Saturday, February 17, 2007

Laibach la Bucuresti

Ma tot intreb cum ajung unii oameni sa publice in presa articole care sunt atat de prost scrise incat cu greu reusesti sa treci de primul paragraf. Alex Telibasa ii fericeste pe cititorii Hotnews.ro cu o scriere despre concertul Laibach la Bucuresti. Nu stiu cum a fost concertul, dar review-ul e sub limita suportabilului. Nu pot sa spun ca sunt fan Laibach, imi place enorm de mult Macbeth, probabil pentru ca m-a impresionat profund - pot sa spun chiar ca m-a marcat - cand eram la o varsta destul de frageda, in rest industrial-ul nu ma incanta foarte tare inafara de Rammstein si Fear Factory. In schimb nu cred ca autorul articolului a ascultat vreodata Laibach mai mult decat din clipurile de pe YouTube si cu siguranta nu intelege ce inseamna second degré.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Accouchement sous X

Definitely Yves Calvi doesn't pick easy subject for his debates on France 5. Today it was about accouchement sous X, the term describing women who choose not to give their identity when giving birth to a child, after which the child is put up for adoption. The debate was, or at least it was meant to be, over a French law given in 1941 and not modified since then which protects the identity of the mother, including from her own child. This affects something like 400.000 French children born in such conditions with ages raging from 0 to 60 years or more. A similar law protects sperm donators.

From what I understood, as far as the child is concerned, the problem revolves around having access to the "history" of his biological genitors, or at least the mother, since the law in question concerns exclusively the mother. It's not at all about establishing any family ties with her (or them) but just seeing her face and coming to know the reasons of the choice she made. And basically it ends there since the child - an adult in many of the 400k cases - has it's own family, the adoptive parents, and makes a clear distinction between (functional) parents and biological genitors. Intellectually I can conceive it, but my understanding remains at an intellectual level from obvious reasons since I cannot put myself in their place and actually feel the thing. But the "interesting" part is considering and being aware of such a situation, which I think is an enormous step in the human society. (Of course, one can come with more than one example of African tribes or communities, but I'm speaking of the human society in which family equals a mother and a father). In the debate it was made clear by all the parties involved that the child should have access to the information concerning his genitors (starting from a certain age or not), which is technically impossible due to the French law. But from my point of view the debate was very unbalanced since the mothers were very weakly represented. While persons born in these conditions - accouchement sous X or artificial insemination - were present in the show, there was only one person representing the "mothers' side", a woman leading an organization dealing with women in the situation of abandoning their child at birth. So there was a clear tendance of "putting the child before the mother", even if Yves Calvi did the best he could playing the devil's advocate when needed. But this person said an interesting thing, that before changing the law, people's mentalities must change. Meaning that such acts should be better undestood and more widely accepted by society, after which maybe the law is no longer necessary. One other interesting thing she said was that when the mother is correctly accompanied by doctors and medical staff, in 90% of the cases she leaves her name in the baby's medical file, which makes her very easy to be retrieved if the child wants so. So things can be rather easily improved in order to ease things for both the mother and the child.

Blogging and politics

A very interesting podcast done by the guys from Lieu Commun about the relation between blogging and this year's French presidential election. My personal conclusion is that if you really want to follow a debate of ideas with intelligibly explained arguments then turn off the TV, read the candidate's program and find good bloggers who blog about those candidate's proposals in a decent, documented and as unbiased as possible way. Avoiding all the militant noise is crucial.

In suport

In suport la articolul lui Radu Paraschivescu din EVZ de astazi, de pe YouTube, clipul melodiei Hei Pss Pss signée Dinu Maxter ca sa stiti despre ce e vorba:)))

