05/08/2011

Contrast

Posted by – May 8, 2011

By now you’ve probably already heard that the US has managed to find and kill Osama Bin Laden (Google News: this was last Sunday (late) night and it marked one of the weirdest rash for news by, well, any news organization in the world. There’s an excellent write-up what happened at the NYT when the news broke that something special was going to be announced (link). The last couple of days, as details emerged about the raid, it appears as everybody and their dog was involved in the killing of America’s most wanted terrorist. As of today the score is: UK SBS officers were involved, a Belgian trained dog was part of the raid, the intelligence services in Maryland US were involved, Cheney and Bush were indirectly involved because of their terrorist interrogation plans, Pakistani security officials… and what else? I can assure you that I had no finger in this momentous task and I’m sure more news will come out of this to prove that very fact. Or something like that.

That being said, the reason for that nice Pershing rocket in this posting is that, somehow I ended up looking up Werner von Braun, who was that famous Nazi rocket scientist who helped develop America’s very successful Space and Weapons programs. When he surrendered to the Americans in 1945, he said:

We wanted to see the world spared another conflict such as Germany had just been through, and we felt that only by surrendering such a weapon to people who are guided by the Bible could such an assurance to the world be best secured.

Fifty-plus years later, one can only think what would have happened if Braun had not surrendered and was killed by the SS.

02/06/2009

Links go here

Posted by – February 6, 2009

I was playing with Mono last night, only after I found out that it supports static compilation which makes Mono a lot more compelling for going cross-platform. Much to my surprise, I found out that some of my (personal) applications came unscathed through the Mono wrench: that is, they run and impressively, in some cases they do what they’re supposed to do. If I have time during the weekend, I’ll see if I can put some side by side comparison images together.

Back to physics: The Physics Factbook lists facts only with some hilarious sample calculations, like ‘the speed of a subway in ‘Batman Begins’, the speed of a ‘Rogue Bludger’ and the ‘Force of a SuperHero’. Not all of it useful. Of course.

I was duly impressed by this set of images of Earth (Warning: might load slowly). All images seem to come from the Earth Observatory and some of them make good background/wallpaper.

If you’re into American politics (and the current Obama administration): A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times featured Barack Obama’s top-advisers, aides and members of his administration. For some kind of reason, some photos look unreal (creepy at times). Unintentional, I gather.

Noteflight reminds me of a sequencer (Musicator GS) I used to program my Roland SCC-1. Noteflight is a site that allows you to write music online and (oh noes) share them with others. It looks neat, but I’m not sure if this concept will be a money-maker. That said, yeah, what happened to Musicator GS? Wait, maybe the company that made the programstill exists (the price hasn’t changed either, after all these years…).

Update 1: Recent Slashdot discussion about Mono.

10/12/2008

The economy. Stupid.

Posted by – October 12, 2008

This week, the global economy crisis dominated the headlines. The most shocking headline was the ‘Iceland meltdown’: you’ve probably seen the images of the downward spiral of the currency of Iceland, the Krona. There was, of course, also the spat between the UK and Iceland, and it had all to do with British savers and a collapsing Iceland bank. The situation in Iceland is grim, as illustrated in the following quote:

Inflation is around 14%; on Friday the central bank announced that one of Oddsson’s two fellow governors, Ingimundur Fridriksson, was taking a “short medical leave of absence” on the advice of his doctors. Earlier last week Iceland’s president, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, was treated in hospital for heart problems

There’s an interesting anecdote in that article about how (right-wing) Icelandic politicians determined the fate of the Krona by implementing free-market policies and steering away from the Eurozone integration. The answer to solving all your country’s economical problems? Re-nationalize!

I also read that the uh, the president is going to take care of the economical issues, after addressing the G-7, G-8, G-10 or G-20 (Pick your lucky Bingo number!). Anyway: from the sidelines, it looks like the US officials were not really well-received or lets say it this way, un-enthusiastically received. I’m not sure why that is, but I wouldn’t be surprised that many European countries still bear a grudge against the US administration’s lack-lustre monetary policies (read: “the policy to intentionally keep the dollar low”), which (of course) worked against the European economies. On the Dutch news site nu.nl, I read that the Dutch economic minister wasn’t all too impressed with the US officials Bernanke and Paulson: Apparently they were both already gone when the most important discussions took place (rough translation from Dutch):

The Americans see the financial markets problems as a ‘company accident’ and don’t treat it as an important economical problem which needs to solved right now.

I could end up with a diatribe about the Bush administration, but the only words I can come up with right now is ‘failure of global proportions’. For the last eight-years the Americans had no long-term economical plans nor did they actually lead on a global level. Well, OK, I’m slightly wrong here. There was a plan: So once in a while Bernanke just had to push that ‘Lower the Rates’ button. To his credit, this is not what he did all the time, but, I think many people agree that he was ‘too sunny’ about the US economy since he took over Greenspan’s job in 2006.

Anyway: this is a long weekend in Canada. Have a great Thanksgiving.

Update 1: The Economics published a survey asking US economists their views of the presidential candidates economical plans. The full report (in PDF format) is here.

Update 2: Related: Paul Krugman wins the Nobel prize for economics.

Update 3 @ (10/20/08): “Iceland could quickly become an EU member”.