—- Illiad (author of the webcomic UserFriendly). The subtitle is “Not multiculturalism, but covert colonialism”, the idea being that (for example) a Chinatown in Vancouver where nobody speaks English is a colony, in the worst sense of the word. Perhaps not everyone is interested in learning a language for its own sake like I would be (the only reason I don’t learn more languages is lack of time), but when the language is entrenched, not making the effort to learn it is simply rude.
I have always been of the mind that when you visit a foreign country you’re the one that should make the effort to communicate with the locals. Speaking your birth tongue slower and louder doesn’t make yourself any more understandable, it just makes you look like a jackass. The onus to learn the local language is even heavier if you’re an immigrant. After all, you’re the one asking for the privilege of becoming a part of someone else’s community. That means you can bloody well learn the language; you don’t even have to succeed, you just have to show that you’re willing to try.
Archive for the ‘politics’ Category
“The fact that there has not been a serious incident involving liquid explosives indicates, I would have thought, that the measures that we have put in place so far have been very effective.”
Ah, that’s how. On which basis the measures against asteroid strike, alien invasion and unexplained nationwide floods of deadly boiling custard have also been remarkably effective.
— From The Register. (Yes, it’s old, but I’ve been behind on Bruce Schneier’s blog.)
What does that community mean to me, a person who has to walk by the ROTC [Reserve Officer Training Corps] offices every day on my way to my own office just down the hall — who was watched, noted and reported, all in a day’s work? Today, we gave in willingly and wholeheartedly to a culture of fear and blaming and profiling. It is deemed perfectly appropriate behavior to spy on one another and police one another and report on one another. Such behaviors exist most strongly in closed, undemocratic and fascist societies.
— Kazim Ali, an Indian-ethnic professor of poetry at a university in Pennsylvania, after being reported as a terrorist for leaving a ‘suspicious’ box next to the bin to be recycled (which turned out to contain manuscripts that he was recycling). It’s not his race that caused it, it’s the culture of paranoia that exists over there. America is quite plainly not a free country any more.
The content industries have a choice. They can suffer a painful restructuring as the full force of the move to digital unmakes all their plans and invalidates their business models; or they can suffer the same painful restructuring with a far smaller chance of success by alienating their one-time customers as they try to shore up their position with restrictive rights management.
— Bill Thompson, BBC World Service Commentator, quoted at p2pblog.com (via Boing Boing). The reason DRM is attractive is that it allows content creators to delay thinking about business models that actually work in the presence of P2P.
If this is a good idea now, then why won’t it still be a good idea in a year? A decade? After all, terrorist plots will always exist in potentia (can you prove that no terrorist plots are hatching at this moment?) Until they handcuff us all nude to our seats and dart us with tranquilizers, there will always be the possibility that a passenger will do something naughty on a plane (even then, who knows how much semtex and roofing nails a bad guy could hide in his colon?).
Ugh. I take it all back.
France has just passed a new copyright law which essentially makes it impossible for anyone to safely develop open source software there.
Someone needs to smack the pro-DRM lobby upside the head and make them realise that their approach is totally short-sighted and counterproductive. Or just forcibly disestablish it.
P.S. I swear, the next thing I post about will have nothing to do with politics.
The Bush doctrine views the rule of law as our enemy, and claims it is allied with terrorism.
“If we are to believe Microsoft’s numbers, it appears that 120.000 person days are not enough to document its own software. ... For users, this should be a shock: Microsoft apparently does not know the software that controls 95% of all desktop computers on this planet. Imagine General Motors releasing a press statement to the extent that even though they had 300 of their best engineers work on this for two years, they cannot provide specifications for the cars they built.”
It’s long been my opinion that closed “standards” (including protocols and file formats) are an unmitigated loss for many reasons, though most especially because they lock the user into the first vendor’s solution. It’s gratifying that the European Commission has the intelligence to realise this, though given the trend in European (and other) governments towards open standards, perhaps not too surprising.