June 30, 2010

The World Theatre II - Metapost

It's incredible the amount of messages crossing the network. Words, words, and words in the largest community of people that the world has ever seen. Forums, blogs, chats and declarations that occur in real time or half real time and then die, or later are taken up, as sounds that go with the wind but that someone is able to recover.

Have you ever considered that they all are like echoes of conversations that will remain, perhaps, many years longer than their authors? I do not want to sound tragic, but have you imagined how many existing posts in the network may belong to people who have already left us?

No doubt, the post we do in weblogs will last more than the sound of a conversation in a village street, and if that makes us happy, we can pretend that this is our timeless legacy to posterity. But be careful, it is only an illusion of eternity. Computers are renewed, bits of information are lost here and there, the networks may suffer radical technological change in the future, and even a huge solar storm could wipe out the memory banks.

Whether we like it or not, a server does not have the durability of a stone wall carved in hieroglyphics. However, if the bloggers legacy must serve future historians and anthropologists, we should wonder about the validity of what we write with an aim to remain on the network. Perhaps it is better that it is all lost over time, isn’t it?

June 28, 2010

Transmeme VI

There is no morale in this world, if not in presence of a moralist.

June 25, 2010

The World Theatre I - Alms

I do not usually give alms. I do not mind admitting it. Neither have I a perfect rationale for it based on proverbs, my principles nor past experiences. Just say that I do a donation only if I want to. I do not let guilt or shame change my mind, and it bothers me that someone resorts to them. That does not mean that these situations do not worry me and touch me. Seeing so many people that are extremely needed and forced to appeal to the charity of passers that somehow had better luck is something awful and unfortunately all too common these days. The discussion of whether or not I do the right thing could be very long, so I will not start it today, you can do it, if you prefer.

June 24, 2010

The World Theatre

Don’t you sometimes agree? That the world is a show, I mean. A large theater where the actors and audience mix up, great comedy, drama, opera, in a performance that already started before we arrived and will continue when we're gone. With many acts, with the possibility of choosing (or not) whether to act or be a spectator at every moment and best of all, without a previously written script. Aren’t you a little afraid? Afraid of the stage, I mean. Perhaps that is why I am biased towards putting myself on the spectator’s shoes...

June 23, 2010

Transmeme V

Life is tough for a healthy, white, heterosexual male born in the 1st world. Think of the rest!

June 21, 2010

Answered Questions II – Silicone Valley

Have you ever heard of ‘Silicone’ Valley? 

Sure. Even today  in Spain we hear in some old movie this rough translation into spanish, referring to the area which lies on the west coast of the United States, around San Francisco, known for its prosperous companies in the electronics industry and technology. Every time I hear it I smile.

"What’s the point?" You might say. Apart from a small set of misunderstandings, not much. The place is actually called 'Silicon Valley', because silicon is the element used to produce the majority of electronic circuits back in the 60s and 70s. It happens that 'silicon' in English is pronounced similarly to 'silicone',  named in this way because it is composed of silicon, but whose uses are extensive, including the well known breast augmentation. It is OK for us not-native english speakers to mix these words, but the movie translators should have been a bit more careful.

Where the mistake comes from we do not know, maybe because that place was mistakenly called 'Silicone Valley' for a while, but the fact is that if we seek the real Silicone Valley, perhaps we should go a little further south, to Los Angeles, near the Hollywood film studios. There, many splendid and voluptuous actresses arise, such as those found in some of the movies where that mention ‘Silicone’ Valley.

By the way, to make matters worse, in Silicon Valley, there is no silicon. Do you remember any more of these funny translations into spanish?

June 18, 2010

Transmeme IV

The strength of someone’s principles is directly proportional to the harshness of one's environment.

June 16, 2010

Answered Questions I – Watches and iPhones

Wristwatches are something that I am very curious about. As a concept, not themselves. I'm not a big user of watches, nor collect them either. In fact, for years I have been using promotion watches until they have fallen apart and have even been without any for long periods. Of course, when I see someone with a beautiful and elegant watch, it takes my attention and I like to congratulate him or her on good taste.

