October 30, 2007

My top 10 reasons for Stephen Colbert as President of South Carolina:

10.) Really, do we need to have any reasons to vote for this guy?

.) The next time a comedian goes on TV and gets the guys from Crossfire fired it could be the Prez himself.

.) Nacho Cheese Doritos

.) Second best interviewer after John Stewart. Maybe this way the leader of the free world can actually hold a conversation with the rest of the leaders of the free world. Instead of just trying to look like they are having a good time together.

.) 1.200.000 Friends on Facebook

.) "I, Stephen Colbert, do hereby pledge to practice absinth-tinence by remaining absinth-tinent from Absinthe . . . Since Absinthe incidents in many instances induce incipient synesthetic inspiration and sinister synthetic insistence on sin, I sincerely insist I will be absent from instances of Absinthe ingestion, this instant".
If you can say this really fast, you can run this country better then most current runners-for-the-presidency.

.) ~4200 new voter registrations since putting a link up on Facebook, thats 1 voter a minute. Maybe soon 53 percent in the great state of South Carolina go vote.

.) The other guys didn't think that he was who they thought he was. They let him off the hook!

.) Vice President: John Stewart

.) He is funnier then W, and he does it on purposery.

Kuchen Essen - Eating Cake

Wenn die Fadesse im Kopf keine Ruhe gibt fällt es schwer sich zu konzentrieren. Ein Mensch weiss dann nicht mehr ob er sich hinlegen soll oder nie wieder aufstehen. Er weiss nicht mehr ob das Grüne wieder kommt. Kann nur hoffen, dass er sich genügend ablenken kann. Natürlich stellt sich dann immer noch die Frage ob das überhaupt richtig, um nicht zu fragen notwendig ist. Im Endeffekt weiss er das ja nie im Vorhinein. Er kann da nur raten. Oder auf einen Ratschlag warten. Aber ist das dann ein Rat, oder ein Schlag? Er liest, dass es ihm gut gehen soll. Er liest, dass er stolz sein soll. Dass er den Tag nutzen soll. Ein Guter schafft doch. Es. Oder nicht. Er kann sich da nicht mehr so darauf verlassen.

Könnte auch sein, dass er einfach nicht mehr zuhört. Aber das wollen sie doch auch nicht. Aber wenn man immer nur hört wie derjenige was dreht, und diejenige was nimmt wieso soll man da nicht entweder selber drehen und nehmen, oder zuhören aufhören? Ist das jetzt falsch, oder nur der Gestank vom Kopf? Wielange dauert es bis der wieder rollt? Kann es sein, dass wir zuviel Brot essen und zuviele Spiele spielen? Dass wir jetzt doch alle Kuchen essen können? Und das reicht uns.

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October 28, 2007

WWIII or Why I Love Darwin

Neighborhoods and Nazis in the streets of Europe. Presidents and polemics behind podiums. Immigration debates raging through the houses of Europe. Illegal immigrants dying at the USA-Mexico border and the Rock of Gibraltar. It seems as if every nation and religion in the world has an ax to grind. Without apology I can now unequivocally say that humanity requires its self-destructive tendencies. We are like little children and lapdogs who need constant attention. If we are not occupied by, say the Cold War, we just go ahead and make a hot one for ourselves. That way we have a good excuse to fight over who gets to be on the moon first, who gets to be on the other side of the moon first and who gets to freeze their little recalcitrant behinds off on the moon’s south pole first (there is supposed to be water there). Not that I have a problem with it. My eggs would still be sticking to my frying pan if it weren’t for Teflon.

Let us for once forget who started what. Let us ignore the battles, the insults and the prophets who all seem to have the same peaceful message but nevertheless manage to instill hatred for the other guy amongst their followers. Even though those issues seem to be on the forefront of most discussions we are just not going to care about them. And the reason we don’t care about them is simple. At the base of all of the fighting there is only one instinct that drives us.

The need to compete. We need to fight. We need to test our mettle in battle. Preferably to the death because otherwise it is meaningless. Forget all the static about who killed whom, about the prophet on this mountain, the savior in that red lake and any number of other myths for which people gladly cast aside all reason in order to believe. In the end, and since the beginning, surviving on this planet means competing. Be you an ant, an elephant or a human this applies to all of you. Woe to the alien who wants to extend us an olive branch at some distant point in the future. We will break it in half, bring out the big dogs and start competing, because that is all we know how to do.

Our economic systems are based on competition. Our habits of procreation are based on competition. Our educational systems are based on competition. The one major religion that doesn’t seem to be based on competition is Buddhism, but sitting under a tree and contemplating your navel is not going to move you ahead much (levitation is cool though, but any Jedi can do that). Ah, there it is again, moving ahead. The Great Game was never great, it was always about getting ahead, becoming stronger, fitter, richer, prettier, in one word it was about competing. It’s a headlong rush into the future in order to protect our past investments.

