Friday, February 29, 2008

Hoisting St. George's Cross

'Hoisting' a flag? Me? Never!

One should never say never (and, actually, I am mostly - noticed I did not write ' always'? :) - trying to avoid superlatives).

Today I am 'hoisting' a flag.
No, not the Irish. The English. The Cross of St. George.




Why?

By visiting James at nourishing obscurity you will understand.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A fine excuse

During the past decades, whenever it happens - and I got the feeling it does happen quite frequently - I do wonder what Mrs. J. could mean by stating I know why the devil beat his mother-in-law.*

Anyway, why would I not write at least ten or twenty posts these days, why not even visiting regularly my 'seldom borings', let alone leaving comments?

I suppose it's just due to that my brain's not (yet) able to perform around 167 trillion calculations per second.



* She'd not find a proper excuse, you know. :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Devils in disguise

A German designer has debuted a digitally-enabled burqa that can broadcast a photo of the wearer to nearby mobile phones. Markus Kison calls it the "CharmingBurka," and says it isn't forbidden by Islamic law.
Ha ha, ha! Oh, what did I laugh. And immediately I intended to share my laughter with you.

So far, so funny.

Not that I changed my mind, but after - indeed, even while - reading the article I asked myself yesterday night:
How many 'modern muslim women' wearing a burqa would wish to 'lifting the veil using a bluetooth-burqa'; and how many would be able to afford it?

Quite.

So what is the marketing masters' mission?
Kison's broadcast technology started as a marketing tool; the so-called "Bluebot" system is meant to send digital advertisements to passing phones.
Ah yes. So what can we learn from this both clever and cynic advertising stunt?

One does not need wearing a burqa to be a devil in disguise.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Peace be upon them

Well, what would a most pious and peaceful Muslim do as soon as he has left the mosque after his Friday prayers?

Yes.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Le petit verbicide struck again

Julian Le Grand has struck again. This time the 'leading Government adviser', i.e. without being elected being paid by the United (?) Kingdom's taxpayers calls for alcohol ban in supermarkets.

Surely le petit verbicide will call his latest effusions again "libertarian paternalism".

And what would I do? Sentencing the 'nasty little control freak' to severest swearboarding in the devil's kitchen?

No. Variatio delectat. Longrider, take over.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Malta, media & malheurs

“As a result of new corporate policy, di-ve.com will not, for the foreseeable future, cover political activities and statements as part of its day-to-day operations.”
Nothing wrong with it, so far. They could also have announced that in order to increase their readership from now on to change from English to a rarely spoken Hindu dialect. That's freedom of enterprise.

So why would quite a few people be not amused?
Well, on the same day the Maltese news web portal published this notice (February 4th), in Malta parliamentary election was scheduled to be held on March 8th.

Thus, an act of self-censorship? A ban on politics?
Yes, says the European Federation of Journalist. EFJ General Secretary Aidan White calls it
"a craven act of self-censorship at a critical time when the public needs reliable political coverage to be able to make informed decisions on the elections. Cutting political news is a shocking violation of responsibility."
Are these indeed the words of the EFJ General Secretary? Or have these lines been written by someone who recently jubilated, 'In November I'd not know how to write shornalist, and only three month later I happen to be one!'?
Apart from that the adjectives craven and shocking in this context are pretty redundant, does Mr Aidan think that the public does not need reliable political coverage as long as the times are not critical?
Well, and what evidence does Mr. Aidan have to call the decision (whose?!) an act of self-censorship?
Perhaps it was just a 'gentlemen's agreement'? Or why would the notice be published on the same day the election date is being announced, and presumably only a couple of hours after one could have read within this article:
A democratic Malta must realise the media scenario is changing and evolving, even with the general aspirations of the rest of the country which are increasing. Readers and our audiences are ever more demanding for more news and better quality, and they are giving every indication of a society that is maturing and expecting more. Our society is becoming ever more discerning when it comes to the media, and yet the exigencies such a role brings for the media is not being properly recognised by the parties and institutions.
There are quite a few questions one could ask.

But the EFD, the Journalists’ Committee and the Institute of Maltese Journalists needed obviously all resources to write a 'joint letter' to the company's chairman:
“We hope you realise your company’s decision is a disservice to your own customers, to the Maltese public in general and to political parties that need journalists to disseminate and analyse their programmes before our country is called to vote.”
Oh dear. Does the public need journalists 'to disseminate and analyse the programmes of political parties' who'd write such sentences on their own behalf? Do political parties need them? Journalist's who seem not even able to investigate on their own behalf?
Apropos, 'our country'. Our? Whose? The journalists' country?

