I have not seen Bulgaria since I left for the US in 1991. I stay in touch with Bulgarian family and friends via email, Facebook and telephone, but have been somewhat removed from the political process there.
Yet something significant is happening in Bulgaria these days, causing me to pay attention. Mass citizen protests have flooded the streets in major cities — Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas — for six days and counting. The protests are peaceful. But what do the protesters want? Bulgarian Georgi Marinov (“a very internet person”) offers an excellent analysis.
At first glance, beautiful Bulgaria has a lot of democracy going on — laws, elections, a parliament, a president, markets, EU membership, free will, the works, we have it. Look from the outside, and it’s clearly there. The inside of this strange hologram, though, feels very different, especially if you’re a Bulgarian.
I have been a daily visitor to NJ.com for years. I have never had any serious problems, other than the occasional pop-up, which somehow (I wonder how) manages to sneak past my web browser’s pop-up blocker.
However, since I started using Yandex Browser last week, about half of the pages on NJ.com are being flagged as containing malware, and display a message similar to this one. Other browsers, such as the latest versions of Google Chrome and Firefox, generate no warnings and display the requested NJ.com pages. So what is going on? Is Yandex Browser throwing false positives, or are other browsers failing to block potentially harmful malware?
Yandex Browser is built by the Russian internet search giant Yandex. The browser is based on the open-source Chromium code, and uses security data from Sophos — a respected antivirus and IT security company headquartered in the UK.
I took this picture two days ago, while sailing on the waters of Raritan Bay/Lower New York Harbor. Below the image is an embedded Bing map with the approximate location of my position at the time I took the photo. We were headed east, and I was sitting on the starboard rail, facing south. The land mass on the horizon is Sandy Hook.
In this photo we see the edge where the brown Raritan Bay water, flowing east, meets the blue Lower New York Harbor water, flowing south.
Generations of Eastern Europeans grew up with jokes like the one below. As a result, this Eastern European isn’t surprised in the slightest by the current PRISM “revelations” — just amused by the ensuing tempest in a teapot. Friends: Develop a sense of humor.
USSR, 1975: Arkady Ivanov travels on business. He must share a hotel room for the night with two strangers — Boris and Vadim. Arkady wants to sleep, but Boris and Vadim keep telling political jokes, laughing hysterically after each one, keeping Arkady awake. Arkady asks them to stop, Boris and Vadim won’t.
Arkady leaves the room to go to the bathroom (one on each floor), and asks the concierge: “Can you please bring some tea to room 307 in ten minutes?” Arkady returns to his room, and after a while leans into the ashtray and says: “This is Major Ivanov. Please bring tea to the room.” In a minute the concierge knocks on the door and brings in the tea.
Boris and Vadim look at each other, then at Arkady. Dead silence sets in. Arkady finally falls asleep.
Arkady wakes up next morning to see that Boris and Vadim are gone. “Where are the other two?” — he asks the concierge. “Oh, Major Ivanov took them. He was supposed to take you, too, but he liked your joke very much so he cut you a break this time.”
Today Yandex Browser justified my trust. After clicking on a Twitter link from a very reputable source, Yandex Browser navigated to The Atlantic, then instantly threw a malware warning (screenshot below). I have seen similar warnings from Google Chrome.
Full text of warning:
may harm your computer
A webpage on www.theatlantic.com is attempting to download information from cdn.komoona.com, which contains malware. The owner of the site may be completely unaware of any malware installed on the site by hackers.
You can see more detailed information about the threat or a cached version of the site on the threat information page.
I loved Chromium for its speed and no-frills performance, but it lacked some features. I wished I had the skills to customize Chromium and add just the features I needed. I did not, however, so I silently reverted to using Chrome and Firefox.
Which are the top ten tennis countries in the world in 2013? The answer depends on the definition of “top tennis country”. Is it the country with the most tennis players? Is it the country with the most professional players? Is it the country with the most champions?
I rated “tennis countries” according to two sets of criteria:
The country with the most professional tennis players in the top 100
#1 above, normalized by country population
A tale of two maps
I mapped the data separately for both criteria — #1 (total number of players in the top 100) and #2 (players in the top 100 per million residents). You can see that the two maps (below) look starkly different.
The tabular data below each map shows that Spain ranks #1 by total number of players, while Slovakia ranks tops by players per population. So, which is the top tennis country in the world? You be the judge.
Below is a map of the top 100 WTA (female) professional tennis players by country as of May 28, 2013. The map shows that the United States and Russia are a hotbed for women’s professional tennis, with 10 players in the top 100 each.
Below is a map of the top 100 ATP (male) professional tennis players by country as of May 28, 2013. The map shows that Spain and France are a hotbed for men’s professional tennis, with 13 and 12 players in the top 100, respectively.
My friend Jon Verpent is not your typical 29-year-old. For one thing, he looks much younger (this is a compliment, Jon). But let me tell you about the other.
Unlike your typical 29-year-old who might want to celebrate their 30th birthday by, say, trying 30 different beers, Jon set out to complete 30 good deeds. Instead of giving something to himself, Jon decided to celebrate by giving something of himself.
So next time someone tells you that today’s young people only think about themselves, you can say “Not all of them.”