February 13th, 2008

The PBS restrictions

Can somebody see if this is downloadable? Or post me the link to the core media, so I can check if the ip checking is dumb enough to have me watch it anyway? Thank you!

Great Grey’s link actually did it. Miro is happily downloading the torrent as we speak, yeah! Thank you!

Great Grey helped me get my hands on this PBS show called Astrospies. Here is the link again, which is pointing to a bittorrent. Miro happily downloaded and showed it in crystal clear impressive DVD like quality. Pretty interesting to see how a whole separate manned space program was being secretly developed in parallel to the Apollo missions.

I will leave it in my Miro library for a couple of weeks and can see it is feeding (or seeding as that is called) it again to others. Smart.

As for PBS: I like them, great programs. How sad they are putting up rights restrictions on even their own productions, hampering obviously only the less computer literate.

February 13th, 2008

The pale blue dot

Late Carl Sagan is a guy I really really liked. Optimist, Scientist, ET believer. If I am not mistaken, he was involved in getting a plaquette on board of the Voyager and/or Pioneer spacecrafts, the most distant man-made objects. The Voyagers are still partly operational, quite incredible.

Sagan, who wrote the book “Contact”, later filmed with Jody Foster and still my all time favorite movie, said:

“That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

February 11th, 2008

The Nato

NATO was born out of a common post WWII fear for the communists. One of the foundations of the NATO is the principle of “if one is being attacked, we’re ALL attacked and are obliged to act as such” (my simplified layman’s words). What is kinda interesting that during the cold war, NATO was basically a sleeping organization, only performing a lot of exercises to prepare for an enemy that in the end never came, that in 1954 suggested it should join NATO, and that more or less stopped existing in 1991.

Interestingly, the US succeeded in putting 9/11/2001 under the above principle, and the member-states basically found themselves drawn into a fear driven unnamed-enemy “War on terror”.

It is the combination of these two facts that brought the allied forces into the war in Afghanistan. And as I stated before, other than Iraq, Afghanistan is backed by UN resolutions. Me, I am pretty convinced this is no coincidence. How could NATO member-states vote against military action in the UN if the above two facts were accepted and combined?

And this is really what it is all about with the slowly succeeding arm-twisting diplomacy by R. Gates: people/parliaments/states are confusing the mess the the US made of Iraq under the umbrella of “war on terror” with Afghanistan, posted under the same W-O-T, basically thinking like “Listen, everything you do, we will certainly NOT engage in, given the terrible decision making that led to the fucking mess this so called war on terror is already”. In my opinion a wrong, but very understandable line of thinking.

So the question is: is one members war everyones war as in “to fight”, or is NATO a sort of flex workers agency for soldiers?

Gates is not worried about the weight of the forces. He doesn’t need NATO for that (check the US defense budget and the one-man-show in Iraq to know). He needs NATO members for their political support.

February 11th, 2008

The Maharishi

Guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of Transcendental Meditation, died last week. He lived in my country in a ultra-tiny village next to the German border called Vlodrop. His body was flown to India and ritually cremated there. The most well known fact may be that The Beatles were “followers”.

February 10th, 2008

The smart remarks of Robert Gates re-revisited

This is not coming to an end it seems. With the NATO informal meeting going on and not getting any support from the allies he bullied (Germany, Italy and Spain), Gates is now turning indirectly to the European public, doing some fear-talk (“what if the Taliban win?”). France decided to send some extra soldiers, Belgium 4 F-16′s and 100 supporting astaff. Diplomacy at its finest. It’s getting old and a bit sad.

Earlier on the nest: The smart remarks of Robert Gates revisited, The smart remarks of Robert Gates

February 10th, 2008

The waterfall aka swimming at the edge

I never had any fear of heights, until about 10 years ago. I was in Singapore for a client and while in a meeting on the 40-something-th floor, dead tired from the long flight, something “went wrong” in the attic. No panic, but major discomfort, and it never went away. Now this really scared the crap out of me just watching.

Swimming at the edge

Ā Have a peek at the video’s and other pictures there.

February 10th, 2008

The upgrade 2.3.3 (kinda)

Only fixed a security issue in 2.3.2. Didn’t update the entire WordPress installation.

February 5th, 2008

The government of Italy

The salvage of the Italian administration failed yesterday, which means new elections. This will lead to the 62nd administration since WWII. Read that again please. This will lead to the 62nd administration in 63 years. 62 administrations in 63 years. Happy Super-Tuesday!

February 4th, 2008

Ralph Nader for President (?)

After I emailed a close friend last week that Ralph Nader was considering another run to be U.S. President, my friend wrote back:

a smart Democratic supporter told me when Nader’s name came up, that if Nader knew he could not win, that it was about ego and was nothing but a spoiler without his running Bush would not have gotten elected.

I wrote back to my friend:

First, I don’t believe that Nader is responsible for Gore’s loss. The dems could have challenged the election results, they didn’t. It’s sad to watch the footage of House members pleading with Al Gore from the floor of The Senate for one Senator to come forward and challenge the results (that’s all that was needed), no one stepped forward.

Secondly, I wouldn’t expect any other answer, except perhaps insults and name calling (speaking from experience), from someone who has thrown their everything into the Democratic Party. People like Ralph Nader are a real threat to them, as a critic Nader threatens damage to the Democratic base so he must be stomped out – even if what he advocates is good for our country. To party regulars it’s more important to protect the party than our country. See for example: http://www.democracynow.org/2000/10/17/naders_speech_at_madison_square_garden

As for ego, ask that dem supporter to name one U.S. President in the last 100-years who did not have a big ego? The trick is to find someone who can put their “ego” to good use and behave in a reasonable and pragmatic manner. Ralph Nader has not swayed in his advocacy for the common citizen since he started way back when. The results of his work, and the people who were inspired by him is quite visible. Mandatory seat belts, airbags, The Consumer Product Safety Commission, The Clean Air Act, and the list goes on and on.

We will never have anything but a 2 party system in this country if your friends observations are taken to heart. At some point ideology has to trump “realpolitik.” Sure, it will be painful, some bad people will probably be elected – but in the end we and our nation would benefit by having more than 2 parties (2 parties that more often than not seem to agree on legislation that is not in our best interest).

The Republicans and the Democrats closed ranks to keep Nader out of the debates, as you’ll probably recall. They did this because both parties knew Nader had traction with their constituents and because, if allowed to participate in a nationally televised debate, Nader might have convinced some of the viewers that the nominees were corporate whores who didn’t really give 2 hoots about citizens; that of course would have been unacceptable to the corporate backers of both the Republican and Democratic parties. Noam Chomsky and many others have pointed out that while you can say anything you want in the United States access to media “markets” (hence the citizenry) is denied to those who are truly critical of the ruling elites. We recently have witnessed similar media responses to John Edwards when, sincere or not, the large media corporations ignored what he was saying because it had a populist bent (don’t want to upset the sheep you know). I guess it’s kinda funny that I know more than a few Republicans (more to the right than most) who voted for Nader.

The behavior of both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party over the past 12-16 years has been shameful. Both are responsible for the mess we are in now: corporate control of our government, jobs going overseas, the balance of trade, etc. etc.

You might want to watch the film, “An Unreasonable Man” (2006) I think it’s out on DVD see: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0492499/

Best –CityKid

February 3rd, 2008

The hideaway

Can I go here for a while please? I could use it? Please-y-please?

Yes, I know you don’t need “stunning picture” web-pages, but well, where this came from, it does stand out.

Earlier on the nest: The paradise.