➟ Henry Kissinger on Lee Kuan Yew

High praise for the founder of modern Singapore, from Nobel Peace Prize-winning former American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, in the 2010 Time Magazine list of the world’s 100 most influential people.

There is no better strategic thinker in the world today. Two generations of American leaders have benefited from his counsel.

Link (via @davechua)

Since You Asked

I think I do a good impression.

Just wanted to mention a great birthday gift I got today, a signed copy of Cary Tennis’ Since You Asked. Cary is Salon.com’s resident advice columnist, and a damned good one. Certainly the best I’ve ever read. The book is a collection of his responses, which are unfailingly thoughtful, inspiring and human, even when they don’t have any solutions to offer.

Buy the book from Cary’s own site here (he even signed the receipt, adding “Enjoy!”) or from Amazon via the link below.

➟ Super Mario Crossover

It’s hard to believe you can play a game this awesome for free, in your browser. Programmer Jay Pavlina spent over a year recreating the entire Super Mario Bros. game, with playable characters from other NES-era classics.
I just powered through World 1-1 as Mega Man, shooting Goombas with my arm cannon, and machine-gunned the hell out of World 1-2 as Bill from Contra. Also available: Samus Aran from Metroid, Simon Belmont from Castlevania, and Link from the Legend of Zelda.


➟ The Geocities-izer

Enter a URL and this script will render any modern website in the unforgettable style of Geocities homepages circa 1996. I tried it on this blog and got an eye-searing yellow and white mess of Comic Sans and animated arrow GIFs, complete with an Alanis Morrisette MIDI file. It’s like they’ve actually seen my old Geocities page!


➟ The History of Libraries Through the Ages

A comprehensive (for a blog post) look at the longstanding correlation between the availability of libraries and the flourishing of human culture. On a related note: check out my friend Peishan’s new biblio-centric blog, Shelf Conscious, which I helped name. The very talented Jussi Edlund of Supershapes barfed out a sweet logo for her in just under ten minutes.

➟ Vertu’s Japanese art phones

Dubbed the Signature Kissho Collection, these four lacquered cellphones cost about $200,000 USD each, and were handcrafted by Kazumi Murose. I really don’t know why Vertu exists anymore. Most companies would commission a project like this for the publicity, which might then enhance their brand and sell more regular phones. But Vertu’s regular phones aren’t much less crazy or expensive than this. Does Vertu help the Nokia brand in any way?

➟ Jibbigo: bi-directional speech translation iPhone app

This is a traveler’s dream come true. Speak a sentence in English, and Jibbigo recognizes the words, translates it into the foreign language, and reads it aloud. The other person can then reply, and it will come out in English. It’s featured in Apple’s latest iPhone app demo advertisement, Backpacker.
The app is completely self-contained and doesn’t require an internet connection. Mandarin, Japanese, and Spanish are the three languages available right now, with more to come. It’s priced a little high by App Store standards ($25USD to $28USD), but I would pay that just as a means of practicing and improving my own language skills, say with the Chinese app, for example.


➟ British Airways compensates trapped travelers with free hotels, spending money, holiday

This is remarkable customer service/damage control from an airline I routinely hear complaints about. English travelers trapped in Japan (for potentially nine days) were rewarded with free hotel stays, a flight to New York, where they were put up for a few days in 4-star hotels and given money for food, and then flown back to Glasgow via Dublin.
So instead of sleeping in airports like most other people, they had a free holiday on the side, complete with champagne and leopard-print bathrobes.


➟ Funny Thai ad for Bridgestone tires

I found this last night while going through some old files on my harddrive. Someone at my old job had forwarded it to me as an example of humor in Thai advertising. As always, it’s all about the twist.

(In case the translation doesn’t make it sufficiently clear, the sporty tires gave him away.)