Notes on a web journey

posted on: 24 July 2010

BP

filed under:opinions @ 11:19:07

BP logo

BP claim that they are “beyond petroleum”. But this is a company that is up to its neck in the dirtiest oil going - poised to invest in the Canadian tar sands and causing environmental catastrophe through deepwater drilling. Their nice green logo doesn't really seem to fit them too well, so we ran a competition to find a logo that we could use to rebrand BP.

Behind the logo

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posted on: 30 May 2010

Oil spill - Louisiana shores

filed under:opinions @ 12:39:06

Dragonfly - Louisiana oil spill 2010

Over one month after the initial explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, crude oil continues to flow into the Gulf of Mexico, and oil slicks have slowly reached as far as 12 miles into Louisiana's marshes. According to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, more than 65 miles of Louisiana's shoreline has now been oiled. BP said it will be at least Wednesday before they will try using heavy mud and cement to plug the leak, a maneuver called a “top kill” that represents their best hope of stopping the oil after several failed attempts. Based on low estimates, at least 6 million gallons of crude have spewed into the Gulf so far - though some scientists have said they believe the spill already surpasses the 11 million-gallon 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska as the worst in U.S. history.

Oil reaches Louisiana shores

What a mess. How long before we decide to stop all this for real?

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posted on: 10 December 2009

Landmines

filed under:opinions @ 11:16:04

In the 1990s, there was increasing awareness and activism on the controversial issue of landmines. Horrific stories and pictures from all around the world often showed that civilians were the main landmine casualties in large numbers - and continued to be so years after the warring factions have left the battlefield (with the mines still there). Even today, clearing decades old minefields has not always been possible. It is often risky, dangerous and time-consuming.

Landmines

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posted on: 19 July 2009

Paolo Borsellino

filed under:opinions @ 12:38:03

Seventeen years ago Paolo Borsellino was killed.

Car bomb image - Palermo

Following new evidence seems like the investigation has been opened again. Mafia, politics, secret services, the history of Italy is filled with unexplained killings and their unnamed, untouchable masterminds. As usual, the indifference makes the difference. When all of us, the people, will finally wake up then things may start to really change, but until then...we get what we deserve.

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posted on: 08 July 2009

Responsible communication

filed under:opinions @ 10:36:04

Responsible communication

Since 2001, Swiss-based not-for-profit organisation ACT Responsible (Advertising Community Together), has been collecting global advertising that “promotes responsible communication on sustainability, equitable development and social responsibility” in a bid to highlight how the creativity of advertising professionals can be used to address the world's problems. Among its 2,500 ads from more than 40 countries and 140 award-winning agencies is a striking collection of adverts that focus on environmental and social issues: from deforestation to recycling and conserving water to climate change.

The best adverts to save the planet

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posted on: 17 June 2009

The poor and the poorer

filed under:opinions @ 09:00:02

Boutouli village girl - Central Africa

The overwhelming burden of displacement is borne by developing countries - said Guterres - eighty percent of refugees are in the developing world. Generosity and wealth are not proportional to each other.

UNHCR annual report

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posted on: 13 June 2009

Children and war

filed under:opinions @ 18:17:03

Pakistani girl

According to Pakistani authorities and the UN, at least 3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) have now been registered as a result from recent fighting and on-going military operations against the Taliban in Pakistan's Swat, Buner, and Lower Dir districts. Refugee families are often made up of only women and children, the older men staying behind to care for their homes and crops. UN humanitarian chief John Holmes issued a desperate appeal for hundreds of millions of dollars to help those who have fled the war, warning that the U.N. can only sustain its current aid efforts for one month. Photographers in the area have captured many powerful images of those affected, some of the most striking focused on children.

Children in Pakistan

Children always pay the price and will never forget what they see and hear around them. The ones that survive will become adults scarred by those memories.

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posted on: 15 April 2009

Banksy

filed under:opinions @ 10:32:03

When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle.
Then I realised God doesn't work that way,
so I stole one and prayed for forgiveness.

BANKSY

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posted on: 03 April 2009

Biodiversity and extinctions

filed under:opinions @ 13:12:52

Frogs and bees

The current extinction rate is now approaching 1,000 times the background rate and may climb to 10,000 times the background rate during the next century, if present trends continue. At this rate, one-third to two-thirds of all species of plants, animals, and other organisms would be lost during the second half of the next century, a loss that would easily equal those of past extinctions.

Everything is linked up in nature and we will go extinct as any other animal species if we don't learn to understand that again, we used to know it...

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posted on: 03 April 2009

Less for more

filed under:opinions @ 10:01:22

Gapingvoid card

This Gapingvoid card comes with a post by the author, I don't necessarily agree with all he writes there but I like his cards because they sharply pinpoint facets of the human nature that tend to be kept hidden behind a curtain of stereotyped images of self. He's good at cutting off all the noise and get to the core.

What I think when I read this card is that that same emptiness could be filled with something real if only each one of us would take the time to think and use common sense, taking responsibility for all our actions and choices. Don't do something just because it makes you money, that will bring the old “The end justifies the means” into action and in the 21st century is time to change all that.

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posted on: 22 March 2009

World Water Day 2009

filed under:opinions @ 09:13:28

World Water Day 2009

The world's 263 transboundary lake and river basins include the territory of 145 countries and cover nearly half of the Earth's land surface. Great reservoirs of freshwater also move silently below our borders in underground aquifers. With every country seeking to satisfy its water needs from limited water resources, some foresee a future filled with conflict. But history shows that cooperation, not conflict, is the most common response to transboundary water management issues.

World Water Day 2009

With every country seeking to satisfy its water needs from limited water resources...I think the massive use of water for industry is the problem. Many of the current production processes are obsolete and waste more then they produce. Greed has also a big part in it, as usual. Nuclear plants also need lots of water for cooling purposes. But sometimes it seems to me as if the people are blamed for not using water carefully, as if it were possible to stop water from following its cycle. The real problem is not the use that people do of it but the fact that it gets used before it arrives to people, benefiting only some. It's part of an economical system that needs to be re-thought in a much better way.

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posted on: 13 March 2009

Arms trade treaty

filed under:opinions @ 14:08:23

Despite the suffering and poverty fuelled by irresponsible arms transfers, there is still no comprehensive, binding international treaty on the trade in conventional arms. Since 2003, the Control Arms Campaign has been calling for a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), a legally binding international instrument, which will draw together and consolidate states' current obligations under international law.

Arms Trade Treaty

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posted on: 08 March 2009

2009 International Women's Day

filed under:opinions @ 09:30:21

Mimosa flower

In the 21st century too often women are treated as if it was the 12th century. It's a crime that we haven't been able to change this incredibly stupid reality with a minimum of common sense yet.

2009 International Women's Day

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posted on: 27 February 2009

Human rights world report 2009

filed under:opinions @ 19:47:03

Sixty years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the governments demonstrating the clearest vision on international rights protections, sadly, are those seeking to undermine enforcement. In their foreign policies and in international fora, they invoke sovereignty, non-interference, and Southern solidarity to curb criticism of their human rights abuses and those of their allies and friends. Governments that champion human rights need urgently to wrest back the initiative from these human rights spoilers.

Human rights world report 2009

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posted on: 04 February 2009

Politicians camp training

filed under:opinions @ 10:21:03

An estimated 2.7 million people are scattered in camps across western Sudan, dependent on an international community that has no clear idea what to do with them, no sure way of protecting them and has repeatedly failed to find a solution. Although the violence in Darfur has fallen significantly since its peak five years ago, both its victims and those who help them remain trapped in a cycle of fear, despair and powerlessness.

No way out for nearly 3 million

I have an idea. We, people of all nations, should demand that anyone that wants to begin a career in politics should first work in a refugee camp for two years at the lowest possible level, cleaning waste and dressing wounds. After that, they would, hopefully, be fit to begin making decisions involving other people lives.

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posted on: 20 December 2008

Modern slavery

filed under:opinions @ 11:44:18

Although slavery has existed for thousands of years, changes in the world's economy and societies over the past 50 years have enabled a resurgence of slavery.

A map of modern slavery in the world

Free the Slaves

Again, as long as the indifference persists, differences will always just become bigger. A real overhaul of the economic system is needed because now it could be turned into something much better then it's ever been. The resources, both intellectual and physical, are there, the knowledge too. What are we waiting for?..

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posted on: 09 December 2008

Arms sales

filed under:opinions @ 09:50:07

Since the early 1990s there has been efforts to review and develop arms-transfer principles and codes of conduct to ensure that arms are not sold to human rights violators...However, while this sounds positive, the world's major arms dealers have continued to sell arms to human rights violators, as mentioned in earlier parts of this site's Arms Trade section. There are a number of reasons as to why these codes have not been as effective as hoped.

A Code of Conduct for Arms Sales

A very exhaustive article with many links to external material. However, I still think that the solution resides in asking ourselves why we still need to make arms at all in the year 2008 (almost 2009). The answer is: we don't ! Are we so primitive as not to be able to change something that has been goig on for 10.000 years without any positive results anymore? We don't really need to find food hunting and we definitely don't need to go taking other tribes' women by raiding villages...do we?

All states have a right to self-defense..right, but what if there is no need for self-defense? What if we stopped making bullets? What if we simply rendered obsolete any kind of aggressive approach? Is it naive? No, it's just a matter of making it happen or not, as simple as that.

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posted on: 19 November 2008

Prisons

filed under:opinions @ 09:25:58

The land of the free has become the land of the jailed. Between 1973 and 2000 the rate of incarceration in the United States more than quadrupled. There are more people behind bars (literally and proportionally) than any time in American history. One in every 32 adults is currently on probation, in jail or prison, or on parole. There are more prisoners than farmers. There are more prisoners than there are Lutherans. There are more prisoners than there are Native Americans.

Weaning America off prison

As long as there will be the need to build prisons and fill them up with people, the worldwide human society will always be a primitive example of incapacity to recognize our single responsability towards each other. A society that still somehow produces people that end up, for whatever reason, doing something damaging for others and that as the only proposed solution proceeds to arrest and lock them up, turning them even worse in most cases, is a sorry instance of what it should be in the 21st century.