Ceea ce ma intriga si ma frustreaza in acelasi timp este ca editiile online ale ziarelor din Romania nu pun link-uri aproape deloc in materialele pe care le publica. Se mai intampla ca la finalul articolului sa fie referentiate alte articole din aceeasi publicatie care vorbesc despre acelasi subiect, lucru foarte bun dealtfel, dar luand exemplul New York Times sau Financial Times, mi-ar placea ca link-urile sa fie mai multe, mai variate (hence mai informationale) si nu in ultimul rand sa fie in textul articolului ancorat pe cuvintele care trebuie. As merge chiar mai departe de a referentia propriile articole, as pune si link-uri si catre alte site-uri care sunt relevante in legarua cu subiectul abordat (exemplu simplu : vorbesti despre o organizatie, pune link catre homepage-ul ei). Aici discutia se complica pentru ca m-ar interesa argumente pertinente impotriva acestei practici a editiilor online ale jurnalelor, pentru ca daca deocamdata nu se face sigur exista un motiv bun. Continuand exemplul dat mai inainte, daca vorbesti despre Al Quaida, pui sau nu pui link cate pagina ei? Are vreo relevanta, avand in vedere ca daca tot vreau sa ajung pe site-ul lor sunt la doua clickuri distanta, trecand prin Google? Sau, punand link-ul catre un site ii cresti traficul mai mult ca sigur - editiile online ale ziarelor avand in sine un trafic foarte serios pe site-ul lor - deci ar fi logic sa vrei sa valorifici financiar. Dar ce model de plata sa adopti in cazuri din astea, in caz ca ar exista vreunul, pentru ca celui catre care ai pus link nu poti sa-i ceri bani pentru ca nu te-a rugat nimeni s-o faci?

Problema pare complicata, dar poate e chiar mai simpla decat s-ar imagina. Vorbind despre editiile online ale ziarelor romanesti deocamdata ar fi un pas foarte mare si binevenit sa se inspire mai mult din exemplele NYT sau FT. Un side effect extrem de pozitiv ar fi si ca ar scuti internautul vorbitor de limba romana sa faca apel la functionalitatea de cautare catastrofal pusa in practica pe site-urile jurnalelor romanesti. Cred ca asta este partea din site facuta in ultimele ore ale noptii de dinaintea predarii proiectului, cu o interfata de cautare anti-functionala si un query SQL mizerabil doar doar sa nu spuna ca n-o au.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Btw

Since I was speaking about In Extremo, I've just found out that the guys are actually coming to Lyon in Mars, so guess what I'm going to do tomorrow:) And just for the beauty of it, Herr Mannelig, whose cover by Haggard you'll also want to look up.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

In Extremo

If you happen to be a Rammstein and Corvus Corax fan - and I'm speaking about both music and visuals - or simply enjoy medieval folk music and downtuned guitars, you might want to take a good listen to In Extremo. I wouldn't want to miss one of their live concerts if they ever come to town. You can find on YouTube a bunch of their songs, of which I highly recommend Herr Mannelig, Ave Maria, Villeman og Magnhild and my personal favourite, Omnia Sol Temperat, taken from Carmina Burana. And don't forget to check out Corvus Corax as well, while hanging out on YouTube.

Later edit : Iulian has mentioned about Tanzwut, an industrial band comprised of Corvus Corax members (videos on Youtube). And below there's Omnia Sol Temperat from In Extremo, if I forgot to mention it:)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Presedintele Basescu si partenerii europeni

Din declaratia de presa comuna sustinuta de Traian Basescu, presedintele Romaniei si László Sólyom, presedintele Republicii Ungare (link). Bineinteles, unul dintre subiectele abordate a fost cel al autonomiei, definita la fel de putin ca intotdeauna. Schimbul intre partea maghiara si cea romana pe care il citez mai jos suna cam in felul urmator (va las sa puneti personajele in dreptul replicilor) :

  • Hai sa stam sa discutam, sa definim mai intai despre ce vorbim si sa vedem cum putem rezolva problema.
  • Ba pă mă-ta!
Partea maghiara.
"Partea ungara a mai exprimat dorinta inceperii unui dialog “deschis si democratic despre diferitele posibilitati si forme de auto-organizare si auto-gestionare a minoritatii maghiare”. “Aceasta ar contribui la clarificarea conceptului de autonomie. Autonomia culturala este ceva firesc pentru UE, autonomia teritoriala este posibila, dar nicaieri aceastea nu se indreapta impotriva integritatii teritoriale a statului respectiv”, a declarat Presedintele Ungariei. "
Partea romana :
"Partea romana : Referindu-se la autonomia culturala a maghiarilor, presedintele Basescu a declarat ca, in Romania, toti cetatenii statului roman sunt obligati sa respecte Constitutia “in baza careia sunt recunoscute cele 18 minoritati, reprezentate in Parlament prin automatism, in baza careia se adreseaza in limba materna in instante, optional invata in limba materna si o Constitutie care garanteaza dreptul de a-si pastra si perfectiona obiceiurile si traditiile.” In acest context, presedintele tarii a aratat ca Romania nu va accepta niciodata alte modele decat cele pe care si le-a ales si care sunt in deplina concordanta cu standardele europene. “Asteptam cu nerabdare sa vedem primii parlamentari romani intrati prin automatism constitutional in Parlamente ale statelor Uniunii Europene”, a continuat seful statului.

