Archive for November, 2013

News Round-up, October 2013

November 26, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog thanks ASEAN WEN for this latest and utterly ghastly update on the wildlife crime currently epidemic in one of the most biodiversity rich parts of the world. Being a conservationist, the sort of lamebrain who actually has a vision of my daughter and hers (and yours) sitting down and looking at a book – a book showing animals that she, and hers might see – not in the "Extinct Dept of the School’s Zoology Library enjoying Sharia Law- I find this latest update discouraging. Let us imagine you are a poor Vietnamese working your field, let ME imagine that I am a poor Vietnamese working a paddy. Snappy hat! I love them. But hats aside my daughter comes down with Dengue or has the misfortune to stumble on a nasty rusty piece of refuse from wars. Or just falls over and breaks an arm after going for the ultimate mango in that highest of branches. Happens constantly. Four girls (not mine) drowned yesterday in the North after swimming in a slithery construction pond encumbered with human detritus. Number five died on the way to hospital.We will pursue this story.

You spot an ambulance and you think "An ambulance! Somebody might help!"

The ambulance ignores you (if you are lucky). It’s loaded with smuggled pangolins. No fucking nurses. Unless you want to buy hard drugs. These drivers are Grade A criminals. The operators have no mercy.

The Thai Parks guys blew away three Cambodians a couple of days ago. The Cambos were visiting Thai territory without passports but had the usual AK arsenal for negotiation purposes.

I was so glad to read that the Thais shot them dead after a gun fight. All of us were proud in this husehod. This stuff is becoming too much!

Stealing an ambulance, stuffing it with pangolins, Too much! The Vietnamese caught the ambulance. Here’s the rest of the news.

Brigitte’s Pick: Amazon’s Warehouses – the Chaos Storage Theory in Practice

November 26, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has received the following from Brigitte.


Imagine being the person who has sweep this warehouse – that would be a challenge!

: Amazon’s Warehouses –

inside amazon's chaotic storage warehouses (3)

As the worlds largest online retailer, Amazon needs somewhere to put all of those products. The solution? Giant warehouses.

Eighty to be exact. Strategically located near key shipping hubs around the world.

The warehouses themselves are massive, with some over 1.2 million square feet in size (111,484 sq m). And at the heart of this global

operation are people (over 65,000 of them), and a logistics system known as chaotic storage.

inside amazon's chaotic storage warehouses (5)

Chaotic storage is like organized confusion. Its an organic shelving system without permanent areas or sections.

That means there is no area just for books, or a place just for televisions (like you might expect in a retail store layout).

The products characteristics and attributes are irrelevant. Whats important is the unique barcode associated with every product that enters the warehouse.

inside amazon's chaotic storage warehouses (4)

Every single shelf space inside an Amazon warehouse has a barcode. And every incoming product that requires storage is assigned a specific barcode that matches the shelf space in which it will be stored.

This allows free space to be filled quickly and efficiently.

At the heart of the operation is a sophisticated database that tracks and monitors every single product that enters/leaves the warehouse and keeps a tally on every single shelf space and whether its empty or contains a product.

inside amazon's chaotic storage warehouses (1)

There are several key advantages to the chaotic storage system. First is flexibility. With chaotic storage, freed-up space can be refilled immediately. Second is simplicity.

New employees don’t need to learn where types of products are located. They simply need to find the storage shelf within the warehouse. You don’t need to know what the product is, just where it is. Lastly is optimization.

Amazon must handle millions and millions of orders. That means that at any given moment there is a long list of products that need to be picked from the shelves and prepared for shipment.

Since there is a database that knows every product required for shipment and the location of each product inside the warehouse, an optimized route can be provided to employees responsible for fulfillment.

inside amazon's chaotic storage warehouses (2)

Since Amazon deals with such a wide variety of products there are a few exceptions to the rule.

Really fast-moving articles do not adhere to the same storage system since they enter and leave the warehouse so quickly.

Really bulky and heavy products still require separate storage areas and perishable goods are not ideal for obvious reasons.

inside amazon's chaotic storage warehouses (6)

In this storage system a wide variety of products can be found located next to each other. A necklace could be located beside a DVD and underneath a set of power tools. This arbitrary placement can even help with accuracy as it makes mix-ups less likely when picking orders for shipment.

Overall its a fascinating system that at its core is powered by a complex database yet run by a simple philosophy. Its Chaotic Storage. There’s no better way to put it 🙂

inside amazon's chaotic storage warehouses (7)

Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate 2000-2012

November 26, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has just received this rather gloomy news regarding Malaysia, a country currently swamping TV out here with infuriating advertisements telling everybody how Green the country is. Hope it doesn’t spoil your day.

