Eunoia

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year

M y wife Cornelia and I would like to thank all our faithful blogreaders - of this blog and Neli's blog - for your 2 million+ visits and 3 million+ page-views while reading us in 2010. We hope to see you all again here in 2011 and wish you health, wisdom and prosperity in the New Year. Lang may yer lum reek!

Now we're off to a pre-Hogmanay party and then the Hogmanay party, so sometime in early January I should have another - perhaps less formal - blog entry for y'all :-)

Elizabeth (D) protests : "Hey in Opera sieht dein Seiten Design irgendwie seltsam aus." (Your page design looks somewhat peculiar in Opera). Not at this end, Elisabeth. I always check my HTML with Firefox, IE8 and Opera. What specifically is the problem?
Jenny (Ibiza) : "Same to you! What'll your resolutions be for 2011 ?" Stay alive?
Piet (NL) "All the best for 2011 too" Thanks, Piet, you too.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Udalrike's Snowflake

L ast month, when we were visiting our good friends Lothar and Udalrike, I saw that she had a computer graphic showing the first 6 iterations in the generation of a Sierpinski gasket in her atelier. Now Udalrike is an artist, not a natural mathematician, so I pointed out that the Sierpinski gasket is generated by subtracting interior triangles which makes it hard to paint. Instead - if she wanted to paint a fractal - I suggested starting with Koch's snowflake which is generated additively thus making it much easier to paint. On the middle third of each side of an equilateral triangle you erect another equilateral triangle and continue to do so recurively on each centre section. So the first four iterations generating Koch's snowflake look like this :-

I told her that interestingly the length of the perimeter increases by a factor of 4/3 on each iteration, so that the infinite iterations of the fractal generate a perimeter line of infinite length but the ultimate fractal snowflake has a finite area (8/5 of that of the original triangle) and stays within the circle which circumscribes the original triangle.

Then I stopped before I bored her ;-)

So imagine my pleasant surprise when Lothar and Udalrike rolled up for Xmas lunch and my Xmas prezzy turned out to be her first painting of Koch's snowflake :-)

Complete with the circumscribing circle and in an equilaterally triangular frame too ;-)

Thankyou, Udalrike!

Louise (F) quips "Nothing tangential about THAT post ;-) Explanation for the non-mathematicians : The Koch curve has no tangent.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Xmas story

W ay back in my schooldays we had an (often slightly tipsy) Irishman who taught us latin and (his) religion. Short-tempered bastard too, may Satan burn his soul for a while. I remember teasing him in the run-up to one Xmas with the following question : "Since Mary was holy, and Jesus was holy, was the Xmas afterbirth holy too?" Result? He hit me hard with his cane several times ( six of the best), lambasting me for blasphemy, instead of answering the question. Such a holy man; that's probably what initially put me off religion for ever and ever. Our Men :-(

Just how pretentious is this particular religion? Wouldn't it be great if Michelangelo had snuck back into the Sistine chapel later and repainted one frame of the ceiling there.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Calendars are arbitrary conventions.

Commenting on tuesday's blog, Carol (UK) asked "Why doesn't the calendar year start at the winter solstice... or even at Xmas?

Calendars are arbitrary conventions, Carol. Most of them are usually, though not necessarily, synchronized with the cycle of the sun or the moon because these are repeatable cycles within the year about which agricultural societies needed to know. Examples : the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, suitable for primitive nomadic tribes, but not synchronized with the seasons. With an annual drift of 11 or 12 days, its seasonal relation is repeated roughly every 33 Islamic years. Better for agricultural societies are the solar calendars, like the Persian calendar, which are based on perceived seasonal changes synchronized to the apparent motion of the Sun. Lunisolar calendars, like the Chinese and Hindi calendars, combine both. Most calendars have two substructures, (unnamed) weeks and (named) months. ObJoke : the Jews were clever enough several thousand years ago to name the first Hebrew month Nissan, which means they can now collect advertising fees from a Japanese carmaker ;-)

Simple calendar system just count days from a reference date. Different calendars use different and arbitrary starting dates. The astronomical Julian Date is a sequential count of the number of days since day 0 beginning 1 January 4713 BC Greenwich noon. Hebrew year 5770 began on 19 September 2009 AD and ended on 8 September 2010. Hebrew year 5771 (a leap year) began on 9 September 2010 and ends on 28 September 2011. The Gregorian calendar, which is the de facto international standard, is based on an assumed year of incarnation of a fictitious religious figure, which is about as arbitrary as you can get ;-) The Gregorian calendar began by dropping 10 calendar days, to revert to having the vernal equinox on March 21st (an arbitrary decision made by the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD). Which is the reason the year now starts 10 days after the winter solstice (to answer Carol's original question!).

