Page Collection for ^2006-03

2006-03-01 Gadgets

I’m slowly starting to think about a Mac Mini at home. [1] When I visited the Apple Store and switched to “Suisse” I ended up on the French site. That’s ok.

Mac mini 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo CHF 1,678.99

AppleCare Protection Plan pour Mac mini CHF 259.00

MiniMax 250 Go Iomega + hub FireWire/USB intégré CHF 279.00

Wired Keyboard & Mighty Mouse Kits CHF 114.00

Panier (HT):CHF 2,166.35 Frais de port:CHF 0.00 TVA:CHF 164.64 Sous-total CHF 2,330.99 </pre>

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2006-03-01 Music

After watching Lisbon Story (2006-02-27 Movies), I’ve ripped a few more Fado CDs. The most famous fado singer is Amália Rodrigues.

Does anybody know of a site with translations of Fado lyrics? I found a site that has some lyrics. [1]

Here’s what I found. The translation is mine.

Eu vi-te pelo São João                I saw you at St. Johns's
Começou o namorico                    There's where our love began
E dei-te o meu coração                And I gave you my heart
Em troca de um manjerico              In exchange for basil leaves
                                        (a traditional declaration of love)

O nosso amor começou                  Our love began
No baile da minha rua                 At the dance in my street
Quando São Pedro chegou               When St. Peter arrived
Tu eras meu e eu era tua              And I was yours and you were mine

Esperava por ti                       I waited for you
Como é dever de quem ama              As is the duty of those who love
Tu vinhas tarde p'ra casa             You came home late
Eu ia cedo p'rá cama                  I went to bed early

P'ra me enganar                       To deceive myself
Que a esperança em mim estava morta   That hope in me had died
Deixava a chave a espreitar           I left the key visible
Debaixo da minha porta                Beneath my door

Deixava a chave a espreitar           I left the key visible
Debaixo da minha porta                Beneath my door

Passou tempo e noutro baile           Time passed and on a different dance
Tu sempre conquistador                You -- always the conqueror
Lá foste atrás de outro xaile         There you went after another shawl
E arranjaste outro amor               And arranged for another love

Fiquei louca de ciúme                 I went mad with jealousy
Porque sei que esta paixão            Because I know that this passion
Não voltará a ser lume                Will never be a fire again
Pra te aquecer o coração              to warm your heart

Espero por ti                         I wait for you
Como é sina de quem ama               As is the wont of those who love
Tu já não vens para casa              You're no longer coming home
Mas eu vou cedo p'rá cama             But I go to bed early

P'ra me enganar                       To deceive myself
Que a esperança em mim já está morta  That hope in me is already dead
Eu deixo a chave a espreitar          I leave the key visible
Debaixo da minha porta                Beneath my door

Eu deixo a chave a espreitar          I leave the key visible
Debaixo da minha porta                Beneath my door

P'ra me enganar                       To deceive myself
Que a esperança em mim já está morta  That hope in me is already dead
Eu deixo a chave a espreitar          I leave the key visible
Debaixo da minha porta                Beneath my door


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2006-03-02 Copyright

“Free as in Freedom” is what FreeSoftware proponents often say, when they explain why their software is different. You have certain freedoms that proprietary software doesn’t give you. The difference between free software and open source software proponents was that free software proponents thought that the “freedom” part was the most important one. Which is also why they emphasize that moving from “free” software to “open” software, you’re muddling the issue and loosing mindshare where you want it most: Proprietary software takes away your rights that you ought to have.

These days, Microsoft seems to have accepted that free software proponents were winning this battle for our hearts and minds, and decided to muddle issues in the other direction. When you visit, and click on a video, this is what you get:

To use this product, you need to install free software This product requires Microsoft© Internet Explorer 6, Microsoft© Media Player 10, and Macromedia Flash 7. To download these free software applications, click the links below and follow the on-screen instructions.


Via JohnSullivan [1]

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2006-03-02 Movies

I absolutely loved Me And You And Everyone We Know (2005). Hilarious! The small kid talking about the poop moving from butt-hole to butt-hole. Forever. (!) The crazy woman, shy, and not shy, the crazy dad: “I want to be swept off my feet, you know? I want my children to have magical powers. I am prepared for amazing things to happen. I can handle it.” He so reminded me of LionKimbro! Eventhough I don’t really know Lion. ;)

Some nice quotes on IMDB, too. [1]

But facial expressions, tempo, reactions – there’s so much hilarious detail in the script and the acting. I really enjoyed myself.

On a deeper level, of course, the grown-ups all have terrible relationships: One is breaking up, one is lost in a dream-world, one is in love with a dying woman, one is a pervert interested in minors, one is a pervert interested in the poop story… And yet, the children make it all right. The two teenage girls that provoke the pedophile and nearly convince themselves that they want to have sex with him, and then discover, as they run away, that the self-imposed nightmare has been lifted, the little six year old confronting the shit-lover, the teenager being used as a test subject for a blow-job and then discovering his love for towels neatly folded and his neighbour who has a hope-chest full of kitchen utensils… This list distracts from the main point, however: The absurdity of our troubles.

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2006-03-02 Software Perl

I’m trying to use Search::FreeText without stemming. To do this, I can either try to get the lexical analyser running with a different set of filters, or I can try to write my own lexicalizer. Either option requires me to get the Perl syntax for object orientation right.

Terrible. Very. Bad. >{

This is for my tag cloud thing, eg. CommunityWiki Cloud


Comments on 2006-03-02 Software Perl

Did you use HTML::TagCloud from CPAN?

It is very easy to use. I used it on a bookmark manager I am working on to show tags and most frequently used tag pairs.

vj 2006-03-08 19:41 UTC

I didn’t. I didn’t even know about it, to be honest. But then again, it required so little coding, I’m not sure it would have saved me much work. If I used HTML::TagCloud, I’d have to 1. still loop through all the tags, and therefore most of the work – the parsing of the db file and the avoiding of the stemming code – I would have had either way, and 2. I’d get a piece of static HTML/CSS which I would then have to include. Basically I think the most interesting part of the code is the part about using logarithms, which I might want to do eventually.

AlexSchroeder 2006-03-09 00:07 UTC

Hi, afaik, ‘action=cloud’ it seems to be invalid action parameter in ‘’ now

JuanmaMP 2009-07-15 12:48 UTC

Yes, the underlying module was changed. Use instead. ;)

AlexSchroeder 2009-07-15 23:08 UTC

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2006-03-03 Copyright

I’ve been trying to find a good answer explaining how FreeSoftware developers might feel when asked why they are not all pooling their efforts, or why they are not helping to conquer the desktop, etc. The kind of reproach that usually implies that hackers are either too stupid to understand the need for usability, simplicity, slick design, or that hackers are too asocial, facetious, or arrogant to care about users.

I wanted to answer, in a diagram if possible, questions such as these:

The open source community needs to push as few cars as possible in as orthogonal directions as possible. If not, all cars will be abandoned. Wiki developers, contact your colleagues working on other wikis and join your forces! [1]

These are, as far as I can tell, the social dynamics of free software.

Free Software Social Dynamics

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Comments on 2006-03-03 Copyright

Wow, very well done! The “Mom-and-Dad” icons made me laugh.

BTW: Muse is finally getting to the point where MuseContacts could become possible, markup-wise.

MichaelOlson 2006-03-04 15:09 UTC

Hm, I hope the new stylized moms and dads don’t disappoint you. The dad guy looks less mean is now asexual – no sexual dimorphism in free software social dynamics. ;)

AlexSchroeder 2006-03-04 19:15 UTC

It keeps growing…

AlexSchroeder 2006-03-09 10:23 UTC

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2006-03-04 Books

I finally finished Forty Signs of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson. It started slowly and never really had a real climax. Basically that was part of the message: The climate is going bonkers and it is business as usual for everybody. It just took me a while to appreciate it. I read half of this book many weeks ago, put it aside, and two days ago I decided I wanted to give it another try. It was nice.

Things I liked were the part-time job that Charlie does, the science funding industry, the strong role Anna plays, their love, Frank’s enlightenment.


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2006-03-05 Books

I’ve started reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis, another book from The Chronicles of Narnia.


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2006-03-06 Gadgets

Still thinking of a new Mac mini… Or should I just buy another external harddrive for our SlackWare box? It’s getting to be a pain to maintain a GNU/Linux system that I never use… ;)

Mac mini 1.5GHz Intel Core Solo Teilenummer: Z0D0 SuperDrive 8× (DVD-R DL/|DVD-RW/CD-RW) 065-6130 1 GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x512 MB 065-6132 Intel GMA950 with 64MB shared memory 065-6347 Mac OS X 065-6124 Country Kit 065-6123 60 GB Serial ATA-Laufwerk 065-6125 Versandfertig in: 4 Tage CHF 1,077.12 Iomega MiniMax 250GB + integrierter FireWire/USB-Hub Teilenummer: TE798 Versandfertig in: 24 Std. CHF 259.29 AppleCare Protection Plan für Mac mini Teilenummer: M9859 Versandfertig in: 24 Std. CHF 240.71 Wired Keyboard & Mighty Mouse Kits Teilenummer: BA114 Versandfertig in: 8 Tage CHF 105.95

Zwischensumme: CHF 1,683.07 Versandgebühr:: CHF 0.00 Mehrwertsteuer: CHF 127.91 Summe der Bestellung: CHF 1,810.98 </pre>

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2006-03-06 Oddmuse

Radomir Dopieralski drew the following picture and allowed me to use it on Oddmuse:What Is Oddmuse. Awesome!


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2006-03-07 Wikis

Tim writes in the O'Reilly Radar that he has been using the image of Kempelen’s Mechanical Turk (Wikipedia:Mechanical Turk) to “emphasize the point that one of the things that distinguishes web applications from PC-era applications is the fact that web applications actually have people inside them, working daily as part of the application.” [1]

Lovely idea!


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2006-03-08 Germany

TelePolis writes about “honour” killing all over the world, but also in Germany. [1] There’s a conference in Köln about the subject. I was interested in the explanation: Even though religion is often used to justify honor crimes, these cultural norms predate Christianity and Islam. The basis is a patriarchical society, where 1. behaviour is strictly regulated (eg. sex), and 2. women have no independence. This results in the at least one male relative bearing the shame for women transgressing the norms, and thus punishment or even murder is required by the male to redeem himself.

The rest of the article then goes into the tendency towards radical Islam in subcultures of migrants, as a means to reaffirm their cultural identity. Islam is the prime target for the criticism of “honour” killings, because these days Islam most often associated with “honour” killing in Europe – even though the article mentions that “honour” killings are a disgrace for humanity from Brazil to India.

As many as 5,000 women and girls are killed annually in so-called “honour” killings, many of them for the “dishonour” of having been raped. – UNFPA State of World Population 2000, specially in Chapter 3, Section "Honour" Killings

I didn’t read chapter 3 of the UNFPA report, Ending Violence against Women and Girls. This is too depressing. :(

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Comments on 2006-03-08 Germany

We have had huge “honor killing” media scares in Sweden too, and the main purpose seem to be to make Muslim men seem suspect. A journalist investigated how many women had been killed by someone in their family in the last 10 years. In middle-east immigrant groups (who make up about 8% of the swedish population) there had been 4 such deaths. In ethnically swedish families, there have been over 300 cases.

– HenrikEnberg 2006-03-09 18:48 UTC

Hm, 8% of 300 is 24 expected deaths instead of 4. Interesting numbers! Do you have an URL for it?

AlexSchroeder 2006-03-09 23:18 UTC

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2006-03-09 Copyright

I revently linked to a story by JohnSullivan about Microsoft labelling IE, Media Player, and Flash as “free software”, eventhough these programs are every thing but free. They’re just gratis. (2006-03-02 Copyright)

The fight for the hearts and minds of users continues. Today I saw an URL in the topic of #adium, the channel on Freenode about Adium: Julian Missig wrote an article about the recent so-called opening of the AIM network: AIM Network Now Open! Not really.

