Life is for Living

This blog is to collect random thoughts that don't really have a structure, except a publishing chronology, and even that is unlikely to follow the creation chronology.

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Calm, excited, weak, strong, funny, serious, lazy, worker, irresponsible, thinker, shallow, selfish, generous, spontaneous, impulsive, undecided, poor, rich, tall(ish), ignorant, cultured, sophisticated, procrastinator, stoopid, clever. Pick any two, or more... ;-) 
One of my favorite quotes: "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well reserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming... 'Wow! What a ride!' "

Generally interested in a lot of subjects:
- Artificial Intelligence (mostly because there's so little Natural Intelligence around)
 Robotics
- 3D printing
- DIY projects (including home foundry, electronics, general hacking)
- Scuba diving
- Mountaineering
- Paragliding
- Music
- Arts (mostly visual arts) including street art
- Dance
- Intentional communities
- Society in general, how to fix the current mess in particular, or rather how to escape it

Monday, July 25, 2005

Can't fool all the people all the time...

I remember having a discussion with my friend David over a year ago. His main argument was that the invasion of Irak _had to be_ a good thing, since the British gummint has sided with the Shrub in his attack. Surely, there was evidence good enough to convince Blair, we should trust "our leaders"...

It turned out, as I suspected, that the reasons for going to war were fallacious, mere smokescreens to hide the fact that going to war is necessary to prop up the failing economy, strengthen the powers-that-be's clutch on the masses and justify measures that would be unpopular in quieter times.

Yesterday, I came accross an entry in Bruce Schneier's Blog that commented on an interesting article that appeared recently in the American Conservative. Another article I found in the Houston Chronicle also abund in that sense. Both articles point to the fact that our fearless leaders' simplified explanations ("terrorists are not like us, they're just jealous of what we have") are just poppycock. I have been saying that fundamentally, human beings want what every other human being on this earth want: to live a decent life, have a family, work for a living, have fun, and be free to make the choices that affect their lives. When human beings resort to as extreme acts as suicide, there is usually a powerful motivation behind that act. Failing to understand these motivations, or worse, misrepresenting those motivations as stupididy, greed, or blind adherence to fanatism, does not help in solving the problem.

Recently, an article on MSNBC mentioned "the four lunatics in London earlier this month". The Merriam-Webster entry for lunatic lists:
Main Entry: lu·na·tic
Pronunciation: 'lü-n&-"tik
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English lunatik, from Old French or Late Latin; Old French lunatique, from Late Latin lunaticus, from Latin luna; from the belief that lunacy fluctuated with the phases of the moon
1 a : affected with lunacy : INSANE b : designed for the care of insane persons
2 : wildly foolish
- lunatic noun

These people are far from lunatics. Misguided maybe, fanatic certainly, but not mad or foolish. They are animated by a serious, deadly serious purpose. As long as we continue to dismiss their motivations and purpose out of hand, carricaturing these people as "lunatics", we'll keep missing the point: they have reasons that are important enough to sacrifice their lives over, not addressing these issues will be like puting a plaster on a wooden leg.

The Shrub decided to "take the war against terror" to Irak, why should the terrorists follow him there?

False pretense was used to seize control of a foreign country, crush people under the boot of military might. While that's certainly not the only motivation for the terrorist activities, there is certainly a causal relationship...

Monday, July 18, 2005

Global warming. A reality.

Storm damage We had a mini tornado today. While this belongs to the category of "unusual events", to me it is pretty revealing of the instability that characterises weather more and more in the last few years.

The warming per se might not be very high, but the variations are getting more extreme. We've had a very cold winter this year, and this summer is close to being one of the hottest yet.

Storm damage

Just for the story, a neighbour measured some of the first hailstones yesterday, they were about 35mm (that's about 2.5 inches, for you non-metric folks).

Anybody not concerned by climate warming issues is either a fool, or part of the hypocrit group of profiteers that also benefit from petrol, arms and defense industries. (Does "shrub" give you a clue?)

Have a look at worldviewofglobalwarming.org for some data.

I have seen it with my own eyes: some of the glaciers I visited when I was a kid aren't there anymore, they're a few hundred meters up, and that's quite a few tons of water...

The state of the forests is degrading. It's high time everybody started thinking about it. This is not an issue for scientist to debate. Politicians and businessmen have too much invested in the status quo to do anything about it. This is a societal issue: as long as demokracy/kapitalism is the only system promoted, to the detriment of humane development, nothing significant will be done to address the problem.

What are WE going to do about this?

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Two minutes of silence... after years of saying nothing.

There was an announcement on radio yesterday, Britons are going to observe a minute of silence at lunch time today, and the French population is also invited to observe that minute of silence. While I sympathise with the families and friends of people that lost their lives in last weeks bombings, my first reaction is to reject that invitation.
So I came to a compromise: I will observe four minutes of silence tomorrow, on the 15th of July. Two minutes for the victims of the London bombings, and another two minutes for the victims of US and UK bombings in Irak.
From a mathematical point of view, it doesn't balance: the victims in London get about two seconds silence each, where each of the Iraki victims is graced with fractions of milliseconds...