The second part of your question, Carol, was "Why doesn't the calendar year start at ... Xmas?, from which I assume you are a Christian. Even then, you need to understand that Xmas is an arbitrarily set date. December 25th was arbitrarily chosen, it being the winter solstice in the Julian calendar, which was the one used prior to 1582 AD. In fact if you read "Festa Christianorum" published by Hospinian in 1593 AD, you will find the first analysis of Christian religious festivals [I'm assuming you can read Latin, else take my word for it]. He says the early Christians usurped the Roman Saturnalia tradition, beloved for being the time of year when presents were distributed, much alcohol imbibed, and some(?) orgies too. As little change as possible, as we see ;-) His contemporary Beroaldus (in his 1585 book Chronicum) worked back from the crucifixion during the Pessach festival to Jesus' baptism in the month of Tischri (September/October). And since Luke (3:23) asserted that Jesus was 30 years old that day, He must have been born somewhere between the end of september and the 3rd of october in 3 BC ;-)

And if you have ever read the agricultural textbook "De re rustica" written by Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella around zero AD, you will read his remark that sheep were always kept in their stalls over winter because they were susceptible to the cold and damp weather in Palestine. So the shepherds were NOT in the fields in winter, OR, if they were in the fields, it wasn't winter!

The sermon of Chrysostomos, held in Antioch in 386 AD, points out that the celebration of Xmas on december 25th was unknown 10 years earlier and was a regrettable arbitrary import from the west of the Roman empire (NB: Rome is due west of Antioch).

So, Carol, since Xmas is an arbitrary opportunistic (saturnalian) date, why should we orient our calendar on it?

Carol (UK) adds "... In 1647 the Puritan 'Long Parliament' banned the Xmas celebrations and a number of other festivals in England". Indeed, and in the American Colonies in 1659 the General Court of Massachusetts decided to imprison anyone who celebrated Xmas on December 25th. Afaik, that Act was never repealed ;-)
Camilo (wherefrom?) wrote : "Interesting post, and one that piqued my curiosity. I might be looking for those books in the near future. Also, Merry Pagan Holiday." Thanks, Camilo. Like all Scots, I celebrate Hogmanay rather than Xmas ;-(
James (IRL) informs me "Catholics celebrate Mary's impregnation on December 8th, which, plus 9 months, would imply that Xmas should be in September...."
Ivan (Moskow) tells me that "... Civilisations around the equator (which don't have 4 seasons) have also had calendars synced to the phases of Venus! (eg ancient Egypt)"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Selenelion stuff

A Selenelion (or Selenehelion) is the word used when both the Sun and the eclipsed Moon can be seen at the same time. This happens only just before sunset or just after sunrise, and both bodies will appear just above the horizon at nearly opposite points in the sky. Even more rarely, today it takes place on the day of the winter solstice, with the full moon making its way through the Earth's shadow at 6.32am GMT. Unfortunately, the moon set in Germany soon after the lunar eclipse started here but totality should - clouds permitting - be visible in its entirety from Scotland and Northern Ireland, but the moon will be low down after the greatest part of the eclipse. So maybe blogfriends Morag (Skye) and Jimmy (East coast of Scotland) saw it and John and Maureen too (Isle of Man). Lunar eclipses are perfectly safe to watch without a condom protective glasses ;-) Anyone blogging a photo? Active snowfall here prevents me taking one myself.

As you know, Adam & Eve also ate from the Tree of Commonly Held Misconceptions® So I get to correct the one about solstices today. Dirk wrote in his blog (no link to avoid embarrassing him) that the "...winter solstice is when the Earth is farthest from the Sun". Stuff and nonsense! Maybe he thinks that's what makes winter cold too. I wonder how he explains the heat in Australia on the same day??

