Ecotourism: The million star hotel in the desert

May 22, 2011
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Ateshooni is the name of a 400 year-old house located alongside of the remains of a citadel from the Sassanid Empire period in the oasis of Garmeh. The Sassanid ruled Persia from 224 to 651 A.D. This old house has been renovated by Maziar and his family, by using the same methods and materials as […]

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Posted in: Nature, Travel

What’s going on Mr. President?

May 15, 2011
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Coming to Malawi, you hardly fail to know the president. From a big board, His Excellency Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika warmly welcomes you when you enter Lilongwe from the airport. He kindly tells you to drive and arrive safely on the roads. His elegant image, printed on big billboards at several crossroads, announces the opening […]

Posted in: Politics

Belgian fries!

May 1, 2011
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Belgium. A tiny country in the middle of Europe with 9,5 million inhabitants or so. It is known for its complicated governmental structure and for recently having broken the world record for longest government formation period. On a brighter note, the country is also associated with chocolate, beer and waffles. One aspect of its culinary […]

Posted in: Food

Happiness and income comparisons: Biased methods consecrate a worldview

May 1, 2011
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A paper came out (May 2010) in the Economic Journal on the impact of income comparisons on subjective wellbeing. The researchers, Andrew E. Clark and Claudia Senik from the Paris School of Economics and the Institute for the Study of Labour at Bonn (IZA), analysed data on income comparisons from the European Social Survey, covering […]

Beyond Master and Slave?

April 24, 2011
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I recently re-read Friedrich Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil (Jenseits von Gut und Böse). Nietzsche has been labelled by some as the philosophical founder of German fascism; glorifying strength and advocating racial superiority. My thoughts are that his morality is disastrously authoritarian, but he is certainly no crude racist and his writing style is a […]

Posted in: Philosophy

Deutsch and Scouse

April 2, 2011
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Was ist das? Some of you may know dass das (that that) means what is that. It’s German. Sounds kinda similar right? Well that’s no coincidence, because around 1,700 years ago English and German were the same language. Indeed English could be described as an island offshoot of German, though German as we knew it […]

Posted in: Linguistics

Did you know that ice is a mineral?

April 2, 2011
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We are used thinking that a typical mineral is a stone, something that is hard to break, like quartz or granite. Despite this common misconception, minerals however, are not just heavy stones. They are simply naturally occurring substances with a defined chemical formula and crystal structure. Thus even ice can be legitimately considered as a […]

Posted in: Music, Travel, Water