Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The happiest countries on earth - By Forbes

Quantifying happiness isn't an easy task. Researchers at the Gallup World Poll went about it by surveying thousands of respondents in 155 countries, between 2005 and 2009, in order to measure two types of well-being.
First they asked subjects to reflect on their overall satisfaction with their lives, and ranked their answers using a "life evaluation" score from 1 to 10. Then they asked questions about how each subject had felt the previous day. Those answers allowed researchers to score their "daily experiences"--things like whether they felt well-rested, respected, free of pain and intellectually engaged. Subjects that reported high scores were considered "thriving." The percentage of thriving individuals in each country determined our rankings. Click here for the full story and table.

1 Denmark Europe

2 Finland Europe 

3 Norway Europe 

4 Sweden Europe 

4 Netherlands Europe 

6 Costa Rica Americas 

6 New Zealand Asia 

8 Australia Asia 

8 Israel Asia 

8 Canada Americas 

8 Switzerland Europe 

12 Panama Americas 

12 Brazil Americas 

14 Austria Europe 

14 United States Americas 

103 Turkey Asia

Art to pay your medical bills - USA

Freelance artists in the United States can get their medical expenses reimbursed in exchange for pictures. A New York hospital (Woodhull) lis conducting an experiment that's receving a lot of interest from artists, who can barely hold their heads above water financially.
A couple of months ago, US President Barack Obama finally signed a new healthcare law. But freelance artists often can't afford the cost of health insurance.
Photographer Indira Wiegand suffers from asthma. An inhaler costs her 200 dollars, and she can't afford it. Now she takes photos of newborn babies for the hospital, in exhange for which the hospital pays her medical expenses. This some kind of barter agreement. Nothing bad with that.

Day Opening - July 27 - Forgotten Jobs in Turkey (7)

The shoe maker old style.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The War goes on: Israeli warplanes strike Gaza tunnels

Israeli planes fired missiles at two smuggling tunnels near the Gaza Strip border with Egypt early Monday, causing damage but no casualties, officials from the Hamas-run security forces said.
The Israeli army had no immediate comment. Israel has frequently targeted the tunnels in retaliation for rocket fire from the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.
The impoverished territory of 1.5 million people has largely relied on the vast network of tunnels on the border since Israel and Egypt sealed Gaza off to all but vital aid in 2006 after militants captured an Israeli soldier.
The Israeli blockade was tightened after the Islamist movement Hamas seized power in June 2007.
Most of the tunnels are used to bring in basic goods like food, household appliances and livestock but Hamas and other militant groups reportedly use their own tunnels to bring in arms and money.
Gaza-based militants fired four rockets into southern Israel over the weekend, a military spokesman said on Sunday.
In December 2008, Israel launched a devastating assault on Gaza in a bid to halt near daily rocket fire from the besieged Palestinian territory.
After a year of quiet following the assault, Gaza militants have recently stepped up the cross-border rocket fire.

Mind Games by Dimitris Varos

Mind Games by Dimitris Varos

I am a waterfall in the desert.
A rain from a cloudless sky.
A well known but unborn child.
An insistence experience
that you never had.

I play mind games with your brain.
When you strike the keys and remember the sea
I come as indefinable memory.
When you look at your watch
and the time has passed
you feel me like a fleeting hallucination.

I play mind games with your brain.
I’m nesting behind your eyes.
I’m ranging through your dreams.
You are finding me in all of your desires.
In all of those are absent from you.

I play mind games with your brain.
I stand in the places that you cannot reach.
I exist where you cannot touch upon.
But I am what you always waiting for
I m what holds your life on.

I play mind games with your brain.
But I swear this is not a fun.
I feel unbearable loneliness.
Because I do not have a body
And you, that you have, refuse me yours.

Day Opening - July 26 - Forgotten Jobs of Turkey (6)

Forgotten jobs of Turkey - the tin smith

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A fatwa on coffee?

Sometimes the fatwa's borders real stupidity, retardness.

Is a Muslim allowed to enjoy a cup of the world’s most expensive coffee? The chairman of the Indonesian Board of Ulamas (Muslim scholars) is debating this issue with two of the largest Muslim organisations in Indonesia. Khamami Zada from Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), thinks the board should be dealing with more important matters than coffee beans that have been extracted from civet dung.

Luwak coffee is made from beans that have been eaten by a luwak – a kind of civet- and then passed through its intestines and defecated. It sounds pretty disgusting, but in actual fact Luwak coffee is said to taste quite special. The civet is very choosy when selecting the beans. He only eats the ripest and tastiest. The beans cost several hundreds of euros per kilo, because they are rare. Many people don’t like the idea of the beans having passed through the intestines of an animal. Many Muslims consider the coffee unclean.

Khamami Zada doesn’t agree with issuing a fatwa against coffee. "It is a problem concerning Islamic law and Muslims should be aware of the legal situation. But I believe issuing a fatwa against Luwak coffee is not an urgent matter.” There are only a few consumers who drink the coffee anyway.
According to Mr Zada, there are much more urgent issues that need dealing with at the moment. For example, the problem of corruption and the ‘legal mafia’, the illegal collaboration between criminals and members of official organisations. Khamami Zada: "If only the Board of Ulamas issued a fatwa against the ‘legal mafia’ and corrupt organisations. That would be much more beneficial for the Indonesian people, than worrying about Luwak coffee.”
Other problems that need attending to are terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism. It would be a good idea if the board would issue a fatwa against this, says Khamami Zada. "This would have an effect on everybody. Not only on the Muslim community, but also all the other people who are affected by fundamentalism and terrorism." Exactly!

