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Bruno, long time ago

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Fri, 16 Jul 2004 Bobby Fischer was found... And I missed him

Bobby Fischer Apparently, Bobby Fischer (world chess champion in 1972) was caught in Narita Airport, while he wanted to flight to Philipines with no valid passport.
There are chances that he could be extradited to the United States, mainly for political reasons.

As he is my All Times favourite player, the most disappointing point for me is that he apparently frequented the Tokyo Chess Club (member of the JCA - Japan Chess Association), where I used to play a couple of years ago!!

Fischer's own web site (in Japan) has just been updated with a phone number for people wishing to help him in the current case (+81 3 3735 3675). This is... the number of the Club where I played...

If you wonder who is this guy, have a look on Wikipedia's Bobby Fischer entry.


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Sun, 16 May 2004 One hundred years loan in Japan

Now, Japanese can buy a home, and get their children pay for it!

Interesting.

And what will say your children's child, when he/she will receive two of these nice gifts from his/her grandparents?

This looks crazy, but this is not really new: In France, government is using this system (spending now and let next generations manage the deficit) for quite a long time, unfortunately.

Or even better: They found a better system: You pay now for something that you will never get back. The retirement system is the best example as my generation is paying full rate with absolutely no hope of getting any decent retirement allowance later). This exactly means that I am paying for a house that I don't get.

Not bad, is it?

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Fri, 26 Sep 2003 Strong Jishin in Hokkaido

Hokkaido (Northern Japanese island) has been hit by the strongest earthquake worldwide since 2001, at 4:50 this morning. At least 243 people were injured, 16,000 homes were left backed out, and 41,000 people were evacuated. Fishing boats also capsized, a train derailled, a fire started in an industrial plant, etc... The city of Kushiro was hit by a 1 meter tsunami.

I could even feel it in Tokyo!

This earthquake was centered in Pacific Ocean, 100 kilometers east of Hokkaido's eastern coast and 800 kilometers north-northeast of Tokyo.
Its magnitude was 6 on Japan Scale (out of 7) and 8.0 on opened Richter's scale.

It was followed by some aftershocks, a few hours later. One of them was 6 on Japan Scale (7 on Richter's). These aftershocks could go on for up to 10 days.

Really a good time to leave Japan, isn't it?

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Wed, 24 Sep 2003 Farewell Galileo

Galileo (Artist's concept) All these worlds are yours - except Europa. Attempt no landing there.
-- Arthur C. Clarke (2010 - Odyssey Two)

Galileo, launched in 1989, passed away by hitting the dense atmosphere of Jupiter three days ago, on September 21.

The decision has been made quite a long time ago, to prevent any possible collision with Europa, which salted water could hide some form of life.

For more information, read the details of Galileo's last day, and watch the End of Mission webcast (very interesting!), from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Galileo page.


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Tue, 16 Sep 2003 Big one in Tokyo today ot tomorrow? I flee to Singapore!

According to this article, a Japanese scientist thinks that a big earthquake (magnitude of 7 or more) is likely to hit Tokyo today or tomorrow.

The last big one in Tokyo made 120,000 casualties in 1923. Even if building are surely stronger than 80 years ago, they would probably not resist a magnitude 8 earthquake.

This article has a sentence that I don't like very much: Officials and scientists agree that Tokyo is overdue for a huge earthquake.

The good news is that I go to Singapore tomorrow morning, for one week ;-)

Just in case you feel not ready, you better should read this survival guide and this one... This cannot hurt, at least (some kind of Pascal's Wager!).

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Fri, 25 Jul 2003 Phoolan Devi, Bandit Queen, was murdered two years ago

Phoolan Devi You maybe don't know Phoolan Devi, the Bandit Queen, even if she was really famous in her country, India. Here are a few words about her life:

Born in 1963, in a poor low-caste family, she was married at 11 to a man who was 3 times her age. After being abandoned by him, she was raped on a number of occasions, and eventually was kidnapped by bandits.

At the age of 20, she became quickly a legend when she became the "Bandit Queen", and the leader of a group of dacoits (robbers) in north and central India. On Feb 14th, 1981, as she was 18 years old, she attacked the Behmai village, and killed 22 people with the help of her band; One of the victims previously raped her and killed her own lover.

She became the number one police target, but, helped by the population, she always avoided to be captured.

She eventually managed a deal with the government, and, before a crowd of 10,000, she surrendered in 1983 (left picture) to the authorities. She spent the next 11 years in prison without any trial, three more than she negociated.

After being released, she became Member of Parliament in 1994, and tried to fight for the oppressed people. She was even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997!

She was shot dead by three men on Wednesday, 25th July 2001, outside her residence in New Delhi... She was 37.

Here are some links:

BBC News article and biography
goodbyemag.com biography
Philip's Phoolan page (good starting point)
Articles about events following her death
Biography and interview (1996). Read only this one if you are lazy!


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Mon, 26 May 2003 Jishin in Japan

Three hours ago, at 18:24, an earthquake measured six (on seven) on a Japanese scale, (and seven on the Richter scale) did hit Miyagi prefecture (near Sendai city). There were no victims apparently.

Tokyo, nearly 400 kilometers south, was hit too (I was in the office, on 15th floor, when it happened). It was not very strong, but quite long :-(

The full earthquake data is here, but I don't know how long this link will be valid...

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Fri, 16 May 2003 One more week to live

We have got one more week before the end of the world, according to the japanese men in white group . They previously announced that May 15th should be the end for all of us, but eventually decided that the apocalypse was postponed one week (next Thursday). Cool, isn't it?

What will you do during your last days?

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Wed, 16 Apr 2003 Possible power outages in Tokyo this summer

Nuclear fear After several accidents and scandals linked to Japanese nuclear industry in the recent years, TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) stopped the last of its 17 reactors yesterday for security checks.
Apparently they will need at least 10 reactors up and running this summer to cover Tokyo needs (when all air-conditioners will be up). Alternative power sources should not be enough.

A chronology of the most serious accident (Tokaimura, Sept 1999) can be found here, and here. The Open Directory Project has also a list of articles about this incident.

It is really scary...

The good point is that we could have a 2 months holidays this summer ;-)

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Thu, 10 Apr 2003 Concorde Jet: The End

Concorde Air France and British Airways announced simultaneously today that they would stop using the Concorde. The last flight will be during this Autumn.

Economic reasons (only 16 seats were reserved on Air France today, out of which 4 were no-show; there are nearly 100 seats available), and maintenance costs (this plane is being used for 27 years) are the reasons invoked.

Apparently, the Concorde did not survive the fatal July 2000 accident, the technical problems, Sept 11th, and the current issues (weak economy, Irak war, SARS virus).

People who wish to have a try still have 6 months: Less than 3 hours and a half from Europe to America is worth a try, no? AF & BA will surely offer some special prices for the last months of Concorde life!
British Airways is starting the promotions with a £ 1,999 London to New-York Concorde flight, and a regular return flight.

Anyway I feel sad, it is the best plane made ever. The only remaining choice will be those Boeing 747 turtles :-(

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