As far as I can tell, this is marketing spin intended to fight Google. Now when Google says that Google Talk is open and part of an open federation, AOL can say “well, AIM is open too!” The sad part is that I’m pretty sure it’s working (as evidenced by the random links to news articles above… just look at the headlines). – Julian

I have no doubt that this Orwellian redefinition of words is happening here as it happens all over the world when power and people come into contact. :(

The comments rightly point to the Libjingle license[1] by Google: “The Google source code is made available under a Berkeley-style license, which means you are free to incorporate it into commercial and non-commercial software and distribute it.” [2]

Now that is open.

And free.

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2006-03-09 Patents

LeslieOrchard links to a story where Apple seems to be trying to patent RSS / Atom feed aggregation technology. [1] Read the comments. It may not be as bad as it sounds. Although, when I start reading claim 1 of the patent application [2] I can’t honestly say that I understand what the limits of it are. Store bookmark in folder, store another bookmark in folder, display the merged feed.

I guess that the feed merging used by Oddmuse cannot be implemented using bookmarks stored in folders.

DaveWiner also comments at the end of a paragraph in a remotely related post of his:

They built on the generous openness of the publishing industry, and never said thanks, and then lied about their own openness and reserved for themselves the right to decide who can read their content. And so far, they’re geting away with it. [3]

Repeat after me: Software Patents – BAD!

At work, I was also skimming articles; one of them mentioned that AT&T had not spoken up when the MPEG-4 group asked for holders of patents to speak up, waited until it got popular, and then sued everybody who used it. I just found an ArsTechnica article about this via Google. [4] The magazine I was browsing at work, and the !ArsTechnica artible both also mentioned a similar case about JPEG, and the !ArsTechnica goes on to talk about the problems with the GIF file format.

Repeat after me: Software Patents – BAD! BAD!

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2006-03-09 Spam

Ich habe vor ein paar Tagen bei der Buchhandlung am Helvetiaplatz ein Buch bestellt, und prompt habe ich heute einen Newsletter von ihnen in der Inbox. Darauf habe ich wie folgt geantwortet:

Ich wünsche keinen newsletter. Ich finde es generell unfreundlich, auf solche Listen gesetzt zu werden, ohne dass ich aktiv darum gebeten habe. Sollte ich beim Bestellen meines Buches irgendeine Checkbox übersehen habe, mit der ich mich ohne mein aktives zu tun dafür angemeldet habe, so empfinde ich das als Austricksen des Kunden.

Alexander Schröder

Zu hart?

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Comments on 2006-03-09 Spam

Zu hart nicht, es reflektiert deine Einstellung zu der Sache. Ich haette sicher anders geschrieben, weil mich das nicht aufregt: “Ich habe ein Buch bestellt und keinen Newsletter, bitte streichen sie mich wieder von dieser Liste”.

– Helmut Schroeder 2006-03-11 02:52 UTC

So im Nachhinein tut es mir wieder etwas leid. :/

AlexSchroeder 2006-03-11 09:25 UTC

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2006-03-10 Islam

TelePolis schreibt über das in den letzten Jahre drastisch gesunkene Ansehen der Muslime in Amerika und in Deutschland. [1] Auch in meinem Bekanntenkreis höre ich immer mehr Bemerkungen, welche die aktuelle Situation krass vereinfachen und mit negativen Einstellungen gegenüber Muslimen und Arabern (sowieso alles dasselbe) einher gehen. Das ständige Dagegenstemmen gegen die verbale Schludrigkeit, mit der zuerst Rassissmus und Diskriminierung Vorschub geleistet wird, und mit der dann unschuldig-dümmlich jegliche Verantwortung von sich gewiesen wird (“Ich bin ja keine Rassist, aber…”) – das ist schon wirklich frustrierend.

In aller Seelenruhe werden alle Muslime in einen Topf geworfen, und mit einer fiktiven westlichen Gesellschaft verglichen. Hierbei wird verantwortungslos alles ignoriert, was derartige Holzfällermethoden eigentlich verbieten sollte:

  • Der Islam besteht aus vielen Glaubensrichtungen, genau wie das Christentum auch. Genau wie ich mich weder mit den Katholiken (Papst), Anglikanern (englischer König), Born Again Christians, Methodisten, Mormonen, Evangelisten unterschiedlichster Coleur, “Intelligen Design” Vertretern und so weiter identifiziere, genausowenig mag sich ein Muslim mit dem Schwachsinn eines anderen Muslimen identifizieren.
  • Keiner scheint die muslimischen Gesellschaften mit ähnlich armen, unterdrückten, nicht-muslimischen Gesellschaften vergleichen zu wollen. Mir fallen da ein paar ganz unangenehme Beispiele ein.
  • Genauso wenig scheint unsere Mitschuld an der Unterdrückung und Ausbeutung dieser Gesellschaften zu interessieren.
  • Ebensowenig scheint zu interessieren, wie übel wir auch anderen, nicht-muslimischen Gesellschaften beispielsweise in Südamerika mitgespielt haben. Diese erholen sich auch nur äusserst langsam von den langen Jahren Diktatur und Bürgerkrieg. Der einzige Unterschied scheint mir zu sein, dass es sich hier grösstenteils um Christen handelt.

Und so zeigt sich hier in unserer Gesellschaft meiner Meinung nach immer stärker, das wir im Kern genauso ungebildete Stammtischtäter geblieben sind, wie wir es schon immer waren, mit dem Vorteil, dass wir stärker, brutaler, und listiger dem Rest der Welt unsere Stempel aufdrücken können. Hierfür haben wir unsere Regierungen, die zum einen die Drecksarbeit erledigen, es uns zuliebe leugnen, und im Notfall können wir es immer den Amerikanern die Schuld in die Schuhe schieben. Und sobald sich die Sache wieder gelegt hat, kommt das fröhlich Stammtischphilosophieren über die Gewaltbereitschaft der Muslime (statt der Gewaltbereitschaft aller Menschen) und die Rückständigkeit ihrer Kultur (statt die Rückständigkeit so mancher armer Länder).

Nach solchen Diskussionen habe ich oft Lust, alles hinzuschmeissen, die Freunde abzuschreiben, und die Welt einfach zum Teufel zu jagen.

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Comments on 2006-03-10 Islam

I think we should talk about this. I really do.

LionKimbro 2006-03-10 22:29 UTC

Religion ist eine persoenliche Angelegenheit und hat mit Politik, Staat, Rechtssprechung, Gesetzgebung nichts zu tun!

Leider kann ich nicht arabisch, aber es erstaunt mich schon, dass der Koran soviele Interpretationen zulaesst. Offensichtlich kann man da herauslesen, wenn man Andersglaeubige umbringt, dann kommt man ins Paradies und dort warten 70 Jungfrauen auf den Moerder. Ich hatte das schon mehrmals gehoert und es immer als einen Unsinn abgetan. Vor ein paar Tagen habe ich einen Film auf der Deutschen Welle gesehen, ich fand ihn sehr serioes, ueber einen palestinaensischen Selbstmordattentaeter, der mit Freunden den Koran studierte und er kam zu der gleichen Interpretation (er konnte interviewt werden, da er gefasst wurde, bevor er die Bombe zuendete). Sollte das wirklich so sein, es ist ja kaum zu glauben, so muesste man hier doch einige Korrekturen in dieser Heiligen Schrift vornehmen. Das ist ja nur ein Einzelfall, hier gibt es ja hunderte Beispiele von “Fehlinterpretationen”, denn ich kann mir kaum vorstellen, dass dies im Sinne von Mohammed war.

Der Fanatismus im Islam (den man offensichtlich auch aus dem Koran herauslesen kann?) ist meiner Meinung ein Ausdruck der politischen Unzufriedenheit und das vollstaendige Fehlen der Kenntnisse, sich mit demokratischen Mitteln auszudruecken.

Mit der Stellung der Frau im Islam habe ich ebenfalls Probleme!

Wenn man das mit der christlichen Kirche vergleicht, dann findet man dort in der Vergangenheit auch jeden Bloedsinn, Einmischung in die Wissenschaften, Hexenverbrennungen, Toetung von Andersglaeubigen, Ausrottung von Kulturen, etc. Schade ist nur, das der Lerneffekt aus all diesen Fehlern so gering ist. Das Thema ist ja endlos, ich mache Schluss!

– Helmut Schroeder 2006-03-11 04:07 UTC

Was ich nicht verstehe: Wenn man sowohl aus der Bibel als auch aus dem Koran jede Menge Blödsinn herauslesen kann, warum sollte man heutzutage dann auf dem Koran herumreiten, oder beispielsweise “Korrekturen” verlangen? An der Bibel verlangt ja auch niemand Korrekturen. Über die Stellung der Frau lässt sich in der Bibel nämlich auch jeden Schwachsinn finden – beispielsweise steht dort die Sache mit dem Kopftuch auch drinnen. Und deswegen hatte jede anständige Frau auch bei uns früher ein Kopftuch an.

Ich stelle mir einfach vor, diese Sorte von Diskussion würde in Anwesenheit meines Arabischlehreres oder eines muslimischen Freundes von mir geführt werden. Würde man auf die Anwesenheit eines gläubigen Menschen rücksicht nehmen? Ich würde! Ich halte ja schliesslich auch nicht jedem Christen die Idiotie gewisser anderer Christen oder gewisser Bibelzitate vor Augen.

Wenn ich also in Anwesenheit gläubiger Muslime mich zusammen nehmen würde, dann habe ich an mich auch den moralischen Anspruch, in Abwesenheit von gläubigen Muslimen einen respektvollen Umgang zu pflegen.

Wenn wir natürlich von konkreten Verbrechen reden, dann ist das etwas anderes. Dann können wir bewerten, urteilen, verurteilen – aber wie in den Gesetzen selber, taucht die Religion in solchen Diskussionen nicht auf: Mord ist Mord, Totschlag ist Totschlag, Diebstahl ist Diebstahl, und so weiter. Mit dem Rückgriff auf die Religion ist kein Verbrechen zu rechtfertigen, und genau dort will ich eine Grenze ziehen.

Was mich so endlos aufregt, sind Aussagen, welche auch unschuldige Muslime mehr und mehr in die Nähe von gewaltbereiten Verbrechern rücken. “Im Zweifel für den Angeklagten” scheint irgendwo in den letzten Jahren verloren gegangen zu sein. Und so demontieren wir langsam den Rechtsstaat, auf den ich stolz war.

Das die Menschen generell aus den Fehlern der Vergangenheit so wenig lernen, ist sowieso ein Trauerspiel.

AlexSchroeder 2006-03-11 09:22 UTC

Both the Bible and the Koran have wacky things in them. Be sure to check out the brick testament's demonstration. It is full of examples of horrible cruelty, taught in the bible.

We still have crazy Christians running around, trying to mess things up, trying to bring back “the old ways.”

The relevant difference is: Most people don’t pay any attention to them. They are a very very small minority.

The difference with Islam, at least as it seems to me, is twofold:

  • Islamic tolerance for cruelty to women is still very high.
  • The Islamic community seems to be sympathetic, open minded, to many of these cruelties, as a way of life. That is, if they don’t practice them, it does seem that they haven’t “ruled them out.”
  • Among Islamic populations, there is a lot of sympathy for theocracy.
  • Islam demands far more from it’s followers. They visibly pray several times a day. Treatment of ex-Islamic people is very bad. They aggressively seek to bring more people into the fold.

Individually, these are “pretty bad.” Taken together, I think it’s horrible and dangerous.

The Mormons, for instance, seek aggressive growth. (And I think they find it.) But they are not very imposing towards non-believers. They are generally very polite. Whereas lots (how many? I don’t know) of Islamic people want to not only make converts, but further, run the government, and impose their beliefs on non-converts.

I don’t think that there is anything intrinsicly wrong with the Koran, such that it can’t be modernized. I can imagine people of the Islamic faith, who do not feel that they have to oppress women, who have no sympathy for stonings & various other barbarisms, who do not feel the need to run the government, and so on. I am sure that these people exist, in every place in the world.

When I voice complaints about Muslims, my complaints are directed to those who either fully embrace the barbarisms, or, at the very least, are sympathetic to them, or seriously considering them as a viable way of life.

It’s not the religion in the abstract; It’s the people who are practicing the cruel form of the religion.

The criticism extends equally to the Christian community, but, by and large, we have far fewer people in the Christian community who are doing these sorts of horrible things. (Today.)

For example: People regularly draw farcical cartoons of Jesus, of events in the Bible, and so on. But there are no riots, no pleas to the government to make people stop, etc., etc.,. Occasionally you hear about a protest or something, but nothing really happens. You certainly don’t end up with dead people and buildings being burned down.

LionKimbro 2006-03-11 15:31 UTC

However, it’s understandable that we have higher expectations for religion in our culture than for religion in faraway places. I’m more concerned about creationists trying to get their stuff in american schools than creationists trying to get their stuff in turkish schools (except if Turkey gets into the EU, which seems less likely now that they passed anti-blasphemy laws as reactions to the Danish cartoons). Look at the speck in your eye before pointing to the log in your neighbour’s eye, something like that.

The muslims, on their side, complain that the media only focuses on the negative things in the arab world – looking for the only women wearing a Hijab out of a street crowded with people wearing more “modern” clothes, etc. After the Danish cartoons thing, I looked around french muslim bulletin boards; they were (mostly) condemning the cartoons, but they were also outraged at the Iranian reaction of launching a holocaust cartoon contest (they had strong words for holocaust deniers, I don’t think any were around). They were also complaining about how the media was saying “Muslims don’t like the cartoons because it’s forbidden in Islamic culture to portray the prophet”, whereas they were pissed not at the fact of representing the prophet, but at the insults and mocking. I don’t agree with them (I think the cartoons were fine, and the newspapers who refused to reprint them aren’t that attached to their freedoms), but it does show that the way the media (and bloggers! I don’t think they’re much better!) portrays things isn’t always honest.

(As a side note, all the creationists I met back in France were Muslims.)

(Oooh, and by the way Alex: Thanks a lot for this occasion to brush up my german! I didn’t understand everything, and had to use a dictionary quite a bit, but that’s what I need :) )

– EmileKroeger 2006-03-11 17:28 UTC

Lion says, “[w]hen I voice complaints about Muslims, my complaints are directed to those who either fully embrace the barbarisms, or, at the very least, are sympathetic to them, or seriously considering them as a viable way of life.” I wonder: Why not say it the way you mean it? Why be sloppy in your use of the language, and voice complaints about Muslims, eventhough you only want to address those who commit barbarous acts? Why insult innocent people by associating them with barbarism? I call it “racism light” – with “plausible deniability” built in. Not all black people in the US are gangsters, not all Yugoslavians in central Europe are thieves, not all Italians are lazy, nor all Germans are hard-working, and not all Muslims are sympathetic or open minded towards such cruelties as a way of life.

Anyway, my original post was about my frustration at having to argue this point over and over again. I’m sick and tired of it. As I said previously, I don’t want to compromise in my moral stance on this, and yet my words don’t seem to be convincing enough. These two unfortunate factors coming together is my problem.

AlexSchroeder 2006-03-11 17:59 UTC

I’d actually be really interested in a map of what clothing standards apply where: normatively (how do people generally dress?), socially acceptable (“you’ll get in trouble if you dress like this, but it’s ok,”) and legally. This interest goes universal.

That said, I’m particularly interested in knowing what it’s like in Islamic cultures. It sounds to me like you’re saying that women have lose requirements, in general, in the Islamic world. That’s not my understanding: My understanding is that it’s just various shades of “very strict.”

I agree that media portrayal has focused on the negative. And I think (and have complained, since way way back, as old enough as I was to understand,) that the treatment of Arabs in Hollywood movies have been horrible: They have been the universal scapegoat. I think a lot of what is happening now is due to those movies. I don’t think it’s “the media”’s fault, I think it’s also the US public’s fault for not complaining about it. The popular movie machine will only produce what the public will let them produce.

As for the cartoons: I’d like some clarity. I think that the majority of Islamic people actually want every country in the world to have laws that ban publishing images of the prophet. I grant that I don’t really know: This is something I would appreciate some clarity on. Further, it could be merely a reaction, rather than their well thought out position: They may not think it’s so important that these laws exist everywhere, in cooler times.

I am strongly attached to freedom, and that especially includes freedom to criticize religion, which also includes violating their taboos without legal response. I think allowances can be made for things like: “Are you publishing this on the front page, or on your t-shirt,” where people can’t avoid imagery they find offensive. But saying: “You can’t publish these pictures,” is totally bad. People need the freedom to communicate, to criticize, to express. The passages of perspective must be allowed to function. No religion or philosophy can write laws to put up impediments to the passages of perspective. To do otherwise is thought control, which is totally not okay.

LionKimbro 2006-03-11 18:11 UTC

Alex: Did I use “Muslims” in the general? If so, you’re right: I should retract that. I ‘’do’’ want to see where I said it in the general. I’m not suggesting I didn’t- I have so many conversations about this, I’d be surprised if, somewhere, I didn’t do it. My hope is that I can point out how the context of my expression demonstrates that I don’t believe this way about all Muslims.

That is: I am not a race supremacist. And if you’re going to say otherwise, I’m very angry about that.

My heavy criticism is directed towards:

  • Stoning, “honor killing,” and so on.
  • Locking women away, forcing them to cover, controlling marriage, etc.,.
  • Prohibiting women from participating in politics.
  • Demanding censorship be applied in countries other than their own.
  • Forbidding women to marry out-of-faith. (OK for men, though wife must convert to Islam.)
  • Advocating for Islamic policy in countries that were not founded Islamic.

My lighter, but still serious criticism, is directed towards:

  • Indecision, sympathy, or open-mindedness, towards what I am heavily critical of.
  • The deep hold that Islamic belief, as practiced today, holds on it’s members’ thoughts. Islam, as practiced today, demands far more from it’s practicioners, than other religions, as practiced today.
  • Creationism, “Islamic Science,” etc.,. (Same with “Intelligent Design,” “Christian Science,” and so on.)

My strong encouragement is for:

  • Democracy, even though they may not want to live like I do.
  • Free Speech, even if I disagree with what they have to say.

These ideas apply to pretty much ‘’all people,’’ regardless of religion. The relevant different is that the Islamic population is a large established growing political force. Whereas, say, Christians, are very disorganized, and think very differently, depending on where they are.

A demonstration is in order: There haven’t been Christian riots and demands for censorship in other countries, in which people died, for ages. I try to think of a comparison, and I have a hard time finding it.

I think the ideal way that this could all play out:

  • European countries (not the US, which has lost all credibility) support Democratic efforts from within Islamic countries. Francis Fukuyama had a number of things to say about how this can be done- providing oversight for elections, financial contributions for pro-democracy groups, assistance to Civil Society groups ‘’in general,’’ technical platforms to help get word out, etc., etc., etc.,. Also, hold no trade embargos, and make an effort to trade with Islamic countries. Reduce tarrifs, on the condition that wealth distributes through the society. Set a social expectation that movies that are anti-Islam are bad. (You can do this without curtailing Free Speech.)
  • Hope that, over time, people in Islamic countries decide to go more towards democracy, and make it “their own.” They might call it something different, they might have a different name for it. Ultimately, the choice to go Democratic or not is their own.
  • I suspect that the first forms of Democracy will still control women, will ‘’not’’ support Free Speech, etc., etc.,. But the hope is that ‘’some’’ forms of speech will be permitted, and in particular ‘’political’’ speech.
  • With time, they aquire wealth, and start to distribute more power to people.
  • At some point, there’s a revolution, and the European countries (and the US, if it’s in good graces by now, or powerless) recognize the more democratic government.
  • Women start to speak up, and require their own voice.

By the end of the sequence, you end up with something like conservative christians in the US.

This is my hope.

You can do all this, without curtailing Free Speech anywhere.

LionKimbro 2006-03-11 23:22 UTC

Re clothing standards: I’d also be interested in such a map; I have no idea of how things really are, since I haven’t traveled in those areas. I’ve only heard comments from people saying that they got quite different impressions from watching TV and from actually going there.

I’m not saying that women have loose requirements, in general, in the islamic world. It’s certainly not the case for places like Iran, Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia. But things would probably seem more normal (to us) in Algeria, Morocco or Turkey (At least, not much worse than, say, in China or India). Though there are girls with islamic veils in france, most of the girls of arabic / berber / turkish origin I knew were pretty strong-minded, and not necessarily very religious. But then, that’s France, not an islamic country.

The cartoons: in the abstract, yes, a lot of people in Islamic countries would probably want blasphemy to be illegal all over the world. But you might find similar results when polling heavily christian countries that don’t have much experience with democracy; you’ll probably find some among the heavy-duty christians in the West (I certainly didn’t like hearing the Pope weight in on the wrong side of the cartoon controversy). OK, the difference is that Theo Van Gogh actually got killed. But I don’t know how many people think representations of the prophet should be illegal, and how strongly they hold that belief. I’d be interested in knowing. The comments I read on forums were a bit ambiguous, it’s hard to tell if they want images of the prophet to be illegal, or just peolpe to be responsible and avoid publishing offensive and insulting images even though it’s legal (a position shared by some western politicians, which I disagree with too - I don’t think there’s anything wrong with those cartoons).

So, I don’t really know, and I’d like to (incidentally, I’m learning a bit of arabic :) )

– EmileKroeger 2006-03-12 06:45 UTC

I checked out Kuro5hin to see what people thought. There was a Muslim in there, who was posting. He said that he was a moderate, but argued that Free Speech requires limits, and not to blasphemy God was one of those fundamental limits.

‘’there is something extremely important you all must understand, freedom of speech is good. i must be able to tell the most powerful man in the world he has done wrong, i must tell my neighbour the right or wrong way to do something. i must be able to express my opinion, but understand there is a limit. LIMITS. there is always a limit. draw the line somewhere. you dont want a loved one to tell you “you are coyote ugly”. nor would it be ethical for you to follow your army commander’s order to destroy every man, women and child in a village. there is a limit to the length of your life. there are limits in life. and one of those limits is to NOT blaspheme Allah or god as you might call him NOR his prophets. which btw, includes “jesus christ” whose real name is only jesus or isa (peace be upon him)in arabic. notice how muslims dont blaspheme against him?’’

(Link to the source.)

That’s pretty damning, in my book: You can have freedom of speech. We just don’t dare defy God, because who are you, compared to God?

LionKimbro 2006-03-12 15:51 UTC

That’s more or less the same kind of stuff I’ had read. It’s not clear whether he thinks that should be written in law (A view I very strongly oppose), or whether he thinks it’s up to individuals to act responsibly and voluntarily avoid pissing God off (a view I don’t like much, but can live with). That would be the same kind of responsibility of not writing stupid racist stuff in the newspaper, or saying in public how ugly you think your neighbour’s wife is - things that are covered by free speech (or should be), but not necessarily OK. If that’s what he means, I wish he would be clearer, I dislike anything on the lines of “free speech but with limits” - that sounds like “free speech, but not for topics other than the weather or football”.

The “You can have freedom of speech. We just don’t dare defy God, because who are you, compared to God?” suits me - I can say what I want and if I say something not OK, I get punished in the afterlife. Fair deal; won’t do much in terms of dissuasion though :)

That guy seems to be saying “Look, we don’t make fun of Jesus, please don’t make fun of Mohammed” - problem is, we already make quite a bit of fun of Jesus, so why not Muhammed ?

I think a proper response to 9/11 would have been to have the government pay the people who make the Simpsons and South Park to make a movie making fun of Islam, Muhammed, and sexually frustrated muslims who become suicide bombers; and then distribute it royalty-free to the whole world. I don’t think it would have encouraged terrorists and given them a very high reputation in their own societies …

– EmileKroeger 2006-03-12 17:04 UTC

My 2 cents:

  • The recent riots are not in my sense some spontaneous reactions, their violence is only the reflection of the violence of the world where these people live. The cartoons made them easy to use, everybody can see the “truth” of the accusations.
  • Search for The Rage and The Pride written by Oriana Fallaci in 2002, and compare with the current situation.
  • About christians: a fundamentalist group has thrown molotov in a theatre, 13 wounded, in what is perhaps the less religious country in the world.
  • It’s very easy to manipulate a population to do some crazy things for political purpose, see the french bashing before the war in Irak.
  • About freedom of speach, the place of the women in our society, I think we tend to forget that all this is very very very recent in our history. Until 1984, there was no private tv channel in France, see how communists were free to express themselves in the US not so far ago. Women were not allowed to vote in most countries just 60 years ago, (women were allowed to vote in Turkey before in France…)

I don’t really have time to write a nice essay about all that (nor to say all what I would have wanted)

Alex, about “Ich bin ja keine Rassist, aber…”, I think I’ve heard this all my life

– PierreGaston 2006-03-12 19:26 UTC

Swiss women gained the right to vote on a national level in 1971. (PDF)

There was speculation in TelePolis about the violent protests in Syria being staged by the government for domestic reasons. [1]

As for the limits to freedom of speech, I’ve already said everything I wanted to say, and I haven’t learnt anything new. I think that neither Lion nor Emile changed their mind, either. See 2006-02-06 Islam Comics.

I’ve also made clear my position towards obviously criminal acts, barbarous acts, etc. No need to repeat the obvious, here.

Sentences like “Islamic tolerance for cruelty to women is still very high.” or “I’m saying that I think that Muslims are, by and large, living a backwards way of life, and that they need to get with the times.” are examples of what I call “racism light”.

I’m not sure what a “race supremacist” is. The people showing signs of “racism light” are usually well educated, civilized, etc. They don’t support the Kluklux Klan, they don’t support Apartheid, they don’t call black people niggers. It’s “racism light” with plausible deniability. They don’t feel like racists, but if people of the other race, faith, or sex were to be present, they would feel hurt. That’s the measure I’m applying, here.

Should anybody want to split hairs on what racism is or is not: I don’t feel like discussing what a racist is, exactly. If we don’t agree on how to use the word, then that’s part of the problem, not part of the solution.

AlexSchroeder 2006-03-12 23:13 UTC

Ich bin Rassist, aber I’m not a Race Supremecist; Rather, I fancy myself ‘’culture aware,’’ because I have seen in my own life, that different patterns of thinking and living, lead to different results. That culture awareness is called “Racism,” though it has nothing to do with race at all; it is purely the product of several partners in conversation, who pin Race Supremecism on those they disagree with.

Wow, I guess the word Rassist has changed so much, that it’s lost almost all of it’s sting.

It used to be, that a “Racist” was someone who believed things like:

  • There are races of people.
  • Races are either better or worse than other races.
  • Many races are just plain not good at thinking.
  • There are races that are best fit for slavery.

That was “racism.” It was something you didn’t want to be.

Now it’s “race supremacism,” or something like that.

Now, apparently, racism means:

  • Any distinguishment by race. (So, for example, ‘’integration’’ efforts are racist.)
  • If you think some practice in life is better than another practice, ‘’regardless of whether it’s tied to race or not,’’ (for example, it could be a criticism of a behavior justified on religious grounds,) that’s racism.
  • If you say, “I think that so-and-so people think such-and-such,” then you’re a racist, because (A) you didn’t jump 30 hoops to very precisely narrow down just ‘’who is who,’’ and you didn’t acknowledge the 3% of people who think differently, and because (B) the such-and-such is an unflattering idea.

Now, the thing is: The sting of the ‘’first’’ meaning, ‘’supremacism,’’ is ‘’still associated’’ with the sting of the ‘’second’’ set of meanings.

But, I guess that will change. “Racism” will no longer be a bad word, and instead, just be sort of common sense. Because the things ‘’are’’ sensible. Integration is sensible. Thinking that culture, at least somewhat, ‘’matters,’’ is sensible. Criticism of other cultures is sensible. Not always picking out the 3% is sensible. If those three things, are, indeed, “racism,” then I say: “Racism” will no longer be a bad word.

The only ‘’weird’’ thing about the new definition, is that it’s not about “Race” at all, except in the case of integration. That it’s tied to Race, is ‘’purely’’ an effect of those who want to associate observations, feelings, or criticisms that they don’t like, with Race Supremacism.

Would it be right for me to cow to such things? Well, if it’ll keep communication going, I suppose I ‘’could’’ start my speeches with “Ich bin Rassist, aber I’m not a Race Supremecist; Rather, I fancy myself ‘’culture aware,’’ because I have seen in my own life, that different patterns of thinking and living, lead to different results. That culture awareness is called “Racism,” though it has nothing to do with race at all; it is purely the product of several partners in conversation, who pin Race Supremecism on those they disagree with.”

Yeah, I guess that’s what I have to do. Because otherwise, I’m going to be receiving snide remarks like: “Oh, ‘’you said’’ “I’m not a racist, but…” Well, we know what that ‘’really’’ means. We know that that means that ‘’you’re a racist.’’”

Let me tell you something. I grew up in liberal Santa Cruz, California. My dad was in the US army, speaks Arabic, and he served a long time in Eritrea, breaking codes. He reported intelligence about the six day war to the president, a few days before it started.

He said he learned about the Palestinians, and he learned how horrible they were treated. He hated how Arabs were treated. He always taught me, as I was growing up, that what the media does to Arabs is wrong, and dangerous. He always pointed it out to me, and I always received the message.

We have a Koran in my dads house. It is written in both English and Arabic, so it’s an authentic translation. It gets (at least when I was living at home) the highest shelf in the bookshelf. My dad taught me to treat that book with special respect, (wash my hands before reading it,) which I did. I would pull it down and read from it, now and then.

My best friend’s dad is Islamic, (and no, he’s not Arabic,) and I’ve talked with him a few times about Islam. (This would be around 1990-1995.) His name is Michael Wolfe, and he wrote the Hadj: An American's Pilgrimage to Mecca.

So look, you idiots: I’m not a racist. And I know my Sikh from my Muslim. I’m against all these negative media portrayals. And I don’t appreciate being called a Racist.

And I don’t even appreciate the ‘’implication’’ of racism, by complaint of: “Oh, oh, you said: “I’m not a racist, but.”…” Because what you’re ‘’implying’’ is: “This person’s just trying to get themselves off the hook, but we know, between ourselves, that this person is ‘’really’’ a racist.

Dude: You can think that censorship is wrong, and that people should be able to write hate about anybody, without being a racist. You can criticize Islamic beliefs, and still not be a racist. ‘’Especially’’ on that one, because it’s a fricken’ ‘’religion,’’ and not a ‘’race.’’

You folk are shooting down the people you want to convert! Do you know how much I’d like to say: “This is all just a mistake of perception?” I’d ‘’love’’ that to be the case. And I ‘’know’’ I have insufficient information. I keep telling you: “I have insufficient information. Can you enlighten me?”

Most of the information I’ve been receiving as rebuttal, hasn’t been quite up to grade: I ‘’still’’ believe that the Muslim in the K5 community thinks that punishing blasphemy against God should be law. I ‘’still’’ think that, even if some small Christian cult performs some act of violence, ‘’that the vast majority of Christians oppose it.’’ But when a sall Muslim group performs some act of extremist violence, ‘’my perception is’’ that the majority of Muslims ‘’are sympathetic, or at least open minded,’’ to the rightness of the action.

‘’That’s’’ what I need more information, to counterdict. I need someone to say: “Lion, you’re perception is wrong, and here’s why.”

Here’s what I don’t need: “Lion, ergo, you’re a racist. It’s like a racial supremecist, but just a lighter version of that. Basically, you are on that road.” That’s what I don’t want.

Do you want to play fair, and contradict me? Great. Make fair plays, make fair moves. But this is just slime.

I realize you want to protect an underclassed people. Me too. I understand that.

If you want to argue: “People think this way, not because of Islam, but because they’re poor,” then great. I can understand that, and that makes sense to me. That’s something I’m open minded about.

Argue ‘’right,’’ dammit. Don’t just go swinging around “racism” as if it’s a broadsword to dispell all arguments. “Oh, you disagree with me. And, you said you’re not a racist. Ergo, you are.”

So totally not fair. You’re not helping ‘’any’’ side, arguing that way. Not unless you’ve got a ‘’bona fida racist’’ in your hands. But this is so totally not the situation.

My concerns are things like ‘’rights of women,’’ ‘’freedom of speech,’’ ‘’body politics,’’ ‘’Democracy,’’ and ‘’not living in a Theocracy.’’ (That last one’s pretty important, if you ask me.) You’re not going to dispell that by charging “racism!”

Putting it another way: If you think thoughts in your head, “Lion is a racist,” I want to hear about it, right now. I don’t want to go any further, until we’ve established that this isn’t about race. I don’t want to hear any creeping “Oh, my friends ‘’also’’ say, ‘I’m not a racist,’” with the implication: “But really, we know that they are. This concerns me deeply.” This is something we need to get really clear on.

So let’s hear it. Any lingering doubts? Anyone want to point to something I said, somewhere, perhaps, that was interpreted as racism? Perhaps I drew a picture somebody thought characatured people in a racist way? Or maybe some way of speaking that sounds “awefully familiar, like Joe, who was a white supremacist,” or something like that? Perhaps I looked at someone the wrong way, and it was interpreted as expressing racist sentiment, or something?

I want to be clear on this, because accusations about “racism” are real conversation stoppers. And I think this conversation we’re having about Islam, and globalization, and the media, and how we’re all going to live, and what not- I think this is a valuable conversation, and I want this space to be open for conversation.

So let’s get this conversation stopper out of the way. Allegations of being racist, this is your time.

LionKimbro 2006-03-12 23:30 UTC

Lion, I don’t think you are a racist.

I’m not interested in debating the exact nature of racism. I’m using it in the broader sense of the word. The Anti-Racism law here Switzerland [2], for example, explicitly lists race, ethnicity, and religion. I don’t care whether somebody is anti-semitic, anti-arabic, or anti-islam.

My main issue is that I don’t like verbal sloppyness when attributing bad characteristics to groups of people. You seem to disagree. I think precisely what you said: If such-and-such is an unflattering idea, then you should jump through 30 hoops to very precisely narrow down just who is who. I’m sorry if that wasn’t clear enough.

Some people use the lack of precision to spread racist ideas, and then deny it when being accused of it. That’s why I think that the lack of precision when attributing bad characteristics is unacceptable. I want no part in a conversation where the premises are unacceptable to me.

Like in court: When in doubt, in favor of the disadvantaged part. If we are going to attribute bad characteristics, then I want to see statistics, and a discussion of these statistics. Everything else is just the discussion of prejudice. That also has its place, but I’d rather not have it on my blog.

AlexSchroeder 2006-03-13 02:35 UTC

Lion: I pretty much agree with everything you said; I’m also uncomfortable with accusations of racism; I didn’t want to raise the topic because I didn’t think it’d get us anywhere. I don’t think accusations of “racism” or “fascism” are ever useful. I don’t think racism is a big problem in our societies (less than in the US a few decades ago, or maybe China or Japan). Yes, there are problems with ethnic or religious minorities, but no, solving them is not a question of people abandoning racist ideologies. That’s not to say that there’s no racist/xenophobia left, I just don’t think it’s the main ingredient of the problem.

Oh, and no, I didn’t intend to prove that the Muslim on kuro5hin didn’t want a law against blasphemy. I don’t know myself, and I think it’s fairly likely he does.

And I don’t agree with swiss law - people of one religion shouldn’t be any more protected from general criticism than people from one political party. That’s not to say that generalizations about muslims are any less wrong than generalizations about communists.

(For those interested: an essay on race from another “not-racist-but-ist”)

– EmileKroeger 2006-03-13 03:15 UTC

Emile: I was with his essay until the middle, when all of a sudden, it became a maze of nationalities that I know nothing about.

I think I take way more pride in geek culture and the Internet, than in anything else. I have no idea what my nationality is. I named my daughter Sakura, with the provision that it’s a teporary name- when she turns 13, she can choose a name for herself, or keep “Sakura” should she like it.

Alex: ‘’ Like in court: When in doubt, in favor of the disadvantaged part. If we are going to attribute bad characteristics, then I want to see statistics, and a discussion of these statistics.’’

Agreed, and quite fair.

My exemption is: ‘’I’m asking for those statistics.’’ I’m saying: “This is a ‘’seeming.’’ Based on media that I know to be bogus, and based on what I saw in this forum here, this is the ‘’seeming’’ that is forming in my mind. I’d like clarity on this, and I’d like statistics. I want to see polls, and analysis of said polls.”

I don’t know if this has the authority of ‘’asserting attribution,’’ (claiming “People X have Attribute Y.”) It ‘’does’’ hold the ‘’danger’’ of “linking” – “There is an observation that X may have Y, and I’m concerned about this, and seeking understanding.” The danger is self-selection, noticing things in a way that confirms the suspicion, yadda yadda yadda.

If we figure out that the seeming is false, then the problem was an illusion, there was no problem. If it’s ‘’confirmed,’’ then there is another question: What, if anything, to do, say, or think about it. It may still end up being: Nothing.

So, I’m all for gathering poll information, and other facts. And I can respect an argument of the form: “Expressing suspicion is intrinsicly dangerous. It’s best to hold it to yourself, until we see have facts.”

LionKimbro 2006-03-13 05:12 UTC

The discussion is getting quite difficult now for my level of English. I am coming back to what I said in the beginning: politics and religion must be separated. This is not the case in many states where Islam is the state-religion or most of the people are Muslims.

The Koran contains legislation, jurisdiction and execution, as far as I know, so it is a complete package of how to govern a country or state. Since the various Islamic states have different legislation and jurisdiction (more or less adopted to the Charta of the United Nations or to now-a days international standards) then defined in the Koran, then none of these countries can actually live in harmony with the Koran (probably Saudi Arabia is closest to it, but still far away). All these governments can easily be criticized by pointing to the Koran, (and that is what the fundamentalists do,… the religion is the basis of the political opposition) because none of those states can live according to the rules of the Koran. If they would try to do so, they should be excluded from the United Nations, because laws and jurisdiction are in contradiction to Human Rights. Therefore, I think that the Koran needs to be updated, if the Islam is declared a state religion, in order to fit to the legislation, jurisdiction and execution actually in force in those countries.

Such a nonsense like the holy war, which apparently is somewhere stated in the Koran, is not to be found in the bible, if I remember right to my time at school, about 50 years ago. However, I know that crusades have taken place in the past, supported by the Catholic Church. At that time, the people were of the opinion, that Christianity is the only true religion on earth. If the Muslims are still thinking similar now-a-days of their religion, then I think they are, in this aspect, still as far behind as the Middle Age.

– Helmut Schroeder 2006-03-14 03:47 UTC

Well,… The Bible ‘’also’’ has rules, very specific, about how people are to live. Legislation, Jurisdiction, Execution, just as you say. It’s got a ton of rules in it. Is it, too, in need of updating?

I think people can outgrow the outdated stuff in their canon, and keep the parts that give them strength.

LionKimbro 2006-03-14 18:25 UTC

Of course, there are many things that would need to be updated in the bible. But in western countries the religion is private to each person and is separated from politics. So it is really a question of the Church, if she wants to do it and has nothing to do with government policy. There is no country that I know where the Christian religion is a state religion. The Bible can not be used as a reference to criticize the political system or to ask for changes in the government.

In Turkey is a Muslim country, but state and religion are separated. Very good, I agree to such a system. Unfortunately, I am not well informed about other countries (I would like to know more about it), but e.g.: Iran and Saudi Arabia, and many other states, are Islamic states. So they live in constant discrepancy to the Koran. Any problem will be taken by the people to protest against their government, using the Koran as a basis. And there are many contradictions between the Koran and the actual constitution of the state. This is and endless pot of disputes, because now-a-days no government can completely fulfill the Koran. The only solution that I see, is to make the religion a private matter of each individual and separate it completely from politics.

Coming back to the cartoons and the reaction in some Islamic states, we have to consider, that those riots who entered into buildings and set fire or destroyed the buildings where a very, very small minority (may-be some thousands on the street, so called “Adabei’s”, some 200 fanatics, agitating the mass, and may-be 20 to 40 people who actually entered the buildings for destruction. Idiots exist everywhere! I have no big problem with those idiots; of course I completely disagree with it. The bigger problem for me is, the open or secret tolerance of such actions (or the soft reaction) by the government of some Islamic states. And that’s all because religion and politics is not separated in those states!!! It is very difficult for the government to act against those protestors, which are in actual fact defending the official religion of the state.

– Helmut Schroeder 2006-03-14 23:31 UTC

“There is no country that I know where the Christian religion is a state religion” see:

In Greece the state and church are not separated:

“The Greek Constitution reflects this relationship by guaranteeing absolute freedom of religion while still defining the “prevailing religion” of Greece as the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ. In practice, the Orthodox Church and the secular state are intimately involved with one another in certain areas.”

There were large protests in Greece against the suppression of the mention of the religion from the ID cards, during the previous political elections, one of the campain events was related to flyers accusing the candidate of the PASOK of being atheist.

“But in western countries the religion is private to each person and is separated from politics” I wouldn’t say so.

More than one country was critizing the fact that the christian religion was not mention in the project of the european constitution

Even in the proudly secular France, one the main argument of people against the entry of Turkey in the UE is the fact that it’s not a christian country.

I don’t think that religion as no effect on USA politics as well.

– PierreGaston 2006-03-15 10:40 UTC

I think it’s perfectly possible for a state endorsing a religion to act against people breaking the law in the name of the same religion, because all religion requires interpretation.

AlexSchroeder 2006-03-15 12:23 UTC

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2006-03-11 Oddmuse

I love this:

    ~/oddmuse $ make test
    ... (lots of output) ...
    784 passed, 0 failed.


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2006-03-11 Spain

TelePolis summarizes how badly the Spanish judiciary is handling the case of the suspected conspirators in the terrorrist bombing of a train station in Madrid 2004-03-11. [1] The secret services involved, protection of the old party in power at the time, the old prime minister taking documents related to the activities of the secret service with him when he left his office. What’s going on?

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I should practice for TalkLikeAPirateDay… I also like GermanPirateTerms

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2006-03-14 Copyright Podcast

O'Reilly Radar pointed me to a talk by Cory Doctorow on the European Broadcast FlagDRM in Europe. I downloaded it onto my portable audio player and listened to it on the way home. Then I joined the EFF. :)

I liked his message at the very end: Comparing CDs and DVDs – if you bought CDs for $1000 ten years ago, you can now transfer them to portable audio players, audio players in your car, make ring-tones for your mobile phones, etc. Your investment is protected, and all these extra features are your dividend. If you bought DVDs for $1000 ten years ago, your stuck, however. DVDs have DRM. You either broke the law when converting the videos for your portable video player, watching them on players from different regions, ie. you were cheated of your dividend.


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2006-03-14 Europe

TelePolis writes (in English) about the death of Slobodan Milošević. [1]

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2006-03-14 Software

I’ve been writing specs during the day for over a year, now. We do specs in a way I don’t like. Here’s how we do our GUI specifications:

  1. We use a big Word file with screenshots of the original dialogs, folders, and long lists of fields and columns, with comments. This is hard to read for newcomers, but easy to use as a checklist for programmers and testers on a GUI level, easy to verify for compliance.
  2. We make meetings with the client, talk about the prototype, and take note of requirements.
  3. One of us adds new stuff from notes to the spec.
  4. One of us updates the prototype.
  5. We meet again.

It’s not bad. I have no experience with alternatives. Our current approach is already much better than previous approaches we’ve tried: UseCase”“s – the rigid form didn’t work too well, more technical details – worse, interface specs added – worse, no prototypes – much worse.

What we haven’t tried:

; Narrative based specification: We talk about stories, much like use-cases, but with much less formalism. “Project manager Studer creates a new project. First, he needs to know the address of the building…” The test of whether the product satisfies the specification and thus whether the customer got what he paid for, is to reenact the stories. This ok for programmers, bad for GUI level tests, but great for process level tests, but not easy to verify for compliance. “This is not what we were thinking of when we ordered it!”

; Constraint based specification: One way to verify the outcome of the narrative based specification is to add constraints: Long lists of simple statements about the software. “We only classify customers by region.” Such statements are easier to collect and verify. It’s harder to put them in a big picture, but perhaps the narrative provides the big picture?

Using these two approaches, we could produce a secification that was easier to read for the client, still clear enough for programmers, giving them enough freedom to solve problems elegantly, allowing goal-oriented development. The only drawback seems to be that it is harder to test for compliance. Customers can wriggle their way out, asking for more features. The reason I am discarding this argument is simple: This kind of certitude doesn’t exist for our existing specs, either.

Customers will not and cannot know everything they need to know for the specs. There will always be moments when the customer realizes that some important part is missing. And we need to be flexible enough to handle it.

So why not try AgileProgramming? I don’t know. I’m not sure our customers want this kind of approach. Right now we often sell projects on fixed-price basis. Thus we need to limit the scope of the project early enough. And determining what we need as early as possible, writing it down, and agreeing upon it, still seems to be the best way to do this. Agile programming doesn’t work for all kinds of business models, I think. For fixed price projects, specs will not go away.


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2006-03-14 Wikis

We’ve been using the bot to indicate TelePresence on CommunityWiki. I wonder whether it would make sense to extend this. It’s one thing to know that ChristopheDucamp is awake and online. Maybe I’d feel much closer if I knew whether it was light outside, or dark. Does it rain while he is awake and online? Or is the sun out? Is it warm or cold, windy or stormy?

For presence, we use Edgar. What do we use for weather?

Weather in Zürich

Right now it shows a rain cloud, but when I look out of the window, it has been sunny all day. Weird. And the icon is too large. The time’s one hour off, too.

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2006-03-15 Blogs

Let’s see – what did I subscribe to, recently? Looking at my BlogRoll… Hm, perhaps I should just scan my latest postings and see who inspired me. :)

I’ve subscribed to Freedom to Tinker, which uses the subtitle “… is your freedom to understand, discuss, repair, and modify the technological devices you own.” Found via JanneJalkanen today.

I read CharlieStross. The good part is that he doesn’t post often.

I always read KathySierra. I like her style.

I like to read DanahBoyd. I like her even more now that she’s writing about MySpace, because I don’t know anything about it and yet I believe it’s important to understand teenagers. Reminds me of a poem I highly recommend:

Coming by night, furtively, one by one They infiltrate according to the Plan, Their orders memorized and their disguise Impenetrable. With the rising sun Our citizens welcome them. Nobody can Think that such charming creatures might be spies. – First stanza of The Invaders by A. D. Hope

I really enjoy reading FreeMacWare. :)

I’ve been reading a lot of O'Reilly Radar.

I read SignalVsNoise, although it isn’t as interesting anymore.

I like to read the blogs of some people I know via IRC or otherwise: JohnSullivan, JanneJalkanen, DougAlcorn, StefanBucher, and currently my absolute favorite: SusanneSchmidt (German).

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2006-03-15 Books

I’m not enjoying The Palace of Dreams by Ismail Kadare too much. A book for the book club.

Die Reise der Anna Odinzowa von Juri Rytchëu hingegen hat mir ausgezeichnet gefallen. Die Tschuktschen erinnern mich natürlich sehr an die Inuit aus Alaska, welche vor einigen Jahren einen Film gemacht hatten: Atanarjuat (2001).

Mehr zum Buchautor Juri Rytchëu auf den Seiten vom Unionsverlag:

Juri Rytchëu wurde 1930 als Sohn eines Jägers in der Siedlung Uëlen auf der Tschuktschenhalbinsel im äußersten Nordosten Sibiriens geboren. Der erste Schriftsteller dieses Volkes mit zwölftausend Menschen wurde mit seinen Romanen und Erzählungen zu einem berufenen Zeugen einer bedrohten Kultur und eines vergessenen Volkes.

Ein Überraschungstreffer. Siehe auch: DeutscheWikipedia:Juri Sergejewitsch Rytcheu.

Das erinnert mich daran, dass ich noch ein Buch aus der Türkischen Bibliothek vom Unionsverlag lesen sollte:

Die Türkische Bibliothek präsentiert Meilensteine der türkischen Literatur von 1900 an bis in die unmittelbare Gegenwart. Ob Roman, Autobiografie, Kurzgeschichten, Gedichte, Essays – das Schwergewicht liegt auf Werken, die trotz ihrer Bedeutung der deutschsprachigen Leserschaft noch nie zugänglich gemacht wurden.

Und das wiederum erinnert mich an den unglaublich lustigen Fernsehclip zum Thema Türken in Deutschland, von dem ich schon einmal geschrieben habe: 2005-09-25 Deutschland.

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2006-03-15 IRC Trolls Wikis

22:04 anon
anybody know a great good looking wiki?

People discuss the meaning of good looking, offer links, etc.

