Archive for May, 2012

The latest Facebook ‘app‘ is of German origin: the Zuckerberg Thumbscrew… an old device of restrain and pain put to new use after the recent FB IPO demise.

There is also an improvised cheap app version of the ‘Zuckerberg Thumbscrew’ which can be found at any hardware store…

There is a flipside to everything including the Facebook singular thump-up-like-strategy and the likejacking/clickjacking that comes with such commercial deviation of social media.

click book cover to read a limited selections from one of the many books how the Zuckberg empire works… “The Like Economy: How Businesses Make Money With Facebook” by Brian Carter (*) Click book cover for GoogleBooks link

BE AWARE: what you and me may see as something semi-privat and social is of course nothing else than selling our vanities to the advertisement industry, or is it more a schizophrenic situtaion with us users also profiting from the profit of Facebook by having handy communication tool for “free”?

“In 2011, Facebook made $4 per user per year. To earn its market cap of $100 billion today, it would have to earn five-times that figure per user. This sets up a tug-of-war over user information.”

Click stats to go source web page “Facebook’s Value: What’s the Price of a Billion People Watching Each Other?” by Derek Thompson of ‘The Atlantic’.

(*) To find it in a library nearby  go to worldcat.org for this book and fill in your country

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GREXIT Zeus throwing his thunderbolts through the Euro-pean aether (*)

(*) Grexit: Grexit is a slang term introduced in 2012 in world business trading. It is a portmanteau combining the words Greece and exit, referring to the possibility that Greece could have to leave the Eurozone, and thus would have to readopt their old currency, the drachma. The term was introduced by Citigroup’s Chief Analysists Willem H. Buiter and Ebrahim Rahbari on the 6 February 2012.

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D66 stelde zeer kortgeleden voor – via parlementslid Wouter Koolmees – om de 36 urige werkweek terug te draaien naar een 40 urige en ook Tweede Pinksterdag af te schaffen. Dit alles om de productiviteit van de Nederlander op te schroeven en zodoende ‘de algemene deelname aan het geluk’ dat in gevaar dreigt te komen door de economische crisis, veilig te stellen. Mij zweeft daarbij van alles voor de ogen, zoals ruime een eeuw aan arbeidersstrijd voor de achturige werkdag met het edele doel “acht uur werken; acht uur rusten; acht uur vrij” en de even edele gedachten die volgens de Christenen in de vorm van de heilige geest – na de opstijging van Christus – jaarlijks over de aarde uitgestort worden: “vriendelijkheid; goedheid; vreugde; vrede; geduld; liefde, vertrouwen, zachtmoedigheid.” Dat is zoveel van het goede dat daar echt wel twee dagen voor nodig zijn. Hebben die Democraten die in het jaar 1966 zijn blijven steken en zich daar nu aan proberen te ontworstelen, geen oog voor de verworvenheden van arbeidersstrijd én de gulle gaven van daar boven? Beseffen zij wel wat het betekent om dat alles in de waagschaal te stellen? Want, als we nu met een parlementaire pennenstreek de 36-urige werkweek weer terugbrengen naar een 40-urige, dan ligt het voor de hand, dat met al die crisissen die nog op de loer liggen in de toekomst, we al snel terug bij af zijn, via de 48-urige werkweek tot bij het slavenbestaan van de 66-urige werkweek. Zou dat de ultieme verborgen betekenis van die cijfers in die rare partijnaam zijn, D66?

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hit the picture for a full size view

A nice sunday with lots of sun and people enjoying the outside calm of town, or letting some of the outside world in through opening their windows, should be a peaceful and enjoyable thing, where it not for the endemic (*) Buzz Bikers driving their purposely loudest possible  roaring motorbikes (**) through the inner town – especially – to ventilate themselves and their ego’s.

My mind game is imagining the BuzzSwat in action, applied with the same mercy urbanised humans tend to have for an annoying buzz-fly:  SWATTT!

The local police is invisible – seems to enjoy football matches on television in their stations – and something like an ‘Anti-Bikers-Buzz-Squat’ has never been thought of in this permissive city, once home of the bicycle-beer-café with peddling drunken tourists having a good drink and shout (***). Bikers, also,  can freely van their egos around here in Amsterdam.

This message will also be send to our burgomaster who is the first mayor of this town in decades who shows some – hesitant – concern of how “his” city sounds…

We do have all the technology needed to pick these ‘guys’ (no noisy girls on bikes as far as I can see, some but only on the back seat) from the road: sound sensors, fast cameras, helicopters, name it. I am not a biker so I do not know if these bikes have one or modes of operation, within the official noise limit, and outside these limits. If the exhaust system of these bikes have been tampered with, a kind of ‘art of noise’ tuning, to produce maximum effect, the motorbikes are in an illegal state and should be taken off the road on the spot. If the noise production can be hidden at one moment and still be produced at another, a combined system of instant sound and image capture could be used, to collect the needed proof for prosecution and seizure.

