Archive for 2012

Dialog Buys 26% Of

Monday, December 10th, 2012 Screenshot Dialog Axiata (Sri Lanka’s biggest mobile company) just bought a big share of German-backed start-up – 26% for 1.59 million USD, valuing the less than two year old* daily deals company at around $6.3 million. I’ve known since it was a directory site run by a few friends, to when it partnered with the international Rebate Networks to relaunch as a daily deals company in 2010, which is why I say the company is two years old.

Not The Best Phrasing

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

I saw this on the government news portal and thought it was funny. Perhaps it’s just me. The headline is “Beijing TV to execute a documentary series on Sri Lanka”. When I first saw it in my Google Alerts I was like, who is Beijing executing now? But no, they’re just filming a TV show about Sri Lanka, which is good. China sends a ton of tourists out now and very few reach here. It’s good that we’re getting some press from them, and not having our documentaries executed.

The Optics Of Impeachment

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

My friend Navin took this amazing photo above. It’s an epic image of the Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake greeting protestors on a day of protests and counter-protests. I think it show the problem the government has here. The last time I saw a picture this epic was when government Minister Wimal Weerawansa was fasting against the UN and Mahinda came to revive him with a glass of water.

The Chief Injustice

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

three-wheeler protestThe impeachment case against the Chief Justice is getting more and more farcical. Above you can see that three-wheeler drivers have been protesting for the government. They are using the same smears that anyone who opposes the government gets – that they’re corrupt, that they work with NGOs, etc. In fact, the only charge is going against the king (Mahinda) and the only point these drivers are making is that they’re loyal. Which is fine, if this were 982, but it’s 2012 and it’s really quite silly.

Should The UN Run The Internet?

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

The ITU (the UN’s ICT Agency) is trying to introduce regulations that would nationalize the Internet, forcing countries to pay fees for content people download and expanding the authority of national governments to censor and control content. Essentially, this body of regulators who I thought mainly held conferences with each other is trying to stage a bit of a coup and take over the Internet. Thankfully, it seems like this won’t happen.

The 1956 (?) Language Hotline

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

The government is opening a hotline (1956) to deal with language issues within state institutions. Which is good. The only thing is the number. 1956 was the year that Sri Lanka passes the Sinhala-Only Act, which many people connect to the eventual civil war in the country. The act said that Sinhala would be the only national language, something which has since been rolled back in the Constitution, but the effect of a largely Sinhala speaking government service had already happened. It was really a sore spot for a lot of people.

Rs. 8.5 Billion Losses At Mihin Lanka

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

As mentioned, by everyone, the state funded budget airline Mihin is a bad idea. It’s been losing money since it began, the full extent of the losses being masked by the fact that it gets subsidies and gives bad debts to other government institutions. This lame donkey has also been yoked to the national carrier SriLankan, bringing both down. The latest report is that Mihin has lost Rs. 8.5 billion (about $65 million) since it began.

DNA Data: The World’s Information In 4 Grams

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Scientists at Harvard have encoded an interactive HTML book into DNA, 70 billion copies of it, or about 44 petabytes of data. You could store all the words information as of 2011 in 4 grams of DNA. DNA isn’t a flash drive, but for long term storage of information that’s pretty amazing. Right now a lot of data just disappears cause you can’t afford to preserve all of it, but with this you could theoretically save everything, from security cameras to snapshots of the web to whatever. Plus DNA is a very hardy medium, so you don’t even need air-conditioned data centers and electricity.

Rajapaksas Are Used To Getting What They Want, In This Case A Chief Justice

Monday, November 26th, 2012

The Rajapaksa family is used to getting what they want. The kids want to race cars or be astronauts so they get tax breaks and satellites. Mahinda wanted an airline so he got Mihin. Now Basil wants control over provincial level patronage and the Supreme Court was standing in the way. So the family wanted the Chief Justice removed. This, however, does not simply waste the people’s money, it’s a pretty direct violation of law and order. And, quite embarrassingly, the charges are quite patently dumb.

Contagious Meat Allergies

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

The bite from a lone star tick may give humans an allergy to meat. It seems that their saliva causes antibodies for meat to rise after a bite, releasing histamines when meat is consumed, giving people hives, making them throw up, and even throwing them into anaphylactic shock. Essentially, what happens to me when I eat peanuts, which I avoid like the plague. So the effect here is that some people become vegetarian.