September 28th, 2008

The paper in the mailbox

Opt out through:

Do it today. Save a bit of the environment, your mailbox and a bit of piece of mind.

For the Dutchies:

Note that in the Netherlands, sending spam is illegal and enforced by the OPTA (the Dutch variant of the FCC). Complains about spam sent from the Netherlands should be be registered at spamklacht (spamcomplaint). Ask me for help with the Dutch form if you get spam originated from the Netherlands.

Thanks ZapRoot.

September 26th, 2008

The debate

The debate will be my 3:00, sorry, won’t make it. But what’s funny that will be posting debunks of false claims by the “contestants” real time. So if you are going to watch, it would be funny to keep open. Yes, you can be sure those will be made on both sides.

Oh and while we’re at it, by these standards, I am a better VP than Palin. A commenter here called this “feeling substituted embarrassment”.

Watch CBS Videos Online

September 22nd, 2008

The mat

Sorry, couldn’t resist

September 15th, 2008

The bankrupcy, kinda sorta

And another bank bites the dust. From this side of the pond we have never understood the shelter of Chapter Eleven. That is something that simply doesn’t exist in Europe. If a company goes broke, it goes broke, what in the US would be called Chapter Seven. This simply ends mismanaged or falling behind companies, weeding out the chaff. In my country there is something called “deferral of payment status”, a sort of micro Ch. 11, protecting you from immediate liquidation by upset creditors, but it’s in no way comparable. The biggest issue, as we see it with Chapter 11 is that the competition NOT needing the shelter is still playing by the normal rules, giving the sheltered company competitive advantage it surely doesn’t deserve. The end result could be the competition failing and ultimately filing for… Chapter 11! Something that has happened with the airline industry (yes, this is a gross simplification, I know).

Having said that, on this side a few nasty bags of tricks are played too, and one could argue that at least Chapter Eleven is played out in the open. Alitalia, the state owned national carrier, is loosing 4.5 mln dollar a DAY for ages now and recently the Italian government pumped 450 mln Italian tax payers dollars into this IC patient. Of course it’s all gone by now and nothing has changed. That “fuel injection”, hehe, is illegal under European law though and we’ll see what comes of it.

Added September 17th: Same goes for Olympic Airlines. The Greek government is facing steep European fines for illegally injecting 130 850 million Euro’s (185 mln 1.2 billion dollars) in it. But then, how much is that, compared to 85 billion dollars for AIG? Well, how about per capita (I took the countries inhabitants. If I had to use the European population as baseline, I would have to dig for say all the illegal airline state support cases.)

Alitalia: $8
Olympic Airlines: $18 $120
AIG: $285

To be fair, the airline state support has been going on for ages, we’re looking at the tip of the iceberg.

September 14th, 2008

The last night of the proms

Ok, I fully admit, I am an idiot and a lazy bastard, but here we go again, as both are so fueled by corporate stupidity. Here we go.

Yesterday evening, I missed BBC’s “last night of the proms”, which is fully broadcasted here. Actually we do have BBC1 and BBC2 (that is the UK channels, not the world channels) on our cable. So. I wanted to watch it on the BBC website right? Wrong! Only UK IP addresses can watch it. Oh but wait, at least I can listen (which unfortunately is less than half the fun on the last night, but alas). Wrong: needs Real (shrudder) Player nagware, no thanks, or BBC’s Microsoft technology DRM crippled iPlayer (payed for by the British taxpayers), no thanks.

Anyone got a better link?

I am already downloading the 2007 proms through bittorrent to Miro. But wait……

September 13th, 2008

The understanding

On TED, there was this rather funny video of British scientist Jonathan Drori, asking smart people the following 6 questions, 4 of which were answered and 2 were left as homework. He states that most educated people have them wrong! Actually, he states that most children understand gravity better befor than after school. I pose the questions here to you, just for the fun of it. I will post the answer in the comments, so you have to click to view them.

  1. A seed weights almost nothing. A tree weights a lot. Where does the mass come from?
  2. Can you light a bulb with a battery, a bulb and a single strand of wire?
  3. Why is warm in summer and cold in winter?
  4. Can you draw a simple model of a solar system?

And the homework questions are (beware of the tails!):

  1. Explain why a plane flies (and take into account why planes can fly upside down).
  2. Explain why the sea is blue (even on cloudy days).
September 10th, 2008

The execution of minors

Human right watch:

Human Rights Watch documents failures in law and practice that since January 2005 have resulted in 32 executions of juvenile offenders in five countries:  Iran (26),  Saudi Arabia (2),  Sudan (2),  Pakistan (1), and  Yemen (1). The report also highlights cases of individuals recently executed or facing execution in the five countries, where well over 100 juvenile offenders are currently on death row, awaiting the outcome of a judicial appeal, or in some murder cases, the outcome of negotiations for pardons in exchange for financial compensation. (…)

Every state in the world has ratified or acceded to treaties obligating them to ensure that juvenile offenders – persons under 18 at the time of the crime – are never sentenced to death. The overwhelming majority of states complies with this obligation, with several states – including the United States and China – in recent years moving to ban the juvenile death penalty and strengthen juvenile justice protections.

My emphasis. It is truly good news that China, being the worst “kill your own citizens” offender, is mentioned here, and interestingly enough in one breath with the United States. But then, the talent to be optimistic:

“We are only five states away from a complete ban on the juvenile death penalty,” said Clarisa Bencomo, Middle East children’s rights researcher for Human Rights Watch. “These few holdouts should abandon this barbaric practice so that no one ever again is executed for a crime committed as a child.”

Earlier on the nest: Life and Death, Execution.

September 9th, 2008

The upgrade 2.6.2

We upgraded to WordPress 2.6.2. Please report issues in the comment section.

September 6th, 2008

The money

What do YOU know about money? That it is created by the government? That if we all get rid of our debts, economy would be booming, as would have more to spend? That the equivalent of the money supply is kept in gold at Fort Knox? Wrong, wrong and wrong. And I meant not a little bit wrong, I meant 180 degrees totally wrong on all accounts. In this era of allowing or even actively giving crooked corporations and banks more and more power, this should be disturbing. Tell you what? It is very disturbing. Get yourself educated on serious money in 48 minutes. You will feel educated, flabbergasted and stunned, I promise.

I sent this to my financial advisor and well, it is his profession, not mine. He felt the same way. A very inconvenient truth.