22:11 anon
i’m not interested in their designs
22:12 anon
i’m interested to determine how their standards are by looking at how they prepare the front page of their wiki
22:12 kensanata
22:12 anon
if it looks like shit
22:12 anon
it’s safe to assume that the rest of the cms will be coded like shit because the authors would be narrow minded enough to let it represent them
22:13 anon
it’s obvious i’d have to code my own
22:13 anon
using rubyonrails and ajax most likely
22:13 kensanata
bye bye then
22:13 anon
but i need a solid wiki system to let my associates be able to work on the masterplan for this next generation, human-centered operating system i’m cooking up

Welcome to my ignore list!


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2006-03-15 Israel

Have you read any articles by Norman Finkelstein? He charges Israel of deliberately messing up clear facts and misusing “anti-semitism” to cover up their own violations of human rights and international law. My background biasses me towards the Palestinians so I might not be totally balanced in recommending him. But if you thought the ideas presented in the PalestineComic were good, you should check out some of his speeches. – NoufalIbrahim

DeutscheWikipedia:Norman G. Finkelstein gives an interesting overview of his reception in Germany. It doesn’t really talk about about the conflict in Israel in Palestine, but about the Holocaust, charges against the JCC, etc. It’s mostly about the reparation payments made by Germany. I know very little about this, but support reparation payments in general. Whether he is right or wrong in this context, I can’t say. Thanks for the link to the complete transcript of the Norman Finkelstein & Former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami Debate. – AlexSchroeder

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Comments on 2006-03-15 Israel

Almost forgot the last time. Since you are interested in looking at the human rights situations there, I presume you’re already familiar with [1]? It was founded by Israelis (including some members of the Knesset). It documents human rights records of Israel in the occuppied territories.

Noufal Ibrahim 2006-03-16 07:05 UTC

I liked the B'Tselem Photo Archive. Short and succinct material.

AlexSchroeder 2006-03-16 10:05 UTC

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2006-03-15 Oddmuse

LongImageIncorporationProcess is the observation that it is very complicated to edit images on a wiki. I think the next step that I personally need is very simple, and I started writing a script for it. Eventually it should be available as Oddmuse:wikiimg, but for now, wikiimg is only available from CVS.

I was already using scripts like the following:

convert -resize 30% WebServerSetup.png WebServerSetupSmall.png scp WebServerSetup*.png wikiupload -u “AlexSchroeder” WebServerSetup.png \ wikiupload -t “image/svg+xml” -u “AlexSchroeder” WebServerSetup.svg \

Or this one:

file=`basename $0 .sh` wikiupload -u “AlexSchroeder” $file}.pngImage wikiupload -t “image/svg+xml” -u “AlexSchroeder” $file}.svgSource

What wikiimg does, basically, is the following:

; image get !PageName: Gets !PageNameSource from !CommunityWiki from the wiki and save it as !PageName.svg in the current directory.

; image put !PageName: Save !PageName.svg from the current directory as !PageNameSource on !CommunityWiki, and save !PageName.png in the current directory as !PageNameImage on !CommunityWiki. You are responsible for exporting the SVG file as PNG when you are done. If you set the environment variable WIKIUSER, this will be used as your username, otherwise the script will determine your login name and use that instead (id -un).

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2006-03-15 Stadtentwicklung

Ein Beitrag von SusanneSchmidt [1] hat mich dazu bewegt, auf Google etwas herumzusuchen, und deswegen will ich die gefundenen Links auch auf meinen eigenen Seiten notieren, damit ich sie zur Not wieder finden kann.

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2006-03-15 Wikis

Wiki RSS feeds are a bit of a problem: Yesterday I split an old page into several DatePage”“s, renamed it, created a redirect, etc. The default RSS feed records only major changes, but when I started reorganizing, I didn’t know that I would end up doing so much of it, and thus some changes got marked as major changes. And looking at RecentChanges now, it is absolutely flooded. And the corresponding RSS feed is flooded, too. The only only feed that is not flooded is the Journal Feed, which mimics the Diary page. It remained untouched.

I wonder how the kind of reorganizing could be mapped to RSS feed activity. I guess it would be nice, if the feed said: “Various pages reorganized: A, B, C, and D were changed.” I’d have to use a flag somewhere that said: “The following changes all belong to the same set,” and the default feed should group them all.

I guess I could have used Oddmuse:Temporary Clusters. Damn. I need to experiment with this.

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2006-03-16 Copyright

Why is FreeSoftware important? I liked this passage:

One of the most important freedoms of free software is the freedom to study how a program works. This freedom has allowed me to build my knowledge upon the efforts of other, more experienced developers before me. After reading this book, I hope you can build your knowledge upon mine. – Sean Egan [1]

Sean Egan is Gaim maintainer and explains how he got into software development: “The book explains how to become an open-source developer the same way I learned it myself: studying actual Gaim source code.”

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2006-03-16 Games

I downloaded and installed the Cloud Game on the Windows machine at work, but it’s too slow to play.

While googling for the correct link, I found some nice desktop wallpapers:

Creatures in my Head

When you’re on the site, click on the random link. I liked it. :)


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2006-03-16 Software

Another adventure in DVD burning! I wonder whether it will actually work this time without major hassle!

I’m looking at old pages I wrote myself for guidance: First, I took a look at 2004-10-30 Software:

Capture the video, merge scenes that are just one scene, and cut some extra stuff.

Done. I read the two tapes from the camera onto a 60G partition using Kino.

When exporting, I go to Export → MPEG and give it a name, choose file format 8 (DVD), and select the “Scene Split” checkbox (every scene in kino should be a chapter on DVD). Exporting will take quite some time.

Indeed it does. More than 3½h for about 1h of material.

[Time passes…]

It turns out that the stupid software tried to write all the files into my home directory. Soon enough, the home partition was full, and instead of aborting, it kept on transcoding the video for close to four hours. The symptom was that two thirds of all the files had 0 size.

I now picked a different filename and directory, and restarted the process. Isn’t this fun. I also had to change group and write permission for the directory.

[Time passes…]

While I’m waiting, I try to start VLC from the command line:

VLC media player 0.7.2 Bond * glibc detected * malloc(): memory corruption: 0x08246508 * Aborted


[Time passes…]

Open every mpeg file with Totem and save a screenshot as jpg file. Convert them all to 4x3 aspect ratio using the following:

for f in 0*.jpg 1*.jpg; do convert -resize ‘150x100!’ $f title$f; done

Note the exclamation mark to force the new aspect ratio, and note the size which is about right for a menu. Create two aditional menus, one for the stuff before break, one for the stuff after break, drag the jpeg images onto it, drag the mpeg into the bottom section after the menus, create appropriate text buttons, label them, give them the right jump command, then click on all the tracks and make sure that the post-command is to jump to the next track.

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Comments on 2006-03-16 Software

* glibc detected * malloc(): memory corruption: 0x08246508 * Aborted

FWIW, you can stop glibc sending SIGABRTs for detected corruption with an environment variable – _MALLOC_CHECK or similar, if I recall.

cjb 2006-03-19 05:18 UTC

Hm – but what does memory corruption mean? Does it mean a bug in the software or a fault in my RAM? I’m not sure I want to ignore this signal since I don’t know what it means…

AlexSchroeder 2006-03-19 16:31 UTC

Oh, it means a bug in the software. It can often be the kind of bug that causes subtle corruption that doesn’t cause a crash or data loss (but should still be fixed). The SIGABRT feature is new to modern glibc.

cjb 2006-03-23 05:56 UTC

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2006-03-19 Books

Nachdem ich ein Buch über die Tschuktschen in Sibirien gelesen habe (2006-03-15 Books), habe ich in meinem grossen Stapel ungelesener Bücher Gefrorene Sonne von Stan Jones gefunden – ein Buch über einen Mord unter dern Eingeborenen in Alaska. Auch wieder vom Unionsverlag, in der metro Reihe erschienen.


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2006-03-20 Blogs

Privacy issues: Ed Felten writes on FreedomToTinker about the college police using a website the students use to identify rule-breakers. The students think that violates their privacy, but Felten thinks that these students just don’t realize how public their info is. [1]

I think we’ll have to figure out a user interface for the interim, but in the long run, there will be a need for a new definition of privacy. At least where the law is not concerned, it will be more and more out of the question to drag old issues out from Internet archives.

Ghost of Usenet Posting Past
Dr. Fun by David Farley

Why? Because either you are visible on the net, and will therefore have made mistakes and gained experience, or you are invisible, without credentials, inexperienced, a potential spook, etc. Similarly, looking at private pictures and diaries will be possible, but taking advantage of the information gained will be socially unacceptable: Just like in real life, prying into your neighbour’s windows, having cameras pointed at their garden, or staring at people in the train is possible, but frowned upon.

People will realize that their secrets are available to their friends as well as to their foes, but they will also learn that their foes will not go away when they hide all their secrets. It will be possible to hide your private life, but it will also diminish your public life, and people will make new compromises.

Oh, and making pictures of yourself breaking the rules or the law and publishing them, or writing in public about your sex life, will remain as frowned upon as telling it to the local blabber. Don’t do it. :)

Update: I see that DanahBoyd has taken a stab at defining the term “super public”. It is related to Felten’s posting:

People’s idea of a public is traditionally bounded by space, time and audience - the park is a public that people understand. And, yet, this is all being disrupted. In talking about “super publics,” I want to get at the altered state of publics - what publics look like when they are infused with the features of digital architectures. What does it mean to speak across time and space to an unknown audience? What happens when you cannot predict who will witness your act because they are not visible now, even though they may be tomorrow? [2]

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2006-03-20 Movies

Heute sind wir Sommer vorm Balkon (2005) schauen gegangen. Der Film ist vom selben Regisseur, der schon Halbe Treppe (2002) gedreht hat. Das hätte mich eigentlich vorwarnen sollen. Mir hat der Film nicht gefallen. Das Milieu, die Charaktere – ich konnte mich mit nichts identifizieren.


Comments on 2006-03-20 Movies

habe den film auch gesehen. die vorschau war super - enthielt aber alle guten szenen des ganzen films. so war der film als ganzes zimelich “lauwarm” und bot leider nicht mehr als die vorschau. :(

– Anonymous 2006-03-20 14:53 UTC

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2006-03-20 Music

NowPlaying works again – Winamp at the office feeds it!

This is what I’m replacing on my portable audio player:

The mysterious Thai Karaoke CD that was in my DVD player when I bought it – Cry. Track list:

  • Glua by Palmy
  • Jeb-Sum-Sum by Titimah Phathumtip
  • Suan-Gurn by Ya Ya Ying
  • Poo-Chai-Kon-Nun-Chun-Hau-Tur by Nat Myria
  • Tum-Mai-Pen-Kon-Bap-Nee by Nicole Theriault
  • Ok-Huk-Chai-Mai by Tong
  • Taub-Dai-Mai by Natagarn Rittiwong
  • Nauk-Sai-Tah by Katreeya English
  • Lerk-Dai-Mai by Zaza
  • Kae-Gra-Jok-Gun by B:Namthip
  • Yah-Bauk-Hai-Chun-Pai by Sunita Leetikool
  • Kae-Maung by Annita
  • Mai-Keun-Jai by Mint Ardhawadee
  • Purn-Ruk by Ern Kalyakorn

I’m also replacing the two CDs of Queens of Fado. Track list:

  • Magoa by Cristina Branco
  • Ter Outra Ves 20 Anos by Bevinda
  • Conta Errada by Amália Rodrigues
  • Sombra De Pranto by Cidalia Moreira
  • Fado Da Defesa by Maria Leopoldina
  • Juntei-Me A Voz Verdadeira by Elba Ramalho
  • Chuva by Mariza
  • Fadinho Simples by Marta Dias
  • Somos Amor by Maria Dilar
  • Uma Gargalhada De Rapariga by Bevinda
  • Fado Da Desistencia by Felipa Pais
  • Grao De Arroz by Maria Ana Bobone
  • Cavalo De Cordel by Ennio Morricone, Dulce Pontes
  • Ja Sei Meu Amor Ja Sei by Mariadafe
  • Boca Da Vida by Anabela
  • Fado Final by Amália Rodrigues
  • Fim by Cristina Branco
  • Est-Ce Que C’est CA L’amour by Bevinda
  • Trem Desmantelado by Maria Leopoldina Guia
  • Sao Joao Bonito by Rosa Maria
  • Da-Me O Braco, Anda Dai by Maria Ana Bobone
  • Lusitana Paixao by Ennio Morricone, Dulce Pontes
  • Cidade by Maria Armanda
  • Rosa Enjeitada by Margarida Bessa
  • O Gente Da Minha Terra by Mariza
  • Tenho Ruas No Meu Peito by Sofia Varela
  • Saudade Espuma Do Mar by Teresa Siqueira
  • Sereia by Bevinda
  • Meu Corpo by Mariadafe
  • Passarihno Da Charneca by Anabela

Other stuff replaced: Existir and Movimento by Madredeus, and Paixões Diagonais by Mísia.