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posted on: 05 September 2008

Global health overview

filed under:opinions @ 13:10:02

Why has it got to such a level when the world has enough wealth to help address most of these problems, or at least alleviate more of the suffering?

Global Health Overview

Apart from all considerations of political and economical factors, I always think that indifference is behind most of the problems. If we were many more asking ourselves that question, it would be relatively easy to see and correct causes instead of always just patch the effects.

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posted on: 21 August 2008

Food and water

filed under:opinions @ 09:21:03

People use lots of water for drinking, cooking and washing, but even more for producing things such as food, paper, cotton clothes, etc. The water footprint of an individual, business or nation is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual, business or nation.

I agree in principle and I actually don't see anything particularly new in it but I also think that the water used to cool nuclear reactors and in heavy industry processes should be taken into consideration. The general approach to the use of resources is at best erratic and often downright irresponsible. I'm still trying to figure out if it's done consciously having as the sole target a bigger income or is just the result of ineptitude by most of the “top specialists” in charge.

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posted on: 10 July 2008

Democracy

filed under:opinions @ 19:16:03

Democracy (“rule by the people” when translated from its Greek meaning) is seen as one of the ultimate ideals that modern civilizations strive to create, or preserve. Democracy as a system of governance is supposed to allow extensive representation and inclusiveness of as many people and views as possible to feed into the functioning of a fair and just society. Democratic principles run in line with the ideals of universal freedoms such as the right to free speech. Importantly, democracy supposedly serves to check unaccountable power and manipulation by the few at the expense of the many, because fundamentally democracy is seen as a form of governance by the people, for the people.

Democracy

An extensive analysis by Anup Shah. What I think is that too often manipulation takes over and the basic idea of democracy gets altered by the politicians in power at that moment to ensure specific economic gains. The problem, though, is that most people don't want to use common sense and prefer to follow and blindly believe what they are told, letting the few free to decide for the many.

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posted on: 20 June 2008

WORLD REFUGEE DAY

filed under:opinions @ 19:02:31

Today is

WORLD REFUGEE DAY

I still believe that the problems should be solved at the source, eliminating the causes not patching up the effects, but it's also important to remember and see what's going on because indifference is also one of the main causes.

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posted on: 22 April 2008

Annual death penalty statistics

filed under:opinions @ 10:27:53

At least 1,200 people were executed in 2007 and many more were killed by the state, in secret, in countries including China, Mongolia and Viet Nam. The figures come from Amnesty International's yearly statistics, Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, issued on Tuesday, which say that at least 1,252 people were executed in 24 countries and at least 3,347 people were sentenced to death in 51 countries. Up to 27,500 people are estimated to be on death row across the world.

Secrecy surrounds death penalty

Death penalty, violence against women, arms dealing...all of it should and COULD be stopped...if the indifference would stop as well.

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posted on: 21 April 2008

Not so hidden hands

filed under:opinions @ 08:40:18

To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world. Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration's wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found...Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air. Those business relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks themselves. But collectively, the men on the plane and several dozen other military analysts represent more than 150 military contractors either as lobbyists, senior executives, board members or consultants. The companies include defense heavyweights, but also scores of smaller companies, all part of a vast assemblage of contractors scrambling for hundreds of billions in military business generated by the administration's war on terror. It is a furious competition, one in which inside information and easy access to senior officials are highly prized.

Behind Analysts, the Pentagon's Hidden Hand

What leaves me speechless is that these things need to be “discovered” by the New York Times. I cannot believe that most of people are so uninformed that need to be told what's going on...or maybe that is the chilling truth because I see it happening over and over again, people getting manipulated blatantly actually buying it and supporting the manipulators (see Italy's elections results as the latest example).

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posted on: 19 April 2008

New hunger, old issues

filed under:opinions @ 09:19:02

Last year wheat prices rose 77% and rice 16%. These were some of the sharpest rises in food prices ever. But this year the speed of change has accelerated. Since January, rice prices have soared 141%; the price of one variety of wheat shot up 25% in a day... The prices mainly reflect changes in demand - not problems of supply, such as harvest failure. The changes include the gentle upward pressure from people in China and India eating more grain and meat as they grow rich and the sudden, voracious appetites of western biofuels programmes, which convert cereals into fuel. This year the share of the maize (corn) crop going into ethanol in America has risen and the European Union is implementing its own biofuels targets. To make matters worse, more febrile behaviour seems to be influencing markets: export quotas by large grain producers, rumours of panic-buying by grain importers, money from hedge funds looking for new markets.

I'm not an economist so my vision of the problem may be simplistic but it seems to me as if all these programs that should help the poorest are just attempts to patch up the effects of economic imbalance between “developed” countries and the rest of the world. These programs don't address the causes and don't try to really change the situation but just to keep it going and as invisible as possible. Food prices raise in response to speculations, rumors...people die of starvation because someone in an air-conditioned office says “maybe we will buy more wheat next year”..and the solution to something so absurd is to tell the farmer that they have to produce more wheat using more fertilizers...these are not solutions, these are the usual suspects making tons of money on rumors like it happens with the oil (forecast a cold winter or a hot summer and oil prices raise). Rumors, forecasts, projections, predictions, previsions...why we let them do this all the time?

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posted on: 15 April 2008

Of bad choices

filed under:opinions @ 09:56:02

My deepest condolences to my country for one of the worst choices ever. The numbers are now officially inverted, not 21st but 12th century.

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posted on: 05 April 2008

Licit and illicit

filed under:opinions @ 09:40:41

The illicit drugs trade (also referred to as the illegal drugs trade or drug trafficking) is one of the largest global businesses, at some $322 billion, according to the UN World Drug Report, 2007.

Illicit Drugs

I think decriminalization is the only way. It would eliminate the profits of organized crime (with all the other dealings that come with it) and it would cut the micro criminality rate down quite a lot.

The idea that if drugs are decriminalized automatically everyone becomes a drug addict is just nonsense and I don't understand where the people thinking like that have been living until now. As far as I know the youngs usually know exactly what does what. If you were a teenager in the eighties, like I was, you should have seen it all already, as I did.

Beside, believing that people are not able to take care of themselves is an insult to everyone intelligence, if we are able to choose how to regulate the use of alcohol, for example, since it is legal, why shouldn't we be able to do the same with other kinds of drugs? Sometimes I wonder: are the people advocating prohibition doing it because they somehow really believe in it or because there are to many interests at stake? Both drug trafficking and war on drugs are worth billion of dollars and are tight with arms dealing...sometimes the line between licit and illicit becomes strangely blurred...

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posted on: 24 March 2008

Poverty facts and stats

filed under:opinions @ 15:48:02

Half the world - nearly three billion people - live on less than two dollars a day. More than 80 percent of the world's population lives in countries where income differentials are widening. The poorest 40 percent of the world's population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.

Poverty Facts and Stats

As long s the indifference is as big as the difference there is little hope for a fairer world. I believe it could be much better then it is now, if the awareness of people, especially in the developed Countries, could raise to the challenge.

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posted on: 15 March 2008

Maimed by the Mob

filed under:opinions @ 13:52:04

No one will win next month's elections in Italy, especially not the nation's citizens. For all the campaign rhetoric about change and reform, everyone seems dead set on ignoring the country's fundamental problem: organized crime, or what we might call our criminal economy. Talk of this corruption crisis never goes beyond expressions of solidarity with the victims, praise for the valiant police, and generic appeals to morality. All of which leads nowhere. Last year, a report by the Italian business association Confesercenti estimated that the Mob in Italy generated more than $125 billion of annual revenue, a figure equal to 7% of the country's gross domestic product. That's more than double the annual income of Italy's entire agricultural sector.

Maimed by the Mob an article by Roberto Saviano

What leaves me speechless (I'm Italian) is that many people in Italy know all of that but the same politicians keep getting elected and then come up with unbelievable laws that help the organized crime to make more money and stay in control. To anyone that uses his own brain for a fraction of a second all that should be clear; evidently in Italy we are not able to think.

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posted on: 14 March 2008

World Military Spending

filed under:opinions @ 12:08:03

Global military expenditure and arms trade form the largest spending in the world at over one trillion dollars in annual expenditure and has been rising in recent years.

World Military Spending

World hunger and health problems could benefit immensely from even just half of such a huge amount of money. Instead, it is used to increase those same problems, in many instances actually being the direct cause.

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posted on: 11 March 2008

Getting the World Healthier

filed under:opinions @ 18:51:02

..the 30 rich countries that compose the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) account for 90% of the planet's health spending, even though they comprise only 20% of the world population. The rich countries on average spend USD 3170 per capita on medical care, while poor countries spend USD 36 a year. Considering the abysmal health status of the poor (both inside and outside of the rich countries), one might expect in a fair world that expenditures might be reversed, with the lion's share going to those in more dire medical need... The WHO estimates that wealthy countries would have to double their current foreign aid contributions to poor countries. This would mean distributing USD 120 billion annually to support basic health care for the poor worldwide. This is not a lot of money. There are so many comparisons I could offer, but consider just one. The United States is now spending USD 12.5 billion a month on the Iraq war. Ten months of the US Iraq war bill would pay for the whole world annual cost. In real terms, our share would surely be no more than our proportion of 22% of the total funding of the United Nations...

Mosquito Nets, Malaria, and Getting the World Healthy

There are so many things that should and could be done better. Articles like this are very important to raise people awareness to a real possibility of change in the world. I think we are still acting in a very ancient way and it's time to evolve!

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posted on: 02 March 2008

Sex, religion and conservatives

filed under:opinions @ 15:03:51

An article in the Comment is free.. section of the Guardian:

In their attempt to oppose laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (that is, laws supporting gay rights) while supporting other such laws, conservatives have long tied themselves in knots. You shouldn't compare antigay discrimination to racial discrimination, they said, because race is an immutable characteristic, while homosexuality is a chosen behavior...But wait a minute, I used to say to conservatives. It's obvious to thinking people that sexual orientation isn't chosen - it may be genetic or environmental, but it certainly isn't chosen. As far as the individual is concerned, it's an innate or immutable characteristic. So if that's your standard, then discrimination against gays is just as unreasonable as discrimination against blacks.