This new deforestation mapping results out from US-based team is rather depressing but shows how much there is to do to curve the trend.

The real picture is often confusing depending on how plantation areas are classified in different land use assessments.



Thai Days: Starbung’s a winner!

November 24, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog loves a happy ending and here it comes! You may recall the strange tale of a street coffee stall operator who decided to call his establishment Starbungs? And then made a sign that bore an extraordinary resemblance to that mermaid thingummy that graces Starbucks outlets worldwide? Things looked ugly for a while. Litigation loomed, defiance responded, the sign (it seemed) would not come down until it was prized out of his cold dead fingers. Starbucks, I must say, were rather patient with the owner of Starbungs. Starbungs, however, stood firm. And demanded money if he removed his sign. Nobody was particularly concerned about the name. It was that mermaid (if it is a mermaid) logo that caused concern. It struck Starbucks as a theft of intellectual property (if you could describe it as intellectual) and Starbung’s demand for money must have curdled somebody’s coffee at head office. The owner of Starbungs became something of a media attraction – Bangkok was poised to descend into civil unrest, perhaps civil war but who gives a damn, right? Not when there’s a Starbucks/Starbungs head to head! The courts took Starbungs a bit more seriously. The owner marched, head bloodied but unbowed towards the hearing. He had vowed to go to prison rather than remove his sign. Sanity prevailed. It was a last minute thing. Courthouse steps stuff.

There were two options. One? Mr Bung (for that is his name) could be fined 300,000 Baht, and pay an additional 30,000 Baht per month for as long as his mermaid was on public display or could do some heavy time in Bang Khwang playing sex slave to some of the most dangerous sociopaths in SE Asia.

Two? Take the sign down.

At the court house doors he decided to take the sign down and hoped that would be OK with the police. Nobody objected. After all civil war was still looming (and still is).

Bung is still serving coffee and has a new sign. It’s green but Starbucks can’t chase him for that even if it does look very familiar in hue. Starbung’s is no longer the name of his stall. He re-christened it "Bung’s Tears". But Bung clearly likes walking the tightrope with no great attention to erecting a safety net. His new logo features him, Bung, wiping tears from his eyes. He looks rather…mermaidy.

But hey! He’s not being beaten senseless by a Meth gang in the Bangkok Hilton. Starbucks have lost interest. And maybe he can a make a Baht or two selling his coffee to the boys and girls blockading the streets, wearing coloured shirts and sharpening machetes. A rate that a happy ending!

Somebody with time on their hands

November 18, 2013

This lot from Brigitte. Feeling festive! Only one month left to find a snowflake in Namibia or one in Bangkok.

Somebody with time on their hands..

Oh, and by the way, WINTER is just around the corner !!!!!!!!

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Checked by AVG –
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God Save the Queen

November 18, 2013

Revocation and Repossession Order

by Her Royal Majesty QEII

In a momentory fit of anger, following the announcement of
the Shutdown of the Government of the United States of America,
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has issued the following letter
to all citizens of United States of America:
To the citizens of the United States of America
From Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

In light of your failure to financially manage yourselves and your inability to effectively govern yourselves responsibly, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up the word ‘revocation’ only in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which Her Majesty does not fancy). The entire trans atlantic territory of America will be administratively treated at par with the Royal estate in Falkland Islands.

Your new Prime Minister, David William Donald Cameron, will appoint a Governor for the former United States of America without the need for further elections. The Congress and the The Senate will be disbanded. A brief questionnaire may be circulated sometime next year . . . only to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect :

1. You will learn that the suffix ˜burgh” is pronounced “burra”; you may elect to spell Pittsburgh as ˜Pittsberg” if you find you simply can’t cope with correct pronunciation.

2. The letter “U” will be reinstated in words such as ˜colour”, “favour” and “neighbour”. Likewise, you will learn to spell “ doughnut ” without skipping half the letters.

3. There is no such thing as “US English”. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter “u”.

4. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels (look up “vocabulary”). Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as “ like ” and “ you know” is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.

5. You will relearn your original national anthem, “God Save The Queen”, but only after fully carrying out Task #1 (see above).

6. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

7. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults, and then, used solely for shooting grouse. If you’re not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you’re not ready to handle a gun, let alone shoot grouse.

8. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and this is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.

10. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand and appreciate the British sense of humour.

11. The former United States of America will adopt the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland prices on petrol (which you have been calling “gasoline”) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.

12. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French Fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with malt vinegar.