I think it will be necessary to also check the motorbike trade for selling and altering such “leisure” products. Motorbikes purposely made noisy, that has no other sense than produce the joy some people must feel, to terrorise their fellow citizens, by temporarily possessing the space and time that is shared with others with the noise they make.

The BUZZ Bikers are criminals stealing the civility of public space.

The poetics of noise, a picture I made March 11. posted on my Facebook page (seems to have vanished there thanks mr. Zucker…) this year when we had a few days of softer weather announcing a spring that was – in hindsight – slow to come. First nice sunday of the year… forget about listening to the birds, “roarrrrr” the bikers take their monsters out for a ride.

Picture I made May 22. when we had a first nice summer temperature evening… and it was spoiled by a constant parade of these motor devils… (posted on that day on The Limping Messenger)

(*) Endemic (as in “disease”) n. : a disease that is constantly present to a greater or lesser degree in people of a certain class or in people living in a particular location

(**) The police of the city of Amsterdam do have special actions and brigades against the disturbance of young scooter drivers, being both a danger because of wild driving and a nuisance because of the noise produced. Also scooters are so high on the wish-list of youngsters that the ones that are not fortunate enough, will steal them. I have witnessed these squads several times and noticed that especially young Moroccan guys were singled out as they seem to excel in breaching a few laws while driving these fancy scooters (though a xenophobic bias can be not excluded at the same time). I asked an officer of such a squad once why they did not also target the noise of the more affluent big motorbike drivers and the hellish noise they produce, as well as super high speed traversing through the inner town, often passing several police stations without any counter action. I was told, that this was “not a priority.”

(***) After years of complaints, beer-bike-cafés have been – almost – forbidden since after a whole series of court cases. The discussion was whether or not a bicycle-beer-bar was still a bicycle or not. A court decided that the maximum width of a bicycle or tricycle was 1,50 meter. Most of the versions going around where more than this measure limit, though inventive entrepreneurs did develop a beer-cycle-bar that stays within the law-limit.

See also my two earlier articles on
– 25/5/2009: ‘Cycling Cafes’: Cycling Cafes and Drunken Skippers in Party City Amsterdam
3/6/2009: Cycling Cafes down the hill in Amsterdam

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This is old news about a book by the Argentinian author Ceferino Reato who managed to interview the former Argentinian dictator Jorge Rafaela Videla in prison and for the first time having Videla speak about the real numbers of people killed by his regime in his vision (7 to 8 thousand persons). The book was published in Argentina a few months ago, but it merits special attention in the Netherlands because the Dutch Royal House has a family relation with one participant in the Videla regime. This relationship has been constantly half denied and underplayed. The policy of the Dutch Royal House and Dutch governments is one of low profile on this issue, in the hope it will be forgotten.

When I checked today  the Dutch library system I did not yet find a single copy in any Dutch public library (available or on order), including the Royal Library of the Netherlands. I will certainly write the last institution  about this omission! (*) “Disposición Final”(final disposal)  is the military jargon – of the Argentinian generals and government – for the murder of those that were seen as a danger to Argentinian society.

click picture for full view

Titulo: Dispocición Final (**)

Autor: Ceferino Reato

Editorial: Sudamericana

ISBN: 9789500738958

Publicado: 13/04/2012

Wondering if the Dutch/Argentinian Royals did read this book already, a book in which the former boss of the father of Princess Maxima Zorregieta – Jorge Rafael Videla (1925-) – confesses finally his involvement with thousands of disappeared people during his government, a government in which Jorge Zorrequieta (1928-) proudly was participating as Minister of Agriculture, but Dutch authorities have refused to start a formal inquiry on his involvement. The picture shows Jorge Zorreguieta during a baptising ceremony of one of his granddaughters. If only he would have been so sentimental when participating in the murderous Videla government…

Jorge Zorreguieta remained outside of prison but when, as said by some, his position was only marginal why did he not speak out about his association to a government that was described by an Argentinian judge – María Elba Martínez in December 2010 – as being the perpetrator of “state terrorism” (***)

Jorge Rafael Videla serving life time sentence in prison

Jorge Rafael Videla as President of Argentina with his Minsiter of Agriculture Jorge Zorreguieta during a state parade in the years of the Argentinian dictatorship. (****)

(*) The Dutch Royal Library is the national library of the Netherlands and has its buildings in The Hague, the town that is proud to be “a world centre of human rights” with its international courts on government crimes and the Peace Palace.