No, dear misinformed Dirk, a solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice each year when the Sun's apparent position in the sky reaches its northernmost or southernmost extremes. The cause of the solstices - and indeed of seasons - is that the Earth's axis of rotation is not perpendicular to its orbital plane (called the "obliquity of the ecliptic"). At our temperate latitudes, during summer the Sun remains longer and higher above the horizon, while in winter it remains shorter and lower. This is the cause of summer heat and winter cold, nothing to do with the Earth-Sun distance!

Another common misconception is that the winter solstice is the shortest day. Not necessarily true! When the solstice occurs during the night, early morning, or late afternoon, it is actually the calendar day before or the day after the date of solstice that is actually the shortest day. Measure it if you don't believe me!

Yet another common misconception, as often propagated by our stupid television announcers - is that the shortest day has the latest sunrise. Also false! Just look up the table of sunrises and sunsets in your diary. The latest sunrise is around January 7th. Why? Because the Earth moves about 1° in its orbit around the sun each day, the Earth has to rotate through 361° each day to get the same point directly under the sun! The stars, on the other hand, rise every 23 hours 56 minutes. That means that the stars will appear to rise and set about 4 minutes earlier every day.

Another thing is that Earth's orbit is elliptical. So it speeds up {Kepler's Law} at perihelion (january 3rd, 2010) and slows down at aphelion, which happened e.g. on July 4th 2009. That is the reason that the latest sunrise does not occur at the Winter Solstice. Only if the Earth had a perfectly circular orbit, would the latest sunrise and the solstice occur at the same time, but in fact we're a bit eccentric [like this blog] ;-)

Francine (B) points out that "The eclipse should be visible all across the USA and Canada, even if we only have the selenehelion in Yurp. BTW, thanks for teaching me three new words : selenelion, perihelion, aphelion :-)" Strue, I wasn't LION ;-)
Carol (UK) asks "Why doesn't the calendar year start at the winter solstice?. I'll blog about that on thursday, OK?
Thor (N) asks "When was the last time an eclipse happened on the winter solstice?" AFAIK 456 years ago, it's a rare event :-)
Eli (IL) points us to Wikimedia's totality photo.
William Castleman has a time-lapse video on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

How Slide Rules work

A nswering young Mary's comment question from thursday . . .

Let me show you a slide rule made a couple of decades ago by the East German People's Own Factory VEB Mantissa in Dresden. My brother-in-law picked it up on eBay for me for a mere €2, (regular price 20-30€) thanks, Klaus :-) This kind of slide rule was standard issue to schools under the old GDR communist regime before the Berlin Wall fell 20 years ago. It came in a cheap cardboard case embossed to look like leather, but with a good and thorough instructional leaflet ;-)

The slide rule lets you do multiplication of two numbers by adding their logarithms. Say you want to multiply 2 by 3 : the logarithm of 2 is 0.30103 to 5 digits of precision and the logarithm of 3 is 0.47712. Add these logarithms to get 0.77815, whose antilogarithm is 6, as shown using scales A and B in the photo below. The scales A,B,C,D are logarithmic. Division can be done just by subtracting the logarithms.

The slide rule has a number of scales, but for simple multiplication we use scales D (on the white outer stator) and C (on the green sliding rule). The transparent graticule is merely to help read off results across scales further apart. In the photo below I am multiplying 1.414 (i.e. root(2)) by 1.732 (i.e.root(3)). The scales C and D are each one decade of logarithmic engravings long. I align the 1 on scale C (on the green slider) opposite the 1.414 on scale D (on the white stator). Then I move the graticule to 1.732 on scale C and read off the result (2.46) on scale D. 2.45 would have been correct, I need to work more precisely; but 3 digits of precision is about all you will get.

That was multiplication, to do division I set the graticule to the numerator on scale D (2.46 in this example) and then move the slider so that the divisor (1.732 on scale C) is under the graticule. I can read off the result (1.414 on scale D) opposite the 1 on scale C. Scales A and B have two decades and so show the squares of scales C and D. Scale K has 3 decades and thus shows the cube of scale D. Scales S,T and ST are trigonometric and show the sine, tangent and arc of scale D. The central CI scale is the reciprocal of the C scale. Scale L is just linear and so shows the logarithm of scale D. It can thus be used for taking any arbitrary powers or non-integer roots.