Stuff I’m keeping: The strange Turkish/Greek mix must go as well – Rebetika 1918-1954. Tracks:

  • Ime Prezakias-Tsifte Telli by Roza Eskenazi
  • Zmirneikos Balos by Marika Papagika
  • Neva Hedzaz by Marika Kanaropulo
  • Aidhinikos Horos by Marika Papagika
  • Gazeli Neva Sabah by Rita Abaci
  • Trava Re (Manga Ke) Alani by Roza Eskenazi
  • Horos Dervishikos by Aghapios Tomboulis
  • Tis Ksenityas O Ponos by Andonis Dalgas
  • Hedzaz Neva Manes by Haralambos Panayis
  • Burnovalio Sirto by Yanis Oghdhondakis
  • Gyuzel Sabah Manes by Yorghos Papasidheris
  • Ise Pondos by Rita Abaci
  • Sousta Politiki by Andonis Dalgas
  • Opios Orfanepse Mikros by Stratos Pagioumitzis
  • Coban Kizi (Amane) by Marika Ninu
  • Taxim-Zeybekiko by Markos Vamvakaris
  • I Xenitia “Gurbet” by Tsitsanis Vasilis
  • I Baglamades “Baglamalar” by Stratos Pagioumitzis
  • Minore You Teke by Ioannis Halikias
  • I Eleni I Zontohira “Dul Eleni” by Andonis Kalivopoulos
  • Gülbahar by Marika Ninu

And I’m keeping Is This It? by The Strokes.

New: Success by The Posies, a C64 compilation called Micro_Superstarz 2000 that appeared on the Micromusic label, Bayreuth 1 by Witt, and some mysterious stuff I’ve found in my music share: 10000Hz by Air, Mezzanine by Massive Attack, The Mirror Conspiracy by Thievery Corporation, Disintegration by The Cure, Adore by The Smashing Pumpkins.

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On 2006-03-10, Claudia and me had our 14th anniversary. :) &lt;3 &lt;3 Happy!!

Today I met Claudia and one of her fellow dancers for some tea and coffee after their training, because we recently discovered that her friend is the little Turkish girl who went to kindergarten and first grade with me. Amazing. That was 25 years ago.

Comments on 2006-03-21

Congratulations. I wish you many more of the same.

AlokSingh 2006-03-22 07:25 UTC

Congratulations all around!

AadityaSood goes ‘ping’!

AadityaSood 2006-03-23 15:33 UTC

Herzlichen Glückwunsch auch von mir!

– Helmut Schroeder 2006-03-23 23:17 UTC

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2006-03-22 Germany Copyright

Heise schreibt zur Situation in Deutschland:

Bundesjustizministerin Brigitte Zypries hat […] die geplante P2P-Bagatellklausel aus dem Regierungsentwurf für die Urheberrechtsnovelle gestrichen. […] Mit dem Paragraphen wollte Zypries eigentlich die “Kriminalisierung von Schulhöfen” verhindern. Film- und Musikindustrie hatten die Passage dagegen frühzeitig als “Raubkopier-Klausel” gebrandmarkt und einen Lobbysturm entfacht. […] Es drohen für Rechtsbrecher, die im nicht-gewerblichen Umfeld handeln, Haftstrafen bis zu drei Jahren. [1]


Mit Unverständnis hat etwa der Bundesverband der Verbraucherzentralen auf den Wegfall der Passage reagiert, mit der Bundesjustizministerin Brigitte Zypries ursprünglich das illegale Herunterladen von urheberrechtlich geschützten Inhalten aus dem Internet in geringer Stückzahl ausdrücklich straffrei stellen wollte. “Damit droht eine Kriminalisierung von Jugendlichen auch in Bagatellfällen sowie eine Überlastung der Strafverfolgungsbehörden”, fürchtet Vorstand Edda Müller. Jeder Internetnutzer müsse bei der Verabschiedung des Gesetzes befürchten, auch wegen kleinerer Verstöße strafrechtlich belangt zu werden. Welche Downloads legal und welche illegal sind, sei für den Verbraucher in den meisten Fällen aber nicht erkennbar. [2]

In Frankreich hingegen:

Ohne weitere Änderungen hat die französische Nationalversammlung am Dienstagnachmittag den heftig umstrittenen und mehrfach überarbeiteten Gesetzesentwurf zur Urheberrechtsreform verabschiedet. [..] So sollen mit dem Gesetz erstmals auch in Frankreich Systeme zum digitalen Rechtekontrollmanagement (DRM) rechtlich abgesichert und ihre Umgehung strafbar werden. […] Die Stellung von DRM wird gleichzeitig untergraben durch eine relativ weite Interoperabilitätsklausel. Demnach müssen die technischen Ausrüster von Kopierschutzmechanismen im Bedarfsfall alle technischen Informationen herausgeben, die für das nahtlose Zusammenspiel verschiedener Systeme und Abspielgeräte erforderlich sind. Damit soll ausdrücklich die Dekompilation von DRM-Software ermöglicht werden. […] Auch über die Folgen eines mit verabschiedeten Änderungsantrags […] rätseln Beobachter noch. Ihm zufolge soll mit bis zu drei Jahren Haft und Geldstrafe von bis zu 300.000 Euro belegt werden, wer “wissentlich” und öffentlich Software verbreitet, die “offensichtlich darauf ausgerichtet ist”, den unautorisierten Zugang zu geschützten Werken oder anderen Objekten zu gestatten. Selbst der Hinweis auf derlei Programme steht unter derselben Strafandrohung. […] Konkret gegen Filesharer richtet sich ein ebenfalls beschlossener abgestufter Strafkatalog. Es sieht für Privatleute, die Musik nur zum Eigenbedarf herunterladen, ein anfängliches Bußgeld von 38 Euro vor. Die Strafen erhöhen sich beim stärkeren Konsum an sich kopiergeschützter Werke aus Tauschbörsen immer weiter. [3]

Ich glaube, SuShee ist sauer… die, DRM and IP, die!

Sie schreibt sowieso jede Menge vernünftiges Zeug: Einfach ins Internet stellen. Punkt.

Und ranten kann die Frau auch: Hach, es gibt immer soviele tolle Rechtfertigungen, alles beim Alten zu lassen. Und wenig später auf derselben Seite: “Aber dann geht mir bitte nicht mit eurem unqualifiziertem, saudämlichen, beschissen informiertem, unrecherchiertem, null reflektiertem und restlos ungebildetem Bedenkenträgertum auf die Nerven. Ich erklär’ doch nicht jedem hirntoten Bildungsverweigerer politische Grundlagen für Einsteiger.” Auf sie (die Bildungsverweigerer) mit Gebrüll!! :)


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2006-03-22 Gleichberechtigung

TelePolis schreibt über Gewalt gegen Frauen. [1] Die Zahlen sind echt beängstigend.

Gewalt gegen Frauen und Mädchen ist das weltweit verbreitetste und alltäglichste Menschenrechtsproblem. Über alle kulturellen und religiösen Grenzen hinweg, quer durch Schichten und Altersklassen, in allen Ländern der Welt. Jede fünfte Frau in unserem Land erlebt physische oder sexuelle Gewalt durch ihren Partner. – Schweizer Sektion von Amnesty International (AI) zum Start ihrer Kampagne [2]

They also write that 700’000 women are raped every year in the USA. Ugh.

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2006-03-23 Books

I finished Frozen Sun by Stan Jones (I read the book in German, as I said on 2006-03-19 Books). And interesting plot with twists spread out evenly. The emotional part was a bit strange – where as I understood Nathan’s fascination with Grace, I did not understand his problem with Lucy. It’s hard to say anything at all without spoilers. ;)

Remember I decided to read this book after reading Juri Rychtëu’s book. His story took place in the years after the second World War and was filled with background about the orginal (and disappearing) culture of the natives, where as Stan Johnes’ story is happening now, somewhere in the late 1990s. Strange to read about Inuit east and west of the Bering straits, a culture I knew practically nothing about until seeing Atanarjuat (2001). I think I’ll order some more books by both authors.

Unfortunately I don’t know the name of the Inuit nation described by Rychtëu in English, in German they are called Tschuktschen.

The strange thing is that the book says that the German translation appeared in 2001 – “Gefrorene Sonne” – which translates to “Frozen Sun”. In my German book, however, it says at the very end that the English original is called “Amazing Grace” and is “unpublished”. Could it be that the German publisher bought the rights to the manuscript and translated it, without there being an American publisher? I’m sure there’s a story in there somewhere… Perhaps the book was “unpublishable” in the USA due to the background of characters involved in the crime?

Well, if you check out his Frozen Sun page, Jones says:

Frozen Sun has been published to considerable success in Germany, but is still in search of a publisher in this country. [1]

(It was published in German, but not in Germany – Zürich is in Switzerland. ;))

I also found Stan Jones' homepage and it has a sample chapter of the book online! Actually, since he has mail address and seems to be a nice guy on his homepage, I’ll send him some mail and let him know I liked the book. Basically in the spirit of FreeSoftware – people like me write software and give it away, and we sure like to see people sending us mail telling us that they like it.

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2006-03-23 Israel

Why does John Malkovich want to kill me?, by Robert Fisk, gives us a small sample of the hate mail that goes around. Ugh!

Another article has an interview with Robert Fisk, where he explains that he thinks somebody wants a civil war, but it is not the Iraqis: “The first people to mention civil war were the occupation authorities. The Iraqis were not.” – This matches what I heard from the Iraqi bloggers I used to read such as Riverbend and Faiza.

Via JanneJalkanen [1], and Mette [2], and Anup Shah (GlobalIssues).

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2006-03-23 Wikis

CommunityWiki or Oddwiki are being slammed. Yesterday I fixed an infinite recursive include problem and installed a limit of 10 processes (for cross-script infinite recursive include problems).

I ran top and saw that we had load > 60!

I checked tail -f access.log and noticed an IP number.

I added it to .htaccess:

Order Allow,Deny Allow from all Deny from </pre>

And soon enough, load was coming down again:

top - 04:07:02 up 1 day, 14:08, 11 users, load average: 45.27, 59.65, 54.06 Tasks: 264 total, 2 running, 256 sleeping, 0 stopped, 6 zombie Cpu(s): 5.8% us, 1.3% sy, 0.0% ni, 19.6% id, 73.1% wa, 0.0% hi, 0.2% si Mem: 2056776k total, 1348628k used, 708148k free, 47676k buffers Swap: 7783452k total, 450160k used, 7333292k free, 495848k cached </pre>

When I looked at the log using my leech-detector script (see WebServerLogs), I saw this:

alex@mirabel:$ tail -n 10000 websites/web_logfiles/ | leech-detector | head 9946 0K 99% 0.0s 403 (100%) 17 5K 0% 11.1s 200 (82%), 302 (11%), 400 (5%) 12 2K 0% 5.9s 200 (66%), 304 (16%), 302 (16%) 7 9K 0% 1.7s 200 (85%), 301 (14%) 4 8K 0% 1.3s 200 (100%) 2 9K 0% 22.0s 200 (100%) 2 2K 0% 4.0s 200 (100%) 1 9K 0% 200 (100%) 1 9K 0% 200 (100%) 1 9K 0% 200 (100%) </pre>

I wondered – what the fuck is the stupid asshole leeching!?

pre - - [23/Mar/2006:04:15:44 -0700] “GET /en?action=browse;id=BulletSummaryBlock;revision=17 HTTP/1.1” 403 303 0 “-” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.0)” - - [23/Mar/2006:04:15:44 -0700] “GET /en?action=browse;id=BlogControlledByWiki;revision=58 HTTP/1.1” 403 303 0 “-” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.0)” - - [23/Mar/2006:04:15:44 -0700] “GET /en?action=browse;id=BulletSummaryBlock;revision=18 HTTP/1.1” 403 303 0 “-” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.0)” - - [23/Mar/2006:04:15:44 -0700] “GET /en?action=browse;id=BlogControlledByWiki;revision=57 HTTP/1.1” 403 303 0 “-” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.0)” - - [23/Mar/2006:04:15:44 -0700] “GET /en?action=browse;id=BlogControlledByWiki;revision=8 HTTP/1.1” 403 303 0 “-” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.0)” - - [23/Mar/2006:04:15:44 -0700] “GET /en?action=browse;id=BulletSummaryBlock;revision=14 HTTP/1.1” 403 303 0 “-” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.0)” - - [23/Mar/2006:04:15:44 -0700] “GET /en?action=browse;id=BlogControlledByWiki;revision=60 HTTP/1.1” 403 303 0 “-” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.0)” - - [23/Mar/2006:04:15:44 -0700] “GET /en?action=browse;id=BulletSummaryBlock;revision=19 HTTP/1.1” 403 303 0 “-” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.0)” - - [23/Mar/2006:04:15:44 -0700] “GET /en?action=browse;id=BlogWiki HTTP/1.1” 403 303 0 “-” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.0)” </pre>

They are getting everything – old revisions current stuff, everything.

A little whois tells me what I wanted to know: IP range ( - and company (Keyweb AG IP Network). They do hosting, so they or one of their customers has written a bad bad spider…

How many hits?

alex@mirabel:$ grep websites/web_logfiles/ | wc -l 100889 </pre>

I wonder how the script reacted:

alex@mirabel:$ grep websites/web_logfiles/ | leech-detector 102769 5K 100% 21.7s 403 (42%), 200 (26%), 503 (21%), 301 (4%), 404 (3%), 302 (1%), 400 (0%), 501 (0%) </pre>

Hm, so they did get a lot of 200 OK responses. 503 Server Unavailable is what you get when you send too many requests. I would have expected more of those. Amazing how many 403 Not Authorized they are getting – it seems that now that they are being denied by the server, they’re just speeding up.

alex@mirabel:$ grep websites/web_logfiles/ | leech-detector 111378 4K 100% 20.1s 403 (46%), 200 (24%), 503 (20%), 301 (3%), 404 (3%), 302 (0%), 400 (0%), 501 (0%) </pre>

See how within minutes they sent another 9000 requests…

Maybe somebody ordered his IE to prepare the site for off-line reading… :)

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Summer’s back! I’ve resumed my favorite pastime: In the afternoon, when the sun is still shining, the warm air slowly turns under the big tree of our local park, sit there on the grass or on some warm stones, read a book, sip some coffee or drink some terrible artificial tangerine flavored softdrink – in the Bäckeranlage.

Here’s an old picture:

Sommer in der Bäckeranlage

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2006-03-26 Books

The first day of summer – I was out in my tee-shirt, the sun was shining, and I finished Shaman Pass by Stan Jones. Read a chapter from the author's homepage

Naja, eigentlich habe ich das Buch ja auf Deutsch gelesen. ;) Schamanenpass von Stan Jones. Wie gesagt, die Webseiten des Unionsverlags sind ziemlich gut. Da hat es auch eine Seite über den Schamanenpass.

Weiter geht es mit Traum im Polarnebel von Juri Rytchëu. Leider hat es auf der entsprechenden Seite vom Verlag nur sehr wenig mehr Information. Geschrieben wurde das Buch 1968. Es scheint gar nicht so Schamanenfeindlich und verächtlich gegenüber den Eingeboreren zu sein wie es gemäss der DeutscheWikipedia:Juri Rytchëu sein sollte:

In den 80er Jahren ändert sich der Tonfall seiner Werke, zunächst indem Rytcheu etwa die Figur des Schamanen zur positiven Figur erhebt und es wagt, das Wort “Zivilisation” erstmals in Anführungszeichen zu setzen – Ibid, Literarisches Werk von Juri Sergejewitsch Rytcheu

Da werde ich also aufpassen und mir sein Buch auch unter dem Aspekt der “Regimetreue und ideologische Zuverlässigkeit” zu Gemüte führen.

Bis jetzt habe ich nur einen Paragraphen zum Thema “ideologische Zuverlässigkeit” gefunden – und der stand so schief in der Landschaft, als ob Rytchëu den extra für den Zensor eingefügt hätte: Einen Rentier Tschuktschen, den er antrifft, bezeichnet er als Grosskapitalisten, der die Mitglieder seines Lagers ausbeutet. Aber das taucht weder vorher noch nachher je wieder auf.

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2006-03-26 Oddmuse

Wow, huge spam flood hammering CommunityWiki and Oddwiki today.

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2006-03-27 Blogs

Kathy Sierra asks about her blog readers. [1] Somehow I don’t feel like posting a comment over there, so I’ll just do it over here:

Drinking Latte Macchiato at the Forum, Langstrasse

Alex Schroeder
What I do
Mostly CRM projects by day, Emacs and Wiki by night.
One thing I’m passionate about
Enabling a new audience with my wiki – non-English speakers, fledgling Perl programmers. That’s why it has to be easy to install and easy to hack.
Something most people wouldn’t know about me
I practice with my wooden sword in my living room when I’m tense late at night.
In less than 10 words, how your closest friends would describe you
Guarded, resentful, caring, friendly, smart, arrogant, lazy, strange, true.
If you could give a teenager only ONE piece of advice… (in one sentence)
Don’t do anything you will be unable to make up in the future, should you change your mind.
And then any other links or comments you think our readers here might be interested in, with no need to stay “on topic.” (Since the topic is – technically – you)

Oh well, I went ahead and posted it on her blog anyway after reading some other comments. I really liked this advice for teenagers:

  • Just ask that girl/boy out. Really. In 20 years time, you’ll either wish you did, or it won’t be important. Either way says do it.

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2006-03-27 Copyright

Yeah, sometimes I abuse my blog as a extended bookmark service. JanneJalkanen writes about EMI’s latest blunder: EMI releases DRM CDs that totally hose customers.

Via BoingBoing:

Brazilian mega-star Marisa Monte’s new CDs from EMI (“Infinito Particular” and “Universo ao Meu Redor”) come with DRM that can’t be uninstalled, and requires you to “agree” to a contract that isn’t published in Portuguese. Even if you disagree, the malware is installed. [1]

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2006-03-27 Games

Downloaded the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Emulator Nestopia. Got some random ROMs and started playing Chronicle of Radia War.


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2006-03-27 Pictures

Im Gang stapeln sich die Säcke für die Kleidersammlung Die Küche als Zwischenlager Was nicht in die Kleidersammlung kommt, will neu geordnet werden

Morgen ist Kleidersammlung. Zum Glück! Wir haben 10 Säcke voll mit Kleidern, und 3 Säcke voll mit Schuhen.


Comments on 2006-03-27 Pictures

wie ich sehe, habt ihr das wohnzimmer ein bisschen wohnlicher gestaltet. wohnt claudia jetzt definitiv bei dir, d.h. hat sie richtig gezügelt? ;)

zeno 2006-03-28 06:14 UTC

Das WG Zimmer ist ab 1. April von einer fremden Person bewohnt…

AlexSchroeder 2006-03-28 20:30 UTC

Gotta love the big bird with the huge eyes. :)

Noufal Ibrahim 2006-04-10 11:30 UTC

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2006-03-28 Kochen

Pesto selber machen: Drei Knoblauchzehen, viel Basilikum (hier “frisch” im Beutel mit “min. 20g”), eine halbe Tasse Pinienkerne, halben Teelöffel Salz, Pfeffer, etwas weniger als eine halbe Tasse Parmesan (Gran Padano in diesem Fall), in den Mixer, und nach und nach Olivenöl hinzugeben, bis die Konsistenz stimmt.

Ich habe es noch nicht probiert. ;)


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2006-03-28 Patents

Heise zum neusten Patent-Unsinn:

Hintergrund ist eine Klage des Unternehmens !MercExchange aus Great Falls (Virginia), dessen Gründer Thomas Woolston sich im April 1995 drei Patente für Programme und Verfahren von Internet-Auktionen gesichert hatte. Weil darin unter anderem eine “Sofort Kaufen”-Funktion beschrieben wird, wie sie das Online-Auktionshaus eBay seit geraumer Zeit verwendet, ging Woolston gerichtlich gegen eBay vor. [1]

Ohh.. “Sofort kaufen!” Was für eine unglaublich schützenswerte Idee! Ohne Patente hätten die Erfinder das Geheimnis nieeee veröffentlicht!


Die erneuten Äußerungen Microsofts, im Zweifelsfall mit Patentklagen gegen den Wettbewerber Linux vorzugehen, sehen die Anhänger freier Software in Europa mit gemischten Gefühlen. An sich erachtet etwa der österreichische Verein zur Förderung Freier Software (FFS) das rasch wachsende Softwarepatent-Portfolio als “harmlos” für Linux in Europa. Die Redmonder halten laut der Interessensvertretung etwa 500 Monopolansprüche beim Europäischen Patentamt. [2]

Ach wie schön, dass alle am Fortschritt interessiert sind…

Via SuShee: Reale Idiotie: hoch - gefühlter Schwachsinn: grenzenlos. ;)

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2006-03-29 Blogs

DanahBoyd about illegal immigration and MySpace and politics – awesome combination! :)

We bitch about how young people are not politically engaged, but when they speak out for something that hegemonic society disapproves of, they are slapped down. Ah, the irony. [1]

It reminds me of the kids protesting against the US invasion of Iraq some years ago. I don’t think that our media reacted as condenscendingly as that.

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2006-03-29 Software

JanneJalkanen talks about useless software: Restaurant recommendations.

It turns out that there’s a large number of socially inept people, who apparently don’t want to talk to any of the locals and simply ask, but they would rather live in their own small little world and have carefully managed and computer-recommended “foreign” experiences when going abroad. [1]

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2006-03-29 USA

TelePolis writes about Battle Cry in the USA. Scary stuff. Specially considering that all this weirdo Christian activism comes to Europe eventually.

Man ist gegen Homosexualität, vorehelichen Sex, Abtreibung, Drogen und Alkohol. “!BattleCry” - von Luce als eine moralische Mobilisierung in Analogie zum Zweiten Weltkrieg gesetzt, als die Amerikaner den D-Day vorbereiteten und Europa von den Nazis befreiten - ist ein Amalgam aus einer Kritik an den Medien, am Kommerz und dem angeblichen Verfall der Moral, also an der westlichen Kultur, die auch die Islamisten ablehnen. [1]

This is where religion and politics go full circle and fundamentalist of all religions meet: Against homosexuality, sex before marriage, abortion, drugs, alcohol.

I won’t deny that western culture has its problems, but this kind of religious fundamentalism doesn’t look like the right solution. What happened to enlightenment? Rational thought, self-responsibility, making your own moral choices?

In German, the word Aufklärung stands for both the historical movement of enlightenment, as well as for the activity: To enlighten, clarify, educate, elucidate. It’s the word we use to describe the sex education, too – parents telling their kids about love, sex, pregancy, birth, death, etc.

An excellent word!

Mehr Aufklärung, bitte!

→ More enlightenment (philosophical, moral, sexual), please!

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2006-03-30 Wikis

CommunityWiki and my Oddwiki MotherWiki are both located on EggplantFarms. Today they were unavailable for nearly 13h. I felt naked without them! I usually click on four links dozens of times every day: my RecentChanges, EmacsWiki:RecentChanges, Community:RecentChanges, and Oddwiki:RecentChanges.

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Comments on 2006-03-30 Wikis

As per one of the admins in an email I received:

We had some routine maintenance not go so routinely.

Thankfully, it’s all back up and running now. All my sites are hosted there too. I feel your pain :)

greywulf 2006-03-31 01:00 UTC

I was just hitting my RecentChanges link, over and over again.

“Maybe it’ll be back.”


“Maybe now.”




“C’mon, it’s gotta be back by now.”


I felt like one of those rats with the pellet feeders, that you read about in Psych class.

LionKimbro 2006-04-01 06:32 UTC

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