery industry is in need of a shock. Enter Stimulus.
As part of the nearly $900 billion economic lifeline, lawmakers plan on spending $2 billion in loan guarantees and grants for makers of advanced batteries. They don't necessarily have to be U.S. companies that get the money, but they need to set up shop on American soil.
Industry observers have high hopes for the plan, but worry that the money won't be doled out fast enough or that it will be eaten up by a few big players. Read the whole article on CNN Money

See also our post on the Beurskrach Blog about Lithium and its uses

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Equities VS Gold Bullion , trends

Stock Market is Bottoming, Equities VS Gold Bullion
(Courtesy: Chris Vermeulen,

A copy of the same post is also on our Blog: Beurskrach 2008 - Stock Market Crash, recession and the World Economy

Stock market looks like it has bottomed forming a similar pattern as it did in 2003. What is the better investment during an opportunity like this if this is the bottom: Stocks, Gold Bullion or Mining Stocks?
I recommend investors start thinking about putting some long term money to work giving it at least 4 years to mature. Today I started investing some long term money with some great looking Canadian ETFs for dividends, Growth and commodities. There are tones of ETFs in the USA for picking what you think will perform nicely during the next bull market.

If you would like to receive my free weekly market updates please visit my website:
Chris Vermeulen,

Download and Read the PDF with charts and analysis

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Google Earth’s 5.0 new oceans feature plumbs the Ocean Depths

Google Earth’s new oceans feature plumbs the Ocean Depths

Google Earth dives into the oceans
Google finally put the world's oceans on the map.
During a splashy presentation Monday at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, the Internet giant unveiled a feature in its Google Earth program that will allow users to swim through undersea canyons as deep as the Mariana Trench and encounter creatures like a critically endangered, prehistoric fish called the coelacanth.

Google also unveiled an interactive, 3-D map of Mars that enables visitors to whisk, as if by rocket ship, over Martian mountains that dwarf Everest and scan Martian rocks through the eyes of the rovers Spirit and Opportunity.
The 3-D Martian map is the first result of a 3-year-old agreement between Google and NASA's Ames Research Center to bring the mountains of research on Mars to the public.
Besides getting close looks at rocks analyzed by the rovers to uncover Mars' watery past, the new program will enable visitors to skim the surface through the eyes of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Google board member and former Vice President Al Gore, who attended the event, called the latest version of Google Earth "an extremely powerful educational tool" that he hoped would influence the Climate Conference in Copenhagen later this year.
Google hopes to inspire a public push for more marine exploration. Only 5% of the ocean floor has been mapped in any detail, and less than 1% of the oceans is designated marine protected areas.

Google Earth Plumbs the Ocean Depths
The software now lets users dive miles beneath the ocean waves.
Video by Google - link
* Zoom from space to street level — tour the world
* Find maps, driving directions, hotels, restaurants, and more

Functies van Google Earth 5.0 (bèta):

* Historische beelden van over de hele wereld
* Informatie over de zeebodem en het zeeoppervlak afkomstig van oceaanexperts
* Vereenvoudigd rondreizen met audio- en stemopname

Download Google Earth 5.0
Google Ocean will let users explore shipwrecks and reefs in the deep blue sea
The latest version of Google Earth lets people plunge beneath the sea, swim around underwater volcanoes, hover above shipwrecks and navigate mountains on the sea bed.
The Ocean in Google Earth software also includes video and photographs of thousands of marine species, and lets virtual divers follow whales and sharks tagged with satellite tracking devices.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Electric car tours India (Video)

Electric car tours India
(01:41) Report Video Reuters

Jan 7 - India's first electric car leads a car rally around the country to raise awareness about climate change.
The electric model is designed by REVA Electric Car Company and powered by the latest in Lithium-ion technology.
Built of lightweight steel and plastic it can be fully charge in seven hours by plugging into a 15amp socket.