Brunolem

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About Brunolem

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  • Birthday 05/21/1957

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    Isaan

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    Isaan
  1. Here is an article that confirms what I was writing above: driverless cars require a huge amount of data to be safe, and the technology for that is not ready yet and won't be for many years to come. Note that the article is not only about driverless cars, but about automation in general...and written by scientists, not by publicists... http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/dont-believe-hype-ai-driven-world-still-long-way-off/
  2. Ants are becoming a major nuisance, not only for coffee trees...they are everywhere this year! Never seen anything like that. Not a square inch of ground is free of them, and of course they colonize the trees, especially the mango trees. Red ants prefer mango trees and are very aggressive, but it is nothing compared to these very very small ants that are everywhere on the ground and in the coffee trees. They bite long before one can see them and it hurts like hell. It has reached such a point that I can go work in the garden only after wearing socks and keeping with me at all times a pack of white powdered ant poison which I use with abandon. I have never seen anything like that in the past. My guess is this ant infestation has to do both with climate change and with the mass extinction of species, including thos which used to keep the ant population under control.
  3. Thanks for all this information. After doing some reasearch on internet, I can confirm that it is a mealy bug infestation. I followed the advice given by different posters and went on spraying the buggers and their eggs with water, with the sprayer very close to the target so as to give maximum power to the water. It went on quite well. As you say, I have a small number of trees, so I was able to treat them branch by branch, from above and from below...bugs are mostly concentrated below the joints and the leaves (seem like they don't like sun). I will follow up every week to make sure they don't come back, at least in too large quantities. Right now there are coffee cherries growing, so I don't think it is the right time for pruning.
  4. Talk about putting the cart before the horse, or in this case the passengers before the train. Yesterday, on one of the Thai TV networks, there was an animated discussion between three talking heads. The subject: travelling in Thailand in the "new" high speed train. They seemed to know a lot about it...they knew precisely how much time it would take to go from Bangkok to Korat, and how much it would cost...have they already printed the tickets? They were excited as if they were ready to embark! Only the suitcases were missing...and, well, the train... But the construction of the railway was not the issue...after all, why bother with details? Having said that and even if still very far away in the future, while this high speed train, part of the One Belt chinese project, may serve the interests of China, it is unlikely to serve those of Thailand. China has such an overcapacity in steel production that it could cover the Earth with railroads, and still have a lot left. On the other hand, Thailand doesn't have a thriving middle class who can afford to travel in such luxury. Thus, it is likely that in 2117, when the first high speed trains will roll, they will be almost empty...
  5. There is that (Bangkok first), and also I don't remember seing 5 baht packs of chips on the shelves of either Lotus, Big C or Tops, the main supermarkets chains in the country. Small 5 baht packs are available mostly at mom and pops shops, and being blown full of air like balloons, it is indeed difficult to break the 5 chips tucked inside...I know since my wife runs one of those mom and pops shops... For those who have not experienced the crumbs, just try and buy a family pack at Lotus...
  6. I can't see any sell-by date on chips, at least on Lays...these things are quasi-immortal, even though there are not unbreakable.. Discounts are generally a clever way to increase the price while keeping us smiling. Here is how it goes: a pack of Lays that retailed for 25 baht is now offered at 27 baht, but...if one buys 2 packs, then one pays 48 baht! This goes on for a couple of weeks, after which the new price of 27 baht becomes the norm. Meanwhile, the ratio of full size chips/crumbs remains unchanged at around 20%.
  7. Always eager to accomodate their customers, international supermarkets chains conduct surveys in order to satisfy their needs. While doing so in Thailand, they apparently came to the conclusion that the local customers don't like to chew, especially when it comes to dry food such as chips or cookies, for example. They have thus instructed their staff accordingly: "while handling packs of chips, cookies and the likes, do not handle with care...if the shelf provides space for 10 packs, try to make space for 12 or more by applying enough pressure, with both hands if necessary...at the cashier, once you have managed to fill one of our super resistant plastic bags with 4 supersized bottles of Coke, try to insert a pack of chips in the middle, it will cushion the shocks... refrain from playing football with packs of cookies, since it might tear the packaging open and let some crumbs escape...remember, we do our best to sell our customers what they want, and in the Land of Smiles what they want are crumbs, lots of it...let' em eat crumbs!"
