Sunday, 30 March 2008


I can't say I'm the greatest fashion follower, but I'm still capable of love when it comes to clothes. I have my parameters and usually follow them, but sometimes it's just like springtime love - you see it, you take it. So far the only designer that has kept me on board of loving followers is Nanushka, a young fashion designer whose work I discovered when I lived in Budapest.

Nanushka's style combines elements of the modern urban edge, comfort, playfulness, and the simplicity some of the current fashion trends beg for. Nanushka herself is a young beautiful woman who came out of the London College of Fashion and started her own line of clothing design in Budapest. She now supplies her creations to shops in Madrid, London, Tokyo, and some cities in the US. Take caution, you may fall in love.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Wildly beautiful

My first taste of Joanna Newsom was her 'Book of Right-on', which proved impossible to get out of my head for days. Recently I also bought her album 'Ys', which just blew me away with its beauty. Joanna Newsom's music is an incredible piece of instrumental and vocal originality. Her use of orchestral background and her chilling voice will make your day fall into slow motion. The lyrics are intricate, romantic, and longing for much of what we wish for in the cracks of our modern lives.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Micro credit

Micro credit is a form of facilitation of small loans to individuals in the developing world, who are otherwise considered not bankable and as such unable to obtain any loans in their own countries. I was first struck by the deep contrast of human existence and owning capabilities between Africa and the Western world when I read 'The Shadow of the Sun' by Ryszard Kapuscinski. It seemed utterly inconceivable that a family's income could depend on a single pot, in which they would cook a dish and sell it to the fellow villagers for a small sum of money. The book inspired me to strive to understand more aspects of poverty and inequality both in Africa and worldwide.

Micro credit focuses on supporting forms of micro entrepreneurship and employment generation for mostly community based initiatives. The project started in Bangladesh, where it has enabled impoverished people to engage in self-employment projects that allow them to generate income, begin to build wealth, and at times exit poverty. It's strange to think that so much can depend on so little.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Your feelings?

Wefeelfine is sort of an emotional search engine. The site was launched in August 2005 and is a continuously expanding statistic of human emotion around the globe. Its system searches the web for blog posts and fishes out the words associated with the phrases 'I feel' and 'I am feeling.' The statistics are browsable through 6 different categories: the feeling (such as happy, guilty, alone; they have around 5000 of them indexed), gender, age, weather, location, and date. The interface of this webpage is a constantly self-re-organising system of particles, where each particles represents an individual and his or her feeling. I have to say, it looks really nice and is fun to fiddle with. The database expands by about 20 000 new feeling per day and thus creates a pool of information that allows everyone to investigate human perceptions around the globe. You try to find answers to questions about which locations are most depressing, how weather affects us all, and such. So how do you feel today?

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Short & Sweet

I feel a little guilty writing this, as already too many people know about Short & Sweet, but I feel that spreading the vibe will only increase the general happiness. Short & Sweet is the only weekly short film screening club in London. They promote new talents, but also present work of the major directors, both in animation and live action. I attend their shows every week and find inspiring work shown time and again. S & S is managed by Julia Stephenson, an ultra-energetic Australian chick, whose high pitch makes the whole thing click and sway.

Short & Sweet was selected to screen the short films nominated for BAFTA this year. I got to attend one of the two sessions and saw some very interesting work. The video above is regrettably only a fragment of 'The Crumblegiant' by John McCloskey. The video below is 'The Pearce Sisters' by Luis Cook, a strange and vaguely disturbing story of two lonely sisters living by the coast. Other than the BAFTA awards, yesterday at Short & Sweet I saw Signe Bauman's 'Teat Bit of Sex', which was commissioned for European television, but is still considered too explicit to be shown on iTunes or Netflix. I find it somewhat amusing that sexual content in animation is considered too explicit considering all the sicko violent movies out there...

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Biting the bullet

Can we approach the most troubling issues of the world without a coordinated political and economical initiative? Bjorn Lomborg drew public attention to reaching a consensus on resolving the world's most troubling issues. According to the Copenhagen Consensus we should first enhance HIV prevention, fight the malnutrition occurring in the 3rd world, establish a better organised free trade worldwide, and help African countries stop malaria. Global warming was the last thing on the list of things we should strive to resolve right now, as it would require most investment to produce relatively little effect.

The talk drew my attention to the immense problems we have to face, but also to the immeasurable trivialities we seem to get caught up in while positioning ourselves politically and ideologically. How far should our perspectives reach? I'm not setting out to convince anyone that the global warming consequences or blood sheds should be left alone, but I feel that there is much more beyond to resolve and explore both in fields of technology and medical research. The human mind has evolved to understand distances we can travel and time stretches we can perceive within our lifetimes, but with our current understanding of history, space, and biology, we should strive to push ourselves and our perspectives a little further.

The agricultural history dates back roughly 2000 years and we've been developing the industrial side of our existence for only about 300. At times I feel that humanity is squabbling with itself rather than focusing on what's ahead. The European politics, with yes, some important issues, but overall with an immense amount of human potential simply flushed down the drain to short-term and short-sight visions and solutions. How come is so much of the world still so far behind compared to its current capabilities? Going back to economics, it would take $40-70 bln a year to resolve most of the disease/malnutrition quagmire by 2015. I really do not mean to bash, but the $100 bln the US is pouring into Iraq seems a little out of place right now.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

The lightbulb quagmire

I always wondered why people write blogs about their personal lives, but at this point in my life I have to do the same. My relationship with the lightbulb industry is escalating into a never-ending game of bait and trick. Perhaps for most people it's all very 'duh', but I find lightbulbs to be one of the most complicated things to purchase these days. Are lightbulbs not the only element of the household you have to buy with a reference code in your head? I recently got a desk lamp for my room and managed to buy 5 lightbulbs of the wrong kind. Once I did buy the correct one, it was of course already broken when coming out of the box. Why are there three different ways to insert them, different widths, not to mention the shapes and shades they come in? Do we need a lightbulb revolution?