Nitpicking aside.
What happens to the political editors who are not political editors anymore? Filling the space by writing articles about the open days at car dealers etc. without which those would not take out an ad?

What, by the way, if
di-ve.com's advertising partners took political responsibility? They could f.e. publicly declare:
“As a result of new corporate policy, we will cancel our ads for the foreseeable future, in which di-ve.com does not cover political activities and statements as part of its day-to-day operations.”



Said Adlai Stevenson:
'Newspaper editors are men who separate the wheat from chaff, and then print the chaff. '

'And the best of these would become General Secretaries', he did not say. Perhaps a craven act of self-censorship?





Sunday, February 17, 2008

Virus warning

Someone under the name MALABEI tries to spread a computer virus under different bloggers. He or she writes everywhere in the reactions the message "See HERE". I want to warn everyone not to click on its message or on its name.

h/t Internation Musing

Update, 23:00:
Within a couple of minutes I had strange visitors from Argentina, Brasil, USA (4), Portugal, Slovakia, Egypt, Norway, Macedonia Spain.
Two left a 'comment', which I allowed myself to delete.

el principito would wish 'saludo bloggers'.

Agamagra Blackray would like you to 'See here'.




Tonight's Thoughts

Denk ich an die Welt bei Nacht,
bin ich um den Schlaf gebracht.

Thinking of the World at night
puts all thought of sleep to flight.

Heine's dead - long live Heine

Ich weiß nicht, was soll es bedeuten,
dass ich so traurig bin ...

I don't know what it may signify
That I am so sad ...


Heinrich Heine (December 13th, 1797 - February 17th, 1856)

Nachtgedanken / Night Thoughts
Denk ich an Deutschland in der Nacht,
Dann bin ich um den Schlaf gebracht.
I
ch kann nicht mehr die Augen schließen,
Und meine heißen Tränen fließen.

Thinking of Germany at night

Just puts all thought of sleep to flight;

No longer I can close an eye,

Tears gather and I start to cry.

Eyes travelling 23 million light years

What would an astro-physicist do in a starlit night?
Sleeping?
No. He'd let his eyes travel. Last night it was a 23 million light years trip to M51.



Object details

NGC Number:

5194/5195

Object Type:
SA(s)bc
(HII: Sy2.5)


Constellation
Canes Venatici

RA/Dec:
13h 29m 52.7s
+47° 11' 42.62''

Distance:
23 kly

Apparent Dimension:

11.2' x 6.9'

Visual Brightness (V):
8.1 mag

Date:
16.02.2008
01:50 bis 03:15


Equipment:

Cass. 50cm f/10
SBIG STL-6303E


Detail screens:
L: 4 x 300sec
R: 4 x 300sec
G: 4 x 300sec
B: 4 x 300sec
(Binning: 1x1)


Temperature:

CCD-Chip: -25°C
Draußen: -3°C


Software:
CCD-Soft
ESO-MIDAS
IRAF
MaxIM DL

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Justice à la Turkiye

Not that I were surprised.
Observers voiced disappointment with the conduct of the trial of 19 persons for the January 2007 murder of Armenian-Turkish newspaper editor Hrant Dink after a third hearing was held yesterday [February 11th] in the Istanbul suburb of Besikta. The press is not being allowed to attend the trial. Full article at Reporters without Borders.
I am not even surprised that while millions would demonstrate either for or against a headscarve ban, 500 people demonstrated in a square to demand justice.

Milliband's spreading democracy militarily

The United Kingdom's foreign secretary, David Miliband, will today set out the clearest exposition yet of Labour's recast foreign policy when he will argue that mistakes made in Iraq and Afghanistan must not cloud the moral imperative to intervene - sometimes militarily - to help spread democracy throughout the world.

He will warn that the rise of China means that the world can no longer take "the forward march of democracy for granted", and that Britain must unambiguously be on the side of what he describes as "civilian surges" for democracy. Continued here.

Interesting that the Milliband would mention China, but not Zimbabwe, isn't it?

