I disagree with quite a lot Wilders has to say, but he’s been in the news so often, I might as well show you what all the ruckus is about:
Government sources in The Hague have yet to respond. The first to address the assembled press was Mr Wilders himself, who said the film was not intended as a “provocation”, but as a “final warning” and an invitation to Muslims to join the debate about Islam. Fitna, he said, “depicted the hard realities” of modern life and “now we have to draw the political conclusions”.
Speaking on prime time news, Islam expert Maurits Berger agreed that the film should not be seen as a provocation. “It presents a succession of images which we have all seen in recent years.” The anticipated widespread demonstrations in the Muslim world, Mr Berger said, “would be an exaggerated response”.
Muslim organisations in the Netherlands were quoted as expressing relief: “The film is not as shocking as expected” and “represented a caricature of Islam”. National alert levels, which recently went up, have not been raised any further.
Geert Wilders, Dutch politician and leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV), has called his just-released Fitna a ‘respectable film’. He admitted that Muslims may not be happy with it, but emphasised that he had always stuck to the facts. He said he believes that the film is also ‘one thousand kilometres within the framework of the law’.
While noting that he hoped that Fitna’s release would cause no disturbances, Mr Wilders stressed that the maker of the film could not be held responsible for any riots or boycotts that might result, and that it was not meant to provoke disruption. Rather, he said, the images in Fitna were intended to make clear the dangers contained in the Qur’an and Islam.
He also said that he hoped it would lead to discussions of the disadvantages of the faith, both in the Netherlands and abroad, and explicitly invited Muslims to engage in such discussions.
Scarcity, as that term is used in social psychology, is when things become more desirable as they appear less obtainable.
- If you put a two-year-old boy in a room with two toys, one toy in the open and the other behind a Plexiglas wall, the two-year-old will ignore the easily accessible toy and go after the apparently forbidden one. If the wall is low enough to be easily climbable, the toddler is no more likely to go after one toy than the other. (Brehm and Weintraub 1977.)
- When Dade County forbade use or possession of phosphate detergents, many Dade residents drove to nearby counties and bought huge amounts of phosphate laundry detergents. Compared to Tampa residents not affected by the regulation, Dade residents rated phosphate detergents as gentler, more effective, more powerful on stains, and even believed that phosphate detergents poured more easily. (Mazis 1975, Mazis et. al. 1973.)
The conventional theory for explaining this is “psychological reactance”, social-psychology-speak for “When you tell people they can’t do something, they’ll just try even harder.” The fundamental instincts involved appear to be preservation of status and preservation of options. We resist dominance, when any human agency tries to restrict our freedom. And when options seem to be in danger of disappearing, even from natural causes, we try to leap on the option before it’s gone.
On a similar note, how’s the War on Drugs doing lately?
I sometimes hear it said that formats like OOXML, or ODF for that matter, are simply XML serializations of a particular application’s native data representation. This is said, seemingly, in an attempt to justify quirky or outright infelicitous representations. “We had no choice. Office 95 represents line widths in units of 1/5th of a barleycorn, so OOXML must as well”. This technological determinism indicates poor engineering judgment, laziness, or both.
An easy counter-example is HTML. Does HTML reflect the internals of NCSA Mosaic? Does it represent the internals of Netscape Navigator? Firefox? Opera? Safari? Are any faults in HTML properly justified by what a single browser does internally? Applications should follow standards, not the other way around.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at how OOXML and ODF represent a staple of document formats: text color and alignment. I created six documents: word processor, spreadsheet and presentation graphics, in OOXML and ODF formats. In each case I entered one simple string “This is red text”. In each case I made the word “red” red, and right aligned the entire string. The following table shows the representation of this formatting instruction in OOXML and ODF, for each of the three application types:
Format Text Color Text Alignment OOXML Text <w:color w:val=”FF0000″/> <w:jc w:val=”right”/> OOXML Sheet <color rgb=”FFFF0000″/> <alignment horizontal=”right”/> OOXML Presentation <a:srgbClr val=”FF0000″/> <a:pPr algn=”r”/> ODF Text <style:text-properties fo:color=”#FF0000″/> <style:paragraph-properties fo:text-align=”end” /> ODF Sheet <style:text-properties fo:color=”#FF0000″/> <style:paragraph-properties fo:text-align=”end”/> ODF Presentation <style:text-properties fo:color=”#FF0000″/> <style:paragraph-properties fo:text-align=”end”/>
The results speak for themselves.
