Thursday, March 29, 2007
It certainly appeared that Guido had stepped into the gladiators arena, only to find out that he was going to be fed to the lions anyway - indeed, I didn't know what was more humiliating, watching Guido uming and r-ring, or watching the self-righteous Jeremy Paxman step in to 'defend' Guido. Either way, Guido certainly looked like a right first-class 'prat', as described by Michael White.
There are a few serious lessons to be learnt when dealing with the likes of Michael White on TV - for a start, you had better make sure you know off-by-heart every imaginable question that might be thrown up. Secondly, have (at the very least) a half decent progressive answer for those questions - or else you might end up looking like Guido - a laughing stock.
A few choice words on this matter from the Devil's Kitchen, well worth reading.
Also, Benedict White over on the Conservative's blog now wishes he had never voted for Guido in the first place to appear on Newsnight.
Oliver Kamm, the anti-blogger, who describes himself as being 'hostile to the whole medium of blogging', throws in his two penth worth here.
Finally, some words from Guido himself, who said 'the live interview was definitely a mistake and against my better judgement'. You can say that again!
Probably that was what Winona Rider was doing when she was busted.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
Once again I would like to thank him for the immediate response and sympathy that allowed the following interview:
Eric Langager (EL) - Who am I? The story really begins with my grandfather, who was from
You already lived in 4 different countries (
(EL) - Kipling said that "East is east, and west is west, and never the twain shall meet."
What was the biggest shock when you start living in
(EL) - You know, I went through major culture shock when I moved to
(EL) - First of all,
But the modern leadership is not this way. The days of one man being able to arbitrarily overrule the party are history (at least for now). Don't get me wrong, Hu Jin-tao is not just a figurehead. He is an executive, much like the
Now, as to the main part of your question: What is it like? Well, when times are good economically, it's great. I took a drastic cut in pay to come to
But what would life be like in an economic downturn? There could be problems, because corruption is quite widespread in
We talk about censorship in
(EL) - Basically, if you can read English, you can get the information you need in this country. I read the
Chinese people seem to be amazingly resigned to getting news from the sources that are allowed to them in Chinese. This is not all bad, because there are some very good papers in
In your opinion, how does the Chinese people perceived the western countries?
(EL) - Generally favorably. The
(EL) - Deng Xiao-ping's economic reforms lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty (at least the population of the
Still, many more people than before have the money to provide their children with good education even if they did not pass the National Entrance Examination.
(EL) - Well, I alluded to it before...I don't know, I guess I just like being able to decide for myself how modern I want to be. I ride a bike, but I carry my laptop with me.
Being connected to technology what was the best inovation for you? And what innovation do you want to see in the future?
(EL) - The most useful innovation since I have been in
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
I have to admit that the system is quite different from the one that regulates my country. Here is mandatory to have an ID card and to always use it (if you don't have the policemen can take you to the police station to identificaty). But for this system to be secure (and not misused) there is one thing that must be always present: there can not be any cross reference to other personnel information. I know that this is difficult to secure, for instance when you open a bank account you have to put your id card number, but is quite effective. There is no direct link from this information database with another (for example a person has a different ID card number, Social Security number and Tax payer number and these informations are independent and it is prohibited for the state to have a common database with this information).
These rules were created so that the state isn't able to hold complete information about a citizen and misuse it like it already happen in the past. This notion is vital for the all system to work, otherwise politicians will have access to much information that is not necessary for them.
I know that we now live a time where security is almost number one value of many regulations and we are losing our freedom for that. For now it is not yet present the danger of these changes because we still live in an open democracy but what about in the future? Is this the ID(eal) system to protect us or will be more helpful for future leaders that will be more totalitarians?
I think that we are slowly loosing our freedom, not understanding that this will have a major impact in our future freedom of choice and speech.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
To find out if your own site is available to be viewed in China simply take this test that I discovered over at the heavyweight Conservative blogger Elle Seymour .
If anyone has any ideas as to why WoS in banned in China, I would surely like to hear it.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
"Dear Mr. Stran
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Monday, March 05, 2007
The work done by Atran is fascinating, especially the “African magic box” experiments, but I think he takes his findings a step too far.
“Why do we cross our fingers during turbulence, even the most atheistic among us?” asked Atran when we spoke at his Upper West Side pied-à-terre in January.
I don’t. In fact I quite enjoy turbulence, especially if it’s a long flight. For what it’s worth, I’m not superstitious: I don’t cross my fingers, I don’t mind the number 13, I don’t touch wood, I walk under ladders and on cracks, etc. I’d also quite happily put my hands in Atran’s magic box. I rather suspect I’m not alone in this.
This isn’t to deny that there’s a general tendency towards beliefs in the supernatural in some form. However, it’s far from as strong as some people seem to think. Most superstitious behaviour is probably a result of upbringing – it’s always difficult to shake off the beliefs you were brought up with, and they often remain, lurking, at the back of your mind – and the, understandable, desire to somehow influence events beyond our control.
I’d bet that Atran had a far more ”religious” upbringing than I did – the opening paragraph of the piece seems to confirm that. Which might explain why it appears to be a lot harder for him to shake off superstitious beliefs than for me.
Atran says he faces an emotional and intellectual struggle to live without God in a nonatheist world, and he suspects that is where his little superstitions come from, his passing thought about crossing his fingers during turbulence or knocking on wood just in case.
For him, atheism is counter-intuitive because he was raised to see the world in a completely different manner. For me, it’s the opposite way round: I find theism to be counter-intuitive and I’m far more comfortable with the atheistic, naturalist view of life.
That the God-shaped hole is more an environmental than biological issue would also seems to be confirmed by the changing attitudes towards religion in the UK, as shown in this Telegraph article. Atran, presenting himself as a typical case, argues that his superstitious side will probably become stronger as he becomes increasingly aware of his impending demise. However, an increasing number of people seem to be heading in the opposite direction.
Friday, March 02, 2007
In terms of internal affair his policy also failed, but I believe that it is better for Americans to write about this subject (I am an outsider).
The worst part, the part that American citizens are guilty is that he won two elections. While the first was very imprecise, the second one was clearer that USA citizens had a chance to change for better and did not take it. You can say that Democratic Party had a weak candidate, but I think when making a decision you have also to take into account the team behind the man and the republican team was really bad.
Now that every thing is almost over, we can just hope that in future the presidents will be better and able to correct so many mistakes. Bush was a terrible president and work only for his personnel goals. He clearly was not the right president.