Friday, May 28, 2010


We are currently in the run-up to my second World Cup outside of England. But this isn't stopping me from getting excited... I am glad to be missing out on the tabloid crap of all or nothing swings from either ridiculously high expectations to England are the worst team in the world. That aside I am also missing the England flags everywhere, the feeling that the whole country is coming together to watch a few games (apart from my Mum), Match of the Day and of course Panini. At least it will be easier to deal with the inevitable disappointment when England go out at the quarter finals on penalties again.
Anyway to keep me going until kick off I have been watching some of my favourite World Cup goals, Bergkamp, Cambiasso, Tardelli, Carlos Alberto, Owen, Maradona, Negrete, Letchkov and of course, this.... They think it's all over...
Come on England!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Terremoto in Costa Rica

For some reason the two countries I have lived in since March 2008 have been pretty seismically active. Japan and Costa Rica.
Today we had a pretty big one. Rocky and I were walking in the coffee field, on top of this little hill that separates two plantations (where we saw monkeys a few weeks ago). It was pretty shaky and the trees threw all the residual rain on us. I think I was more scared than she was though.
I don't think earthquakes are something I will ever get used to.

US in decline? The Chinese century?

These are two of the things I want to write my MA thesis about.
I just watched a very interesting lecture by Joseph Nye at Chatham House in London talking about those two things.
In short his answers were no & no. The reasons why were interesting.
Firstly our conception of power is too narrow, we should take into account military, economic and transnational power. Militarily the US will remain the global superpower for some time. Economically we are already in a multipolar world economy. The EU has the largest economy in the world. Japan is still a major player and even if China's economy is bigger than the US by 2027 (Goldman Sachs estimate) this will not mean that China is economically more powerful than the US. Mainly due to the unevenness of Chinese development and the huge lead the US has in the most important industries like technology and biotechnology. Transnationally problems such as climate change, terrorism and pandemics can affect every state across national borders, not only the US, more cooperation is needed.
One other thing we have to be more aware of than ever before now is the diffusion of power from states to groups, organisations and individuals. The massive reduction in cost of computing power means that it is difficult to know exactly where threats come from. Again this is a problem for every state not just the US.

A very interesting talk. And afterwards there are some very interesting answers to some questions too.

Wisdom teeth extraction in Costa Rica

It is late in my life to have my wisdom teeth removed. They only started to cause problems about a year ago in Japan and after my visit to the dentist here to get a check up I decided the time had come to remove the bottom two wisdom teeth.
The right hand side one was done last week and didn't really cause too many problems. It hurt afterwards and swelled up pretty big but after 2 days I was able to eat reasonably normally, chewing on the other side of my mouth.
The left hand side one was removed on Monday this week. Big difference. It was growing downwards into the next tooth, and the dentist had to make a deeper cut. The whole process took about 1 hr 45 mins with lots of grinding and pushing and pulling. Eventually he had to split the tooth into 3 pieces to get it out. I had 3 shots of local anaesthetic but I could still feel the pain... Ow. The healing process has been worse too, my mouth swelled up like I had a tennis ball in there and still hasn't gone down. I can't open my mouth more than a centimetre and it hurts when I talk or chew. Luckily Stephanie has made me some wonderful blended food items and smoothies but I am craving proper food now.
Hopefully by the weekend...