(**) There is a GoogleBooks version of the book “Disposición Final” on the internet and a search fro Zorreguieta does not produce any hit, which does not mean that it is possible that a member of the Videla government of that time would have been totally ignorant of the “state terror” unleashed.

(***) Barrionuevo, Alexei (23 December 2010). “Argentina: Ex-Dictator Sentenced in Murders”. The New York Times 23 December 2010.

Yapp, Robin (22 December 2010). “Former Argentine dictator Jorge Videla sentenced to life in prison”. The Telegraph (London)

(****) One of the many articles on attempts to persecute Jorge Zorreguieta also for his role in the Videla regime can be found in this article of the Argentinian newspaper Pagina|12 (9 September 2011)

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Illustration of the “Erlkönig” by Ernst Barlach (1870-1938); artist signed photograph of Fischer-Dieskau dating from the early fifties; radio is a Philips BX360A produced in period 1946-1947 as we had in our living room, also called “zingende plank” (singing board (slice of timber) as the front was made of recycled wood covered with woven textile. Click picture for full view…

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1925-2012) (*) died today… and in my head I hear his Schubert version of Goethe’s ‘Erlkönig’ (Elf-king) as I heard it often as a boy on the radio:

 “Mein Vater, mein Vater, und hörest du nicht,

Was Erlenkönig mir leise verspricht?” –

“Sei ruhig, bleibe ruhig, mein Kind;

In dürren Blättern säuselt der Wind.”

(“My father, my father, and don’t you hear

What the Elfking quietly promises me?”

“Be calm, stay calm, my child;

The wind is rustling through withered leaves.”)

In the end the father racing with his horse through the darks woods, notices that his son – who was ill and hallucinating seeing beings his father did not see -has died in his arms…

 Dem Vater grauset’s, er reitet geschwind,

Er hält in Armen das ächzende Kind,

Erreicht den Hof mit Müh’ und Not;

In seinen Armen das Kind war tot.

(It horrifies the father; he swiftly rides on,

He holds the moaning child in his arms,

Reaches the farm with trouble and hardship;

In his arms, the child was dead.)

The word “tot” that ends the song, hardly been pronounced by the mouth of Fischer-Dieskau, is dramatically cut off by his lips in a split of a second.

I am listening now to the song again, but not on the radio but on the music streaming service of ‘spotify’ (**) and so  we will keep hearing Fischer-Dieskau’s voice through the never “withering leaves” of our digital age.

(*) And.. yes I know Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau had to join the Hitler Jugend when he was 10 years old, like all German boys of that time, and yes he did perform during the war in Berlin, his first public concert, which is common knowledge, but better to say in these days, far removed from World War II, in which some people may be more touchy than their parents about an unescapable past. The Guardian has a very nice 2005 interview by Martin Kettle on-line with Fischer-Dieskau from which I quote the war passage here:

Fischer-Dieskau was, is, and will always be a Berliner. He has lived through some of the great city’s best times and most of its worst. This most refined and intelligent of artists began his career in circumstances from hell. In early 1943, aged 17, his first public performance of the greatest of all song-cycles, Schubert’s Winterreise, given in the town hall of the Berlin suburb of Zehlendorf, was interrupted by the RAF.

 “We had a terrible bombing of the city that day,” Fischer-Dieskau recalls, “and the whole audience of 200 people and myself had to go into the cellar for two-and-a-half hours. Then when the raid was over we came back up and resumed.” I ask him whether he can remember where in the cycle he began again. “It was Rückblick [Backward Glance],” he grins. “So we looked back to the part already completed.”

 As a conscript soldier he was captured by the Americans in Italy in 1945 and spent nearly two years as a prisoner-of-war. “I believe it forces you to straighten out your thinking at an earlier age than you would otherwise do,” he says. “You have to survive. You have to stay focused, otherwise you will not live. That was my first thought.”

 It was this German experience of suffering and war that partly led Benjamin Britten to invite Fischer-Dieskau to sing in the historic premiere of his War Requiem in Coventry Cathedral in 1962. Britten’s letter – “with great temerity I am asking you whether you would sing the baritone” – tells us something both about the composer and about the grandeur that Fischer-Dieskau had attained in the musical world by then. But Fischer-Dieskau’s memories of the event are mainly about Britten’s nerves.

(**) this is a paying service for subscribers at a small fee, a different version can be heard and seen on youtube all with the last word ‘tot’  and a last chord by the piano (this version, especially the ending, differs from the recording I listened to on ‘spotify’; each performance by Fischer-Diskau must have differed and his mastery must have laid in his ability of recreating a composition in so many ways).

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