Sex, religion and conservatives

What makes me wonder is that in the year 2008 there is still the necessity to discuss these issues. I may like someone more or less based on his honesty and sincerity but not on his sex, religion or skin color. I know many people that think exactly like me, fortunately. I think fear is usually the reason why some people tend to be suspicious and unable to accept the differences that make humanity what it is. The solution is to keep always an open mind and to be willing to learn.

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posted on: 05 February 2008

Arms flow

filed under:opinions @ 12:18:09

ARMSFLOW is a data visualization which displays arms transactions globally between 1950 and 2006. It was created by Jeffrey Warren of Vestal Design with data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

armsflow.org

Year 2008, still unable to even talk seriously about stopping any of this. Will we ever be intelligent enough to change things?

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posted on: 01 February 2008

Human rights world report

filed under:opinions @ 19:13:04

Rarely has democracy been so acclaimed yet so breached, so promoted yet so disrespected, so important yet so disappointing. Today, democracy has become the sine qua non of legitimacy. Few governments want to be seen as undemocratic. Yet the credentials of the claimants have not kept pace with democracy's growing popularity. These days, even overt dictators aspire to the status conferred by the democracy label. Determined not to let mere facts stand in the way, these rulers have mastered the art of democratic rhetoric that bears little relationship to their practice of governing.

Human Rights Watch: world report 2008

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posted on: 04 January 2008

Water not war

filed under:opinions @ 20:48:02

More than 1 billion people on our planet are forced to drink foul, infected water, which has killed at least 22 million people in the last decade. They could all have safe, clean water within 10 years, for just a tiny fraction of the cost of global military spending. Why isn't it happening? Most governments, especially rich white ones, would apparently rather buy weapons to kill other human beings than build water facilities to save the lives of black, brown and yellow poor people. According to the Stockholm international peace research institute, in 2006 total global military expenditure topped $1.2tn; with the US accounting for $528.7bn of this spending and the UK for $59.2bn.

Water not war

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posted on: 26 December 2007

Arms trade

filed under:opinions @ 09:10:02

Arms trade

Yesterday's post was about oil, today's is about arms trade. Merry Christmas!

Image taken from: Movers and shakers

More on arms trade: Arms Trade - a major cause of suffering

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posted on: 25 December 2007

World Oil Maps

filed under:opinions @ 10:11:46

Oil map

Found via Kottke.org

Original post: Who Has the Oil?

Bigger image taken from: Who has the oil?

Another, interactive, Oil World Map, with different figures: The Oil World Map

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posted on: 08 September 2007

V-Day and International Literacy Day

filed under:opinions @ 19:25:03

Today is the V-Day in Italy:

V-Day in Italian

Clean Parliament in Italy: I'm looking forward to see how many people participated and what the reactions will be.

It's also the International Literacy Day:

An estimated 774 million adults, two-thirds of them women, live without basic literacy skills. More than 72 million children are out of school and many more attend irregularly. Moreover, many newly literate people are unable to sustain their skills in the absence of appropriate reading material.

International Literacy Day 2007

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posted on: 28 August 2007

Opium and prisons

filed under:opinions @ 08:43:51

Favourable weather, Taliban insurgents and corrupt government officials all contributed to this year's record poppy haul, which has edged Afghanistan perilously close to becoming a full narco-state. The opium trade involves 3.3 million of Afghanistan's 23 million population, according to the UNODC, and accounts for more than half of its estimated $7.5bn (£3.7bn) gross domestic product.

UN horrified by surge in opium trade in Helmand

Politicians in all parties routinely assume that voters think prison works. But 51% of those questioned want the government to find other ways to punish criminals and deter crime.

More prisons are not the answer

Two examples of the same wrong approach: instead of fixing the causes patching up the effects. Prison is not good, never redeemed anyone. Opium trade exists because there are arms to be bought with the profits and wars to be fought because of messy economics and politics.

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posted on: 30 July 2007

Doctors and pharmaceutical companies

filed under:opinions @ 10:27:04

British doctors are to rebel against high prices set by pharmaceutical companies for their products by giving patients a cheap but unlicensed drug that prevents blindness, the Guardian has learned.

NHS doctors challenge high drugs prices

That's what all doctors everywhere should do, in my opinion. They are the only ones able to really force the pharmaceutical companies to change the way they operate.

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posted on: 21 April 2007

Walls

filed under:opinions @ 09:01:06

The US military is building a three-mile concrete wall in the centre of Baghdad along the most murderous faultline between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

Latest US solution to Iraq's civil war

I cannot believe the stupidity of it: more walls? These people will never learn, apparently, they just keep digging a deeper hole. That building walls to keep people out, or in, does not bring any positive results should be clear to anybody at this point in history. How can they think that this could be a solution? This is the best the “experts” can come up with? Please, let monkeys run the show, we'd get much better results.

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posted on: 05 April 2007

Pharmaceutical consumer advertising

filed under:opinions @ 09:03:21

Like the rest of the advertising industry, pharmaceutical companies look at their nails innocently when you suggest that adverts might affect behaviour, even though they know - that we know - that they'd only spend money on it if it worked. In fact, specific campaigns have been shown to affect prescribing practice, because modern doctors listen to their patients' demands, and pharmaceutical consumer advertising is growing twice as fast as advertising direct to doctors, for one simple reason: history has shown that you are stupid and easily led, although your education in bad science may stand you in good stead.

We've got the pills, so you must have a problem

Pharmaceutical companies are responsible for many, many deaths. Research done in Africa, using people as guinea pigs, drugs sold at very high prices, always looking to gain as much money as possible instead of keeping the health of people as their main target. Last example, the avian flu vaccine: Governments around the world bought it and it does not work. To make money on people health it's as bad , if not worse, then selling arms.

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posted on: 03 April 2007

Stop cluster munitions

filed under:opinions @ 09:46:05

Cluster munitions spread bomblets or submunitions over wide areas threatening civilians as well as soldiers during attacks. They also leave unexploded bombs that threaten civilians for decades after a conflict. This page provides information and resources for individuals and organisations to take action to stop cluster munitions, a weapon with indiscriminate effects that is proliferating rapidly around the world.

Cluster munitions coalition

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posted on: 01 April 2007

Global warming and poverty

filed under:opinions @ 10:23:42

The world's richest countries, which have contributed by far the most to the atmospheric changes linked to global warming, are already spending billions of dollars to limit their own risks from its worst consequences, like drought and rising seas. But despite longstanding treaty commitments to help poor countries deal with warming, these industrial powers are spending just tens of millions of dollars on ways to limit climate and coastal hazards in the world's most vulnerable regions - most of them close to the equator and overwhelmingly poor.

Poor Nations to Bear Brunt as World Warms

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posted on: 30 March 2007

The Republic of Beauty

filed under:opinions @ 09:00:06

Told often enough that the West and Islam are natural enemies, we start to believe it, and assume it has always been so. But the Metropolitan Museum of Art argues otherwise in Venice and the Islamic World, 828-1797 a show that, with classic Met largesse, recreates the spectacle of two different cultures meeting in one fantastic city, where commerce and love of beauty, those great levelers, unite them in a fruitful bond.

Venetian ambassadors in Damascus - 1511

The Republic of Beauty, Melding West and East

The article begins with..Told often enough that the West and Islam are natural enemies, we start to believe it...and I'm very surprised. Who is saying so? Natural enemies? What's that? And what they mean with West? I'm Italian, from the south, what do I belong to, West or Middle East? The Mediterranean sea has seen all the populations living on its shores coming in contact sooner or later, the culture that developed is a result of a mixing of everything, with peaks of greatness and dips into nothingness for each of the populations involved. The Mediterranean culture is one of the most ancient and rich of the so called West and it's the result of exchange not of enmity. There have been many wars, sure, but that's just the usual human stupidity and greed not natural hostility.

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posted on: 16 March 2007

Wasted food

filed under:opinions @ 18:46:02

Homes across Britain are wasting a total of 3.3m tonnes of food a year, a report is expected to reveal.

Homes waste 3.3m tonnes of food

Apparently is now, finally, trendy to say vaguely reasonable things. Even such a low level of awareness is welcome...better then the usual abyss of irresponsibility. As long as it doesn't just stop there, the issue of wasted food is extremely important as are its distribution and availability.

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posted on: 08 March 2007

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN DAY

filed under:opinions @ 22:45:04

8 of MARCH - INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

Mimosa flowers

It's always necessary to remember the struggle of women for their rights. The International Women's Day is not a commercial recurrence but a reminder of the necessity to be together , men and women, to build a better life for everybody.

As Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, we know there is a direct relationship between peace, justice and respect for human rights. As long as women are denied human rights, anywhere in the world, there can be no justice and no peace. Recognizing women's equal rights, therefore, is an essential requirement for the creation of strong, sustainable and stable societies and ensuring that women enjoy equality with men in all areas of life is a key step to making human rights a universal reality.

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posted on: 10 February 2007

Brain Gain

filed under:opinions @ 09:50:41

On Nature:

Italian jobs cause ruction

Research is important, the italian Government should be much more attentive and concerned about promising without delivering.

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posted on: 07 January 2007

Wrong directions

filed under:opinions @ 09:26:08

In 1999 the Government started a series of “farm-scale trials” of GM herbicide-tolerant crops. Each of these GM crop trials covers ten hectares (25 acres) and it is planned to have at least 25 sites for each GM crop involved - winter and spring oilseed rape, maize and sugar beet. These trials are meant to examine the environmental effects of GM crops, but they have not been designed to prevent pollen escaping from the test sites or to protect nearby beekeepers from contamination of their honey.

