My long-lost relatives in Australia?

Purnell Citywide: relatives of mine in Canberra, Australia?

Thanks to my pal Ben P. for sending along this snap shot he took recently in Canberra, Australia. Purnell Citywide appears to be a real estate firm there. ((Ben’s previous contribution to this blog is the excellent “On Guns and America,” which I asked him to write in the wake of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.))

My understanding is that many Purnells came from England to the mid-Atlantic of the US in the 17th century. But perhaps there were others who made their way down under? ((A Google search for “Purnells” reveals many things, perhaps most interestingly — given my interest in amusing foodstuffs — this.))


World-Wide “Stand by Me”

If this video (embedded above) doesn’t make you smile, nothing will.


What I’ve been reading

Here’s what I’ve been reading lately:

  1. “How the city hurts your brain…And what you can do about it

    The city has always been an engine of intellectual life, from the 18th-century coffeehouses of London, where citizens gathered to discuss chemistry and radical politics, to the Left Bank bars of modern Paris, where Pablo Picasso held forth on modern art. Without the metropolis, we might not have had the great art of Shakespeare or James Joyce; even Einstein was inspired by commuter trains.

    And yet, city life isn’t easy. The same London cafes that stimulated Ben Franklin also helped spread cholera; Picasso eventually bought an estate in quiet Provence. While the modern city might be a haven for playwrights, poets, and physicists, it’s also a deeply unnatural and overwhelming place.

    Now scientists have begun to examine how the city affects the brain, and the results are chastening.

  2. AFP: “Thailand blocks 2,300 websites for insulting monarchy

    Thai authorities have blocked 2,300 websites for allegedly insulting the country’s revered monarchy and are waiting for court approval to restrict another 400, the government said Tuesday.

    The blocking of the websites under harsh lese majeste laws which protect King Bhumibol Adulyadej has been criticised by rights groups and media organisations in recent months.

  3. Suzanne Yada: “Resolutions for journalism students, part I: Become invaluable” and “Resolutions for journalism students, part II: Network like mad

    If I only had two career resolutions for 2009, it would be these:

    1) Become invaluable, and
    2) Network like mad.

  4. Winterspeak: “It ain’t over

    …The US has had a high volatility, but flat 13 years, with the near and medium term outlook decidedly gloomy. Will we have 20 years of flat, but high vol, equity prices?

  5. CJR: “Interview with Clay Shirky, Part I

    “There’s always a new Luddism whenever there’s change.”

  6. Tools for News — a compendium of tools for online and multimedia journalists
  7. Read Write Web: “2009 Web Predictions

    It’s time for our annual predictions post, in which the ReadWriteWeb authors look forward to what 2009 might bring in the world of Web technology and new media.

    Looking back at our 2008 Web predictions, we got some of them right! “The big Internet companies will [embrace] open standards” (Google, Yahoo and others did this); “Mobile web usage will be a big story in 2008” (check!); “Web Services platforms will be a fierce battleground” (Microsoft Azure and Google App Engine were released and AWS grew). We also got some wrong, including most of our acquisition picks! Digg, Twitter, Zoho, Tumblr – all remain independent. Not to be deterred, we’ve made new acquisition predictions for ’09… although the names will be familiar 😉


iPhone 3G coming to Thailand on Jan. 16

This story came out nearly two weeks ago, but I thought it would be of interest to readers here in Thailand.

Reuters: “True Move to unveil iPhone 3G on January 16”

BANGKOK, Dec 24 (Reuters) – True Move PCL, Thailand’s third largest mobile phone firm, said on Wednesday it planned to sell Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) 3G iPhone in Thailand from Jan. 16, a key driver which should boost revenue next year.

The deal will make True Move, a subsidiary of True Corp TRUE.BK, the first operator to sell the new phone in the fast-growing Thai market.

Shares in True Corp TRUE.BK, which owns 75.26 percent of True Move, surged 17 percent to close at a near two-month high of 1.65 baht. The overall Thai market .SETI was down 0.3 percent.

True Move will sell the 8GB model for an upfront payment of 6,999 baht ($202) and monthly fees of 1,199 baht. Customers are required to use True Move services for at least 24 months, it said in a statement.

(Thanks to BL for the tip.)


More on the Bangkok nightclub fire

Some updates on the new year’s eve Bangkok nightclub fire:

  1. At least 59 people were killed and approximately 200 were injured. Some estimates put the number of dead at 61 or 62.
  2. The club was popular with Thais and foreigners alike. Survivors include citizens of 12 countries.
  3. Witnesses say partygoers at the nightclub had only one exit from which to escape the fire. Some reports say the club had just one fire extinguisher.
  4. It may take up to a week to identify approximately 30 of the bodies, as they were burned beyond recognition.
  5. The club was called Santika, located on Ekkamai road (Sukhumvit soi 63).
  6. Witnesses say the blaze was started by fireworks that were ignited inside the club, though police say the exact cause is still unclear. Some witnesses say revelers were given sparklers inside the club.
  7. A sad, ironic twist: new year’s eve marked the club’s “Goodbye Santika” party, as the property’s lease was up and the club was due to be relocated.
  8. A Wikipedia page called “2009 Bangkok nightclub fire” has been established.

Here are some recent media reports: