12/29/11

Waer werd oprechter trouw

Waer werd oprechter trouw
Dan tussen man en vrouw
Ter wereld ooit gevonden?
Twee zielen gloeiende aaneen gesmeed,
Of vast geschakeld en verbonden
In lief en leed.
De band die 't harte bindt
Der moeder aan het kind,
Gebaard met wee en smarte,
Aan hare borst met melk gevoed,
Zo lang gedragen onder 't harte
Verbindt het bloed.
Nog sterker bindt de band
van 't paar, door hand en hand
Verknocht, om niet te scheiden,
Nadat ze jaren lang gepaard
Een kuis en vreedzaam leven leidden,
Gelijk van aard.
Waar zo de liefde viel,
Smolt liefde ziel met ziel

-- Part of a the Dutch play 'Gijsbrecht van Aemstel' usually performed during the Christmas holidays.

12/25/11

Fedora 16 Works... Kind of...

I am still booting with the Fedora live CD on my Macbook Pro, everything else now works. I used the rpmfusion free and nonfree depository and upgraded, installed kmod-wl for Wifi, installed Adobe Flash with rpm on linuxdownloads.adobe.com, unmuted the sound with Alsamixer, and installed google chrome through Google's repository. I also updated the fonts and hinting settings, this is a must for Fedora.

So I hope that I just need to burn a rEFIt CD to 'fix' the partition table, otherwise I'll keep on booting from the Live CD since it doesn't really seem useful to spend at least a thousand Euros on a new laptop.

Fedora 16 is nice. I've been using redhat product since RedHat 3 and later went on using Fedora Core distributions. So I am kind of used to three day install and debug tracks. Since I did this in less than a day, stuff really progressed since those days.

What I can't get used to is that I once started on a laptop with a whopping 64MB of memory, everything worked great, and to me -except for eye candy- no functionality has been added since then. Of course, I am a rabid vi/gcc/make/bash user who only needs a set of virtual desktops and terminals to program, but why in heaven's name does Fedora now need 1GB to work?

Ah well, Fedora looks great. The virtual desktops need some getting used though. I came from a 2x3 virtual desktop layout, moved on to 1x4 horizontal layout due to the 'cube' virtual desktop candy of Gnome, and now get a default of a Xx1 vertical layout. So it becomes up-down, instead of left-right, scrolling through the desktops, and I don't know whether my old manner was just more intuitive, or I just got accustomed to the other order. (I just noticed that the menu doesn't scroll along, which is great, since now one scrolls work spaces and not virtual desktops.)

Having a black menu on top certainly looks great, and I think is more natural since the menu should be in the background most of the time. The new activities manner of selecting applications also needs some getting used to. What I think would make the new user experience really great: I want different shortcuts, but more importantly I want applications to open in a new work space maximized. And I think an idea to try out would be to have the activities menu open by default on the first work space, so one can just get around with the keys, and have no clutter left.

Ah, well. I'll see whether I can get my old set of Toon-like icons installed, probably make a bunch of new ones, and will just get on with programming, again.

(I also noticed another thing. My TV works with an ADSL modem attached to a box which gets its content with a normal Ethernet cable. So, everything works with TCP/IP anyway. Why can't I just install a player and stream the content to the laptop without that box? Or maybe I can?)

MacBook Pro Fedora 16 Woes

I tried to upgrade to Fedora 16 on my Macbook, and it failed miserably. I could get the Live edition to spin, and it looked impressive, though I have a bit of doubts what the new interface does to programmer's productivity, but it doesn't play well with the EFI bootloader.

I even thought of buying a new laptop, but once you owned a Macbook, you're not going to downgrade very fast on that. I've owned lots of good laptops from Asus (great machines - like the M series), Dell (sometimes great, but I didn't like the XPS series), and now Apple (an old Air which overheated followed by a Macbook Pro). The only real machine which might be an upgrade might be an Asus Zenbook, but no backlight on the keys, and without info on the biggest problem -overheating- of these small machines, I won't buy it fast.

Fedora on a Macbook is the best of the software and hardware worlds, so I guess I am waiting for a patch.

(Great, I removed the EFI and HFS+ partitions -all Linux data is backed on a FAT partition- in the hope of getting a bootable system, and now nothing works anymore, except for the Live CD and booting from that. Guess removing EFI was one step too much.)

I can't believe I am still stuck in the 1970's with Apple boot loaders. The thing boots from the disk, by first booting from the Live CD. This might work, but it's for Ubuntu:
  1. If you have OSX installed, boot to it and mute sound. This assures that you won't be annoyed by the startup/poweron sound afterwards. I even used This software to be absolutely sure. Restart to confirm that no startup sound is audible.
  2. Prepare rEFIt boot disk (CD-RW).
  3. Boot Ubuntu install and remove all partitions, partition as you like for your Linux installation. Install Ubuntu, restart.
  4. Put in rEFIt CD and holding down alt key, boot rEFIT cd. Synchronize GUID and MBR. Restart.
  5. Insert OSX disc, boot from it, open terminal and enter following:bless --device /dev/disk0s2 --setBoot --legacy --verbose where /dev/disk0s2 is the partition you installed grub (do 'diskutil list' to find out correct partition). Of course, '--verbose' is optional. This makes Macbook EFI firmware boot your Linux installation in legacy mode without long delay (20s vs 3s).
  6. Restart your Mac (don't forget to remove OSX disc). And boot directly to Linux!

12/11/11

CanYouCrackIt Solution explained by Dr Gareth Owen







Absolutely wonderful.

11/14/11

Deelder & Gauthier: Goddank



I like Dutch poetry slams, they usually go together with great parties. Unfortunately, you need to be Dutch for it.

11/13/11

Debt

I post debt positions from time to time because, in the end, it is the only thing which matters - okay, apart from private debt of states. Picture is clear, the 'red' countries are in problems, Germany and France pretend that they are trying to fix things, which can't be true since their debt cannot run higher. Moreover, Europe can be damned glad with the former eastern bloc countries, who have low debt and a lot of room for growth.

11/7/11

RAP NEWS?



RAP News: Transmitting truth.

11/2/11

Warning


10/20/11

Shut up, fool.


The envy of B.A. Baracus, as used in Libya, a bulldozer remodeled for a civil war's need.

10/15/11

High School Guitar Blues

In a weird twist of fate, in high school, I ended up playing bass with some conservatorium 'Santana' with perfect hearing (playing guitar here)





and some other price-winning 'gent' (playing guitar here)






I did my best to make the first tone deaf and make the second lose his sense of rythm.

Somehow, it still takes some of the fun out of playing guitar when you know that they both play about nine orders better.

10/12/11

Only in America



Protesters are paid, and some form of light-weight socialism is libertarianism. The Fox eats the hens.

10/9/11

Apollo 11 US Customs

What do you expect when you fly to the moon and back? "Sorry, sir. But, uhm, you know about all these rocks you fine lads all brought back? Can you sign off on the paper?"

10/6/11

Greed?

10/5/11

Look Anywhere


10/2/11

Experimental Music from Short Programs




The fact that these oneliners are even close to music is far beyond amazing.

A nice way to doodle, like me, is here.

9/25/11

I am Robot



I liked the track more than the moves. Looking for the music.

9/11/11

I didn't know Gander before 9/11

By editor Lambert Teuwissen from NOS (Dutch State Television), translated.


"At a given moment, we were flying around in circles, and everybody was wondering what happened. Then the captain announced that America was under attack and the U.S. airspace closed, that was the only statement."

The Dutch artist Clemens Briels was on September 11, 2001, en route to the opening of an exhibition in New York. Over the Atlantic, the KLM flight had been told that U.S. airspace was closed and was rerouted to the nearest airport in Canada: Gander.

"'The pilot reported that we would arrive at Gander. I had never heard of it before that." No fewer than 38 aircraft arrived that day in Gander, the first Canadian airport after the Atlantic crossing.

The sleepy town of some 10,000 inhabitants suddenly needed to take care of nearly 7000 stranded travelers. Briels, despite the horror of 9/11, forever connected with the humanity he encountered in Gander. "It's a paradox. A phenomenon in itself."

Torture Gander really committed itself to the care of the plane people. Schools, community centers, summer camps, even the fire department garage, they all provided beds. The hotels in the surrounding area were cleared for the crews, so that at least they didn't need to sleep on cots.

Logistics was a nightmare. The planes were on the second runway, now a parking place for aircraft. Because passengers had to be taken from the ship per flight, some flights had been waiting hours; Briels sat 17 hours solid.

"It was torture. School buses arrived regularly. In the dark, you could see the lights driving by and you'ld think: Now it's our turn, but then they moved on. But everybody remained calm. No one rebelled. "

At the arrival gates, all effort was made to allow passengers to leave as soon as possible. The TVs, on which the American drama was repeated over and over again, were turned off. The phones were blocked with signs saying "Out of Order." Instead, there hung an attentive large world map with an arrow and the text "Gander, YOU ARE HERE." It was the middle of nowhere. As flat as a dime and you only saw some bushes."

Four kinds of rice Briels was moved to Lakewood Academy, a high school gym where room was made in the classes. He felt like a war refugee, because his luggage was still stuck in the plane. "We all only had some hand luggage. So there were boxes of briefs: large, medium and small. Tooth pastes and bottles were also provided."

The whole town helped. People spontaneously brought food for the unexpected guests. "There was a man with a barbecue of 8 meters. There was so much rice that we could choose from four different kinds. At one point, a sign was placed that no more food was needed. All these women were cooking, providing incredibly good food. "

The people of Gander opened their homes for those who wanted a shower. They arranged truckloads of toys for stranded children. The local pharmacist provided replacement drugs, even if it meant countless international phone calls to get the recipe right.

Signs For four days U.S. airspace was closed, and the passengers remained in Gander. Briels was hit with boredom. "The weather was nice, so I mostly remained outside. I had a couple of walks, and sometimes came into a bar where you could throw horseshoes. That was the manner in which I spent the days."

And he drew. "One time out, I started a drawing on a blackboard. With the text: Thank you for your hospitality. The school later framed it and hung it on a wall. It is still there."

Eventually, the message came that the journey could be continued. Not to New York, to Detroit. "I rented a car to take me to New York. On the road, I always saw the same people, hired cars filled with seedy types of the Russian mafia, priests on their world tours, the most diverse types of people. Along at gas stations and restaurants, I noticed all those people you normally ignore. I was reminded of that movie "Rat Race"."

Spasm Briels reached a totally changed New York. "On the plane, the stupid thought crossed my head that I would come too late for the opening," he laughs. "But the gallery in SoHo was closed. The whole area was protected. New York was a disaster area. It was an atmosphere like you normally only see in war movies."

Every year around September 11 he speaks to someone he met that day in Gander, a Dutchman who was living in Connecticut. "We made a tradition out of it. Every year we call and we informally meet again."

About 9 / 11 isn't spoken during these encounters, says Briels. But sometimes, like now with the 10-year anniversary, there again is that lump in the throat."It's like a spasm, like the contraction of a muscle over which you have no control."

9/6/11

Chef'Special - Birds

8/19/11

Greek Collateral

The Greek debt situation has struck new absurd heights in the latest deal with the Finnish government.


Look, now we're doing absurd stuff anyway, I suggest the Dutch also go for collateral. But not cash, no, I want Zakynthos. Nice little island between mainland Greece and Italy. Take it!

The joke continues. On the radio they thought Samos would also be a good candidate. No way! Zakynthos has oil and wine production, an airfield, and is closer to the Netherlands. Nothing you can't fix with a good Dutch government, a Dutch bank, a Dutch bar, some hotels, and some windmills. Take it!

8/17/11

Dr Thomas Szasz on Psychiatry

8/11/11

Dylan Ratigan on Congress

7/24/11

A Very Sad Strange Day


The above ultra-nationalist, Anders Behring Breivik (32), bombs a ministry and subsequently shoots eighty kids. It looks like he doesn't have any personality disorder whatsoever except for narcism. A well-educated clean rationalist who meticulously targeted not muslims but social democrat youth to stop the multi-cultural society.


And the same day, the news that Amy Winehouse (27) died due to an overdose. Given that she's dead, I wasn't too sure to post the above picture, but well, it's brutally honest; apart from her extreme talent, the woman had severe mental problems.

He lives because he's a control-freak, and he wants to continue his fight; she dies because she was unable to get clean, and what she could have become is lost forever.

Most of the public tries to dismiss the actions of Breivik as that of a lunatic. I disagree, human history is filled with wars and genocides rather than with peace. Face it, ideological violence is the norm.

7/22/11

Agnes Obel - Brother Sparrow

7/21/11

Slime Dress



Bart Hess made a 'slime dress' for Lady Gaga.

It's also a joke: a 'slime dress' in dutch is an expression for someone who flatters too much.

7/16/11

We want...


What's up with the above picture? It's about beer, right? Wrong, look again. Almost everybody is wearing a hat: women, men, and if there would be a dog in the picture, I get the feeling it would wear one too.

Where did all the hats go? Did they become an extinct species because of automobiles and cheap heating? If that is true, then in fifty years or so, when oil will definitely have run out, I predict lots of people will wear hats again.

7/12/11

Even Tree Huggers use Wash Machines

7/9/11

Splendid - Again

China's Ghost Cities and Malls

7/7/11

A Potential Joke

If you don't have height to store potential energy, you need to increase the mass. What is the cost of building a 'battery' by lifting weight which can hold one day of electricity in the Netherlands?



The Netherlands consumes about 100TWh of electricity annually, or about 300GWh a day. With a tenfold increase in height of the proposed solution -lift a thousand tonnes per installation- to fifty metres, one can store about 100kWh per installation. So one would need ten for 1MWh, ten thousand for 1GWh, three million for 300GWh, about one city of dead weight. Three million installations at a low bulk cost of, say, two hundred fifty thousand euros each gives 750 billion euros.

The Tianhuangping Pumped-Storage Hydro Plant in China has a reservoir capacity of eight million cubic meters with a vertical distance of 600 m; the reservoir can provide about 13 GWh. The equivalent by lifting dead weight would cost around 30 billion euros. 
Taisun, in China, is the world's strongest crane and has a safe working load of 20,000 metric tons. It can hold about 4MWh, at a cost of 28 million €.
The world's largest battery is located in Fairbanks, Alaska. It consists of 14 thousand industrial NiCad cells on about the size of a football field and can provide 40MW for 7 minutes, or also about 4MWh, at a cost of 25 million €. You'ld need seventy-five thousand warehouses to store one day of dutch electricity consumption.
The price of lifting weight would be 0.4Wh/€ versus 0.2Wh/€ for the Fairbanks battery; the cost of the Taisun crane is similar to the battery, so that may be closer to reality than my estimate. Bottom line: it doesn't seem to matter whether you buy NiCad batteries or a crane, but batteries need to be replaced. 
The cost of the Tianhuangping hydro plant is about 20Wh/€, but I wouldn't know where to buy twenty-five lakes with a 600m drop in the EU.

7/5/11

Wind Physics and Gravity Batteries

At the current rate of oil consumption, the world will run out of it in twenty years. The Netherlands is investing somewhat into wind energy since that's one of the few renewable resources around in our country.

Now the obvious problem with wind energy is that it is unreliable, so people are looking at manners in which to store that energy. The most popular solution is to store overspill energy into a lake, a gigantic gravity battery, by pumping water into -sometimes, out of- it and harvesting that energy at a later stage with generators. A proposal is to construct a massive lake, 40 metres deep, in the sea.

It sounds wasteful to me. What about storing energy directly at your house by lifting matter? If you use lead instead of water, you need less volume/height, and a mechanical solution should have better efficiency than a 'hydraulic' solution.

So I arrived at the following basic physics question: Suppose that you store energy by lifting matter, and suppose that system runs at 90% efficiency, and suppose the mass is lifted (at most) 5 metres. What amount of matter do you need to store the equivalent of one day of electric energy for one household, annual 4200kWh consumption?

The answer is about a million kilos or a thousand tonnes, or about the weight of 700 cars, or about 90m^3 of lead.

I am actually not only kidding here. If we need to build a North Sea full of windmills, and a 'city' full of dead weight which can be raised fifty metres to solve an energy problem, then -heck- go for it.

7/4/11

Amadou & Mariam: Sabali

6/16/11

Poolside - "Do You Believe?"

6/9/11

33 Ways To Stay Creative


From www.mymodernmet.com.

6/2/11

Collatz may be Proven

Gerhard Opfer has posted a paper that claims to resolve the famous Collatz conjecture.

Start with a positive number n and repeatedly apply these simple rules:
  1. If n = 1, stop.
  2. If n is even, divide n by 2.
  3. If n is odd, multiply n by 3 and add 1.
In 1937, Lothar Collatz asked whether this procedure always stops for every positive starting value of n. If Gerhard Opfer is correct, we can finally say that indeed it always stops.

I have looked at this myself for fun once. Collatz sequences are interesting when you look at the bit representation of the numbers: Step 2 becomes n >> 1, right-shift one bit. Step 3 becomes n << 1 + n + 1, left-shift the argument one bit and add the argument and one.

For instance, let's take an arbitrary uneven number and see what happens on step 3, the only interesting step in the function.

Step 3:

     110011
    1100110
          1
   --------+
   10011010

To me, the example screams that the Collatz conjecture is about bit cancellation. I.e., that there is an inductive argument on sequences of bits. Question would be: What is the decreasing measure on bit sequences with each iteration of Collatz?

(It's interesting to modify the definition a bit by removing step 2 and terminating on a sequence which just consist of a one followed by zeroes.)

5/22/11

Subterranean Homesick Blues



Man can't sing. Man can't play guitar. Man can't play harp. But man, can he make music.

5/16/11

Diggy Dex ft. Jenny Lane - Dezelfde spijt

5/6/11

Любовь Орлова

4/28/11

P, NP and Edmonds' Blossom Algorithm

I've been asked why I am one of the few people who believe that P might equal NP. To answer that, let's dive into the start of the previous century with the following question:
[MATCH] A matching in a graph is a set of edges, no two of which meet at a common vertex. A maximum matching is a matching of maximum cardinality. Is matching in P?
During the start of the previous century, almost all mathematicians believed MATCH to be in NP. It was obvious for them by the following reasoning: We -mathematicians- are smart. Since We are smart, and no polynomial algorithm has been found for MATCH, it is clearly true that MATCH is in NP. QED.


True, until mr. Edmonds came along and gave a polynomial algorithm for matching.


The fact that people believe something to be true doesn't make it true. And, generalizing that, in my opinion, therefor P=NP should be seen as an open conjecture.

The open question I've looked at, of course, is: Why, or why not, does SAT reduce to MATCH? But, that's for later.

4/18/11

3Pad

Just a prediction: After the iPad, what will -must- follow. The 3D iPad, of course, what else? Wondering how many years it will take...

4/17/11

Robots enter Fukushima reactor building

2/18/11

PINA - Wim Wenders



I am so excited and full of expectation about this 3D film. Strange, since I rarely go to dance events but usually enjoy them. Stranger even, since I am not that big on 3D. Most movies are about the visual and intellectual narrative, that third extra dimension usually doesn't seem to add that much to the story. Though sometimes I wonder if they already found the vocabulary of third dimensional stylistic elements.

Unexpectedly, so far, I found that 3D adds the most to sports if anything. I mean, if you have that perfectly passed, handled, and placed goal you just crave to see that skill in 3D. As often as possible. And from all angles, thank you! I am not that big a sports fan but I would rather buy a 3D enabled television for that experience than for the current 3D gimmicky movies.

But now dance... I cannot phantom another three dimensional art form which matches 3D movies that well and which should be able to amplify the best of both experiences in truly novel manners. So, I am very thrilled to go and see this movie by Wim Wenders. I don't expect a lot of new stylistic elements, but this could be a match made in heaven.

2/12/11

Egypt, Political Satire next to KFC

2/4/11

Prank on a Call Center

2/3/11

Plain White T's - Rhythm Of Love

1/25/11

Total central government debt % of GDP


VariableTotal central government debt % of GDP
TypeStocks: Outstanding amounts
UnitPercentage
FrequencyAnnual
Time period1997199819992000200120022003200420052006200720082009

