Live from Brussels

Musings from a bored analyst/project-manager.
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Friday, February 07, 2003
Sovereignity: What is it Worth?

Sometimes people say countries have no business meddling in other countries 'sovereign' affairs. Ralph Peters seems to think differently, and he has some interesting ideas on this: THE SOVEREIGNTY CON.
Blends in nicely with my thoughs on a United Democratic Nations to replace the current United Nations. Quote from the article: The United Nations has become a travesty, a talkathon for tyrants. Right on, if you ask me...

I Really Feel Like Fisking This One

Terry Jones of Monty Python fame wrote some silly analogy in Al Guardian: I'm losing patience with my neighbours, Mr Bush. Basically, he argues that he has the right to bomb his neigbours garage because the man gives him funny looks and Terry is running out of patience. Well, according to Terry, that's how Cowboy Bush would solve it, so why can't he?
In my opinion, writing something like that after Colin Powell's briefing at the U.N. is the summum of stupidity or dishonesty. Would Terry still feel the same if his neighbour was a convicted mass-murderer, who regularly got deliveries from vans marked 'ACNE Ammo-by-mail', or 'Dynamite'R'Us'? Would he still feel the same if the neighbouhoud police officer would refuse to intervene, despite the presence of several smoking guns in his back-yard? Would he still feel the same if that neighbour had broken into the homes of several people in the street already ten years ago?
Well, if he did, we should publish his address on the web somewhere, so that 'certain people' would know where to move in order to have it easier to do their 'jobs'... After all, Terry is no cowboy, and would never lose his patience like one, now would he?

Thursday, February 06, 2003
Damn, This is Funny!

Scott Ott with one of his trademark postings: ScrappleFace: Powell Changes Speech at Last Minute to Satisfy Democrats. Bet this one is going to fly to the top on BlogDex!

Those Unilateral Yankees Keep Going at it Alone...

...says France. Meanwhile, the New York Times reports: Turkey Backs United States Plans for Iraq.
Together with the eight, or ten, or eleven... European countries that already back them, plus nations like Kuwait and Quatar, that makes... oh, damn, I've lost count!

A bit ill

Sorry about the lack of blogging, but I've been feeling a bit ill the last two days, with a sore throat and a slight fever... At least it gave me an excuse to stay home and watch Colin Powell do his thing.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003
Cross Blog Debate on Iraq

N.Z. Bear is running a blogosphere debate between some pro- and anti-war blogs, but he needs your help. Go over there if you are for or against the war, and read what he wants you to do: The Truth Laid Bear: Cross-Blog Iraq Debate: Call for Questions

What's Next?

Brilliant article over at Sergeant Stryker about the future of the space program. I especially liked the closing remark:
Either the Moon will be our Great Pyramid or it'll be our San Salvador; a great monument from a dead civilization or the first place we just happened to land before continuing onward into the unknown.


A little trick I've been using for quite some time now, for all of you newsjunkies out there... On most news sites requiring registration, simply try using these username/password combinations: cypherpunk/cypherpunk or hax0r/hax0r. Worked for me at the BBC, Jerusalem Post, New York Times and probably some other sites as well.
And oh, if these combo's don't work, just register them. I've heard cypherpunk is a 93-year-old Nigerian woman, who earns over $100.000 a year and works in the manufacturing industry... or something ;-) Lives at 1234 Foobar street in Nowhereville, if I recall correctly.

Monday, February 03, 2003
Columbia: Can't Get it out of my Head

Despite the lack of media attention here in Belgium (no mention at all anymore on the Flemish state radio news an hour ago), I can't get the Columbia disaster out of my head. I heard somewhere that the shuttle was doing five miles per second when it happened. I've been trying to imagine that kind of speed, driving home just an hour ago on an empty highway. I was thinking, if you can see two or three miles far on flat terrain, that means about five miles from horizon to horizon, right? (I'm used to kilometres, so forgive me if the calculations are off.)
So, I thought, driving along at 120 km/h (about 75 mph), if the shuttle flew at about ground level, and I saw it coming over the horizon in my rear-view mirror, it would have overtaken me and disappeared over the other horizon in *one* second, leaving behind a flaming trail in its wake. To the people aboard, my car would have seemed to stand still on the road, if they could see it at all through the flaming plasma around their craft.
Now imagine being in there, with all the normal noise of a descent going on (which I heard describe as 'a locomotive thundering by right behind you'), when suddenly the thing goes out of control, walls tear open, stuff flies around, flames everywhere... I just hope for them they were knocked unconscious instantly. I really do...

Let's make sure their sacrifice was not in vain.

Columbia: Belgian Media's (lack of) Reaction

I went to a bunch of Belgian news and portal sites today (GvA, Skynet, Advalvas, Radio 1, Planet Internet, VTM) and none of them seemed to treat the Columbia disaster as anything but a fait divers, or at best a headline story in the foreign news section.
Also the radio news gave little airplay to the whole disaster, giving more attention to a house fire with two dead and some wind damage to some other houses (no injuries) in a small town not far from where I live.
Of the sites I skimmed, only De Standaard seemed to make much of it, with a large article and links to dozens of smaller ones at their front page.
Anyway, it seems like this is a much smaller story here than in '86 when the Challenger blew up: back then, T.V. programs were interrupted for special news bulletins, and the story made big headlines in the papers. Nothing much on the internet, back then, but then not many people were connected to it already.
I don't know what to make of this, frankly. Yet another sign of the growing divide between the old world and the new one?

Sunday, February 02, 2003
Columbia's Voyage Ends

'Oh, no, not again', were the first words that flashed through my mind yesterday. I was busy in the kitchen, making soup in preparation of today's visit of my parents, future in-laws, brother and sister. I took a break, and had a quick look at the sarge's page, when I first read the news. Before the article was halfway finished, I'd already flipped on CNN and saw it happening, again and again and again, from all different angles.
What a tragedy... my thoughts go out to the families of the astronauts.
I think the best way to honour their memory is to continue their dream. It's been, what, twenty years since men last walked on the moon. That is a disgrace: instead of boldly going where no-one has gone before, we're back at square one, preparing for the umpteenth war in human history. That makes me angry, and sad.
To Mars, dammit, and before the end of the decade!