Friday, December 28, 2007

Bishop of Teneriffe's Frog May Have Been Misunderstood

When I was 13 I was horny like... like... Come to think of it, the only time I know anyone/anything was hornier was me when I was 15. If Pamela Anderson would've come to the same premesis where I was taking a shower and carefully washing my privates, she would've had to pull me off from her, not vice versa. Yet, legally, she would've raped me if that would've ever happened. (It did, in my dreams, often.)

As I seem to be the only adult who has been horny when I was 13, I am going to write another point of view of Bernando Álvarez's comments.

Bishop of Teneriffe, Bernando Álvarez said:
"There are 13 year old adolescents who are under age and who are perfectly in agreement with, and what’s more wanting it, and if you are careless they will even provoke you."
How true that is. I would've provoked almost any even remotely attractive girl to have sex with me back then, given the chance.

Yet news articles, blog responses and comments on the frog that leaped out of Bernando's mouth say he is blaming the children for being abused. Nah-uh. I don't think all children would provoke this kind of behaviour. And if I did dream of ripping Pamela's old blue overalls or new red swimsuit off, it doesn't necessarily mean I would've sat on Mr. Bishop's lap. And it wouldn't justify Pamela's actions if she would've ridden my matchstick. But people are unable to think with their brains when it comes to this kind of issues.
Brains switch off, and the "thinking" comes from the heart.

His comment in a nutshell is: Some kids feel horny.


From his comment, I interpret he's just stating the obvious.

Even the news article I read stated:
A later statement from the Bishop's residence on Tenerife explained that the Bishop did not intend to imply that ‘an event as condemnable as the abuse of youngsters’ could be justified.

The same news article that begins: Bishop of Tenerife blames child abuse on the children

Trying to fish some readers with shocking scoops, eh?

No. Abuse can't be justified. An adult should have that much self control to keep him/her from abusing children. He said nothing in the opposite direction. A 13-year old kid doesn't necessarily have enough self control for that - I know I didn't. What I gather, that's what he tried to say.

But of course, Bernando is Catholic, and Catholics have a bad reputation in this field. Which, by the way, started because of society's strict social behaviour rules. Homosexuality has been illegal in many countries, including Ireland. Even Oscar Wilde was living in staged marriage. Child abuse is still illegal. (And should stay illegal. Stating the obvious here... Disclaimer... Brains vs. the heart, you know.) When in the society it is a norm to get married and a man's sexuality is challenged if he is unmarried, of course he wants to be left alone. Church is one good place. No-one wonders why a priest is unmarried. And who would know from 10 exactly same looking priests which one is the gay one. It is a statement from the practical point of view, not "how things should be".

To recap - I try to keep the sentences short so everyone can understand - and these are all so obvious things I am surprised how everyone missed them:
Child abuse - bad.
Some children may feel horny.
An adult should still refrain from abusing children, regardless of the horniness of the child.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

WWJD - In The House Of His Father?

I just read from CNN about an incident in Bethlehem involving Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests. They were cleaning the church, which they believe was built on the spot where Jesus was born. The two religious groups share the church and have their own sides. Orthodox Christmas is on 8th of January.

One Greek Orthodox priest was accdentally cleaning on Armenian side and a brawl ensued. When Palestinian police separated 50 Orthodox priests from 30 Armenian priests armed with mops and such, four were wounded.

I guess they forgot to ask: WWJD?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Oldest Man-Powered Transport - Finnish Horse Bone Skates

I read today the oldest man-powered transportation comes from Finland. Skates. Doesn't surprise me. We still sometimes use skates and skis as transportation over lakes, as it is easier than going around the lake. And of course it came from Finland, since Finnish culture is quite old when compaired to these newbies, like Germanic and Latin countries. I've read from somewhere the oldest Finnish words hacked in stone are from about 4200BCE, so it's almost 5000 years older than for example English language, which developed around 500CE. In school we used to take trips to local islands by skates in winters. It was fun to skate when there's ice as far as an eye can see.

After the ice-age Finland was ripped and torned. Huge ice-masses moved to south and ripped the country's landscape. If you look at the map it has all its lakes in lines, coming down vertically from north and after half way turning to south-west direction. Means to travel across frozen lakes came because of need, not because of fun.