For serial multiplication and divisions (e.g. 1.65*61/8.25=12.2) always start with the division, avoiding the need to note an intermediate result. There's a neat trick using the CI scale too :- (e.g. 1.65*61/8.25=(1.65*61)*reciprocal(8.25)=12.2) ;-)

NB, you always need to keep track of the position of the decimal point in your head :-(

Other useful engraved marks are firstly, for PI on scales A,B,C,D and CI, then secondly the short lines on the graticule are root(4/PI)=1.128 so if you need to know the area of a circle of 2.77 cms diameter, just position the graticule with the right short mark over the 2.77 on scale D and read off the area (= 6 sq.cms.) on scale A, as shown.

If you would like to practice all this without having to buy a real slide rule, there are a number of virtual slide rules online, e.g. a virtual Pickett N909-ES Slide Rule. (USA, scales placed slightly differently from the DDR slide rule). There will be some loss of precision due to the pixelisation of the virtual scales on your screen. Further reading about slide rules and more pictures are available at the Slide Rule & Calculator Museum.

And for the really advanced user, I have an old Aviat slide rule which does vectors too!

Johann (D) sighs "I had one of those at school in Leipzig; ... slipstick Ostalgia ;-)"

Flyday, December 17, 2010

First Flight ?

My own grandmother was a grown woman when Orville Wright made his first short hop powered flight on this very day in 1903 at Kittyhawk. And she lived to see Armstrong and Aldrin put the Eagle down in Tranquillity Bay on the moon in 1969. All that progress in just one lifetime!

But now, with Wernher von Braun gone, America has lost the ability to go to the moon and have even lost the blueprints for Saturn V and its payload :-( At least the Russians can still fly manned ships to the ISS.

Of course we may just be celebrating the wrong man on the wrong day today, as there is evidence that German emigrant Gustav Weiβkopf may have made the first powered flight in Pittsburgh's Schenley Park in April or May 1899, then again near Fairfield, in Connecticut, on August 14, 1901 and over Long Island Sound on January 17, 1902.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Slide Rule

S lide Rule is the title of the autobiography of Nevil Shute Norway, engineer, pilot and word famous novelist, which I am just reading.

Nevil Shute Norway was born on 17 January 1899 in Ealing, London. After attending the Dragon School and Shrewsbury School, he studied Engineering Science at Balliol College, Oxford. He worked as an aeronautical engineer and published his first novel, Marazan, in 1926. In 1931 he married Frances Mary Heaton and they went on to have two daughters. During the Second World War he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve where he worked on developing secret weapons. After the war he continued to write and settled in Australia where he lived until his death on 12 january 1960. His most celebrated novels include Pied Piper (1942), No Highway (1948), A Town Like Alice (1950) and On the Beach (1957).

Nevil Shute was a power and a pioneer in the world of flying long before he began to write the stories that made him a bestselling novelist. This autobiography charts Shute's path from childhood to his career as a gifted aeronautical engineer working at the forefront of the technological experimentation of the 1920s and '30s. The inspiration for many of the themes and concerns of Shute's novels can be identified in this enjoyable and enlightening memoir. Published by Vintage Classics, UK, under the ISBN 978-0-099-53017-6.

And while we are talking about slide rules : did you know there is a slide rule which has flown to the moon? Just in case Aldrin and Armstrong's Eagle had a problem with the onboard computer or a power loss, and the lunanauts absolutely needed to do some powerless/failsafe calculations, they had a small Pickett N600 ES Log Log with them ;-)
Bet that particular slide rule would cost a small fortune if NASA ever auctioned it off!

Mary (NZ) asked "I'm too young to have ever used a slide rule; how do they work?". That needs a separate post, Mary. Coming up soon, I just need to take a few photos of one of mine first.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kinda cool...

F riends in warmer (antipodean) climes are "...sinking piña coladas out here in 30°C to 40°C weather out by the Indian Ocean in good old Western Australia. Sorry! (Actually, it's tooo hot). Will you be able to post any 'cool' pictures from where you live? " So here you are, lass, some snow, black ice and about 8 to 10 below zero this morning, cold enough to put the coats on the dogs...

Sinday, December 12, 2010

In darkest Africa...

T his tattoo photo, which I found on FAILblog, is reproduced here for my good, but sadly seriously politically conservative, blogfriend Kees Kennis, whose blog and political leanings both come from darkest Africa ;-)

Serious blogging will resume shortly...

Woody (sic!) , from Miami, butts in "Oh, nice map! I'm a fan of global warming ;-)" To which I reply : Especially in Tristan da Cunha? ;-)
Jenny (Ibiza) was coincidentally "...listening on the iPod to 'he's got the whole world - in his hands ;-)' [letch...]" Back in 1978 in the UK Nottingham Forest Football Club recorded a popular version of that song; opposing fans would sing the words 'You're the worst club - in the league' ;-)
Northampton Nurse (UK) mailed this photo ;-)

Kees Kennis feels his toes trodden upon and replies in his own blog (q.v)

Friday, December 10, 2010

The incompetence of the Fed ;-)

As was pointed out last week, the US is gradually devaluating the dollar so that they don't have to pay back their debts in full (which is basically dishonest). The Federal Reserve System (also known as The Fed) which is the central banking system of the United States, is a semi-private conglomerate of twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks located in major cities throughout the US and numerous other private U.S. member banks. The Fed is responsible for implementing irresponsible US monetary policy. In particular, they are currently devaluing the dollar and causing inflation by increasing the money supply (basically, printing more notes).

Except that they can't actually print their new notes !

You can't stimulate the economy via increasing the US money supply, after all, if you can't print the goddamn money correctly.

They have had to shut down production of the flashy new \$100 bills after printing more than 1 billion of them (that's more than 10 % of all existing U.S. cash [\$930 billion]!) because some are creased, some have blank spaces on them etc. These are randomly mixed amongst 'good' bills and there is currently no way of sorting 'em out!

Just how incompetent are US banks? The Fed in particular? Schadenfreude ;-)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The stable door from the weak end

A certain country, about whom we were railing last week, is making a vain attempt to lock the stable door after the horse has bolted. In their usual bullying manner, they have unilaterally removed the name of the escaped horse (oui qui leeks dott awg) from the DNS server tables and are bullying other countries to remove their local names of the many-headed hydra of said awg, e.g (dott ch) too. However, you do not need to use a DNS server if you have the key to the stable door, which is an eye pea address :- two hundred and thirteen point two hundred and fiftyone dott one hundred and fortyfive full stop ninetysix, OK? :-)

What a historically significant date we have today, eh, Mr. LIEbermann? ;-)

Kees Kennis (ZA) quips :- "He did have sex without a condom So maybe the CC should make him a cardinal" But they have a nominal little red hat on ???
Eli (NY,USA) tells us about "...the historically significant date the Japs announced they had three Jewish holy scrolls?" Oh I get it now : Torah, Torah, Torah ;-)

SINday, December 5, 2010

The Number of the Beasts :-(

The One True Church® has a bad reputation of harbouring homosexual pedophiles among its ranks and providing cover for them :-(

In particular, the bishoprick of Munich and Freising was found this year to have done so. And so there has been a neutral investigation by a lawyer, one Marion Westphal, who turned in her report at the end of last week. She found that the church files for the years 1945 through 2009 were corrupted, some files having been destroyed (and others elided) in a systematic attempt to cover up the extent of the scandal (her words, not mine).

She found 159 pedophile priests, 15 diacons, 96 religious-instruction teachers and 6 pastoral workers involved in pedophile activities :-( Afaik, not a single one has been bought to justice, the bishoprick having systematically hushed things up :-( But guilt oozes from beneath those ornate, becoming, surplices : "...suffer little children..." :-(

Who was the responsible bishop there at the time? You may well ask. From 1977 through 2005 it was one Josef Ratzinger, the current pope :-( Said pope is due to visit Germany next year; I wonder if our justice system will have the guts to investigate him then on these charges? After all, if our politicians can ban the Hells Angels on the grounds of being a criminal organisation, surely the very same laws can be invoked for The One True Church® ? But I doubt our ruling party, the CDU (who are mostly Catholics) would permit justice to be done :-(

159+15+96+6 = 276, the Number of the (pedophile) Beasts. 390 undiscovered ? :-(

Sadie (SF,USA) sent me this cartoon by way of light relief :-

Friday, December 3, 2010

Regaining respect, albeit unlikely...

