Notes on Haiti

A travel diary on a short trip to Haiti.

I am still not exactly sure what we were thinking. I was honestly picturing a little hall where we would see some voodoo demonstrations dumbed down for tourist consumption and some local crafts. The flyer for the trip mentioned visiting a market. Now, we are not dingbat travellers. I spent a fair chunk of my youth with a backpack bouncing around Europe. I have been to the DR before and I grew up close enough to the Mexican border towns to have experienced some real poverty. We have been to Japan a couple of times and are planning a trip to China later this year. We are not travel newbies. But nothing could have ever prepared us for what we saw a couple of miles across the border. When we came over the hill and saw the village, my first words were “You have got to be fucking kidding”.

(via The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire)

Make Me Watch TV

Make Me Watch TV is a site where you get to force me, Aric McKeown, to watch whatever TV show you please.

Not only that, but you can watch me watch TV! That’s right, watch me via webcam as I watch the chosen program and blog my thoughts on it live.

All it takes is a simple free vote or a sponsorship and you can force me to watch whatever you like! Will you be nice and make me watch Lost, or will you be cruel and make me watch Joey?

The choice is all yours. All I can do is complain.

(via J-Walk)

World’s 10 Worst Dictators of 2006

Lots of changes from last year’s list.

A “dictator” is a head of state who exercises arbitrary authority over the lives of his citizens and who cannot be removed from power through legal means. The worst commit terrible human-rights abuses. This present list draws in part on reports by global human-rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International. While the three worst from 2005 have retained their places, two on last year’s list (Muammar al-Qaddafi of Libya and Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan) have slipped out of the Top 10—not because their conduct has improved but because other dictators have gotten worse.

(via Linkfilter)

When Design is a Matter of Life or Death


You’ve taken on a design challenge and come up with a solution that’s been widely admired and won you accolades. But a year or so later, you realize you made a mistake. There’s something horribly wrong with your design. And it’s not just something cosmetic — a badly resolved corner, some misspaced type — but a fundamental flaw that will almost certainly lead to catastrophic failure. And that failure will result not just in embarassment, or professional ruin, but death, the death of thousands of people.

You are the only person that knows that something’s wrong. What would you do?

This sounds like a hypothetical question. But it’s not. It’s the question that structural engineer William LeMessurier faced on a lonely July weekend almost 30 years ago.

(via Borklog)