Skiing was different also. Up until late 1800's, when modern skis came, the skis were more like a large ski on the other foot and a smaller, sometimes fur-covered ski called Lyly on the other. The smaller ski and a modified spear to paddle gave more speed. The point wasn't to go very fast, but to be efficient when there's not that much food available and it's very heavy to travel through all that snow and ice.

The thing that made made me smile is when I read the horse bone skates were no match for modern speed skaters. No shite Sherlock. I can't skate 60km/h with modern skates. No way. I don't think they held that many speed skating competitions back in that time either. Not enough food to fool around. I would be more interested in comparison of the normal travelling speed of old skates vs normal travelling speed of new skates. How the manouvering is compared to the new skates and so on.

I don't need statistics how McLaren's new F1 car is so much faster than a Benz Patent Motorwagen. I know that already without statistics. I want to know the difference in normal travelling when comparing Mondeo with T-Ford, for example.

I wonder how the skates worked. They mention the skates were made from horse bones, and the fat in the bones gave extra gliding abilities. In Scientific Bloggin's page there's a picture of one skate that has the horse bone as a sole and a metallic blade. This would be already quite advanced skate and must've come after the iron age. (Was that around 600BCE?) Would be nice to test those skates someday.

But in any case, interesting articles in BBC and in Scientific Blogging. Read.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Clinton Murder Clinton Murder

I just noticed that Fox news has not one, but two articles about Carlos Perez-Olivo. But the titles are:
Clinton Neighbor Arrested in NY Killing
Clintons' Chappaqua Neighbor Charged With Murdering Wife
First article mentions the word "Clinton" seven times, the second one only five times.

How is Clinton related to this? He has a house 3 doors down! Maybe we should blame Woody Allen, too! He lives in the same city!

Why do they have to link the word "Murder" and "Clinton" together so tightly? Carlos' case is actually quite irrelevant for the whole story. What's the purpose?

...Oh yeah... Elections are coming.




Can order DVDs!

Dogtanian and Dr. Snuggles. Complete collections.

Dogtanian price has dropped from £16.99 to £9.99! Yay!

Sterling has dropped to less than €1.40! Yay!

Even cheaper than I thought!

Fire Last Night

Great. Slept like 10 minutes last night. First we had to evacuate the building. Then we got the info we can go back inside, but we must be ready to leave immediately if the firemen need us to go.

So I was sleeping with my clothes on and a backbag next to my bed, ready.

Slightly tired today at work.

Luckily it was oil and plastic fire, so they couldn't put it out with water. Got to bed like 3AM and slept one eye open. Literally.

What To Do When Your Building's On Fire?

Half an hour ago I learned our house is on fire. We had to evacuate outside. Now we have 30 minutes time to pack and then they tell us if they can contain the fire or not.

I have never ever had a fire in the same house before.


Hopefully I'll post something later. Gotta go. Bye.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Skiffle Band

Instruments (from left to right):
1. Trashcan and some X-mas string made out of small beads tied around the trash can 3 times. Moving the beads makes the sound.
2. Two spoons.
3. A flatscreen monitor and a pen. Makes washingboard sound with the airholes at the back.
4. Trashcan, string and a piece of a cubicle. Washingdrum bass. Adjust the sound by adjusting the angle.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Aphorism Of The Day Pt.18

To keep the mood of today...

My very good friend Jussi says:

Smile is just a frown upside down.

Pet Peeve Day Pt.2

Again, I don't normally have pet peeves. I have major malfunctions. Best way to get me agitated is to talk about oppressive politics.

But again, today, pet peeve day. I bit my tongue. Not bad, happens. But I bit a piece off. Small, but painful. Mouth was bleeding like an emo listening to Cure. And now it feels like I have a stone in my tongue. Those who have had a tongue piercing knows what a sliced up tongue feels like. You know the numbness and stiffness I mean.

I slept long enough last night, but I think I was sleeping on a hedgehog. Back is killing me.

In the morning I noticed my housemates had drank all of the juice in the fridge.

Outside was minus decrees. I didn't move this south for minus temperatures. (Yeah, for me Netherlands is waaaay south.) So cold that my iPod ran out of battery after 2.5 songs, even when it had 50% battery when I left home. Why can't they make cold-resistant batteries?