So now that we have managed to survive in a supposedly enlightened period of history for a couple of decades, suddenly the religious nuts rear their ugly heads again. It is nearly strange to witness, when my childhood was spent in a rather blissfully rational struggle between economic systems, which hopefully most people understood to be nothing but a good old-fashioned power struggle between two systems. The more successful one won.

But now, it’s “Kill the infidels” and “Send your kids to Jesus Camp”. Reap your lord’s rewards, or your god’s, for doing away with the unbelievers. I am not used to this fanaticism. My formative years were spent in a time of rational public discourse of how to pay for social security and how to stop the Greenhouse Effect – back when it was still called that. I don’t understand the fanatics. I am an atheist. I don’t steal, I occasionally lie (small, men’s lies), I am reasonably nice to the people around me, but mostly I try to treat them with what I hope is an approximate reciprocation of their attitude to me and to life. I don’t care much about my old country; I left it behind a long time ago. I don’t care much about my new country; I have lived in too many to keep track of my loyalties. As far as I am concerned I am a global citizen of humanity. To kill or be killed for the nation that I choose to live in is unacceptable. Generally you could say I believe in little else but a fair shake for whomever wants to have a go at it. And I certainly don’t believe in anything that could lead to me finding myself at the trigger end of a gun so that some bozo can survive a little better, in his Bentley. I suggest you do the same.

But somehow nationalism, like religion, is in vogue again, although nationalism is just about the second stupidest thing after religion. How on earth does anyone with a semi-intact right brain buy this crap? You are all zombies, programmed to goose-step happily till kingdom come. Unfortunately, nationalism was just as useful as religion in its day, mostly because it’s better than feudalism. Which is when it still made sense to go kill for your Duke, because if you didn’t, he would make your life uncomfortable.

But these days we live in democracies. We don’t need to sign up with the military. Nobody forces us to pick up that gun, point it at another human’s head and pull the trigger. Nobody forces us to keep voting for governments that pump trillions of dollars into war machines – I like to call it Offense Budget - that are by definition geared towards annihilation of life and property. You don’t build suitcase-sized nukes and precision guided delivery mechanisms (nice euphemism for super destructive cannonballs) to plant flowers in your neighbor’s yard. You build them so you can intimidate the crap out of China, because we don’t really care about Iran’s and Iraq’s nukes other then the oil being there. We would enjoy it if those guys would just give us a tiny little pretext to nuke the bejeezus out of them. Whatever is left of the Muslim world after that can go look for Mecca under the radioactive glass plate while we will go and build harder drills with our conflict diamonds from Africa. That has nothing to do with you, you say? Don’t for one second forget that you drive those tires with your car, use those plastics every day, depend on medicines all your life and love to get some bling for your girl because you bought the De Beer marketing line hook, line and sinker.

So why do we sign up with the military, and why do we pull the trigger, and why do we build those nukes and wait for a good excuse to drop them? Why do we let ourselves believe in heavenly rewards for wiping out the other guy? Why is it suddenly popular again to point at the Yellow Peril?

You can call it whatever theory you prefer; Economics, Dependency Theory, Modernization or Globalization. In the end it is all based on the same principles of competition, on survival of the fittest. Good old Darwin got it right. Hitler didn’t. Even though it seems logical to assume that skin color and earlobe size make a difference when it comes to survival, it does not. Mohels in Judaism all have the same genetic markers going back 3000 odd years. Having black, red or blond hair, brown or blue eyes, hooked or flat noses the gene looks the same no matter what the Mohel looks like. Food for thought for all those silly boys who hate the crooked nose since the big foreskin reaper might actually look like they do. It should also show that our perceived differences are only skin deep. In the end we are all the same. Since the Nazis thought eugenics are cool, it is a rather huge faux pas to even bring evolutionary selection into a discussion of humanity. Hitler has managed much better than the Catholic Church to divorce my alligator brain from me. His atrocities in the name of racial purity force us to think outside the realm of evolution when it comes to Homo Sapiens. But whether you like it or not, whether humanity’s evils are carried out in evolution’s name or not, we remain a product of a long chain of evolutionary choices in which the only thing that matters is survival. Nature wouldn’t blink an eye and so forth.

I know you are misunderstanding me, and I forgive you your short Darwinian fuse. So let me posit that capitalism, similar to war is a natural result of our evolutionary development. It is based on competition. The fittest (the inheritors and the monopolists fall into this category – stop crying and start fighting, it’s what your cat would have done before you robbed it of its last vestigial instincts) will survive and come out on top. But more importantly this dreaded capitalistic system seems to address our in-programmed need for competition, forces us to innovate and evolve and thereby hopefully become fitter at every stage in our lives. If nature were into economic theory she would have written The Invisible Hand herself and turned the lights out on all that social balderdash without, you guessed it, blinking an eye.

