Category Archives: Nations

This Tiny Country Feeds the World

African drought? “Water isn’t the fundamental problem. It’s poor soil,” he says. “The absence of nutrients can be offset by cultivating plants that act in symbiosis with certain bacteria to produce their own fertilizer.” The soaring cost of grain to feed animals? “Feed them grasshoppers instead,” he says. One hectare of land yields one metric ton of soy protein, a common livestock feed, a year. The same amount of land can produce 150 tons of insect protein.

From This Tiny Country Feeds the World, National Geographic.

 

The American Dream Is Killing Us

The sad truth is that fewer people today are getting ahead than before. And they’re getting ahead not due to their hard work or their education as much as their connections, their family’s socioeconomic status, and of course, just the plain luck of not getting horribly sick or getting into a serious accident. Not only is this not the American Dream, it’s the antithesis of the American Dream. It’s the old feudal order where you’re born into your privilege (or lack thereof) and forced to just hope things don’t get any worse.

Source: The American Dream Is Killing Us

SingTel Mystery Fail

I was humming along on the internet last Tuesday when the ‘next page’ link didn’t work for some reason. That’s not so unusual so I tried another site. Nothing. I rebooted. Nothing. I rebooted the router/etc. Nothing. I repeated this for hours. Nothing. I tried my mobile phone internet to see if there was some reported problem with SingTel. There was no internet there either. I tried calling support and the call failed. After dozens of attempts the call connected but the line sounded like a modem from days gone by. I finally had to borrow a Starhub phone from a friend to get through to SingTel support to be told that there is no problem with anything. Of course we had to reboot everything again and again to have a tech sent out … on Saturday! This was my first week of a class that is incredibly dependent upon being able to connect to the net!

On the side of the mobile phone at least, it suddenly started working around lunchtime on Wednesday. According to the Strait’s Times the SingTel 3G network was out for most of the country for a day and a half. And the “customer support” line just lied. On a hilariously infuriating note, after getting through for a few seconds and being disconnected, I got an immediate SMS asking me to kindly rate their service! It would have been considerably less slimy if the largest and most stable phone company in this country would have thought to send some sort of notice to their subscribers (by SMS which worked through everything) rather than lying and causing everyone somehow suddenly out of communication to try reinstalling their phone and other destructive behaviors.

Back to the internet. We have high speed fiber. All of the router lights were green. I would have been happier if they were red since that would be more believable. The tech confirmed, what they didn’t want to believe when speaking to them, that even the admin interface to the router was inaccessible when directly connected to it while all lights still happily smirked green. He replaced the router and it worked. Then it didn’t. Replug. Reboot. Works. Doesn’t. Hard-Reset. Okay. Happiness. I feel a bit bad for the tech since we still don’t know what was wrong, why it was wrong, and how on earth the lights were green despite everything being wrong. He promised to write up the whole situation in their records to that if (when?) this happens again someone might believe me. I somehow doubt they will.

For now, the lifeblood flows …