Well, having received my Valentine's Day present by reading the world's most intelligent and peace-loving leader saying '"Prosperity and peace are in the balance", I shall neither write this man suffers from stupidity and megalomania nor comment his words, but leave this to Archbishop Cranmer, in whose piece you will find following nice anecdote, which I shall soon - in a other context - find the opportunity to recall:

'When Sir Charles James Napier [in the India of the early 19th century] was confronted with Hindu demands for a lifting of the ban on suttee. And the general famously replied: ‘You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.’
And now's your turn, His Grace.



Valentinejad's Day

Although it's said officially the beloved Mullah's would pretend to be not amused, one could even order Valentine's Day flowers online to Iran.

Oh well, who knows? Perhaps will even Iran's beloved President today whisper words of love.




PS: Sorry for the typos in the title. Don't know how it could happen. Seems not to be my day today.

Valenking's Day

RIYADH - Agents of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice visited flower and gift shops in the capital Saturday night to instruct them to remove all red items - from red roses and wrapping paper to boxes and teddy bears - from their shelves, shop workers said.
Why would this happen?

Two possibilities, says Tetrapilotomos.

1. The defender of human rights thought of that many people count their costs for those Valentine flowers in shortened lives and intended to set an example - once a year.

2. The wise and pious King Abdullah in his benevolen ce ordered to ban Red until Friday in order to push the black market prices for red roses and thus make Saudi Arabia's florists happy - at least once a year.

After all, isn't for His Majesty somehow every day Valentine's Day?





PS: Sorry for the typos in the headline. Don't know how it could happen.

PPS: Sorry about the red letters. Don't know how this could happen.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hurray! They're not capitulating

Within hours after a plot to murder Kurt Westergaard was foiled, yesterday Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten republished the cartoonist's drawing of Mohammed which is depicting the Muslim prophet with a bomb under his turban.

And again I do regret that - not listening to Tetrapilotomos' advice - I did not found factories in which I could let produce flags on demand in all those countries in which pious philanthropists would encourage their (sic) people to give evidence of how peace-loving and tolerant their religion is.

Instead of presenting pictures showing burning flags and / or well educated humanitarians holding posters with slogans such as Death to / Kill /Massacre / Slaughter those who insult Islam" and or "Europe you will pay, your 9/11 will come", I do allow myself to recommend reading following essay by Henryk M. Broder which is an excerpt from his book
Hurra! We're capitulating.

Ah, well, and due to a recent occurrance here another piece by the same author: Shariah Is for Everyone!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

On the route again

'To know that I could whenever I wished.'

These eight words by Robert Gernhardt accompanied by his inimitable smile, came to my mind when Saturday morning I had to learn that my router after only a couple of months 'had breathed his last'.

As the telephone service could not help, they promised to send a new one. And - oh wonder - already this morning it arrived.
So, knocking on wood. :)

Yes, it is not nice to know that I could not if I wished.

Well, probably it depends on one's point of view. While I felt not immoderately amused, Mrs Jeating's words spoken Monday night let me suspect she was highly delighted.
"Ah, Sean, how lovely. I have not seen you so busy in the garden for many weekends. And there is still so much to do."

And when I asked, 'Is it possible I am not completely wrong when hazarding the guess you are gloating over my withdrawal syndrome?', her eyes sparkled while she exclaimed: 'Yessss, I love it'.

I did not finish pondering, yet, what's the (un)hidden message behind these four words. The more as by now I am back on the route(r), knowing that I could whenever I wished.

The Peace of the Night. :)

Friday, February 08, 2008

Hm, am I?




You're Siddhartha!

by Hermann Hesse

You simply don't know what to believe, but you're willing to try
anything once. Western values, Eastern values, hedonism and minimalism, you've spent
some time in every camp. But you still don't have any idea what camp you belong in.
This makes you an individualist of the highest order, but also really lonely. It's
time to chill out under a tree. And realize that at least you believe in
ferries.



Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

What's about Seanhenge?

Jams in his comment on yesterday's post reasoned: 'Hmm by that logic Stonehenge, Hadrian's Wall, even Buck Palace are doomed! '

Yes, indeed, and one could add Skara Brae, Newgrange, the pyramids, Machu Picchu, Chinese Wall, etc. pp.

My biggest worry, though, is: What's about Seanhenge?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

All these illegal buildings!