Of course our new system "up"grade made working more difficult and because of the slowness I fouled up the morning reports I have foolishly volunteered to take care of for our team in the mornings, since I start one hour earlier than everyone else.

And when I managed to save the other half, the remaining half could not be saved, since when people turn their computers on and log in to the network, the reports give me only time-outs. (Nice network. Lucky us, we are going to "up"grade our system to cheaper and heavier tools...)

When I get a job assignment, I do it from my head, using my skills. This is not the company policy. We need to use our help-files and templates for this. The help-file system is slow and it's getting slower by the day.

Just in case, we have a new procedure that requires us to fill in this assignment closure report, which they changed last week. Not the interface, but the code behind. Before you could just give the keyboard shortcut commands in a row and when our slow system decides to respond, it fills them in. Now it doesn't work anymore. I need to fill in every part separately and after selecting any option sends the info to our U.S. based server and returns with an OK. So we have managed to tenfold our network traffic across the continents. Plus you need to wait 5-10 seconds between every option. Even when you type any text it sometimes needs time. Most annoying system I've ever used.

I can't wait for the next "up"grade...

Our E-mail system (which they changed from low contrast colors to bright-blue and white recently) was just not working today. Sorry... wrong word. It was working, but it was on Italian-strike. (Italian-strike = You do all the work, but so slowly that not working at all would be more productive.)

Every friggin' person was saying today "oh, and if I don't see you before Christmas - Merry Christmas!". F your Christmas™. Santa Clause is the same as Easter Bunny and Mr. Stork. It's only your neighbour, drunk. So I just replied: "I'm Jewish." - Sorry for all the Jewish people, by the way. Nothing personal against you. Lots against Christmas™, though.

When I went for my ciggie break, everyone was avoiding me in the ciggie room. They haven't seen me not smiling - ever. Of course they were worried.

I asked my boss if I could take a half a day off, as my head's not right today. Not happy and tools are not working. He said: "Is it the system that's not working, or you? Heh, heh." The F are you laughing at? End of discussion, apparently. I guess that was a joke that was ment to make me happy?

Luckily my boss saw from my face that I wasn't happy and when I asked second time he took me seriously. I don't really have any bad days normally, but if I do I say it straight. There's no point sitting angry at my desk. Better to say it out straight and fix my head.

So I got the rest of the day off.

And with the help-file/template tool we use, I foolishly though I get away by using my head, as the help-file/template system is reactive, not proactive to any given issue. It doesn't know any new issues that might arise. It is updated "as required", not when we have a solution to any given problem. Just before I was leaving I got a talking to by my boss who said I should stop using my head and start to use the no-brain-required-tool of ours. Fine. I wrote a note on top of my computer: "Don't use head. Use system." Problem solved.

Got to the metro (subway) and when I was stepping out I saw a tram going. Just my luck. So I walked to the bus stop. The buses go every 7 minutes. So right after 24 minutes the bus came and I went to buy beer.

I don't drink that much, unless it's a company party or something similar, but today it is required. Went to shop to take a case of 0,5 litre beers and I noticed something. There's no unopened case of beers there. Figures. Some over-enthusiast shopkeeper had removed all the plastic covers from the cases. I can't carry 24 cans of beer on my shoulder unless there's something tying all of the together.

Went to pay and of course there's line as long as Charles Manson's criminal record. Do Dutch people work during the days? Howcome so many was not at their jobs?

Got out of the shop with a plastic bag, and saw that my tram went again just in front of me. Walked home (only one kilometre), killed two cans on the way.

Now I'm home. Closing all the doors, shutting down my phone and not answering to the doorbell. Why did I buy only 5% alc beer? Would need something stronger to delete this day from memory.

Suomisaundi Psy-Trance won't do now. Current playlist:
Deicide - Once Upon A Cross
Slayer - Decade Of Agression
Amorphis - Privilidge To Evil
Meshuggah - Chaosphere
Hin Onde - Some demo before their first album
Vintersorg - Till Fjälls
Impaled Nazarene - Vitutuksen Multihuipennus -song
Frontline Assembly - Corroded Disorder
Ministry - Psalm 69
Cat Rapes Dog - Moosehair Underwear

I hope my neighbours are not unemployed, like everyone else in the supermarket.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Today's Ultra-Patriotic Posts

...Don't worry. I'm no phanatic. Nor ultra-patriotic. I do want to keep my roots, but I am not as bad as these two last posts may look like.