Image: Foto Gratis

Well as I said, what attracts me is the concept of the watch itself: at a time, this was one of the most complex pieces of technology in the hands of the general public and has gone through different stages of evolution: string, automatic, batteries, atomic, digital, submersibles, with a calculator and stopwatch, or a real jewelry inlaid in a mechanism that tells the time.

Like a pair of glasses, it was a sophisticated device that served a purpose and over time has acquired an aesthetic and social status, to become almost a fashion accessory. But unlike glasses, it has lost all its usefulness. Today, with a simple phone, or in front of a computer, the time is practically available to everyone. But people keep wearing them, some in pairs, and are still pieces of design and social relevance. A good watch stands out the same as an iPhone.

Is the watch close to see the end of his days? Perhaps, but what is clear is that we find it hard to abandon certain habits. I will not talk about its future, though, but something far more banal.

June 14, 2010

Transmeme III

Stupidity is weightless, therefore it will never reach critical mass.

June 11, 2010

Odious Comparisons III - The major reform

The time is coming... The time of cure, the time when the great reform, the labor reform will take place and solve all our problems. Will be employers and unions, will be the government, will be the International Monetary Fund and the European Community, or the general strike, the ones with the honor of articulating such a tremendous turnaround in the economy of Spain?

As I mentioned in a previous post, an economic crisis is complex, and pretending to have the key solutions seems naive, but something must be done, even if it is just running in the halls up and down screaming uncontrollably. It would be good, though, to remember the story from the beginning (and summarised, in a way I can understand). Please correct me if I'm totally wrong:

 Image: Foto Gratis

Once upon a time, there was a financial system, very little regulated one and eager to grow, as dictated by the laws of good practice. Thanks to the feverish and constructive minds of some of its members and with the connivance of those that relax during good times, such as some governments, insurers and risk rating companies, they found a good balloon to pump on growth.

June 10, 2010

Answered Questions

By me. And by you, if you want. For all questions about human affairs are answered. All of them. However none of the answers is the only truth, so everyone is free to speak.

If you say A, and I say B, we have lots of options: perhaps to convince me about A, or you're going with A on your way and I stay with B, or we decide AB together, excited, or decide to turn around and opt for C (and forget our previous assumptions). Who knows?

June 09, 2010

Transmeme II

Skillsets to become elected and skillsets to rule a country diverge.

June 07, 2010

Odious Comparisons II – Even Whiter

Can we do even whiter? Since I have the use of reason, and since I started watching television and advertising, many years ago, I follow with interest the progress of whiteness.

Often creativity of some advertisements is criticised, especially that of some detergent ads. In my childish imagination I thought at first that advertising should tell us about products and give us rational arguments for us to value whether or not to buy them. I soon discovered that ads do much more, they tell us (or we pretend to tell) who we are, who we like to be, and even more, why we are who we are. How pretentious!

But the advertisement of the detergent which washes whiter than the rest was neither one nor the other. On the one hand, we are mainly talking about the properties of a product, i.e. a detergent soap which washed cloth whiter, but at the same time we plunged into a maze of illogic and irrationality that transcends generations.

June 04, 2010

Transmeme I

I've discovered a magic liquid to lose some weight! It's 100% natural and it is called: sweat...

June 02, 2010

Odious Comparisons I - The exact end of economic crisis in Spain

The current economic crisis greatly concerns the most of us. That's why it seems that every day signs of recovery are searched for, no matter where, as if we expected the desired discharge from a nasty disease.

The root causes and its consequences are no doubt complex, making it very difficult for us to know what measures will relieve us from it, and if they do, when  will that happen. Nevertheless, the urgency is great, and this urgency forces us to seek signs of change under the stones.

Exciting data emerged a few days ago in Spain, which were given considerable publicity, namely that the Spanish GDP quarterly change had become positive (one quarter GDP had grown compared to the previous quarter by an estimated 0.1%, instead of decreasing). With this in mind, we could claim being technically out of recession (a period in which economic activity declines in a country).

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