You say we have a brain and that makes us different than animals. I agree. Mostly. Doesn’t look like we have been using it that much lately though. Or ever. We can blame colonialism and the Thirty Year War on the ignorance of the masses and on the willfulness of the high and the mighty. Not anymore. Three billion people around the globe can get their daily news feed online. Unfortunately, that access seems largely to be used for learning about stupid blondes and their hair choices. It should be more important that we are constantly fighting over resources, over Lebensraum, over oil and just wait until the water starts running out or the coastlines start disappearing on us. We think nothing of Africans killing each other in droves except when that child with the bloated belly and the flies in its eyes makes us feel bad late at night. But the child’s life is not as wretched and short as it is because it doesn’t have a social worker helping it make a career choice. People in Africa are at each other’s throat because survival in Africa is stupidly hard since there is no food and no clean water. Every time you try to grow your meager protein-poor crops (10 points for knowing that to be the reason for the bloated belly) the rainy season washes half of it away. And when that doesn’t happen the seven year drought kills eight of your nine children. If we would be such social creatures wouldn’t we be helping the poor people of the Congo achieve a better life? Or how about starting by helping them get out from under Belgium’s astonishingly brutal thumb in the 1960s, instead of extending their wretched misery so that we can get cheaper rubber for our tires and nicer bling for our honeys? And why did I never learn about the Belgians in school, apart from the fact that they make tasty chocolate? Just like the three billion today who care about the wrong news, my teacher back then didn’t care to let me know that Europeans in OUR time raped, pillaged and tortured their way through the jungles of the world. Let’s just call a spade a spade and be clear about the fact that Europe is not the wonderfully civilized haven of intellectual pacifism they like to think they are. It seems as if there is a lot of stone throwing out of glasshouses going on here.

I would like it if we would share the wealth around a little more. The EU could bottle their milk and wine lakes and send them to Africa. The prices would still be artificially high. The USA could use some of its offense budget to fight any and all diseases around the globe. There would still be enough suitcase-sized nukes left to turn the globe into a marble. Japan could build a road through Africa without thinking the black man lower than a dog, even though that would mean realizing that the people of the sun are just another tribe on the evolutionary playing field. None of that is going to happen. We simply are products of our environment and our environment has decreed that the fittest competitor will survive.

Now we find ourselves at a crossroads. We can blithely continue down this path towards a true competition of civilizations, and if this moment in history doesn’t at least seem somewhat similar to the days before WWI my name is not Haserl. Or we can realize that this is not necessary. Individually we seem to be able to decline walking the road towards self-destruction, but we are foremost herd animals. We require our group’s protection and we are willing to pay the prize of admission. Historians will probably look back at this time and call it inevitable, that Muslims and Christians would renew their dormant hatred, would once again embark on crusades to rid the world of each other. The Turks will be at the gates of Vienna and the Templars will hunt Saracens in the streets of Damascus again. It is so predictable yet when it is all said and done your favorite expression will be “Hindsight is 20/20”. Consider yourself warned.

I feel like I should be mad at you, that I should hold it against you, your shortsightedness, your lack of imagination and restraint. That you are dragging me into this senseless battle. But I can not. I think I understand you and the forces of nature too well. You and I remain harnessed to the engine of this world. Whether we like it or not we are a product of our environment and that environment says that competition is name of the game. We are competing amongst ourselves not to evolve but to keep the herd healthy. It would be rather elegant, this setup that we find ourselves chained to, if it would not mean that my brother (mailman), cousin (particle physicist) or nephew (baby boy) will fall victim to our programmatic madness. By imprinting our need to succeed nature keeps us going indefinitely. Individually we may not like it, but collectively it has allowed us to dominate this planet. It remains to be seen if the universe at large functions the same way. In any case those aliens better watch out and hope that we have not yet learned how to harness the stars when they show up. Because we will, if only to show those damned reds who’s boss once and for all. Or at least until tomorrow's war to end all wars.

October 26, 2007

you zink zis is funi?

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will
make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter. There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as
replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

October 25, 2007

cigarettes are good for you

Finally, the truth comes out. Cigarettes not only taste great after a meal, they also make you remember it better.


unbeatable logic

So, I admit that I did not try very hard to beat this logic. Check it out and let me know if you can see something wrong with what he is saying.

October 24, 2007

Clean Cop

No, I promise I did not just get this car to get into the car pool lane on the 10. Well, maybe a little bit. Yes, this lovely former LAX supervisor Crown Vic drives on nothing but lovely, clean, your environment protecting Natural Gas. As far as I know the last known method to get a sticker for the car pool lane in SoCal. Forget the Hybrids. Quota used up. You can fill it up in your garage for a buck a gallon. You can fly past the masses in the HOV lane. Yes, sometimes I laugh. It's a whole new beginning to your day when you drive this baby. Go get one!
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Look! No Hands!

