Blog 2017



It would be too easy a subject here, criticism on everything that Donald Trump does or says.  It would even be quite counterproductive to spend attention on him.  So I will comment as little as possible, but sometimes it will alas be necessary.

Obviously the same applies to his counterparts in other countries, such as Marine Le Pen in France, Nigel Farage in the UK, and Erdogan in Turkey.  Good luck in 2017 everyone…

2017-06-01 Trump on Climate

Now we can no longer hesitate:  Trump is mad.  We can only hope that some type of revolution will remove this dangerous man from office.

Let's all get together, work on the technology needed, get the job done, and ignore the current USA government.  Our friends in the US know that they are welcome again as soon as the wind in Washington changes.

2017-05-26 G7 in Taormina

There we have it again:  bully Trump says his things, and everyone else is embarrassed, divided, and meek.

Agreement on terrorism, but probably not the right kind of action.

No agreement on climate.  But at least a solid stand of the "G6" against the "G1".  Possibly good…

2017-05-17 Macron's cabinet

Now we know who the ones are we should be wary of:  those who resist change, on the right the conservative 570 who signed a counter-statement (BBC) and on the left Hamon who still thinks in left-right terms instead of solving problems.

Some warning to Nicolas Hulot (not yet made up my mind as to whether I like him or not):  "sortir du nucléaire" is a long-term goal that I agree with, but until we've seriously made our calculations about how to manage the transition to purely solar, we definitely need nuclear, and we need it much more than fossil-fuel based alternatives.  Getting out of nuclear can only happen if any closed-down nuclear power station is 100% replaced with renewables at the same time.

2017-05-08 Thought on "Europe of Nations"

The "Europe of Nations" (read: independent nations) that many want, including Marine Le Pen, Nigel Farage and others, is not a way forward.

We have had that for 2000 years.  It has been 2000 years of continuous warfare among those independent nations, even up to the times the absolute monarchies had been replaced by democracies.

The wars stop when the states have to discuss their problems and follow agreements.  Of necessity those are "supra-national".  Of course they are.

Going back to independent nation states will only lead to increasing political stress, independent actions and later wars again.  There may be vague situations that some would like to bring back out of nostalgia, but those situations had big downsides, which are conveniently forgotten.

There may be different ways forward.  Some form of accepted supranational institutions is an inevitable part of the good ones.

2017-05-07 21:00 French Elections

2/3 versus 1/3, now that's how an election should end, reasonably far away from 50-50.
Hope now that Macron will also act, possibly with the same vigour as Trump, but towards good ends.

More danger from religion

Should any religion get official protection as seems to exist in Ireland?  Read  I completely agree with what Fry said.  We have freedom of speech and certainly should have freedom of thought.  Those who are offended have only themselves to blame.

2017-05-05 Religion creeping in again?

Reading I find the famous confusion yet again.  There is the phrase target "all forms of bullying, including that which is based on religion, race, gender, faith, sexuality, disability, skin conditions, social standing or political persuasions"

So far so good.  But then it goes on to say that "tolerate" is not enough, we should "accept".

Depends.  I would not dream of bullying schoolkids (or anyone else) over whether or not they believe the Earth is flat.  I'll accept the person, but I reserve the right not to accept the manifestly wrong belief.

Will the day come I'm no longer allowed to say that most of religion is wrong?  That we should not tolerate certain religious practices?  Will I have to "accept" everything?

Bullying is one thing.  Accepting arbitrary forms of religion, faith, social standing or political persuasion is another.  I reserve the right to criticise religion, to criticise the overly rich and criticise people of certain political persuasions, and to discuss these issues with them when needed.

"All forms of bullying" should have been enough.  It's the bullying that must be targeted.

2017-05-04 The English language

In Jean-Claude Junker reportedly says that "English is losing importance in Europe"

I doubt that is true.

There is also another aspect:  if we are going to be efficient in the EU (and I hope so) then we need an efficient language to communicate in.  I have long argued that language is a tool, a technology.  There are efficient ones and less efficient ones.  English has many faults (try to explain how to pronounce it), a better tool can be imagined.  But I'm willing to bet that it is the most efficient one we have on the planet today:  all other languages I know or have looked at are far more complicated, convoluted, lengthy and difficult to learn.  Junker's mother tongue was Luxembourgish, try to learn that.

I live in France and can say that my French grammar and spelling is better than that of the average native speaker.  But that also gives me some right to say that French is difficult, archaic, and long.  See my article on language as a tool.

2017-01-23 Funny


The French word "amalgame" is used to denote an incorrect fusion of several ideas that serves to make a point.  The recent website tuckfrump commits such an amalgamating error on its front page.  It writes (I quote):

Telling off Trump Muslims, Latinos, gays, women, moms, Asians, Blacks, Jews, heavyset & disabled people beat back the bigoted bully

All categories mentioned in this quote are of people who did not choose or cannot choose to belong to that category, except muslims.  Islam is an ideology, one can very well decide not to carry it.  Muslims are in the same category as Christians, Buddhists, Judaics, etc.  They are not a race, they do not have a biological condition.

I do not and will not discriminate against any of the other classes, but I reserve my right to oppose bad ideas, such as Donald Trump's, and those of most religions, including Islam.

2017-01-18 Apple lies to you?

I wasted a lot of time updating the Kiwix application on a Macbook Air running Sierra (OS 10.12).  The operating system kept telling me that the app I had just downloaded was damaged and should be moved to the trash.  I tried a fresh download, then from the development server, then from an alternative server, but always got the same message.  The app was also not available from Apple's OSX app store, but it was available for iOS.  Digging down I found a forum which mentioned that since the Sierra version of the OS it is impossible to install an app that does not come from the app store or an identified developer.  The option to install from anywhere has disappeared.  I had to resort to a command-line override of that security feature, and then everything worked fine.  The security measure is understood, I even accept that the security option to download from anywhere has been removed.  What I don't accept is the text of the error message.  It should have been:  "This app cannot be installed for security reasons because it has not been checked".  Apple, don't tell me it was damaged, because it wasn't.

2017-01-16 Vocabulary

Notice that we now have a new political adjective:  "rigged".  The US elections were going to be "rigged" (and apparently they were, but not in the way originally meant).  Now Israel (where many seem to be very happy with Trump) has said that the Paris conference on the Palestinian/Israeli question is "rigged".  A "rigged" conference? (the French news used the word "truquée" for how the Israeli PM qualified it).

If you don't want your opponents to believe something or work for it, you call it "rigged".  Great.

2017-01-17 Brexit again

On the BBC site:  Theresa May's Brexit plan "could see the UK quit the EU single market", according to many of Sunday's front pages.
"could"?  Is that not guaranteed?  Surely the EU should not make a half-in half-out deal, and anyway, it's not for the UK to decide what the situation will be like.

We saw a report on UK TV about prices having gone up. It looks like a larger percentage of people are dissatisfied with that than the percentage that voted Brexit.  Who will they blame next?  And these price hikes only reflect the fall of the pound, not any import taxes.

2017-01-06 Hacking during the US elections

There are a few interesting things here: