March 13th, 2007

The numbers turned visual

I usually don’t repost Boing Boing entries, as I suspect most readers will look there too, but this one needs to be. Images say more than a 655.000 words. Java viewer. Big. I feel sad.

March 13th, 2007

The gay marriage

When I blog here, I try to write about things that touch me personally, are eyebrow rising, or (so I hope) give some insight in seriously different arrangements than “elsewhere”, either in my country or in others. I didn’t check the number but it seems there are about 200 countries in this world. Of those 200, only 5 (Begium, Canada, the Netherlands, South-Africa and Spain) have gay marriage either embedded in their law system or simply doesn’t make any distiction between the sex of the partners. One of those 5 is my country.

Now get the twist. Civil servants can refuse to close a gay marriage if it conflics with their personal beliefs or conscience, however, each municapality is obliged by law to marry a homosexual couple, either by haveing at least one servant who is entitled to and will do, or by “flying in” one for the occassion.

Now get the double twist. We have some ex-colonies left in the carribean (yes, a few black history pages are connected, but that is a different subject). After many many years of debating, status changes etc, 4 of those 6 will simply become municipalities of my country. One small island has stated it’s (mainly Catholic) population will refuse to accept the gay marriage. I guess what will happen is they will simply have to comply if they want their status, but then of course no civil servant living there wants to burn him/herself. And of course some people will find that in itself attractive enough to want to be married there. “Flying in” will get a new meaning!!!

I think gay marriage is civilization export and both we, as the island occupants should be proud of it. Feel free to comment.

disclaimer: I am most definately not gay.

note: the situation in the US is more diverse. Massachusetts has a gay marriage law, 7 have some sort of marriage-like contract possibility, while 4 others make no sex distiction.

March 10th, 2007

The energy connections

In what I think is a bold move, most European leaders under leadership of CDU forewoman Angelika Merkel, agreed on a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by the entire EU by 20% in 2020, measured from the marker year 1990. That is quite a challenge and I believe the means to achieve it are somewhat dubious: France bets heavily on nuclear, the Netherlands on CO2 injection in the depleted gas fields. But at least we are getting somewhere and it seems environmental issues can’t NOT be on any political movement’s agenda anymore.

At the same time, after staring at his belly button on Iraq for 5 years, president Bush is now on a 7 days “charm offensive” in South America. The same South America which has heavily distanced itself in the last decade from the US. And of course he is only visiting the countries that have chosen “the right way” (“right” being allowed to be dual-interpreted here), in an attempt to minimize Chavez influence in the region. Interestingly enough, the “wrong” countries are the ones having oil. And the one country that REALLY matters (Brazil) was praised on their use of ethanol, thank you thank you that we can kindly use your technology, but at the same time, US ethanol import taxes will not be lowered, to protect US corn farmers.

note: Of course there was a Belgian a$$hole minister chartering an army helicopter to bring him to the showing of Al Gore’s movie (2000% more emissions than a car) and Barosso, the EU chairman, drove in his SUV to the conference, showing word and action are easily separated in politicians peoples minds.

March 4th, 2007

Random personal notes

  • We were lucky this time. When the moon’s eclipse was full last night, there were only scattered clouds and it was pretty spectacular.
  • Yesterday, a 16 year old classmate of one of my sons was killed in a car accident. He was in a (probably speeding) 4 wheel drive, his neighbour on the wheel. Lost control, skidded 200 yards, ended against a tree. The driver has minor injuries. About a year ago, another of his classmates died after being hit by a car and a 3 month coma.
  • Family surprize. Again yesterday got a phone call. Turns out my parents are married 60 years next tuesday. The major of the small town they live in will join the party. Not big news, but what is weird all the kids believed they married in September. As it seems (think 1947, war hardly over, rebuilding the country), they married legally in March and in church in September.
March 1st, 2007

The OS choice of God

This is funny.

Sister Judith Zoebelein, editorial director of the Holy See, runs the team that builds the Vatican‘s Website. We have a fun talk at the recent LIFT conference, where we discuss the challenges of building a site for one of the world’s oldest organizations. (…) We don’t know the OS that God uses, but the Vatican uses Linux, she reveals.