Bees, Honey and Genetically Modified Crops

Too much time spent inside labs and not nearly enough outside, learning from nature. Agriculture and the production of food in general are basic to the survival of the human species, but , instead of creating herbicide-tolerant crops, why don't they try to use different ways to supply for raising demand? I don't think the real problem is lack of food, even if it's necessary to bear in mind the population growth, rather it's the distribution that needs to be addressed. We need to understand that farming has to be organized better then it is now, in a more environmental friendly way, with attention to local necessities. Forcing higher production through manipulation finalized only to commercial ends, short lived, is not going to solve the long run problem of feeding a growing population. I may be naive, but I'd expect more intelligence from people spending so much time studying..

The Buddha once told a story about a king who ordered a group of blind men to be presented with an elephant. Each man touched a different part of the animal. The king then asked them what an elephant is like. The blind men who touched the elephant's head replied, “An elephant, your majesty, is just like a water jar.” The blind men who touched its ear said, “An elephant, your majesty, is just like a winnowing basket.” The blind men who touched its tusk declared, “An elephant, your majesty, is just like a plowshare.” The ones who touched the trunk replied, “An elephant, your majesty, is just like a plow pole.” The blind men who touched the body replied, “An elephant, your majesty, is just like a storeroom.” The blind men who touched the foot replied, “An elephant, your majesty, is just like a post.” The blind men who touched the hindquarters replied, “An elephant, your majesty, is just like a mortar.” The blind men who touched the tail replied, “An elephant, your majesty, is just like a pestle.” And the blind men who touched the tuft at the end of the tail replied, “An elephant, your majesty, is just like a broom.” The blind men fell into a fistfight, shouting, “An elephant is like this, an elephant is not like that! An elephant is not like this, an elephant is like that!”

The Genome: An Outsider's View

So, maybe, lab people should find the time to live on a farm..

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posted on: 05 January 2007

Oil prices falling

filed under:opinions @ 09:20:32

On BBC:

Oil prices saw their sharpest drop in two years, shedding more than $2 a barrel as mild US weather led consumers to use less petrol and heating oil. US light crude oil fell $2.73 to $55.59 a barrel in New York, falling by over $5 in two days. In London meanwhile, Brent crude fell $2.85 to $55.11. The US Energy Department said stocks of distillates rose by two million barrels in the last week of 2006. The fall led oil group Opec to say it might act if prices continue dropping.

Oil in biggest fall in two years

When prices were raising, Opec was going to act to stop them. Now, prices are falling and Opec is going to act..what is it that they want? Not only Opec, all of these so called oil people? A few months ago everybody was saying they were trying to find a way to reduce oil prices and I thought it was just a scam to keep people from burning them down. Now it's obvious, but unfortunately, as usual, nobody notices. It's ridiculous..more posts about oil

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posted on: 02 January 2007

Cheaper medicines

filed under:opinions @ 18:56:02

Improvements they devise to the molecular structure of an existing, expensive drug turn it technically into a new medicine which is no longer under a 20-year patent to a multinational drug company and can be made and sold cheaply.

Scientists find way to slash cost of drugs

The fact that multinational drug companies holding patents on medicines of large use sell them very expensive is incredible but painfully true. I suppose many people know about it but very little has been done to correct the situation.

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posted on: 31 December 2006

The Curse of Oil

filed under:opinions @ 10:22:03

The Niger Delta is made up of nine states, 185 local government areas, and a population of 27 million. It has 40 ethnic groups speaking 250 dialects spread across 5,000 to 6,000 communities and covers an area of 27,000 square miles. This makes for one the highest population densities in the world, with annual population growth estimated at 3 percent. About 1,500 of those communities play host to oil company operations of one kind or another. Thousands of miles of pipelines crisscross the mangrove creeks of the Delta, broken up by occasional gas flares that send roaring orange flames into the already hot, humid air. Modern, air-conditioned facilities sit cheek-by-jowl with primitive fishing villages made of mud and straw, surrounded with razor wire and armed guards trained to be on the lookout for local troublemakers. It is, and always has been, a recipe for disaster.

The Curse of Oil

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posted on: 23 December 2006

Exxon spill damages

filed under:opinions @ 11:11:06

Exxon is getting discounts:

Court halves Exxon spill damages

Considering they reported record profits for the year 2005 and the third-highest quarterly profit in the company's history they should be made to pay more not less.

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posted on: 17 December 2006

Water

filed under:opinions @ 10:52:23

It's always good to remind ourselves of what we need to live and that we have an untouchable right to it:

Water (H2O, HOH) is the most abundant molecule on Earth, composing 70-75% of the Earth's surface as liquid and solid state in addition to being found in the atmosphere as a vapor. It is in dynamic equilibrium between the liquid and vapor states at standard temperature and pressure. At room temperature, it is a nearly colorless, tasteless, and an odorless liquid.

Water molecule

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posted on: 11 December 2006

Non believers

filed under:opinions @ 19:04:23

On Wired:

The Church of the Non-Believers

I don't like any kind of extremism. I think everyone is entitled to believe in whatever he wants, as long as one doesn't try to impose his beliefs on others. I personally don't believe in a God, I know there is a life energy that keeps things the way they are but I don't see the necessity to call it something or attribute it “human-like” qualities. I think that religions originally are born as guidelines for social behaviour, in times when there were very few people able to write and read and the only way to regulate society was to convince everyone in a higher entity seeing all and judging us for our actions, even when, for example, in absence of witnesses would have been possible to get away with murder. Also, for literate people, they were a tool to a higher awareness. As far as extremes are concerned, it's always people twisting things to gain something. I think that having to choose it's good because it makes people take responsability. I don't think the problem is the religion in itself but the interpretations given to it by people for personal (or economical) reasons.

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posted on: 10 December 2006

Human cooperation

filed under:opinions @ 10:54:02

On Scientific American:

Love Thy Neighbor

Altruistic behaviour surely came from the fact that it ensures better survival odds, a step up from cooperation during a hunt. But, after a few thousand years of written history, humans should realize that only the awareness of others and their needs can lead to a peaceful co-existence and mutual understanding. Two steps up from cooperating to hunt?

On a different level but of the same basic meaning:

What's Holding Back Arab Women?

Women, like men, should be free to choose; choose to study or not, choose to work or not, choose to wear the veil or not, choose to get married or not..cultures are an ever changing part of social human life. What is today seen as usual wasn't so until fifty years ago and that's valid in any culture. The problems that women face in the Arab world are often basically the same as the ones they face in the Western world. Fifty years ago the similarity were even closer. That's what I meant when I wrote “of the same basic meaning”: freedom of choice, respect, cooperation; that's all we need. When we will understand that we will all have a chance to live with dignity.

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posted on: 09 December 2006

A trail of diamonds

filed under:opinions @ 11:25:04

A photo-essay:

a trail of diamonds

An exemplification of how the world economy works nowadays: some people can spend millions of dollars because many more have absolutely nothing.

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posted on: 06 December 2006

First rate pursuits

filed under:opinions @ 09:45:22

On The Nonist:

It is only possible to succeed at second-rate pursuits - like becoming a millionaire or a prime minister, winning a war, seducing a beautiful woman, flying through the stratosphere or landing on the moon. First-rate pursuits - involving, as they must, trying to understand what life is about and trying to convey that understanding - inevitably result in a sense of failure. A Napoleon, a Churchill, a Roosevelt can feel themselves to be successful, but never a Socrates, a Pascal, a Blake. Understanding is ever unattainable. Therein lies the inevitability of failure in embarking upon its quest, which is none the less the only one worthy of serious attention.
Malcolm Muggeridge

The trap of first rate pursuits

Another outstanding post from The Nonist. Food for thought.

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posted on: 24 October 2006

Humans need two planets

filed under:opinions @ 22:08:23

The world's ecosystems are being degraded at an unprecedented rate, and by 2050 humans will need at least two planets' worth of natural resources to live as they do now, the conservation group WWF warned today.

Humans using resources of two planets

See also: ecological overdraft.

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posted on: 24 October 2006

Hippos slaughtered

filed under:opinions @ 09:28:31

Hippos falling victim to a poaching spree in a national park could die out in the area by Christmas unless the culling stops, Zoological Society of London conservationists are warning. A Congolese militia group is already thought to have killed half the hippo population in Virunga National Park since setting up a base there two weeks ago. Lake Edward, in the centre of the park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was once central to Africa's greatest concentration of these magnificent beasts.

Hippos slaughtered by rebel group in national park

War is always bad for everything: humans, animals and environment. We all know it but it still goes on in so many places on Earth. It's easier to destroy then to create.

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posted on: 23 October 2006

History Matters

filed under:opinions @ 09:52:09

We believe that history matters. A society out of touch with its past cannot have confidence in its future. History defines, educates and inspires us. It lives on in our historic environment. As custodians of our past, we will be judged by generations to come. We must value it, nurture it and pass it on.

History matters button

History matters

A nice idea, I believe that history matters and it's absolutely necessary to know some of it to have a perspective on current events. Human lifespan is too short and we tend to consider “normal” things (like television, cars and mobile phones) that until 50 years ago didn't exist or were rare. The initiative is only for England, but it should be taken as an example by all Countries. In my opinion, it's also important to remember that history must be part of our future and not a burden on it. Change is especially good when salted with common sense coming from a knowledge of human history and, in these days of confusion, badly needed.

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posted on: 18 October 2006

The war must go on

filed under:opinions @ 10:02:31

Three projects for the 2006 season of artists' billboards produced by Clockshop. The participating artists are Trevor Paglen & John Emerson, Ignasi Aballi, and Nadiah Bamadhaj. A map of rendition flights, lists made of newspaper cuttings and photos of disappearing people.

Clockshop: the war must go on

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posted on: 11 October 2006

Ecological overdraft

filed under:opinions @ 18:58:06

Humanity slides into the red today and begins racking up an ecological overdraft driven by unsustainable exploitation of the world's resources, according to a report by the sustainable development organisation Global Footprint Network. In little more than nine months, humans have used up all that nature can replenish in one year, and for the rest of 2006 are destined to eat into the planet's ecological capital, the study claims.

World moves into ecological overdraft

Global Footprint Network

There is need of a much higher awareness on sustainable development. Unfortunately, the media mostly concentrate in pushing people to augment the waste rather then bring the attention on the impossibility to keep going the way we have so far.