C ommenting on wednesday's blog entry, a nebraskan lady who wishes to remain anonymous asks "What are the top three things America can do now, so that the world likes us again, and we are no longer 'the ugly American'?"

The consensus of the local Intelligentsia (i.e. 23* people talking at the pub ;-) is as follows, I have merely reordered their list into ranking by decreasing likelihood :-(

1. Scrap the death penalty, as 137 other countries have already done.
2. Stop fighting wars in other peoples' countries, withdrawing all your military into the lower 48 and closing all (over a thousand !) of your military bases overseas.
3. Stop consuming more than your pro capita fair share of the world's resources. FYI, the US consumes 25% of the world's energy with a share of global GDP at 22% and a share of the world population at 4.5%. That's factor 5 too greedy!

Charles Pergiel asks : "The US does consume more oil than anyone else, and if you compare us to the rest of the world it seems disproportionate. How about if you just compare the US to other Western countries, like Canada, Australia, Western Europe and Japan? Are we still consuming five times too much?" Dunno, Charles. Consult Wikipedia please, as I merely quoted available data I was told.
Jenny (Ibiza) opines : "Please add a fourth : Put a stop to the rampant 'betting frenzy' capitalism which is ruining the whole world's economies. Certainly it has shaken ours, here in Spain..." And Irish banks, etc etc.
Danny (LUX) adds : "Add a fifth : Pay your debts! Each US citizen would have to work a whole year just to pay off the federal debt, let alone all the others. And the US is slowly but deliberately devaluing the dollar so that they have to pay back less; since the start of the millenium the dollar has lost 20% against the Euro, 33% against the Swiss Frank and a whole 75% against Gold. That's cheating!"
Almost a month later, Charles Pergiel answers his own question :- ". . . the United States is responsible for approximately 25% of annual global oil consumption and according to 2008 estimates has a per-person daily consumption rate more than double that of the European Union, whose population is significantly greater." Thanks Charles, liked your oil-based explanation of the collapse of the USSR too.
To which Steve Hall (USA) commented : "Thanks Charles I shall read the USSR piece. However, I really do agree with the facts that show we as Americans consume more oil that a lot of countries put together. At the end of WWII when the Vets were coming home and there were no jobs we had to do something to get America back to work. We made a bad decision then to start a massive highway system across America. What we should have done was force America to support a massive public transportation system to keep our independence off foreign oil. When Ike came along he was a big time vet and old commander in chief so he continued. Jimmy Carter didn’t help anything by commissioning the Department of Energy (DoE.) Whose sole job was to keep us off foreign oil, since its start the only thing it has done is wasted tax dollars. Now our highways infrastructure is in disrepair and will cost us billions to get back into good order. Then again, most Americans know this and continue to suck oil with low mpg cars. I too am guilty I have a 4 wheel drive Jeep and drive it every day. All in all we need to wing ourselves off foreign oil and stop putting monies in the hands of people who hate us and want to see all of us dead."
OK, Steve & Charles, here's more facts : a map of GDP density from 2007 :-

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

US diplomats are anything but diplomatic if the latest Wikileak pages are anything to go by ;-) The USA comes across as machiavellian, arrogant as well as plain stupid, with inadequate computer/code security. But we knew that anyway, no surprises there! Noone will ever trust them with discreet HUMINT info again. It'll take a while for the US to get the (rotten) egg off their face!

Since US media may not be reporting some of this , I give you a view from Germany1.
US 'diplomats' during Dubya's reign described German coalition Chancellor Merkel as "cautious...not very creative". However : if "cautious...not very creative" means 'does not make up lies about non-existant WMD in Irak' as Dubya did, then I'm very much in favour of her! Current German foreign minister (=state department head) Guido Westerwelle is described by the US ambassador as 'vain, inexperienced, aggressive, not up to the job'. I wonder what the rest of the world thought about Dubya??? ;-)

Apart from the content, which is sure to piss off every single country mentioned (192 out of 192), just think about the terrible security of the US system. Alledgedly these data were downloaded by one person from the US 'secure' ( to use an euphemism) intranet SIPRnet. If so, I ask why is the SIPR intranet not compartmentalised and a different need-to-know password used for each compartment? Elementary security failure there; be interesting to see what Bruce Schneier has to say about that ;-)