  8. While I am all for clean energy, the facts remain that the world has never extracted so much oil, that carbon emissions are still at record levels, that renewables such as wind and solar still represent, worldwide, a very very small fraction of our energy sources, and that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere keeps on rising. China is now cited as an example (!) as if it hadn't opened a couple of coal powered stations every week for years! The fact is that the same nations that talk a lot about fighting climate change keep on celebrating every time their carmakers or their plane manufacturers beat their sales records: 16 million cars sold in the US only last year, a very tiny number of them electric, celebrations! Airbus just sold more than 100 planes to just one airline, celebrations! Too many people, who consume too much energy...there lies the real problem...at least for the planet...
  9. Yes, I do know quite a number of them...actually they are my neighbors...the village chief, one of his aide, a policeman, a few who work for the tambon administration and so on... As Greenchair writes above, it is true that they get some extras and perks, on top of their meager salaries...yet his 20,000 baht example, after 20 years of service, is much more realistic than the amonts he was talking about before. Among the perks is the fact that they can borrow money at very low cost. Yet, when it is all said and done, one doesn't become wealthy by working as a civil servant...working honestly of course...
  10. Where did you get these numbers? In some newspaper? How many Thais do you personally know, who work in a public administration? Do you really think that all these workers have bachelor or master degrees? A great number of them have just managed to finish high school. A village chief (Phu Yai Baan), who is a public servant, makes 8,000 baht a month, while his aides (Phu Chuay) make 3,000 baht a month. An administrative worker, at tambon level, with a master degree...of whom I know 2 living next door to me, makes 15,000 baht a month. At the highest level, an MP in Bangkok was making 60,000 baht a month, but that was some years ago...I don't have recent data for them. Public school teachers also make very little money, as do cops and many others. Being a public servant in Thailand is not like working for Goldman Sachs, as you seem to believe...
  11. Thorium could indeed be a solution, or at least a large part of it. More generally, until now the production of electricity has been under (big) government control and management. A national nuclear program, for example, requires legislation, control and huge resources that only a government can put together. Whether in the US or EU, one can hardly imagine a private company launching a thorium based nuclear program to produce electricity. The problem is that, worldwide, governments are broke, smothered by mountains of debts, and can't start such a program, when they are not even able to maintain roads, bridges and water distribution. Wind energy causes a lot of carbon emissions, especially because of the huge amount of cement involved, and its transportation from the factories to the sites. Solar has made a lot of progress, but not everywhere enjoys frequent sunshine, far from it. Yet, renewables can't match oil, for the simple reason that oil in a concentrate of solar energy, easy to store...all the advantages, save for the toxic emissions... Wind is a derivative of solar energy. And solar energy is nothing but nuclear energy. In the end, there is nothing but nuclear energy...unfortunately the latter is difficult, and expensive, to master...
  12. This grammar and spelling thing is very funny, but at some point one has to stop... Some bar girls, as you call them, do speak good English while others don't...it generally depends on how long they have been working, and for the older ones, how long they have been living with an English speaking boyfriend before going back to the bar. As far as government employees are concerned, they are far from being highly paid...many of them make between 5,000 and 10,000 baht a month, nothing to crow about. Bar girls on the other hand, especially those who speak good English, can make much more than that...up to 60,000 baht a month, not including the monthly payments made by some naive foreign sponsors who believe that if they send money to their sweetheart, she will stop working in a bar!
  13. I am not convinced that being a native speaker gives an edge, even though the local school authorities do certainly think so. Many natives, the world over, are far from mastering their own language...just look at Trump, or W Bush before him... Having said that, I am still not comfortable with "emulate their job" and would rather go with "emulate their co-workers" for example. Also the "needs of their job" could be replaced by the "requirements of their jobs"...and finally "getting foreign customers" could be replaced by "attracting foreign customers". But then again I am not a native speaker...
  14. Or maybe they are planning...to be invaded! With the US these days, one never knows. And even though most Americans speak Spanish, there are still some who speak English...anyway there are much more so-called English teachers available around here than Spanish ones, which may explain the choice...
  15. One probably can't "emulate a job"...actually there is not much that one can "verb + a job". Instead, one could say that these ladies learn English in order to "boost their income"