Thursday, January 20, 2011

My first earthquake!

I was sitting at my computer yesterday, at home (Holiday in Georgia), and all of a sudden the house began to shake. For a split second I thought it was the military doing more tests at the nearby firing range but there was no noise, then I thought maybe a massive truck but then the shaking was way too much and my freaked out dog was going nuts (which he doesn’t usually do with trucks). If I was a Californian this might not have been a big deal but for a guy who has never experienced such a thing this counted as a new experience. I went to work (catch up) later in the day and the guard didn’t mention anything about it so I figured Georgians were accustomed to such things but today it was pointed out to me that the office wall had some cracks and people were talking about it. Really though most of the talk was about further north where it was a bit more severe however from what I have heard there were no casualties. Interesting though that I didn't find any mention of it in western media (only Chinese, and Armenia news; via google news)

Friday, January 07, 2011

Georgia (The Country) Needs more Libertarians

I am working on a project in the country of Georgia and like the country pretty well. While I was in Azerbaijan I was constantly sickened by all the corruption that I saw on a regular basis. I have to admit that Georgia is not as bad as Azerbaijan but the government here is hardly innocent. My project was working with a livestock company in our project area and had tried to do everything right including letting the government know what we are doing. We were going to help this small company expand/upgrade their operations. Just a few weeks ago my boss got a call from the Ministry of Agriculture saying "I don't think it is fair for you to help a private company when another private company is trying to do the same thing"; well this was news to us. We looked into it and turns out that a large insurance group wants to build an agricultural market which we knew about but apparently they have all of a sudden taken interest in livestock, right around the time we showed our business plans to the ministry. Well we met with the company and they flat out told us, your project will never succeed, you are welcome to try but we foresee problems with your registering, taxes, etc... message, we will crush you using our government buddies. While this is a major pain for my project it is not devastating, but for the livestock company we were trying to help, they are devastated, and currently trying to figure out how they can cut their losses. Its amazing what a corrupt government can do.
Ok, ok, so maybe the government isn't that corrupt; regardless it does sound like good tabloid fodder doesn't it? (Get it?! fodder, livestock! [alright, maybe that is just aggie humor]).