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posted on: 11 October 2006

Water and oil

filed under:opinions @ 11:24:03

The world's glaciers and ice caps are now in terminal decline because of global warming, scientists have discovered. A survey has revealed that the rate of melting across the world has sharply accelerated in recent years, placing even previously stable glaciers in jeopardy. The loss of glaciers in South America and Asia will threaten the water supplies of millions of people within a few decades, the experts warn.

Water for millions at risk

Sitting on the edge of the water in the Gulf of Kutch on India's western shore is one of America's dirty secrets. A mass of steel pipes and concrete boxes stretches across 13 square miles (33sq km) - a third of the area of Manhattan - which will eventually become the world's largest petrochemical refinery.

America's dirty secret

One hand fixes it and the other destroys it...typical human behaviour, apparently.

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posted on: 08 October 2006

Monothinking

filed under:opinions @ 08:33:07

Posts and articles about the dangers of a software “monoculture”:

I think that any kind of monoculture is dangerous. Diversity ensures vitality and fairness, creates opportunities, leaves the possibility of choice, teaches respect and understanding because it needs an open mind.

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posted on: 02 October 2006

Lex Gabinia

filed under:opinions @ 09:50:21

IN the autumn of 68 B.C. the world's only military superpower was dealt a profound psychological blow by a daring terrorist attack on its very heart. Rome's port at Ostia was set on fire, the consular war fleet destroyed, and two prominent senators, together with their bodyguards and staff, kidnapped.The incident, dramatic though it was, has not attracted much attention from modern historians. But history is mutable. An event that was merely a footnote five years ago has now, in our post-9/11 world, assumed a fresh and ominous significance. For in the panicky aftermath of the attack, the Roman people made decisions that set them on the path to the destruction of their Constitution, their democracy and their liberty. One cannot help wondering if history is repeating itself.

Pirates of the Mediterranean

An interesting article, except that, after more then two thousand years, I'd expect people to be more aware, to learn from history, to finally understand that what needs to be fixed are the causes and not the effects. Wrong..possibly people are less aware now then in Roman times, even if today it's much easier to find news and explanations of current political and economical affairs.

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posted on: 30 September 2006

Peak Oil

filed under:opinions @ 19:04:41

Peak Oil is the simplest label for the problem of energy resource depletion, or more specifically, the peak in global oil production. Oil is a finite, non-renewable resource, one that has powered phenomenal economic and population growth over the last century and a half. The rate of oil “production”, meaning extraction and refining (currently about 84 million barrels/day), has grown in most years over the last century, but once we go through the halfway point of all reserves, production becomes ever more likely to decline, hence “peak”. Peak Oil means not running out of oil, but running out of cheap oil. For societies leveraged on ever increasing amounts of cheap oil, the consequences may be dire. Without significant successful cultural reform, economic and social decline seems inevitable.

Peak Oil primer

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posted on: 21 September 2006

Lebanon war

filed under:opinions @ 19:00:06

Watching Lebanon

It's a disturbing article, food for thought. I know that that's the way many people think but I really don't see how it could ever bring anything positive along. It seems to me as if everybody actively involved is avoiding to see the causes of all this, only concentrating on the effects, as I never tire to say.

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posted on: 20 September 2006

Safe weapons

filed under:opinions @ 18:56:21

Weapons are going to be used and when they are, we try to make them as safe for the user as possible, to limit the collateral damage and to impact as little as possible on the environment.

Environmentally friendly fire
via the nonist

Sometimes I wonder if they are just plain stupid or if they actually are trying to manipulate the perception of reality of the people. How can anyone say something like that? It's like calling all humankind a bunch of hopeless idiots incapable to choose anything else but shooting each other to solve a problem. I know, that's what happens mostly, but I don't believe that that's the best we can do and I still reckon humans able to learn and change what needs to be changed.

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posted on: 13 September 2006

Anthropogenic trap

filed under:opinions @ 09:22:47

The tendency to see ourselves as the most important factor in the change of life conditions on Earth is another mistake, as the one we make continuously avoiding to see the error in how we relate with what's around us and with each other. Balance seems to be very difficult to attain for us humans. As everybody knows, to create is much more difficult then to destroy.

The anthropogenic trap

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posted on: 12 September 2006

Deceit and self deception

filed under:opinions @ 08:57:02

In the 1970s, a Harvard class taught by evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers ignited a controversy that would escalate into the “sociobiology wars”. His papers provided a Darwinian basis for understanding complex human activities and relationships. Across town at MIT, revolutionary linguist Noam Chomsky had earned a reputation as a leading opponent of the Vietnam War. Throughout those pivotal years, and in the following decades, the two explored similar ideas from different perspectives. Long aware of each other's work, they had never met until a couple of months ago, when they sat down to compare notes on some common interests: deceit and self-deception.

Noam Chomsky + Robert Trivers
via The Nonist

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posted on: 10 September 2006

US Mexico border: on the line

filed under:opinions @ 11:39:47

Last year, three friends gave hundreds of disposable cameras to two groups on opposite sides of the U.S.-Mexico border: the undocumented migrants crossing the desert and the American civilians trying to stop them. The result? A portrait of the border like no other.

Border film project pictures

BORDER | film project via GOOD magazine

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posted on: 04 September 2006

Historical awareness

filed under:opinions @ 10:03:21

The Bush Administration and Godwin's Law

An historical frame of reference is of great importance to keep perspective on current events. Nowadays very often words are used in the media to catch inattentive people attention and subtly steer public opinion. I say inattentive because it seems to me people don't really pay attention to what words mean, to the fact that one day something is said to be white and the next black. Facts are continuously turned around to fit momentary needs of political nature, regardless of accuracy. What makes me wonder is the incapacity (or maybe unwillingness) of people's memory to retain these manipulations and see the incongruence between them. I heard a journalist saying that we have developed a “TV memory”, short unrelated flashes, and I think that in many cases it's, regrettably, the truth.

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posted on: 27 August 2006

Fear and respect

filed under:opinions @ 17:21:42

How it should be:

Fear and respect

A Javascript elaboration of a thought (“Fear breeds hate, respect brings peace” - one of the random quotes that appear on the right upper corner of this site) to illustrate a concept: until fear is greater then respect the end result will always be war.

The most important is the last line (fear--;) without it the loop is infinite and crashes the computer..

The double minus sign is a decrement operator and subtracts 1 from whatever is assigned to. With each iteration of the loop fear decreases and the loop ends. Right now, fear is ++, it increases with each iteration. The loop is infinite.

Let's break that loop..

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posted on: 24 August 2006

Inaccessible downloads

filed under:opinions @ 14:57:23

The Internet, in theory, enables anyone from anywhere to access information. In reality all the people with dial-up connections are cut out of a lot of it. I know that in the States and Europe almost everybody has some kind of high speed connection but the rest of the world is still using dial-ups. I'm not a professional of the web but I like it because it has brought more freedom to people, more opportunities to learn.
Podcasts, videocasts,screencasts: there should always be a text version that can be downloaded by everyone.

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posted on: 22 August 2006

Water crisis

filed under:opinions @ 21:35:04

One-third of the world's population is living in water-scarce areas, say scientists behind a 5-year analysis of global water resources. The finding is a worrying update to an older study by the same team, who had previously predicted that such a situation would not arrive until 2025.

Water crisis happening now

Next wars will be for water not oil. Will we be able to avoid that or will we just go ahead as we always seem to have done? Another self-inflicted situation, fueling my doubts on the intelligence of humans.

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posted on: 13 August 2006

Evolutionism and creationism

filed under:opinions @ 11:27:30

I think that this debate is also an indication of the confusion most people live in. I don't believe that the problem, as far as the uninvolved with science common man is concerned, really is creationism or evolutionism but instead a need to be told what is “good” and what is “bad”. Most people that believe in a religious system also believe that moral standards are directly proportional to faith: religion makes people more compassionate. Which may be true to a certain extent (read: cross-national correlations of quantifiable societal health with popular religiosity) but it also means that helping someone else is done in the name of one's own God and, if the other person's God is a different one, soon trouble will arise. To be able to understand and accept other cultures and beliefs we must have an open mind and inform ourselves: lots of work. To just decide that “what I believe is right” solves most questions and unfortunately leaves very little room for learning. Religion in itself cannot make a human being better, each one of us has to work hard every moment of our lives to achieve that.

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posted on: 02 August 2006

1980: Bologna

filed under:opinions @ 19:29:07

Bologna's train station bombing - 1980 - Italy

On the 2nd of August, 1980 a bomb exploded in the train station of Bologna at 10:25 am, killing 85 people and injuring two hundred more.

Today, on the 26th Anniversary of the massacre, the masterminds behind the bombing are still unknown.

1980: Bologna

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posted on: 21 July 2006

IRREPRESSIBLE.INFO

filed under:opinions @ 10:37:32

Irrepressible.info:

The Internet is a new frontier in the struggle for human rights. Governments - with the help of some of the biggest IT companies in the world - are cracking down on freedom of expression. Amnesty International, with the support of The Observer UK newspaper, is launching a campaign to show that online or offline the human voice and human rights are impossible to repress.

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posted on: 19 July 2006

Remembering Paolo Borsellino

filed under:opinions @ 20:10:02

Fourteen years ago, in 1992, Paolo Borsellino was killed by a car bomb.

Car bomb image - Palermo

In a Country where all kind of political prevarication goes unpunished but the World Football Cup gets thousands of people on the street there is a strong need to remember and regain some sort of dignity and understanding of what is important in life.

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posted on: 13 July 2006

Guantanamo and Geneva

filed under:opinions @ 10:56:07

What do they have in common? Not much, apparently..

On the BBC: detainees to get Geneva rights

All US military detainees, including those at Guantanamo Bay, are to be treated in line with the minimum standards of the Geneva Conventions.

Daniel Dell'Orto, a defence department lawyer who was the first to testify, said there were about 1,000 detainees in US military custody around the world. Guantanamo Bay holds an estimated 450. Mr Dell'Orto did not say where the others were being held.

The new Pentagon policy applies only to detainees being held by the military, and not to those in CIA custody.

It is the year 2006, isn't it?..sometimes I believe we are living in a time warp..

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posted on: 08 July 2006

Global Database of Quotas for Women

filed under:opinions @ 10:37:26

Country overview: women quotas

Obstacles to women's political participation exist throughout the world in prevailing social and economic regimes, as well as in existing political structures. In 2005, the representation of women reached nearly 16 percent globally. Although this total has increased in recent years, the minimal progress globally means that the ideal of parity remains a long way off.

Today women constitute 16 per cent of the members of parliaments around the world. Recently, Rwanda superseded Sweden at the number one in the world in terms of women's parliamentary representation - 48.8% women against Sweden's 45.3%. Rwanda is an example of the new trend to use electoral gender quotas as a fast track to gender balance in politics.

Italy is the 48th Country, after Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. France is even worse.

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posted on: 07 July 2006

Race to the world's energy hotspots

filed under:opinions @ 10:39:21

On the Guardian: race to the world's energy hotspots

Like vultures flying all around a dying animal. Except, when the animal dies, we are likely to follow..

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posted on: 30 June 2006

G8 vaccine setback

filed under:opinions @ 10:03:42

G8 vaccine setback

"The G8 missed an opportunity on Saturday to fight disease in the world's poorest countries.."

..again.

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posted on: 28 June 2006

Net Neutrality

filed under:opinions @ 19:55:04

Tim Berners-Lee on Net Neutrality (via webdevout's blog) :

I agree, it's serious and it needs more attention that it has gotten so far.

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posted on: 24 June 2006

Amnesty International ad campaign

filed under:opinions @ 18:59:43

Amnesty International ad campaign

"It's not happening here but it's happening now"

Simple and effective. Hopefully it will raise people's awareness a bit..

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posted on: 22 June 2006

Aboriginal life expectancy

filed under:opinions @ 10:35:53

On the Guardian: Aboriginal life expectancy

That's their land..or at least used to be.

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posted on: 16 June 2006

Desaparecidos

filed under:opinions @ 09:55:32

On The Guardian: disappeared, but not forgotten

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posted on: 15 June 2006

Armaments, Disarmament and International Security

filed under:opinions @ 18:53:28

Armaments, Disarmament and International Security:
SIPRI Yearbook 2006

The Chapter 8 is about military expenditure and makes me think about a previous post.

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posted on: 01 June 2006

The wages of chaos

filed under:opinions @ 09:35:21

On the Guardian: wages of chaos

As usual the people has to pay for all kind of political and economical reasons. I doubt that anybody, except the warlords and the powerful businessmen, understands what's going on. Western governments play their games and then the effects are felt all over the world. Famine, disease, poverty, desperation, illegal immigration. Fix the causes, don't patch the effects.

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posted on: 09 April 2006

BASTA

filed under:opinions @ 13:33:42

The Economist cover page on Berlusconi

Basta in Italian means enough and I believe change is overdue.

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posted on: 06 April 2006

Berlusconi vs. Coglioni

filed under:opinions @ 09:40:12

Berlusconi under fire, another example of intelligence and decorousness..

I'm proud to be one of the "coglioni" that will NOT vote for Berlusconi.

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posted on: 31 March 2006

Rise and fall?

filed under:opinions @ 19:43:23

On Newsweek: rise and fall

I hope common sense (the fall) will prevail otherwise my Country really deserves what she's going to get.

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posted on: 22 March 2006

WORLD WATER DAY

filed under:opinions @ 10:50:18

"The international observance of World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro"
World Water Day

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posted on: 21 March 2006

Terror Insurance

filed under:opinions @ 16:02:43

On the New York Times: terror insurance

Is this the 21st century? Sometimes it feels rather like the 12th century..except for the insurance, which is a modern scam.

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posted on: 20 March 2006

Third anniversary

filed under:opinions @ 09:47:32

20th of March 2006, third anniversary of the war in Iraq:
the start of the US-led campaign

As in any war, killing and torturing: Secret Unit's "Black Room"

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posted on: 18 March 2006

Cunning vs. intelligence

filed under:opinions @ 09:55:23

On the Guardian: Berlusconi is the devil

"Berlusconi is a dangerous man to become entrapped with. He deals in the dark sides of Italian political life. His party, Forza Italia, worked tirelessly to ensure that it inherited the mafia vote from the corpse of the Christian Democrats. His financial tentacles have abused and disfigured Italian political life. He regards the law to be malleable, negotiable and corruptible."

To me as an Italian the problem is that Berlusconi was voted by the Italian people even if many knew what he was involved in and how he made his money. In Italy there is a tendency to call a thief "clever" if he's not caught, to confuse cunning and slyness with intelligence. Now we all have to pay the price for this.

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posted on: 11 March 2006

Low Italy

filed under:opinions @ 19:19:48

The sad Italian reality: Tipping Italy

I live abroad and have no chance to avoid the shame of being associated to what the Italian Government calls its policy. They always say that they represent Italians, I feel offended by what they do and by who is supposed to represent me. People that mistake personal beliefs for a Country point of view. People that ignored a huge amount of citizens in the streets of Rome condemning the war in Iraq, for example. People that consider a Country as a company, to be run by managers. Except I'm NOT an employee of my Country, I'm a citizen, I cannot be fired from being Italian, the people supposedly representing me, on the other end, CAN be fired from their posts, they are employees of all Italians. Unfortunately I don't think there is a chance for people like that to listen or be willing to change because to do that requires too much courage and the choices they make are the result of fear.

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posted on: 11 March 2006

Old men rule in aging Italy

filed under:opinions @ 09:45:39

On Reuters: old men rule in aging Italy

A very good article, there should be many more like this, in Italy is almost impossible to do and say anything anymore. The world is changing very fast and Italy is just sitting and watching stuck in a twilight zone.

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posted on: 10 March 2006

Lost innovations of Islam

filed under:opinions @ 19:10:35

On the BBC: charting the lost innovations of Islam

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posted on: 10 March 2006

Water

filed under:opinions @ 14:02:12

On the BBC: Water policy "fails world's poor"

Water, too often, is taken for granted and wasted. Take the quiz and see what you know about water usage.

Water is a primary necessity, see the hotspots.

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posted on: 09 March 2006

New friends

filed under:opinions @ 13:55:45

On the Guardian: Bush's new best friends

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posted on: 08 March 2006

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

filed under:opinions @ 14:13:52

8 of MARCH - INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

Mimosa flowers

In these times of confusion is more then ever necessary to remember the struggle of women for their rights. The International Women's Day is not a commercial recurrence but a reminder of the necessity to be together , men and women, to build a better life for everybody.
As it is now:

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posted on: 28 February 2006

Tessa Jowell and Berlusconi

filed under:opinions @ 19:05:23

On the Guardian: Jowell denies bribe

Apparently acting irresponsibly has consequences to pay, at least outside Italy..

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posted on: 24 February 2006

Hi-Tech Prison

filed under:opinions @ 19:12:03

I was browsing around the National Geographic
megastructures web site and I saw the episode about a hi-tech prison, NBCI - Maryland.
I searched around a bit and this is what I found.

I cannot help but wonder how come that in the 21st century we, humans of every nation, most intelligent form of life, are still building steel and concrete cages instead of schools and hospitals, why we keep trying to fix the effects rather then the causes. It's incredible that we just don't seem to learn, we appear socially stuck into the 12th century and unable to change way of doing things. What are we going to the Moon for if we are not even able to manage ourselves? We create poverty and then say that we want to eradicate it. We have brilliant technology and science but we still use it to make weapons. We destroy the environment that we need to exist and then say that we want to preserve it. The dichotomy is obvious but the solutions don't appear to be up to the problems. We only try to deal with the effects of our actions instead of act responsibly in the first place. If it wasn't dramatic it would be ridiculous.

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posted on: 18 February 2006

T-shirts and cartoons

filed under:opinions @ 10:36:52

Update - 2006/02/19: Italian Quits Over Cartoons and
Italy cartoon row minister quits

On the Guardian: Nine killed in Libya over cartoon

The Italian minister that said is going to wear the T-shirt with the cartoons shouldn't be a minister at all. To work for a Country requires historic knowledge that that guy doesn't have, requires a degree of professionality that that guy never even knew existed. I'm Italian which unfortunately means it's also my fault for having people like that representing me, altough I did not vote them. Not that I think the rage sparked in February 2006 by some cartoons published in September 2005 (a decision that shows a serious lack of understanding and responsability from the newspaper editor, anyway) has anything to do with the cartoons really, it's just an excuse to manipulate opinion and create unrest used by people with the usual personal power agenda. I don't see any difference between the Italian minister and the manipulators, they are all the same, just trying to get whatever is it that they want through deception and violence. The same old scheme, repeated over and over all along human history...will we ever learn and change? The difference in the World is between people that have too much and people that have nothing. That's the same in the West, East, Middle-East and wherever else. Religion is a personal choice that should not prevent people from coexist peacefully and together create a better division of wealth and resources to assure dignity to everybody.

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posted on: 16 February 2006

UN on Guantanamo

filed under:opinions @ 19:02:37

On the BBC: UN calls for Guantanamo closure
(link to full UN report in PDF)

Finally..although I doubt it's going to make a difference.

Update 2006/02/17: US attacks UN Guantanamo report and
Judge's anger at US torture

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posted on: 13 February 2006

Like Jesus ?

filed under:opinions @ 13:18:23

On BBC:"I am like Jesus"

It's a difficult one to comment..Napoleon, Jesus..one thing is for sure, the man's ego is incredibly large which means he must have something else incredibly small to compensate for..

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posted on: 07 February 2006

Brothers in arms

filed under:opinions @ 18:25:32

On the Guardian: Brothers in arms.

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posted on: 29 January 2006

Reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases

filed under:opinions @ 14:59:38

On the New York Times: Climate Expert

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posted on: 23 January 2006

When George Met Jack

filed under:opinions @ 10:27:46

When George Met Jack

It's always the same everywhere, scratching each other back. Will we ever see someone that can stand on his own feet?

