Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Big Brother is watching you

I finished reading Orwell's 1984. It is a disturbing books that stays with you, but not as disturbing as I had feared it would be. Orwell is a good writer. What was interesting was perhaps not so much what the books says, but how it eerily shadows the world in which you live. Call it paranioa, but as I read the book, the Guardian informed us of new police spy drones that can silently watch and record protesters and potential criminals. In the near future they hope to be able to spray tracing liquids onto individuals for later pick ups.

Where do we draw the line between the loss of privacy to protect us against nefarious antisocial elements, and Orwell's thought police who watch and analyse (or could be watching and analysing which amounts to the same thing) everything you do to catch you in some antipatriotic reflection?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Superheroes of the CIA in Venezuela

Globovision, a television station in Venezuela, in conflict with the government, created this cartoon after RCTV lost its license. In the cartoon the League of Marvel Superheroes (Batman, Robin, Superman and Wonderwoman) are CIA agents, looking to discover why they can not find any independent television channels. They discover the monster emitting Bolivarian Revolutionary Signals and attack it. Above, a ship carrying government members attack as they "must destroy the imperialists".

I wonder if Marvel will sue for copywrite infringement ...

Theoretical Trading Cards

We used to play with baseball cards, later within certain groups, Magic cards became the rage, then there were the Irak-Most-Wanted cards to see if the person you just shot was worth some money...

Iraq's Most Wanted Playing cards

Magic the Gathering cards

... and now there are Theory Trading Cards.

I can see it now: "I'll trade you two Foucaults and a Weber for your bell hooks."

Or perhaps it could be a card game:

"I use my Marx to raise class consciousness and incite a workers revolt causing you 10 points of damage!"

"Wait a second! I use my postmodernists to convince the workers that there are no more metanarratives and they each need to find their own identities and accept the differences that exist between each person. I take no damage and you can not use your Marx card for three more turns!"

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Lord of Death or of Peace?

This is not a trailer for the Lord of the Rings or Eragon or any other fantasy movie. This is a call to christian warriors (I found it posted and critizied on the blog Breathe). I found it very disturbing. In fact it sent shivers down my spine.

I remember when the war against Iraq started, I heard an evangelical preacher form the States on international radio. She was thrilled with it. She shouted out the joy that she felt when she saw all the bombs and guns on the television. How can there be peace when they do not know the Prince of Peace, she said.

Religious tolerance is obviously a thing of the past. The Pope warns Europe against the dangers of Muslim immigrants and offends Latin American indigenous people.

I believe that the great majority of people with religious beliefs, whatever beliefs they are, are not violent and hateful. Unfortunately they do not always get to influence what their leaders say.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Blog procrastination

It is amazing the amount of useless things you can do while procrastinating. After a few online quizes I have discovered the following revelations:

You Are Merlot

Smooth, confident, and popular - you're the type most likely to order wine for the whole group.
You seem to breeze through life on your intuition and wit. And no one seems to mind!
You're comfortable in any social situation you find yourself in, and you never feel outclassed.
And while you live a charmed life, you never let it go to your head. You are truly down to earth and a great friend.

Deep down you are: Balanced and mature

Your partying style: Surprisingly wild... when you let loose, you really let loose

IQ Test Score

And here is Pablo Neruda's "Puedo escribir los versos más tristes está noche"

All said and done, I should get back to work ...

British Police to use terror laws on protesters

To paraphrase Tom Robbins: We once had a rat problem. So we imported mongooses to control the rats. Now we have a mongoose problem. Mongooses are known to attack pets, small children, lawnmowers and moving bicycles.

Here we have a population afraid of terrorists, so we give the police, secret service and military powers to legally abuse civil and human rights. Now they use it against the general population.

In England, after using their new stop and search powers on the random members of the general population, the Guardian reports that they plan to use the anti terrorist laws against global warming protesters. El Salvador has already beaten them it to by using its terror law to imprison protesters against the privatization of water services.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

"Let them eat cake"

Last night Lula arrived in Nicaragua. Yesterday in Honduras he stated that instead calling for "Liberty and Democracy" the new cry should be for "bread" for the world's poor. His argument is that Colonization and the Cold War are over, and the focus should be on world hunger and not national sovereignty. While I agree that the nationalist call is also off target, I wonder how free and democratic we really are in the world. Hunger is a symptom of oppression in a global system that concentrates the wealth of the world, not the principal problem. It is as if to say "They say there is no liberty and democracy left. Then let them eat bread."

"Qu'ils mangent de la brioche"

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Harry Potter and the Dreaded Copy write Infringement

Harry Potter leaps into Latin America to face his most insidious foe yet ... Copywrite Infringement. Hispanic fans, furious that they would have to wait until 2008 to read the latest and last Potter book joined together on a blog called Spanish Hallows to translate the book chapter by chapter from English to Spanish. In three days the book, "Harry Potter y las reliquias de la muerte", was complete, and is now available in PDF form complete with pictures. Over four million visitors have been to the site.

What will the response be? J. K. Rowling, now the richest woman in England, richer than the Queen, does not need the money (I should assume at least) and the act was done by fans out of love rather than as a commercial venture. The publishers, of course, must do something. Corporations have to maximize their profits, and it would be a bad precedent. However, how do they respond to anonymous bloggers around the world writing on to a public site? I imagine that the blog will be short lived unless it moves to some exotic location ... but what else can they do? Gnash their teeth and wish they knew a little magic of their own.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Fotos of Waslala: A day at work

I took the digital camera to work and decided to put up a few pictures. The raining season is here in force, the roads get muddy and then impassable, but the views are beautiful.

Fully airconditioned luxury transporte

A few Howler Monkies shouting in the rain (and at me)

Clouds below the mountains along the road to Los Chiles

Walking through the clouds