Charity: Finnish Iron Rings

Der Spiegel writes A Finnish charity is selling silver rings emblazoned with a swastika to raise money for World War II veterans. Surprisingly good article considering Germany's fear towards that symbol, due to some mistakes in the past. They had most facts correct. Only thing I'd correct is a non-historical fact about R-Kioski. They claim it is a supermarket, but as the name R-Kioski hints, it is a chain of kiosks. (Kiosk: A kiosk is a small stand where vendors sell anything from hot-dogs to souvenirs.)

The historical facts were correct. Finnish Air Force took the symbol in 1918, and it is still used by at least couple of Air bases in Finland, the largest being the base in Lapland (Lapin Lennosto). It actually is also in our flag of the President of the Republic of Finland, which I made in SVG format for our independence day. Old symbol, for good luck. Before I forget I have to thank Der Spiegel for not getting hysterical over the symbol just because in your country it carries bad karma. (Of course, if Finland would use this symbol in any new purpose, it would most likely be misunderstood, as I do in some cases. But it's mainly an issue to us westerners.)

Sotiemme Veteraanit (Veterans of Our Wars) has created a site for the Iron Ring (The name of the ring is Iron Ring.) that was given prior to the WWII to all those Finnish people who contributed to the war effort by giving their gold items to charity. Gold items could be exchanged to the Iron Ring. As a pacifist I do not really like war in general, but the sacrifices the Finnish veterans had to do was something that can be described as altruistic devotion to the Fatherland. Of course there's a flipside to this. The enemy was shipped to the battlefield from far away (be the enemy a Russian or a German soldier), but for the Finnish veterans, they were fighting on their backyards. They knew if they let anyone pass, their families and their houses would be just behind them. Gives a different motivation.

Nevertheless, they fought with great passion. Motti or Pocket was one of the most effective tactics. Only a handful of soldiers could capture entire Regiments with cunning tactics in Finnish winter landscape. Surround the Regiment, cut the service line and wait. When anyone pops their head out, shoot, relocate. With only a handful of soldiers you can fake a huge army that way. Just stay hidden. When there's a shot fired from somewhere in the woods, you can't see where the shot came from or how many shots were fired. And when it's -40 decrees of Celsius, it's better to stay in the camp. Unlike Russian soldiers in the surrounded camp, the Finnish soldiers didn't have any camp themselves. They were sitting in the snow, without any possibility to even a fire, for it would've given away the position.

One of the most victorious battles was the Battle Of Raate Road, where Finland used 6000 men to kill approximately 17 500 Russian soldiers, and capturing 1300 of 25 000 total, suffering the loss of only 250 men. Finland also captured tanks, guns, anti-tank guns, machine guns, horses, armored cars etc. Russians were planning to march through Finland, cutting it in two and have a victory party. Finnish soldiers destroyed the front tanks, the last tanks and started to cut down the enemy into smaller pieces little by little. Russians were on the road, Finnish in the surrounding forest. Again, the same tactic. Hide, shoot, relocate. Effective, as you don't see the enemy, but the enemy sees you - and when they finally give away their location, they are already on the move.

This kind of effort, considering the conditions, is one of the reasons why I would like to support the veterans by getting one of those rings. As I am living abroad, it may be difficult, but I need to see if I can still manage to get one for myself. If you live in Finland or plan to visit there, please remember to pick up one of these rings.

The United States Of Europe

I love our continent. I love Europe and I love European Union in most parts. But I also love Finland.

I stand by everything EU has decided before adding 10 countries in one go, even if I don't agree with all of the decisions. After that there has been some poor decision making every now and then and my faith towards this union is shaking..

The end of European Union started when we expanded by something like 65% larger to the east. First 10 countries then 2. Not that I have anything against those countries being in EU, but the expansion was too quick. What's the hurry? Take couple of the countries, see how it goes. When everyone is again on the same level, take some more. And so on.

To put some scale, here's a timeline in a nutshell: When EEC was formed in late 50's, it took more than 10 years, until 70's, for three more countries to join. 8 years later one more country. 5 years later two more in the 80's. From that it took 7 years, until 1993 to become EU. It took Finland, Sweden and Austria 2 more years to decide whether they want to be in EU, but we joined and helped built the union better. This is a slow progression on a western scale. So after waiting 9 long years, instead of taking 2-3 countries along we expanded with 10 countries and 2 more in couple of years. Great. Just in case we have ten(ish) more countries we want to assimilate. Not all of them are even in Europe!

Of course it was us westerners who need to be in such a big hurry. In Asia, they can wait for longer than one man's lifetime. We can't wait even a half a lifetime before we start destroying what we built. Too much, too quickly is never a good idea. Try it out yourself with marshmallows, for example.

Now they have done it. We have a European Constitution. Ok, they don't call it a constitution, but what is a paper that overrides individual country's (referred from here on as a state) law but a constitution?

This is not going to ease up tension. It's going to gather it. For example just recently big wine producing states close to Mediterranean Sea wanted that only those drinks that have no added sugar and are made only from grapes can be called wines. I'm fine with that. I come from a Nordic state and we value our Vodka kind of the same way as Mediterranean states value their wine. Then those states started to blabber something weird. Only wine-producing states can sell wine. What? Did I read right? No, can't be right. Error in Finnish translation in the newspaper. Must be. But wait, there's more! They want that anything with alcohol, sugar and water can be sold as Vodka.

So... wine that you like must have very strict rules - since you have long roots with them and we just don't understand since we don't have that wine-culture? And at the same time Vodka should be allowed to be produced from cow manure if one likes to do so, since you don't understand the delicate differences in Vodka?

This is how we agree on a recreational drink level. And now we need to agree about common rules on a political level?

I support EU as a trade union, not on a constitutional level. There's no way I'm going to war if some crazy lady on some island-state wishes me to. Trade borders open, good trade regulations, some shared laws, but every country can keep their own laws and constitution. I also have nothing against sharing information about serious offenders between EU countries, either. But it must be a serious offense. But I do have a lot against state-like governing which may lead EU to resemble of a country it tries to imitate.

As I said earlier, not too much, not too quickly. Slowly but surely. I want Europe to be a strong continent. No rush. I prefer to think we have 27 wise men* who decide what is good and share their wisdom with us and each country can decide for themselves. I know it's too utopistic way of thinking, but I'd like it. We need to equalize our economic differences first, before massive expansion. We don't need to follow the footsteps of the promised land of lawsuits in handling our money. Sure, when you have a lot, your expenses are different, but you handle the money differently also. We are the older brother. We have strong roots in banking. And I know we can keep our cultures intact, rich and yet united as they are. Let's show we can be a strong economic force, with no interest in brute force. Let's show the world we can be the smarter brother.

More info:
Brussels Journal

* Sounds fairy-tale like.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Company Party

That time of the year again. We had a company party.
Now, guess who this is:
Wrong. It's my friend, Henrik:

As I'm trying to find a new job, had to fix my face. Well, given the outfit I still look like a goddamn tree hugging smelly hippie.

(Nice country, Netherlands. You can smoke ciggies inside the company. Yay! ...but not for long.)

And yes: Employee who's drunk on company's expense doesn't complain.

Shortsightness Causes More Damage Than Good

Big picture is too blurry. Thinking further than 5 minutes in to the future is also difficult.

First of all, I must apologize for this old, soon-to-be-dead -type opinions I might blurt out here. I am only one person, and I still use the old-school tactics when trying to solve problems: Logic. I know this is not so popular nowadays, but I have found it to work for me so it's difficult to let go.

I wrote about the liquid ban way back in 2006. We've seen and heard many interesting stories where breast milk has been too dangerous to be taken on-board. I am surprised we haven't had any casualties because of this. It took until December 2007 before we see news articles that someone has killed a whole litre bottle of vodka because he couldn't get it on the plane when he was switching planes. If you got it once, you should get it to the continuing flight too. If you use normal logics. Unfortunately normal logics don't work on this planet anymore.

It is remarkable we haven't had more this kind of incidents. Nowadays going to plane is pain. Last time when I was going past the security I was taking my shoes off, since they beep every time. They told me not to. I said they're gonna beep, but they wanted to hear it themselves. After my shoes beeped, the conversation was something like:
- Take your shoes off, please.
- Sure. Told you so. They're worker shoes, so they have protection in soles and they always beep.
- Where did you get these shoes?
- From my old job. You know, had to have them in the harbour. Dangerous job.
- Why do you have protection shoes?
- 'Scuse me, why do I have my shoes?
- Yes. Why do you need them?
- Um... I don't know. They keep my feet warm, I guess.

I seriously couldn't understand why they were asking me why I need shoes. Maybe they were being philosophical, but I doubt that. It would require that the IQ exceeds my shoe-size. Of course I could do funny jokes there about this, but as I don't talk about politics with a paranoid schizophrenic, I don't make jokes with airport personnel. They just have their mental disorders that prevent them understanding these things.

But I surely would like to know also about my bags and what they plan to do with them when I'm at the airport answering to all the questions the Spanish Inquisition decides to ask.

"Have you packed the bags yourself." - "Why, yes. I gave Jeeves a day off, since I fly today with RYANAIR!" - How many servants can I afford if I fly with friggin' BlueOne?
"Have you left them unattended at any point." - "Um... no. I still got them, don't I? Who leaves his bags and expects them to be there when you return? But are you going to leave my bags unattended? I want to have my CDs in my bag when I'm in my destination. And I would like the bag to be there, too. Intact. Can you do that? Are you going to do that? Or is some underpaid college-student gonna throw my bag carelessly right after he has checked my CD collection for anything good?"

But I won't... Not that I wouldn't say this otherwise. I just don't feel like spreading my cheeks at the backstage. Like I said: No politics with paranoid schizophrenics and no jokes with airport personnel. Same disorder. But this shortsightness goes further. Just the other day I read about changes in the drug laws in the Netherlands.

The new government in the Netherlands have decided there's not enough Class-A drugs on the streets. Where in the past those tourists who want to take psychedelic mushrooms have had the opportunity to go to a shop, without being a criminal, got the mushrooms and a note of instructions, as well as verbal instructions from knowing personnel about the safe use of mushrooms. Of course some idiots don't want to hear that and they munch away more they can handle - mixed with alcohol and who knows what. But most users have been safe. I have nothing against that. Do what you will, it's your body.

Now they decided the mushrooms are too mild and too controlled. They want to push the drugs on the streets. They'll ban the controlled and info-giving sales in Smart-Shops, which only means the sales are going to move on to the streets. But buying fresh mushrooms on the street is ridiculous. Most likely some hustler/dealers are going to sell something that resembles of dried mushrooms, but it is going to go towards LSD. The demand for psychedelics is not going away, only the supply is changing. And for a hustler/dealer on the Red Light District it's easier to deal couple of postage-stamps than x-amount of some mushrooms.

This is a perfect way to make few isolated nutcases worse. And to make more of those isolated incidents. Way to go. I already avoid city centre because of the drug-using tourists. After the government has managed to promote Class-A drug use enough I won't be going anywhere near the city centre.

Thanks for all this.

Making the world more illogical and paranoid place to live in.

Every little helps.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Feargene Revealed

Breakthrough in science! They have found out that rodents have a gene that causes them to fear felines!

Give me that cat used in those tests and I can also foretell the past from its intestines!

The reason Professor Sakano's findings were important, he said, was that
the fearless mouse showed that the two nerve circuits in the olfactory bulb –
the learnt and the innate – are quite separate from one another.

Professor Sakano has probably never heard of a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii...
Prof. Sakano has also probably never heard of Bayer or any other medicine company...

It is common use in animal testing when they are testing for example relaxants on mice to get them first agitated. How do they do that? They whisk little bit of feline urine in front of them and they panic. How does a lab rat who's great-great-great-grandparents have not seen a cat in their lives get scared of a tiny bit of feline urine? I don't think there's any mouse schools where they teach every mouse the dangers of cats.

Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite, and can be found in humans too. It thrives in the intestines of felines, and if it gets inside a rodent, it alters it's brain. After Toxoplasma gondii infestation in a rodent, it will no longer fear the smell of feline. The reason is simple: The mouse doesn't fear cats, and gets more easily eaten by one, thus giving the parasite a free passage to intestines it so loves. You don't need to be Richard Dawkins to figure out that maybe the fear is not learned, but actually in-built...

So basically the scientists managed to isolate and remove the same gene Toxoplasma gondii alters, but want to take the whole credit for themselves. I don't say this is not a great invention, as we learn more about the brain this way and we can duplicate what nature has done for a long time. Only the fact that this was presented as something new, never-heard-before thing.

I know gunpowder was invented in China, but we can always invent some more of it.

Aphorism Of The Day Pt.17

I broke the laws of physics, but got off with probation.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Why We Imprison Ourselves?

Human is the only animal I know who voluntarily imprisons itself.

- I would like to do thing A, but I can't.
- Why?
- It's not allowed.
- By whom?
- I don't know. It just isn't allowed.

No, if it isn't forbidden or impossible, it is allowed. Stop imprisoning yourself! (And even if it's impossible, it's still allowed. You just haven't found a way to do it.)

It's good that we get this practice in form of games when we are kids. Do not step on lines, for example. Practice to follow rules. Kids need clear rules to practice morals but more importantly the fence protects both ways. When playing within rules, it feels safer. But we get so hooked on those rules that we invent limitations to ourselves even when neither the society nor any authority forbids them. I see the same thing over and over and over again.

For example, if I have a day off. I choose to go to a bar at noon and drink few beers, get tipsy, take a nap and wake up in the evening*. That's bad? Why? Because it's not the time you should drink? Says who? But this is already an extreme example. People will make such weird rules for themselves and tighten the rope around their own necks constantly.

Of course, eating chocolate before dinner is a bad idea as it may ruin your appetite. But when you are an adult it's more of a guideline than a rule. If you want that chocolate bar, of course you are allowed to eat it. Of course. But beware of the consequences.

Of course in your painting you can paint the sun blue. Of course. It just doesn't look real but hey, there's no rules what color you have to use. Dagnabbit.

Yes, you are allowed to eat the chocolate ice-cream first, then the strawberry and leave the vanilla altogether. Yes, you are allowed to open the Oreos and lick the center first. Yes, you are allowed to put fruits in your stew and whipped cream on your soup. (They actually both work very well. Fruits in food and whipped cream on top of soup.)

If you are an adult, you are allowed to go to sleep directly after work, wake up at 1 o'clock in the night and go to work at 9. There's nothing much to do outside your house between 1AM and 9AM, but hey, who makes the rules of your life? Is it forbidden to have that kind of day rhythm?

Enough ranting. You got the point.

* One of my favourite examples. For everything. Pub. Ah...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Nobel Peace Prize 2007

Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) got this years Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change"

Congratulations, Al & IPCC!

See all Nobel Prize winners here.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Independence Day

Happy Independence Day, Finland!

To celebrate this I made a vector image. This is hand made, only with text editor, without help of any extra program. I had an image to compare, but measurements are from my head.

1. Copy the following text to any text editor.
2. Save the file as finland.svg - Please notice, the file extension must be .svg which means you may need to change the file type in your save dialog as "All files *.*".
3. Double-click the file, or open it in your internet browser.

Copy from below this line of text.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no"?>
<!-- Created with Notepad by Sami Rautiainen -->

d="M 0,0 L 800,0 L 625,180 L 625,315 L 800,500 L 0,500 L 0,0 z"
id="pohja" />
d="M 0,180 L 625,180 L 800,248 L 625,315 L 0,315 L 0,180 z"
id="vaaka" />
id="pysty" />

id="keski" />

<!-- If fonts give you trouble, delete between these lines. BEGIN -->

<text><tspan x="245" y="210" font-family="'arial'" font-size="22">Suomi</tspan></text>
<text><tspan x="242" y="240" font-family="'arial'" font-size="22">Finland</tspan></text>
<text><tspan x="234" y="270" font-family="'arial'" font-size="22">90 Years</tspan></text>
<text><tspan x="230" y="300" font-family="'arial'" font-size="22">6.12.2007</tspan></text>

<!-- If fonts give you trouble, delete between these lines. END -->

d="M 84,10 L 126,10 L 116,79 L 185,69 L 185,111 L 116,101 L 126,170 L 84,170 L 94,101 L 25,111 L 25,69 L 94,79 L 84,10 z"
d="M 111,10 L 126,10 L 124,22 L 111,22 L 111,10 z"
d="M 185,96 L 185,111 L 173,109 L 173,96 L 185,96 z"
d="M 99,170 L 84,170 L 86,158 L 99,158 L 99,170 z"
d="M 25,84 L 25,69 L 37,71 L 37,84 L 25,84 z"

id="keltis1" />
id="keltis2" />

<circle r="20" cx="104" cy="90" style="fill:#fcd116" />


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Finland Takes Number One Spot In OECD's Latest PISA Survey

See what happens if you give people free education. In Finland you only pay for the books and the food after the 9th grade. Before that everything's free. And this is where it leads you:

Finland #1 at 563 points. (Hong Kong #2 at 542 points, average was 500 points.)

Finland takes number one spot in OECD's latest PISA survey, advance figures show

29/11/2007 - Finland once again takes the number one spot in OECD's three-yearly PISA test of the abilities of a sample of 15-year old secondary-school students, followed by Hong Kong (China) and Canada in second and third place, according to advance details of results that will be published in full next week.

(Read the full article.)

04/12/2007 OECD’s PISA survey shows some countries making significant gains in learning outcomes

Links to the results:
Download the PDF of Volume 1 (Analysis 6MB)
Download the PDF of Volume 2 (Data 5.2MB)

Finland had the most equal students (as in, the best and the worst were quite on the same level), and the schools were also most equal compared to each other. The difference between schools was 6% when the average was 34%. 95% of the Finnish students fulfilled the basic requirements in all areas; the average was only 80%. Socioeconomic background had little or no effect in Finland. Yet the money Finland uses per pupil is in the average range. And the lowest in Nordic countries. Only in Mathematics Taiwan got a bit better score.

I guess it works when no child is left behind, thanks to excellent teachers, good learning material and free schools for those who want to study.

Monday, December 03, 2007

We'll Meet Again

I made a Dr. Strangelove poster for myself. I've had this same explosion as a poster on/off on my wall for like 10 years, the size and the location of this text have been varying. I wanted to get this on top of my bed on the wall again. The size is Oversized A1 on photopaper. Here is the same poster, as JPG though. (Click to enlarge.) JPG is 72dpi, so if you want it as 300dpi PDF for example, let me know. The main difference is the sharpness of the noise I added... (8% monochromatic uniform noise.) The JPG artifacts removal results and all that is not any better in any bigger dpi value.
This is 21 kiloton underwater explosion of 'Baker' at Bikini Atoll 25th of July 1946 at Operation Crossroads.

Dear Mr. Journalist

I know percentages are a difficult thing. I have yet to see a news article where Mr. Journalist have managed to put correct numbers in.

But this morning I read from news there was a robbery in Dublin, where 39 600 cans of beer was stolen along with the lorry carrying them. They said the estimated value of the contents were almost € 150 000. So that's about 3.80 per can. I doubt it very much that the price of beer has quadrupled in Ireland.

We don't even need highly complicated (5th grade) percentage calculations with this one. Straight forward 150 000 / 39 600 = 3.78787878... Next time you, Mr. Journalist, write any news article, please do the following, choose in your Windows computer Start/All Programs/Accessories/Calculator, or Mac: Applications/Calculator, type the numbers in and press enter. Just try it out. And if a can of beer costs €3.80, you can suspect that there might be an error in your calculations or in the data you were given.

The news article I'm referring to is in Finnish newspaper where they told us it was cans. That's just ridiculous. With a bit of searching (Google: dublin beer lorry) the first article I found explains that it was, in fact, kegs of beer intended to go to pubs. €3.80 per pint is the normal bar price. Yes. €3.80 per a can is not.

So please, if you write a news article, please please stick to the facts. You know, by definition 'news' should contain facts.

I don't want to bother you too much asking to get percentages correct in the future news articles. I know this might be way too complicated.