For months now, the expectations have been mounting, the proverbial drum roll has been rolling, the excitement about innovation returning to one of the grand old dames of the computer age has been nothing short of uncontainable. Coders acting like little kids, ok they do this all the time, managers gleefully going to the little room at the end of the hallway, sneaking a peak to check if the thingamajig has yet arrived over night. Yes, even the cleaning personnel is eagerly awaiting this symbol of the inexorable technological march forward. None of this strikes us as strange at all.

No, Tigerton it is not. No, not Crestline either. And if you thought I am talking about Bearlake you are sadly mistaken. No, it is something entirely unforeseen in the world of CPU development, the bleeding bleeping edge of raw processing power (You should see the Shabu that I get to play with here). The palpable excitement in the empty hallways of usually falling stock prices and fired managers (seriously, if you manage two people you do not count as one) is nothing short of intoxicating. I long to be a part of those heady days, when nerds where still cowboys, riding their steel mice into the sunset at 0.005 Mghz. But that’s neither here nor there, I am but an unlikely (I have hardly any pimples) part of the born again nerd herd who will wet their little panties when you say “9 Mghz – no FSB”.

CPU building is just not as much fun when your monopoly is being undermined by one whole competitor. So you can tell Intel Corp. has not been the happy cog-family that we are all accustomed to: little people making even littler chippies that make your little worker bees in your big multinational companies work even faster and harder and your pile of money even larger. No more toasting Moore’s law which has stealthily but unquestionably gone wrong – most of the time.

You understand when I tell you that these last few weeks have been mildly surprising to one of the little cogs (me) in the machine. Rarely have I seen this introverted bunch of people so emotional and yes, even talking to each other in the hallways between their cubes. I must admit that after seeing the informational posted over the urinal I found myself somewhat dumbfounded as well. Who woulda thunk it? Is it even possible? But what would be the use? Are you all completely bonkers? These are only some of the questions that came to mind.

Because in all its glory the internal Press Release stapled to the wall above the urinal (where do they put these in the girl’s room?) in no uncertain terms informed me that the amazing – wait, drum roll - the wonder of the modern world – yes, drum roll – The One, The Only “Hands-Free Soap Dispenser” would soon be available in this very bathroom. Before you start asking why Intel posts cleanliness advice and other safety conscious drivel in its bathrooms, ask yourself why you always find yourself face to boob with a half nekked girl advertising some crap nobody needs, when you are in the process of ridding yourself of the end product of your alcohol induced confidence. No really, ask.

But let us instead focus on this monster of an oxymoron. Yes, let it roll of your tongue one more time “Hands-Free Soap Dispenser”. Kinda musical, isn’t it. If oxymorons would be huge horned beasts this one would challenge the alpha male (intelligent president) and crush his puny little attempt at dick measuring. It would rip his head off, shit down his throat and then proceed to copulate copiously with all the girl-oxymorons till kingdom come, because there certainly will never be another worthy challenger (Author’s note 1. I do not believe in a coming kingdom, it’s a bleeping figure of speech; 2. MSFT might challenge). So for the last two months, and this was pretty tough as I was joyfully and innovatively intoxicated, I have been racking my nerdy brains as to why a guy who can not use a soap dispenser with his hands, would need soap dispensed to his hands. I don’t care if you think me mean to all those poor souls who have no hands, because for most jobs at Intel you bloody well need all your ten (some nerds insist on eleven) appendices for typing on a keyboard in order to make those little chippies clock faster. I welcome the thought that you think I am not politically correct enough for your puritan little mind because your puritan little mind does not conceive of wondering why there is a need for a glorious “Hands-Free Soap Dispenser”. You are too busy being happy that you do not have to touch a Soap Dispenser that another (yuk) person has just touched. While you mull over how to hide all your nasty human scents, remove all the unwanted hairs and appear to have flushed just before mating with your alpha fe/male consider this: The great mothership is not trying to do good by you, trying to protect you from the vagaries of the modern toilet, or even to provide two month of continuous entertainment for one easily amused nerd. They are trying to make you less sick so that you can be a more productive cog in their multinational machine.

Well, I would love to turn this into a rant against big corporations taking over my dear little green planet but I can’t. I like that Intel thinks so much about their bottom line that they come up with a way to prevent some bacteria to get on my hands, before I proceed to wash them anyway. I like that since I was here last they put a little nurse station in a little room that used to be the janitor’s. Yup, the nurse is cute, and she tells you about proper positioning (At your keyboard, you nerd!). Alas, no ranting about big business today. But please, can I get a little stronger response when I ask “What hands, and if I do have hands that I can not use, do I wash with soap from a Hands-Free Soap Dispenser?” then the blank rather disinterested look that a girl-oxymoron wears while patiently waiting for the crowning of the alpha-oxymoron?