What is the engineering justification for this horror? I have no doubt that this accurately reflects the internals of Microsoft Office, and shows how these three applications have been developed by three different, isolated teams. But is this a suitable foundation for an International Standard?
At a time when Sen. Hillary Clinton is increasingly relying on superdelegates to vault her to the Democratic Party’s nomination, a handful of undecided and pledged superdelegates are coming forward to say her campaign’s tactics in recent weeks are doing more harm than good.
“Periodically, over the last couple of weeks, you will see a news story or get something from the campaign, and you’ll go, ‘How stupid do you think I am?” one uncommitted superdelegate said. “All of us watch television all the time, read the newspapers. We all play with the little charts online too. We know it is virtually impossible.”
The US likes to call out other countries for not being tough enough with intellectual property rules, and it tosses countries like Russia, China, and even Israel onto “watch lists” and “priority watch lists” in an attempt to force changes. But the US comes in for its share of IP-related criticism from other countries both small and large, too. When it happens, though, we’re not nearly so quick to change our ways.
Apparently, it’s easy to get hot and bothered when it’s industries from your country that claim to be badly affected by rules elsewhere. When it comes to the claims of other countries, though, even claims that have been validated by the WTO, it’s much easier to see the complexity of the situation, to spend years arguing those complexities before judges, and to do nothing even when compelled by rulings.
This sort of behavior makes it that much harder to assert some kind of moral high ground when China, Russia, and others pick and choose which of their WTO obligations they are going to comply with.
If the WTO wants American politicians to listen them, then they need to pony up with the ‘campaign funding’ like everyone else.
I love Microsoft for their sheer willingness to piss off every human being on this planet in their quest for approval of OOXML.
Iraqi doctors in al-Anbar province warn of a new disease they call “Blackwater” that threatens the lives of thousands. The disease is named after Blackwater Worldwide, the U.S. mercenary company operating in Iraq.
“This disease is a severe form of malarial infection caused by the parasite plasmodium falciparum, which is considered the worst type of malarial infection,” Dr. Ali Hakki from Fallujah told IPS. “It is one of the complications of that infection, and not the ordinary picture of the disease. Because of its frequent and severe complications, such as Blackwater fever, and its resistance to treatment, P. falciparum can cause death within 24 hours.”
Even as exonerated file-sharing defendant Tanya Andersen pursues her malicious prosecution case against the music industry, there is some unattended business left over from the RIAA’s original copyright infringement lawsuit. After the RIAA threw in the towel on its lawsuit against Andersen, she sought and won an award of attorneys’ fees. The two parties are now trying to settle the bill, and the RIAA is only willing to pay one tenth of what Andersen’s attorney is seeking.
Every time I think I don’t want to write another post about the failed candidacy of Hillary Clinton, some new outrage arises. Last week, Hillary’s big donors were trying to buy a new election in Michigan. This week, they’re trying to extort Speaker Pelosi.
But, what are Hillary’s top fundraisers doing? They sent a clearly menacing letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi with veiled references to how much dough they give to Democrats. Greg Sargent has a copy of the letter at TPM Elections:
We have been strong supporters of the DCCC. We therefore urge you to clarify your position on super-delegates and reflect in your comments a more open view to the optional independent actions of each of the delegates at the National Convention in August. We appreciate your activities in support of the Democratic Party and your leadership role in the Party and hope you will be responsive to some of your major enthusiastic supporters.
What does that language mean? It isn’t limited to superdelegates, that’s for sure. The letter says “each of the delegates.” That is significant. Keep in mind that the super rich contributors are upset with Pelosi for saying last week:
“If the votes of the superdelegates overturn what’s happened in the elections, it would be harmful to the Democratic party”
Now, of course, Pelosi is right. That would be harmful to the Democratic Party. But, Hillary and her rich supporters care about Hillary, not the Democratic Party. And, this isn’t just about superdelegates. Clinton’s donors are directing Pelosi to go public and endorse Hillary’s comments from a few days ago, when Hillary said that the elected delegates, the ones YOU voted for already, don’t have to support Obama even though YOU voted for him. In their world, those delegates can just vote for Hillary anyway. That’s what this letter is about. It’s about extorting Pelosi to hand Hillary the election by stealing Obama’s delegates.