Presedintele Romaniei a apreciat ca evenimentele care se petrec in judetele Mures, Covasna si Harghita incalca prevederile Constitutiei Romaniei: “Referendumul pentru autonomie teritoriala este ilegal.” „Pot sa va spun ca atat timp cat va ramane o testare a vointei populatiei, putem spune ca este ce se afirma. Dar cand cei care astazi fac teste - nu intelegem foarte bine, cu rabdarea statului roman, cu Constitutia, ce testeaza dansii - in momentul in care incearca sa valorifice rezultatul acestui asa-zis test sau referendum ilegal, statul roman va aplica fara ezitare Constitutia si legile statului, iar responsabilitatea va apartine celor care acum realizeaza un act neconstitutional, pe teritoriul unui stat national, unitar, indivizibil si, sa nu uitati, un stat suveran”, a declarat seful statului."

Principles of the Constitution

The French prime minister, Domnique de Villepin, reminded me today of Sebi's post about the inflation declared illegal in Zimbabwe. After having congratulated himself today over the decrease of the public debt from 66% to 64,6% during the year 2006, our prime minister thought about introducing the decrease of the public debt as a principle in the Constitution.

Le chiffrage des programmes politiques

Bernard Salanié signe un billet très intéressant sur le chiffrage des programmes des candidats politiques (évaluer les coûts et effets des mesures proposées) et explique sa réserve envers une telle demarche. Son alternative au chiffrage,

"Que peut-on faire donc ? Apporter au public le meilleur éclairage possible, en synthétisant les faits quand nous en avons, les études disponibles sur des sujets connexes, et la théorie quand c'est nécessaire. Ce n'est pas le processus ultrarationalisé auquel le cartésianisme français aspire ; mais c'est un objectif honorable en somme."
Ca tombe au picq. Hier Ségolène à rendu public sont Pact Présidentiel très socialiste, suite à la lecture duquel la réaction de beaucoup de personnes était, "OK, et ça coûte combien? C'est qui qui paye?". Il y a une cellule de chiffrage pour les élections présidentielles de 2007 plus ou moins utile, composée de 3 économistes que j'ai essayé sans succès d'accéder aujourd'hui. Je ne sais pas si ces estimations valent quelque chose, peut-être pas, je me méfie de ces certitudes et je préfère juger une mesure en essayant d'avoir toutes les billes et en essayant de regarder si ailleurs ça a donné des résultas et dans quelles conditions. Mais signe que le chiffrage des programmes est une chose des plus sensibles et volubles, la cellule de chiffrage a estimé jusqu'à aujourd'hui le coût du programme de Ségolène Royal à 50 milliards d'euros sur 3 ans. Et celui de Nicolas Sarkozy aussi:) Bein, on est dans le pire des cas, ça coûte pareil et tous les deux promettent une meilleure France:)

Clever guy

Un Néerlandais consommateur de chocolat demande à être incarcéré (via Econoclaste).

If I get this straight, this guy wants to be convicted for eating chocolate produced by companies employing children in Ivory Coast on the charges of complicity to slavery, thus creating a legal precedent who would make people stop buying chocolate out of fear of going to jail, which would ultimately put the companies out of business and stop them from employing children any longer

I don't know why the guy needs a trial for this, if he wants to be convicted to jail he should be granted the pleasure. How can you defend someone against his own will? But more seriously, the bottom line here is what a person with civic sense and will of action can do about situations similar to those in the Ivory Coast. And I sincerely doubt that accusing citizens of the developed countries of complicity to slavery is a valid option. And I also think it's not necessarily about being part of a NGO. How about a group of people - 10, 1000, 100k - suing the chocolate company and dealing with the problem in front of a judge. On a smaller scale it's something current - for example plane crash victims associations suing the flight company or the constructor - why shouldn't a group of concerned chocolate consumers act likewise? And I don't think there aren't enough sincerely concerned people willing to do something, there are plenty, but maybe sometimes when you want to hit harder you should take it in front of a judge instead of Green Peace.