It wouldn't surpise me if the US diplomatic correspondence2 sparks off a conflict :-(

But, just so that it's not just Wikileaks telling you about US immorality, let me tell you a story from Thanksgiving week which I KNOW is not being reported by US media; they are all carefully sweeping it hush-hush under the carpet :-(

As you may know (unless you are a US citizen/sheeple) the USA runs a School of Assassins (SOA) in Fort Benning, Georgia. In the USA it is disguised under the name WHISC, formerly School Of the Americas (SOA, same acronym), ostensibly to teach people from Latin America, CIA style. However, independent studies have shown that graduates (e.g Manuel Noriega) are four times more likely to commit crimes against humanity, murders, massacres etc than others. Over the Thanksgiving weekend there was a permitted protest outside the facility. Nevertheless non-violent protesters were arrested, bussed out and locked away, as were members of the press, even the foreign press. If this had happened in any other country, can you imagine the uproar in the US media? But there is only deadly silence; your constitutional rights have been cancelled in the Police State, USA :-(

Now, a US Representative (Peter King, a Republican from New York and more worryingly, the incoming chair of the House Homeland Security Committee) wants to designate Wikileaks as a terrorist3 organization in order to gag it. So no more disclosure of America's spying, America's torture, America's human rights violations, America's puppet assassinations and murders, America's illegal wars?

Oh America, I weep for thy dying Constitution! Freedom of speech anyone?

Footnote 2 : FWIW, 'Department of State' anagrams into 'Tempts data oftener' ;-) Coincidence? ;-)

Footnote 3 : Peter King supported the Irish IRA, a terrorist organisation if there ever was one :-(

Web photographer Peter Harris wrote in praise "...liked your post on the documents expose´..." and points us to something non-US which is pissing off Iran big time also ;-)
Blogfriend Charles Pergiel sent me a link to the excellent Earthbound Misfit blog which expands on my third paragraph, making the same point.
A nebraskan lady who wishes to remain anonymous asks "What can America do now, so that the world likes us again?" That's a tall order, ma'am, and will get a separate reply (talking Tacheles) on friday, OK?
Schorsch (D) asks cheekily "So, are you mentioned in despatches? ;-)" AFAIK no :-( Ivan (RU) points out that "...Amazon has banned Wikileaks from using their servers at Clinton's behest. Since they obviously do not believe in the First Amendment, maybe we should stop buying books from them?..." Yup, corporate cowards!
Charles Pergiel complains : "...'talking Tacheles'? Je ne comprend pas." Sorry, that's what happens when a Goy like me uses a yiddish expression (hebrew 'tachlît' = purpose, target) meaning to speak forthrightly, no holds barred.

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Eunoia, who is a grumpy, overeducated, facetious, multilingual ex-pat Scot, blatently opinionated, old (1944-vintage), amateur cryptologist, computer consultant, atheist, flying instructor, bulldog-lover, Beetle-driver, textbook-writer, long-distance biker, blogger and webmaster living in the foothills south of the northern German plains. Not too shy to reveal his true name or even whereabouts, he blogs his opinions, and humour and rants irregularly. Stubbornly he clings to his beliefs, e.g. that Faith does not give answers, it only prevents you doing any questioning. You are as atheist as he is. When you understand why you don't believe in all the other gods, you will know why he does not believe in yours :-) Oh, and he also has a neat English Bulldog bitch 'Frieda'.

And her big son 'Kosmo'.

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Stupid Evil Bastard
Texas Trifles
The Poor Mouth
The Magistrate's Blog
Too many tribbles
Xtreme English
Yellowdog Grannie

Recent Writings
Happy New Year
Udalrike's snowflake
A Xmas story
Calendars ;-)
Selenelion stuff
How slide rules work
First flight ?
Slide Rule
Kinda Cool...
In darkest Africa
The incompetent Fed
The Stable Door
Number of the Beasts
Regaining respect?
Men's health plan
D-155 and counting
Look! Skywalker!
Intertubes 1865 ;-)
Getting it wrong?
Be valiant, Testes!
Two million visits :-)
Infrastructure Day
RIP : Inge Rogge
Hiatus...

Archive 2010:
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec

Archive 2009:
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
I have taken the archives 2002 thru 2008 offline.

Mission statement