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posted on: 22 January 2006

War's wounds

filed under:opinions @ 21:14:02

Struggling Back From War's Once-Deadly Wounds

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posted on: 19 January 2006

There Is No War On Terror

filed under:opinions @ 15:11:27

On AlertNet:

There Is No War On Terror

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posted on: 18 January 2006

Darfur rape

filed under:opinions @ 20:30:23

On the Guardian:

The rape of Darfur

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posted on: 04 January 2006

Make Trade Fair

filed under:opinions @ 10:01:36

Make Trade Fair

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posted on: 23 December 2005

Civil liberties and rights

filed under:opinions @ 14:33:54

I hope that not only american but also the rest of world civil liberties and rights are taken into consideration.

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posted on: 20 December 2005

Greasy oil

filed under:opinions @ 19:02:08

Wherever there is oil..:

West African oil deals

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posted on: 19 December 2005

Books to live

filed under:opinions @ 10:18:52

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posted on: 10 December 2005

Climate change

filed under:opinions @ 10:06:33

An interesting initiative from the The Guardian, The Observer and Guardian Unlimited that joined forces with Climate Care to offset air travel pollution:

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posted on: 08 December 2005

Harold Pinter's Nobel lecture

filed under:opinions @ 22:47:44

"I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory. If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us - the dignity of man."

from Harold Pinter's Nobel acceptance speech

I cannot say anything more that he's not already said better then I could. It's so rare to hear those things said by someone that has the possibility to reach many people. Thanks.

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posted on: 07 December 2005

Anything goes

filed under:opinions @ 10:25:58

Ignoring everybody's questions Rice signs US-Romania bases deal showing once more very little respect. The most common excuse for this behaviour is that "intelligence services must be able to do their job" but what I think is that the simple fact that there is a need for intelligence service spying and plotting means that something is wrong. I'm not talking only about the USA but about all Nations. Every Country, all over the world, needs huge amounts of money to keep the security around its President running and avoid assassination. Does this sound like a sensible thing? Why it must be like that? Just because for five thousand years has never changed it doesn't mean it could not change. It's up to us all and if it's not...then we are a much less intelligent species then we give ourselves credit for.

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posted on: 06 December 2005

Rendition and torture

filed under:opinions @ 10:12:12

Talking about it doesn't help. I don't believe that anybody in the Bush administration is able to understand that when the end justifies the means everybody loses. They keep thinking that somehow they are different from the rest of the people in the world and, not being able to learn, persevere on a road that brings to nothing. I don't see much difference between "them" and their "enemies". I don't like either.

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posted on: 04 December 2005

Extraordinary rendition

filed under:opinions @ 15:31:07

Previous posts on the same argument:

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posted on: 02 December 2005

Old wars, new wars

filed under:opinions @ 19:18:43

The “old” one:

The new one:

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posted on: 02 December 2005

Independence

filed under:opinions @ 09:55:35

When East Timor obtained its independence from Portugal in 1975, Australia had an agreement with Indonesia. Now, East Timor is independent, so: E Timor, Australia strike oil deal.

Also, the only route available for nuclear submarines is a deep-sea trench off the East Timorese coast.

Strategic position and oil, a deadly combination.

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posted on: 30 November 2005

Addio, Dolce Vita

filed under:opinions @ 21:06:32

A survey about Italy on the Economist :

Addio, Dolce Vita

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posted on: 30 November 2005

Secret jails?

filed under:opinions @ 12:52:53

In the year 2005 (which is the 21st century not the 12th), the “might is right” way of thinking is still well. How is it that there are always different ethical standards (and how can they be different if they are standard)? Why someone thinks they can do anything they want and others won't react to it? Why is so difficult to understand that is only by example that is possible to change things?

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posted on: 19 October 2005

Fair?

filed under:opinions @ 18:56:01

So, the latest scare is the avian flu and is good for business:

Bird flu drug sales

And this is how they think or, to be politically correct, they used to think and what they did:

the articles were written in February 2003

Which takes me to Malawi begins to starve and makes me wonder where is the chance to live with dignity when the difference is as big as the indifference?

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posted on: 08 October 2005

Small arms trade

filed under:opinions @ 19:11:47

World at war

source: World at war

Most common small arms

source: Small arms

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posted on: 07 October 2005

Holy men..

filed under:opinions @ 09:17:42

After “only” 23 years.. Calvi murder trial opens in Rome.

Then more madness from people that are trying their best to drag all of us into a pit they are digging with their fears: Bush warns of “war on humanity”. Do not patch the effects, fix the causes.Except, really, what could you expect from someone that apparently said: God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq..

Update: White House denies Bush God claim

Second update: Bush God comments “not literal”

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posted on: 04 October 2005

EU and Turkey

filed under:opinions @ 09:33:06

I hope the talks will go in the right direction and Turkey will become part of Europe.

I think that a new Europe has the opportunity to act as the mediator between irresponsible Western policies and desperate Middle-East actions. The way of thinking of the political generation coming out of the "Cold War" is obsolete and it's time to replace it with some more balanced and farther reaching ideas. Maybe all together we can work to create a different way of relating with each other, cooperating instead of competing.

I personally really don't like to hear talks of clash of civilizations (if we were "civilized" we shouldn't clash anyway) and religions being used as an excuse to obtain power. All of that reminds me of the 12th century and makes me wonder if, in the year 2005, there really are people that still think so narrowly or if it's just the usual smoke screen used to cover the real intentions. Both scenarios add to my misgivings that human beings actually are an intelligent form of life. ANY religion should be personal and private and should not be imposed in any way on others. Talking about which religion is better doesn't make any sense and, most of the times, it brings to misunderstanding and conflict. How can something based on faith be discussed in a logical way? Everyone should be left free to choose. The State with all its rules can take care of social interactions and inside it every citizen has the right to believe in what he decides. Neither the law of state nor that of religion can assure that anyone would behave better because the choice is up to each one of us every single time. Guidelines are important but the ultimate choice rests on personal decision.

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posted on: 02 October 2005

Bali bombings

filed under:opinions @ 09:43:01

Genius has a limit, stupidity is limitless

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posted on: 25 September 2005

Anti-war protests

filed under:opinions @ 10:08:33

Anti-war protests:

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posted on: 22 September 2005

Hurricane aid

filed under:opinions @ 13:57:49

An article on the Guardian:

Hurricane aid used “to test out rightwing social policies”

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posted on: 18 September 2005

Religious penguins..

filed under:opinions @ 11:03:03

This is hilarious and almost incredible:

Antarctic family values read the article and draw your own conclusions...

A few links to interesting posts:

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posted on: 20 August 2005

I'm very scared now

filed under:opinions @ 12:40:31

Checking out who's visiting my web site I noticed that I have been found by some spooks:

" The open source nature of the Internet poses threats to corporations and can take many forms. As a communications medium, activists use the Internet to plan rallies and boycotts. While some of these activities are peaceful and legal, other more extreme actions can be destructive and even life threatening. Personal information about executives, their families and activities such as travel plans are widely distributed. "

" One enterprise. Hundreds of offices. Thousands of employees and customers. A Sea of Data. Hundreds of thousands of documents. Different languages, topics, classifications, and repositories. Millions of words and images. All day. Everyday. "

Oooh, now I'm very scared..they are onto me, they found out I could be an activist (activist in what?), a threatening savage, ready to jump all corporate executives (never met one..) and bite their ass..getting probably poisoned in the act..

Actually the fact that companies like those exist is pretty sad. They are like vultures, taking advantage of scared corporate (or whatever) sissies and getting money out of them. But that is not the point either, everyone is free to give his money away, the point is that the simple existence of those companies is proof that the causes of "discomfort" are not addressed, only the effects. Doing so, there is always need for "treatments" because the problem doesn't get solved.

As far as I'm concerned, the only thing I threaten to do is using my brain instead of letting it be blindly influenced. Of that I'm proud, even if I manage to do it only sometime.

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posted on: 13 August 2005

Starving on Mars ?

filed under:opinions @ 09:54:45

Still thinking about the article on hunger in Africa which I posted about yesterday:

Even if there is a scientific return from all that money spending, I still think health care and education on Earth should be of a higher priority then checking out Mars and flying around space. Why don't we fix our planet before we go destroying others? And, last but not least, the contractor is basically the largest "defense contractor" (arms manufacturer) of the world:

An excerpt from the Wiki on Lockheed Martin:

" Lockheed Martin won the contract to build the Joint Strike Fighter in 2001 with its X-35 design. This is the most important fighter aircraft procurement project since the F-16, with an initial order of 3,000 worth $200bn before export orders "

That's it, 200 billion dollars, they only need to find another 100 and they'll be able to halve the number of starving children in Africa by 2015. Well, since we (human beings) are obviously NOT an intelligent form of life maybe on Mars we'll meet one..and probably proceed to blast it into thousands of pieces.

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posted on: 12 August 2005

Occupation, hunger and war budget

filed under:opinions @ 14:43:42

An interesting article: It is not only Iraq that is occupied

Then this:

From the above article:

" In order to reach the target of halving hunger by 2015, at least $303bn (£167bn) must be invested - a prospect the report describes as daunting "

So I went looking around and these are some of the facts I found:

" Yet the costs for Pentagon operations are likely to pile up in years ahead. By 2010, war expenses might total $600 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Much depends on when - and how many - US military personnel can be withdrawn from the Iraqi theater of operations "

" The best analysis of the US military costs of a war in Iraq is the one provided by Professor William Nordhaus. His estimates, based on work from the Congressional Budget Office and others, suggests that the cost of a short and successful war would be around US$50 billion. Professor Nordhaus estimates that if the war became a matter of protracted urban warfare, then the US military costs would climb to about US$140 billion. It is important to note that these costs are for the conflict itself and do not include any consideration of the, likely larger, costs of peacekeeping after the conflict "

Now, how come that it's apparently possible to find all that money to spend on a war but it becomes a daunting prospect if the money is to be spent on starving children?

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posted on: 06 August 2005

Hiroshima

filed under:opinions @ 20:24:11

Maybe to remember could help to change. The thinking behind the bombing it's still alive and kicking, let's hope that it's possible to learn from mistakes..

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posted on: 17 July 2005

Comparisons

filed under:opinions @ 11:06:50

These are the results of a study on drugs abuse in the UK:

UK Government 2005 drug abuse report

Notice that, as stated in the report, alcohol kills 6,000 and tobacco 100,000 a year.

The report can be downloaded with a “right click here and save” (PDF document, you must have Acrobat Reader installed)

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posted on: 16 July 2005

Manipulation(s)

filed under:opinions @ 14:40:27

From Journey through Britain's Muslim divide:

It's not a war against terrorism, it's a war against Islam. That's how some people see it.

And I think that's exactly the problem. I'm strongly opposed to the war in Afghanistan, Iraq and all the other "wars" as anybody can see reading the posts in my opinions category. But, sadly, the manipulation of facts goes both ways; the reasons for all the problems are economical but they are being turned into religious. If the Muslims of the world feel oppressed there are at the same time a lot of non-Muslims that feel the same. Look at the demonstrations against the war: millions of people. So, instead of creating a gap between Muslims and non-Muslims, why not unite to be able to make the reasons of everybody be heard? Why widen the distance when the goal is the same: the right to live with dignity?

One last very important consideration about religion: let it be a personal choice, a private feeling that does not need to be pushed on others and that is naturally shared with who freely chooses to be part of it. It's necessary to believe that men can make the right choice when left free to do so. Imposing any kind of faith is a contradiction as much as imposing any kind of democratic values. Humanity (all of us) has already gone through all of this in history, why do we have to go back there again? Why not learn and prove that we are an intelligent form of life? I'm going to quote myself:

Fear breeds hate, respect brings peace

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posted on: 12 July 2005

Sciencegate

filed under:opinions @ 09:18:30

An affiliation of science-minded journalists getting their blog on. We're covering the ideas and deeds of the G8 summit (hence the name) from on-site and from around the world.

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posted on: 07 July 2005

London blasts

filed under:opinions @ 21:31:49

The news are still unclear but no matter who or why, the madness is the same and it goes on. What else is there to say? It's always us, the people, to pay the price and probably our responsability lies in having let events escalate this far because now it's going to be more and more difficult to bring balance back. A lot is wrong all around and the solution would call for a kind of clear minded vision that I don't see in any of the “world leaders”. Everybody seems to me too busy trying to impose his own ideas, no space for understanding and forward thinking.

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posted on: 06 July 2005

The CIA - Italy saga continues

filed under:opinions @ 14:25:35

There is not much that I can say, just read the articles:

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posted on: 04 July 2005

US interests first

filed under:opinions @ 18:34:33

On the Guardian:

which should send a clear message to all those that think the same way:

if everyone always puts his interests first how will anyone ever agree on anything ?

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posted on: 04 July 2005

Rendition

filed under:opinions @ 14:09:27

This article is two weeks old but it explains what “rendition” is.

Connecting that with the previous articles I posted about CIA and Italy, if we assume that the Italian government knew about the “rendition” of Abu Omar we have also to assume that his fate was known to them and accepted. Which, in turn, means that the Italian government is ready to let torture be used on a person suspected of something. Well, I suppose that Italy has gone back to the 11th century and that soon Witch Hunts and Inquisition will be part of everyday life as it used to be.

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posted on: 03 July 2005

G8 REBOOT

filed under:opinions @ 10:15:36

G8 REBOOT

Every single day, 30,000 children die, needlessly, of extreme poverty.

On July 6th, we finally have the opportunity to stop that shameful statistic.

8 world leaders, gathered in Scotland for the G8 summit, will be presented with a workable plan to double aid, drop the debt and make the trade laws fair. If these 8 men agree, then we will become the generation that made poverty history.

But they'll only do it if enough people tell them to.

We don't want your money - we want you!

Visit these sites to find out more:

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posted on: 01 July 2005

Round three

filed under:opinions @ 09:47:21

Round four of the CIA - Italy match:

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posted on: 30 June 2005

James Bond vs Austin Powers

filed under:opinions @ 09:35:26

The CIA in Italy saga goes on:

The abduction of Nasr, who court documents say was flown to Egypt and tortured there, threatens to rattle U.S.-Italian relations three months after U.S. troops shot dead an Italian intelligence agent in Iraq without facing disciplinary action.

I don't care much for the relations between US and Italian governments, what leaves me wondering is the fact that it's considered normal and right to kidnap someone anywhere in the world for whatever reason and torture him/her in the name of...I'm not clear in the name of what.

The CIA has broad powers to abduct terrorism suspects overseas and transfer them to third countries under a classified directive signed by President Bush days after the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. officials have said.

Terrorism suspects? Wasn't "Innocent until proven guilty" ? This is VERY dangerous stuff to let happen, these are idiots steering the boat and can only get it stranded. Is the “Might is Right” theory, spiced up by the “No moral comparison” belief..

On to nicer things, Database-driven tree structures with XML and XSLT is an article that I found interesting and has a few useful links.

From this article by Joe Clark came Roger Johanson and Douglas Bowman articles.

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posted on: 29 June 2005

Control arms

filed under:opinions @ 09:12:11

The issue is simple. The unregulated supply of weapons makes it easy for criminals to murder, for soldiers to kill indiscriminately, and for police to arbitrarily take lives. Today's weapons are quicker and more powerful than ever before. And in the wrong hands, faster and more powerful weapons mean more abuse and more wasted lives. It's not just unlawful killings during wartime that is on the increase. Military and security equipment is being misued by soldiers, paramilitaries, and police to kill, wound, and commit terrible atrocities against civilians during peacetime too.

Go to control arms.org

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posted on: 26 June 2005

(Counter)terrorists?

filed under:opinions @ 11:53:56

..no, it goes on.

Apparently is a matter of procedure, beat them first then ask or ask and then beat them?

This Parmalat stuff is another thing Italy is sadly famous for:

creative accounting..

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posted on: 25 June 2005

Territorial squabbles..

filed under:opinions @ 09:16:02

“They” are apparently chasing each other around:

“They” MUST be watching too many movies..and all of us simple citizens can only hope not to get caught in the professional secret web “they” weave all over. Maybe it's so secret that even “they” have difficulties to see it ?

Is all this idiocy ever gonna end ?

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posted on: 24 June 2005

Backward Italy

filed under:opinions @ 13:58:51

I'm Italian so I can express my opinion on national politics knowing what I'm talking about (if it's at all possible..):

What I want to say is that all the italians that think that immigrants are criminals should think about when Italians where the immigrants (Germany, France, USA, South America, Australia) and the things that “we” were doing (and sometimes still do) at the time. Also, criminality in Italy is everywhere, it's always been and probably will always be, especially when the government is so corrupt. Those guys asking for castration are supposed to be the leaders of the country and I'm deeply ashamed by the lack of intelligence they display at every turn. A country that has such a long beautiful history should come up with better representatives, should have a deeper understanding of history and change, should inform his own people better on all important issues. Every time I go back to Italy it surprises me how little people know about the real motives behind most of the political choices made by “the world leaders”.

Ultimately, it's just sad how a nation of supposedly great culture can be lowly and hollow.

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posted on: 18 June 2005

Development (?)

filed under:opinions @ 08:43:21

Multimillion contracts to add a wing to the latest American resort:

..and the contractors are the usual suspects..

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posted on: 27 May 2005

..and the rich get richer

filed under:opinions @ 14:32:05

Another interesting article on the Guardian :

For a more comprehensive understanding the Guardian has a section dedicated to International aid and development

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posted on: 26 May 2005

Oil, oil, oil

filed under:opinions @ 09:38:56

From the Guardian:

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posted on: 15 April 2005

Oil for food

filed under:opinions @ 19:04:52

Oil (or some other resource) is the reason for most of what happens nowadays in the world, over and over:

Oil for Food (BBC) plenty of links from there

Everybody should be able to see it, right?

...wrong!

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posted on: 15 April 2005

Rage and violence

filed under:opinions @ 13:41:39

..in those caverns of eternity which open into every soul and which are filled with rage and violence until the time comes when they may be stored with wisdom and love..

..this cannot be until there are no more fools, for until the last fool has grown wise wisdom will totter and freedom will still be invisible..

From "The crock of gold" of James Stephens, poet and storyteller, born in Dublin in 1880.

Food for thought in times like these we are living in.

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posted on: 01 April 2005

More and more

filed under:opinions @ 09:26:43

Step by step they are getting everywhere:

Today is the 1st of April but those are not April's Fool jokes..or maybe they are and I cannot appreciate the humor.

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posted on: 18 January 2005

Not enough?

filed under:opinions @ 14:14:45

What's been done until now is not enough apparently.

I keep repeating the same thing:

Genius has a limit, stupidity is limitless.

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CSS,Javascript and Php studies

Anti spam email
A solution to writing an anti spam email contact link
filed under: Javascript
Background image
A background image randomizer that I used in the second version of this site.
filed under: Javascript/CSS
Javascript menu
A menu that uses Javascript and session cookies.
filed under: Javascript/CSS
MiniSite
Experimenting with CSS and Javascript.A simple but, in my opinion, nice navigation “system”. The MiniSite is a one page site.
filed under: Javascript/CSS
Photo display
Protect copyrighted photos: a simple but effective solution.
filed under: Javascript/CSS
Photo gallery
A photo gallery made for a friend
filed under: Javascript
PHP menu
A PHP menu that can be updated without having to re-publish all the pages is on.
filed under: PHP
Pop-up menu
A very simple pop up menu powered by Javascript. It works also if Javascript is disabled.
filed under: Javascript/CSS
RSS feed
How to write and use an RSS feed
filed under: rss-xml
Tag replacer
The Tag replacer explained and a link to it.
filed under: PHP
Tags search
A search form build and powered using Javascript and the DOM
filed under: Javascript