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein has condemned a decision by Israeli authorities to demolish the Al-Omari mosque in the village of Umm Tuba near Jerusalem under the pretext that the [700 year old] building had been built without a license.

In case this Ma'an News article bases on facts:

Would anybody, please, show me building application and licence for the Second temple?!

No, not what is written in the Book of Ezra; a notarized building application, an authenticated design and full planning permission and a certified and legalized building licence.

Otherwise, I think it were logic to immediately raze the Western respectively the Wailing Wall.

The Peace of the Night, and good luck!

*

Oh well, just in case any persons thinking they were peace-loving Muslims, intend to enthusiastically lavish me with virtual back-slapping and oriental flowery hymns of praise - think twice!
Next you might be asked for certain documents according the Dome of Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Salam!

Monday, February 04, 2008

The magic of another dawn




'The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.'
Henry Miller
The Wisdom of the Heart, 1941

Ha, yes. He did not write just Nexus, Sexus, Plexus.

Celestial peace

It embodied the peace of the morning.
Why shouldn't it embody ...




... the Peace of the Night? :)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Astrophysicist's Super Sunday

Neither yesterday nor tomorrow one would get this photo. Still, most of us would not get up at six 'o'clock on a Sunday morning to 'catch' this most infrequent celestial constellation. The friend of our daughter did. He is (astro-)physicist.




And he was ... lucky; despite of badly auguring clouds.
The moon would get visible at 6:30. But soon our satellite would be swallowed by the band of clouds above.
At 6:40 Venus (on the very left) and Jupiter (a width of a thumb to the right) would get visible and ... soon get swallowed by the band of clouds above.

So Sascha was able to 'shoot' at least some photos which - no doubt - made his day.
(Sorry I wasn't able to download 28 megabytes).

Ah, it is just a(n almost undescribable) pleasure to see the sparkling eyes of someone who is on a very good way (to mind a superlative) to make his childhood-dreams come true.

*

What did Bertrand Russel say?

'The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry.
Mysticism and Logic, 1917

And let me add: ... in physics. :)

Apropos mathematicians :)

Efficiency test.

Task: Putting up a simple fence.

Participants: An engeneer, a physicist, a mathematician.

At their disposal: four stakes, wire.

Problem: Who would need the least material quantity?

The engineer would have a short look, drive the four stakes successively into the ground, twist wire around the square and - Bob's your uncle.

The physicist would ponder two minutes, drive three stakes into the ground, twist wire around the triangle and - Bob's your uncle.

The mathematician would see about the material given at his disposal - deliberate what to do - think - think twice - cogitate - consider and reconsider - contemplate - reason and reflect.

After four hours out of the blue he'd enthusiastically wrap the wire around his body and ... define himself outside.'

*

And what did Einstein say?
'As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain they do not refer to reality.'

Saturday, February 02, 2008

That I am allowed to experience this!

Imagine you have missed the bus or the tramvai by a hair; and, alas, today of all days Flann O'Brien's The third Policeman is not at hand. So, what next? Boring yourself for some twenty minutes or ... rather walking to the next stop, on the risk of not walking fast enough and thus again missing the bus/tramvai?

To be on the safe side, all you need is but a bit knowledge of advanced probability and integral calculus.

Mathematicians Scott Kominers, Robert Sinnott (Harvard University) and Justin Chen (California Institute of Technology) derived a formula for the optimal time that you should wait for a tardy bus at each stop en route before giving up and walking on.

The research group found that the solution was surprisingly simple, as you will surely agree:



Now, are you grateful that you are allowed to live experiencing this magic moment, in which one of the last most brainteasing and riddling conundrums of all mysteriously puzzling enigmata has been solved, or are are you grateful to live experiencing this magic moment, in which one of the last most brainteasing and riddling conundrums of all mysteriously puzzling enigmata has been solved?

I thought so.

And now you'd like to get closer to the essential inheritent interior essence which is hidden in the root of the kernel of everything?

I thought so.

Here you are.


And here one anticipatory reaction:

'Science knows only one commandment: contribute to science.'
Bertold Brecht, Galileo, 1943

And one reactionary anticipation:

'The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star.'
Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste, 1825


In case you miss it, I can't serve you with a quotation from Tetrapilotomos. He'd not be amused if I disturbed
Calvagh O'Seanacháin and him while celebrating the 126th anniversary of their friend's birthday.

?

Ah, yes, of course, it's James Joyce.