Day Opening - July 25 - Forgotten Jobs of Turkey (5)

Forgotten jobs of Turkey - saddle fixer

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Street interview in Istanbul - Turkey - Part 1

Street Interviews in Turkey - Part 1 from NiMBUS PRODUCTIONS on Vimeo.

Pig pics removed from clinic just in case of...

A story that illustrates what a hot potato multicultural relations can be in the Netherlands is about a painting. An artist whose work was being exhibited at a health centre in the town of Leerdam was asked to remove three pictures of pigs after a complaint that Muslims might take offence at being confronted with images of “unclean animals”. The move led to a storm of protest and even hate mail for painter Sylvia Bosch, who has been left “shocked by the overwhelming commotion”.
Ironically, the original complaint was lodged by a non-Muslim patient at the centre who took no umbrage at the paintings but was worried that Muslims might. A spokesperson for Muslim group SMN who says that despite the good intentions, it wasn’t a smart thing to do. “It isn’t wise to think and feel on behalf of other people. And certainly not for the health centre to take action on this basis.”
The artist, Sylvia Bosch, is astounded. “One week earlier, I had an e-mail from the clinic saying that they were getting nice reactions. After a single complaint, they had to be taken away immediately.”

The Linge Polyclinic has stated that the pictures were removed because “all visitors must feel comfortable in the institution”.
A newspaper concludes that “the flood of negative coverage about Islam has left us with a distorted image of the religion” and that “in the resulting state of confusion, we tend to take bizarre decisions”. In my point of view this is some kind of self censorship well known throughout the Middle East and Turkey.

Arash's World: Thanatos, Schadenfreude and the Self-destructive and Dark Side of the Mind

Arash's World: Thanatos, Schadenfreude and the Self-destructive and Dark Side of the Mind

Day Opening - July 24 - Forgotten Jobs of Turkey (4)

Forgotten jobs of Turkey - the broom maker

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Erdogan logics

From Hürriyet:
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose fight against smoking was awarded by the World Health Organization (WHO), suggested during the award ceremony that people should eat fruits instead of drinking alcohol. Erdoğan noted that drunk driving was forbidden, besides, people should act sensitively in order not to harm others with their smoking habits.
"Where does alcohol come from? Don't they produce these drinks from fruits? Eat fruits instead of drinking then," Erdoğan said.

Yes, don't drink coffee but eat coffee beans; don't drink tea but eat tea leaves; don't do this and don't do that...exactly Erdogan.

Greece and the Greek Cypriots pushing for a deal on Cyprus

Greece voiced support yesterday for Greek Cypriot proposals to jumpstart talks on reunifying the Mediterranean island after Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots accused their rivals of derailing a UN-backed year-end target date for a deal.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou urged Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots to "seriously study" the new package of proposals put forward last week by Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias, who is also Cyprus president.
"This shows that President Christofias is one step ahead in initiatives to solve the Cyprus problem," Papandreou told reporters after they met at the island's Larnaca airport.
The package put forward by Christofias proposes that the port of Famagusta in the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north be opened to direct trade under European Union auspices in exchange for the return of the nearby resort of Varosha to its displaced Greek Cypriot inhabitants, which is fair in my opinion.

Once one of the Mediterranean's leading resorts, Varosha has been a decaying ghost town since Turkish troops fenced it off in 1974 when they invaded the island's northern third following a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at union with Greece.
Christofias also proposes that in UN-brokered talks on reunifying the island the questions of restoring property to the displaced and adjusting the amount of territory under Turkish Cypriot local administration be combined with the issue of immigration control after any deal.
He is also pushing for the key issue of security to be dealt with at a UN-chaired international conference with participation by the European Union, as well as Greece, Turkey and former colonial power Britain, rather than at a meeting of the last three as proposed by the Turkish Cypriots.
"If these measures are accepted it will change the climate and lead to positive results," Christofias said yesterday.
During a visit to the breakaway north on Tuesday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek accused the Greek Cypriots of lacking the necessary political will for a settlement.
"This is not a process that can go on forever," he warned after talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.
"If the Greek Cypriots and their supporters cannot reach a solution by the end of the year, everyone will continue to follow their own paths," he said.
But Christofias countered that it was not his government that was blocking progress in reunification talks but the Turkish Cypriots and their backers in Ankara, which he charged was "hardening its stance".
Christofias and Eroglu are due to meet again today for their latest talks in the UN-backed peace process which was relaunched in December 2008. Eroglu is a hardcore nationalists who rather sees partitition than reunification!

Day Opening - July 22 - Forgotten Jobs of Turkey (2)

Forgotten jobs of Turkey - making pottery the traditional way for 6 generations

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

'Boomerang kids'

A social reportin the Netherlands covers the growing number of young people who return to live with their parents after leaving home. In the 1990s, just 15 percent of young adults returned to the nest. Between 2000 and 2007, a whopping one in five young women moved back in with their parents. Which is pretty normal in Turkey, where most of the young women move in with their parents after completing their studies.

In this Dutch report it says that compared to other European countries, the Dutch welfare state makes it relatively easy to build up a life as an independent young person in the Netherlands. Why then, it asks, do these 'boomerang children' return home?
A sociologist points out that many come back home after the break-up of a relationship. The lack of affordable housing in many big cities compounds the problem. It is also said that many young people move to a different part of the country when they leave home and that homesickness can play a part in deciding to return to their roots.
However maybe 22-year-old Lisanne can fill us in on the real reason. "Before I came home, I told my mother: 'I'll do my own washing and ironing, you don't need to bother with it.' But, she still does it all - washing, cooking, cleaning. It's just like a hotel," she admits. And that's a little different than in countries such as Turkey and Italy where the baby/child is still King or Queen!

Day Opening - July 20

A mountain called Zimba, Austria