Greece105.2103.7103.6108.9109.7109.2105.8108.3110.3107.5105.8109.6125.7
Italy111.0108.7106.7103.6102.799.596.896.297.596.795.298.0106.6
Belgium109.9105.3103.499.599.197.995.492.891.887.685.390.295.3
Iceland46.240.735.333.839.235.333.328.219.424.823.244.387.2
Portugal58.054.855.154.156.058.760.263.068.269.869.271.281.1
United Kingdom..49.744.142.238.839.138.740.043.443.342.661.375.1
Hungary60.959.059.154.150.553.656.355.758.161.961.368.272.7
Austria59.259.962.061.260.760.460.962.262.160.658.159.664.3
France45.646.347.847.448.349.951.952.653.352.152.154.260.8
United States45.442.539.033.932.433.234.936.036.136.035.640.053.1
Netherlands53.952.049.244.141.341.543.043.843.039.237.850.149.9
Poland43.039.539.735.836.440.644.943.644.845.142.644.847.1
Turkey32.931.039.838.274.169.262.256.651.145.539.640.046.3
Spain55.353.652.349.946.343.940.739.336.433.030.033.746.1
Ireland57.447.844.134.830.927.926.925.423.620.319.827.746.0
Germany24.326.134.134.134.636.137.739.240.440.939.438.843.8
Sweden74.172.064.056.948.646.847.746.646.242.336.435.537.8
Denmark69.164.060.954.852.051.649.647.039.332.727.832.437.8
Finland65.059.955.748.044.441.343.541.938.235.631.229.537.6
Canada52.750.146.740.939.738.135.932.130.228.025.128.635.7
Slovenia............26.927.126.925.823.221.334.1
Slovak Republic20.822.522.723.936.035.135.138.433.129.228.126.333.6
Korea10.014.316.316.717.417.620.723.727.630.129.729.032.6
Czech Republic9.69.811.013.214.716.119.121.123.224.925.227.132.5
Mexico23.525.423.321.220.521.922.120.720.220.521.024.528.2
New Zealand36.337.935.132.230.228.526.423.822.121.620.420.627.5
Norway24.722.220.919.318.119.021.318.417.212.511.713.826.1
Switzerland25.327.725.425.624.828.228.328.128.125.223.222.520.7
Luxembourg3.74.13.53.23.12.71.71.40.81.41.48.28.6
Australia18.515.613.811.49.68.67.56.76.35.85.24.98.1
Chile13.212.513.713.614.915.713.010.77.35.34.15.26.1
Japan76.787.797.0106.1123.5137.6140.9156.7164.3161.4164.2178.0..
Israel103.0103.892.983.287.495.097.596.491.982.876.475.4..

1/20/11

Adele - Rolling In The Deep





There's a fire starting in my heart,
Reaching a fever pitch and it's bringing me out the dark

Finally, I can see you crystal clear.
Go ahead and sell me out and I'll lay your ship there.
See how I leave, with every piece of you
Don't underestimate the things that I will do.

There's a fire starting in my heart,
Reaching a fever pitch and it's bringing me out the dark

The scars of your love, remind me of us.
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all
The scars of your love, they leave me breathless
I can't help feeling...

We could have had it all... (you're gonna wish you, never had met me)...
Rolling in the Deep (Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)
Your had my heart... (you're gonna wish you)... Inside of your hand (Never had met me)
And you played it... (Tears are gonna fall)... To the beat (Rolling in the deep)

Baby I have no story to be told,
But I've heard one of you and I'm gonna make your head burn.
Think of me in the depths of your despair.
Making a home down there, as mine sure won't be shared.

The scars of your love, remind you of us.
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all
The scars of your love, they leave me breathless
I can't help feeling...

We could have had it all... (you're gonna wish you never had met me)... Rolling in the Deep (Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)
Your had my heart... (you're gonna wish you)... inside of your hand (Never had met me)
And you played it... (Tears are gonna fall)... To the beat (Rolling in the deep)
Could have had it all
Rolling in the deep.
You had my heart inside of your hand,
But you played it with your beating

Throw yourself through every open door (Whoa)
Count your blessings to find what look for (Whoa-uh)
Turn my sorrow into treasured gold (Whoa)
And pay me back in kind- You reap just what you sow.

(You're gonna wish you... Never had met me)
We could have had it all (Tears are gonna fall... Rolling in the deep)
We could have had it all yeah ( you're gonna wish you... never had met me)
It all. (Tears are gonna fall)
It all
It all (Rolling in the deep)

We could have had it all (you're gonna wish you, never had met me)
Rolling in the deep (Tears are gonna fall rolling in the deep)
You had my heart inside... (you're gonna wish you)... of your hand (Never had met me)
And you played it... (Tears are gonna fall)... to the beat (Rolling in the deep)
We could have had it all ( you're wish you never had met me)
Rolling in the deep (tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)
You had my heart... ( you're gonna wish you)... Inside of your hand (Never had met me)

But you played it
You played it.
You played it.
You played it to the beat.

1/18/11

Dutch Wikileaks Cables: Indecent and Embarrassing

I normally don't write my own flawed, simplistic and private opinions into a blog; I change opinions as fast as clothes. Who am I to comment, but... Ah well, see what I think about it in a year or so.

The Wikileaks organization has distributed the cables to some commercial and state-sponsored media in the Netherlands. My feelings so far: Wikileaks, positive for doing what they do - US, neutral for being what they are - Netherlands, negative for being gullible.

The cables exposed private opinions of US diplomats which tried to gather information from people and subsequently tried to influence the decision making process of Dutch politicians. Moreover, Dutch politicians, bureaucrats and police are sharing too much or even confidential information with the US embassy.