13. Waiters and waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

14. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling “beer” is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. New Zealand beer is also acceptable, as New Zealand is pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth – see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

15. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.

16. You will cease playing “American” Football. There are only two kinds of proper football; one you call soccer, and rugby. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American Football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies or Jessies – English slangs for effeminate males and blouses for big girls respectively).

17. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the “World Series” for a game which is not played outside of the United States of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket.

18. You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.

19. An inland revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due ( backdated to 1776 ).

20. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.

Thank you for your cooperation.

QE II HRH England & Wales

God Save the Queen !

Thai Days: Autumn Cleaning

November 17, 2013

Extraordinary! I’ve been tidying the house, opening cupboards, clearing drawers, making numerous vile discoveries, filling dustbins and wondering why we bought all this rubbish and why we have let it grow strange fungi. Perhaps, if you have cleared your house recently this may not be too shocking.

I won’t list everything I found. It will disturb your sleep.

But here is one thing I did find that will disturb my sleep. I was burrowing down through shuttlecocks, five pairs of swimming goggles (that’s where they’ve been hiding!), lots of pieces of plastic that used to be a hamster entertainment venue before as usual the hamster got eaten, a petrified toad, a sack of Nerf gun ammunition, something that might once have been a sandwich, three things carved out of coconuts, scraps of clothing, several flip flops, some decaying straw and then I got to the bottom and saw a plastic (microwave friendly) container full of wood dust. Nothing too shocking about that. What attracted my attention was a very large black beetle lying on its back.

“How did you get in there, big fellah?” I asked the beetle.

“You bought me in a job lot of maggots and grubs from Chatuchak market last year to feed me to your hedgehogs.”

Said the beetle.

“And you’ve been here ever since? Alone?”

“You forgot all about me. I was just a grub at the time. Not memorable I suppose.”

Said the beetle.

“You’ve been at the bottom of this drawer for..what?..Eighteen months?”


Said the beetle.

“Sorry about that. What have you been eating?”

“Sawdust and all the other beetles.”

Said the beetle.

“Let’s get you out of there.”

“Not before time. I was almost out of saw dust.”

Said the beetle.

I got the beetle out, inspected its residence and yes. Chatuchak sawdust. A long time ago it had been a grub. A grub to be given to hedgehogs. A grub to be dismissed as anything other than a quick scrunch for a hedgehog.

The beetle moved off slowly looking groggy, sawdust stuck to its carapace. Do beetles live so long, I thought. You and I both know cockroaches live forever, can survive nuclear holocaust and all that. But this was a beetle. How had it managed it? I wondered if I should retrieve it, stick it back in its container and give it to a scientist for dissection and analysis. I decided against that course of action. It didn’t seem fair.

“What’s in the next drawer?” I thought. “Should I carry on cleaning?” I thought.

“No sodding way,” I decided (after looking into the next drawer). “It can wait till Spring.”

Want a hedgehog?

November 8, 2013


Press Release: INTERPOL-UNEP conference aims to develop global roadmap against environmental crime

November 7, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog just got this from Interpol. I am a colleague, a partner in the fight against global crime! If you, too, would like to boast about your Interpol links at your next cocktail party when conversation wears thin and all you have to confess is that you sell small parts for small cars made in India then read on! Join the team! You, too, can be a gangbuster!

Rock and roll, ladies and gentlemen! Let’s nail the bastards!


From: INTERPOL Environmental Crime Programme []
Sent: Thursday, November 07, 2013 5:04 PM

Dear Colleagues,
Please find below the latest press release issued by INTERPOL. Other language versions will be published on the INTERPOL website as they become available.
Best regards,

Estimados Colegas,
Vea debajo el último comunicado de prensa publicado por INTERPOL. Otras lenguas oficiales serán publicadas en el sitio de INTERPOL, tan pronto estén disponibles.

Chers collègues,
Veuillez trouver ci-dessous le dernier communiqué de presse diffusé par INTERPOL. Les traductions seront publiées sur le site web d’INTERPOL au fur et à mesure de leur disponibilité.

My Wife Has Left Me (continued)

November 7, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog was both touched and shamed by my “My Wife has left me” post. I was touched that people cared. And I felt bad that people took me seriously.

My wife has left me. On a trip to Japan. She’ll be back.

But I have twelve days with my daughter. My idea was to describe the horrors of quality time, have some fun, and generally provide a bit of entertainment.

That’s it for now.

Hugh ( and if your man left you, find another version, an improved one, sleek, loyal, loving, how about that? They do exist!)


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