24 May 2012

Pocket’s Most-Saved Videos: Neil Gaiman’s advice to graduates, plus a boxing coach who thinks you’re terrible

Pocket’s Most-Saved Videos: Neil Gaiman’s advice to graduates, plus a boxing coach who thinks you’re terrible:

Every week: A handpicked collection of the most popular videos saved in Pocket. Enjoy!

1. “Neil Gaiman Addresses the University of the Arts Class of 2012″ (19:56)

“If you don’t know it’s impossible, it’s easier to do.” The author and graphic novelist offers graduation advice for creative spirits:

Siem Reap's West Baray

Siem Reap's West Baray:
There may be no beach in Siem Reap, but we do have a baray which, when you look into it, is arguably much cooler. The West Baray is an enormous reservoir that was most likely constructed during the 11th century. At 8,000 metres long and 2,100 metres wide, it is equivalent in size to more than 2,000 football pitches, and was built by hand.
Low tide: dry season at the baray
Low tide: dry season at the baray.
A small island sits in the centre of the baray where you’ll find the dilapidated remains of West Mebon temple. The temple is built in the same style as Baphuon, beside Bayon, hence the assumption that the Baray was built during the 11th century. Otherwise, we know very little about why it was built. Theories have suggested that it was used for irrigation, though this has been largely discarded, or for ceremonial purposes, or for flood management.
Hope it's as tasty as it is pretty
Hope it's as tasty as it is pretty
Today though it is used mostly for leisure purposes; you can chill out in a hammock, swim in the water, enjoy a delicious picnic of barbecued chicken or fish, and take a ride across the water to the island on one of the boats.
Trying to photograph hammocks with the wrong lens
Trying to photograph hammocks with the wrong lens.
Though less well documented than the law on gravity, the law that picnics taste better on islands is considered by experts to be equally well-established.
Not quite Rotterdam, but it gets quite busy sometimes
Not quite Rotterdam, but it gets quite busy sometimes.
The boat hire is a little pricey, at $20, but you can easily fit about eight people into one which makes it work out a little bit better if you're running in a pack. The hammocks however are a bargain at 5,000 riel.
The lake
The lake.
If you’re not into any of that, there’s a reasonably nice walk around the levee that functions as a dyke around the baray. It’s 20 kilometres all the way around, so unless you're feeling really ambitious, don’t plan on circumnavigating the whole thing. It's a good idea to bring water and sunscreen no matter how long you’re planning to walk for though.
Loads of Cambodians come here to cool off in the reservoir
Loads of Cambodians come here to cool off in the reservoir.
The baray is down a tarmac road that turns off just about six kilometres to the west of Siem Reap, and getting there by tuk tuk or moto is a simple matter.
Behind the lake
Behind the lake.
It's a very popular family leisure spot with locals as well, so even if you are planning on a swim please remember to respect local customs and dress modestly.

Review: Lang Nuong Nam Bo

Review: Lang Nuong Nam Bo:
Just a short trip from the backpacker area of Pham Ngu Lao, extremely large Lang Nuong Nam Bo sits off the main road down a long, wide alley. Set in an area that is rarely visited by tourists, you may feel like you’re in a different city when you find the restaurant even though you’re only 10 minutes' away from the tourist hub.
So, this is where the party's at!
So, this is where the party's at.
Lang Nuong Nam Bo has hundreds of tables spanning its two floors, and it stays constantly full most nights. Being away from the tourist hotspots makes this a place to get a better experience of local, family-style dining. The restaurant caters more to groups and even though there are tables available for two, the majority of diners are large parties. You’ll find the restaurant has a great atmosphere, with people loudly conversing, laughing and constantly chanting the Vietnamese cheers of ‘mot, hai, ba, YO!’ It probably doesn’t hurt the overall happy vibe that each table has a crate of beer under the table ready to be consumed.
Sparkly lights are always a nice touch in my book.
Sparkly lights; always a nice touch.
Even though Lang Nuong Nam Bo seats hundreds of guests, it's still open-air; a roof will protect you from the elements but walls are harder to find. The lack of walls of course means no air-con, and though they have plenty of fans in an attempt to compensate there are spots where you may not get much airflow.
The pig points the way!
The pig points the way!
If you can brave the slightly hotter conditions, you are rewarded to a menu of more than 100 Central Vietnamese countryside dishes, including beef, rabbit and more unique dishes like hot vit lon, but what the restaurant is famous for is its roasted suckling pig -- you'll walk past the pig grill on the way into the restaurant. When you order a pig for the table it's delivered and cut into a bunch of easily shareable pieces. And it is worth the praise that it receives; the meat is tender and delicious with one suckling pig providing more than two kilograms of meat, which is enough for a group of six to eight to share. The pig also comes with a plate of dumplings, half that are steamed, and half that are fried.
Even though the the place can be packed with rambunctious diners constantly demanding refills, somehow Lang Nuong Nam Bo manages to staff accordingly; at times it seems like there are three waiters for every table. Maybe it was because they don’t get quite as many foreign guests, but they seemed extra happy to help me with my order and to keep my glass full of ice, even if I was only drinking bottled water.
As Lang Nuong Nam Bo is more of a family-style joint, prices of the dishes are made to split between groups. So while you might have a bit of sticker shock when you see the suckling pig’s 800,000 VND price tag, split between a group it’s much more manageable. If you can get a group of six to eight together, expect to pay around 200,000 to 250,000 VND a head for a meal here.
That's a lot of meat!
That's a lot of meat!
There’s no other place in Saigon as renowned for pig as Lang Nuong Nam Bo, so if you have an overwhelming desire for a whole pig this is your spot. If this seems a little too local, head across town to Cuc Gach Quan in District 3 for similar food in a more peaceful setting. If you want to go even more local, stay in Pham Ngu Lao and get some street food from Thai Binh market at the end of the road.
Lang Nuong Nam Bo

283-285/145 CMT8, District 10

T: (08) 3863 2309
Further reading: Suckling pig in Bali

21 May 2012

Chris Hedges on Oligarchy and the Global Collapse - Truthdig

Chris Hedges on Oligarchy and the Global Collapse - Truthdig
Why aren't more people listening to this guy?

Chris Hedges: Colonized by Corporations - Chris Hedges' Columns - Truthdig

Chris Hedges: Colonized by Corporations - Chris Hedges' Columns - Truthdig
It is time to wake up to the colonial oppression the world is living in.  We only have to look at the power wielded here by the mining industry, corporate media, financial institutions, and the insurance industry to see how most of our politicians are just puppets dancing to the corporate tune and are only interested in what keeps them in power.