The first opened cables were with respect to the previous Afghan mission. Both a party and our then vice prime minister were exposed to the US embassy as the primary adversaries - I am not sure it was that simple. The US embassy subsequently went to great length to influence that decision, some of our psychological weak points were revealing and a bit demeaning.

One of our top diplomats touted the US actions as 'indecent.'   I don't agree. The US politics is a complex conglomerate of lobbying individuals which endeavour to implement private goals, usually achieved by team-play. That the US diplomats do similar here, is just a bit out of line with the traditional Dutch principled approach to political issues; at least, what remains of that. Moreover, I hardly expect our own embassies to act differently.

The more grave issues arrived subsequently. Okay, the US tried to sell us a JSF we might not need; whatever, it's more economics than politics. My main beef is with the fact that Dutchmen willingly supply the US embassy with private opinions bordering on stupidity ("Please, shoot this African warlord,") or civil sensitive lawfully-protected data ("Here are the names and telephone numbers of suspected terrorists.") What the hell is going on here?

The Dutch, traditionally, have a very favorable view of the US and its citizens. Historically, the reasons for that are the liberation of the Netherlands by US allied forces, the support in building the post-WWII economy, the shared front against communist influences, and an overwhelming exposure to US culture through music, movies, tv-series, and other media.

However, despite that and the common European heritage of both, the Dutch certainly aren't that culturally close to the US. The same, but different, the average US and Dutch citizens have very different views on manners, family values, courting and sex, value of friendships, free speech, the right to bear arms, religion, the role of the state, individual social responsibilities, monetary policies, economic policies, third-world policies, international policy, nationalism and -that global US dream- capitalism.

But, fascism and communism are gone, now replaced by the post-9/11-outrage common goal. The Bush doctrine has implemented a new dichotomy, 'a war on terrorism,' possibly a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the Netherlands, the US events, actions and rhetorics gave further rise to a growing tension between the traditional Dutch and the Islamic immigrant, but also the typically Dutch unrespectful comments gave a fundamentalist response: Two murders of local outspoken public Dutch citizens.

The Dutch follow the US, it is assumed we are similar and serve common Truman-like goals. So, our politicians and public are willing to share information and more. But the questionable Bush doctrine, "Lets bring the war to them!" is mostly a response to local US outrage. Was there really a war? Incidents, even if they are outrageous and cost many innocent lives, are not a war. The Iraq interventions were. The Afghan intervention is dubious.

The strangest observation in the Dutch discussion of the possible Afghan 'policing' mission, is that the central 'humanistic' question is never asked. So, we are supposed to go and help the poor people there. Do they want us to help them? Anything else but a locally democratically supported action is not aid, but a military intervention which can back-fire in more local eastern Islamic, fundamental, hatred against the US and the occupying European forces. Since when are we part of that discussion? Since we want to help third-world countries through the UN and the NATO, or since we are part of a construed emotional US reaction, a 'war on terror?'

The Dutch reason the same as in the fifties: What is good for the US is good for us. But, the provincial, naive, principled Netherlands is gone, so are the rural, heterogenous, religious states of the US. Like the US, the media condemns us to consume one-liners by media-trained politicians. Can we please go back to idealistic, thorough, political and economic discussions and get this world to work?

The big problem exposed by the cables with our naive politicians and bureaucrats, which spoke with the US embassy, is that each of them should have prudently stuck to the economic and diplomatic national Dutch issues instead of making donkeys of themselves. The embarrassment should not be on the US side.

Unfortunately, the principled approach is under severe pressure. The Dutch lefties last Sunday have tried to define an answer to the current after-9/11, partly anti-Islam driven, Dutch minority government which wants the Afghan mission. With a strategy which seems to be copied straight from the Obama campaign, mostly a few nationalistic, and optimistic, populist simplistic sentiments and some hatred towards the other side, I should be convinced to vote on the lefties. Even in that everybody is following the trend-setting US: Not a principled discussion in sight - the Dutch cease to think.

God bless the US and the fact that I live in the Netherlands. Though that latter fact may be dubious.

1/6/11

Motorola Atrix 4G Hands-On

Awesome. Is it a phone, a desktop, or a media center? Turns out, it's all three of them:


For me, actually everything which has more than 32MB ram, runs Linux and has Vi/Gcc classifies as a development machine. How difficult is it to install the Gnu Compiler Collection on it?