Live from Brussels

Musings from a bored analyst/project-manager.
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Friday, June 04, 2004
 
Jail Cam

Bored? Here's a link to a live video stream of a prison in Tennessee... Only in America!

Can you imagine the privacy riots this would cause in Europe?

Thursday, June 03, 2004
 
Woohoo, Gmail!

Just found out that as long-time Blogger user, I'm entitled to a gmail account. So from now on you can also mail me at maarten.schenk@gmail.com. (That link ought to suffice to test the spam filter)

Lucky I found out about this before making the switch to TypePad :-)

 
HoaxDex

Heh, it seems that the site that is currently number two on blogdex is actually a hoax. Funny what a bunch of scared American students with blogs can do to the blogdex ranking of a site. Students with no critical thinking or investigating skills even. I mean, congress dot org? With political ads on top of the page?

And they trust it to give objective information about the possible reinstatement of the draft? Losers! I bet the U.S. Army doesn't even want recruits that are dumb enough to fall for such claptrap...

P.S.: I have not linked to the site in question so as not to further increase the blogdex ranking. Check the blogdex link to find the real URL.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004
 
Who is this 'Marteen' Guy, Anyway?

I've recently noticed yet another example of a French speaker writing my name as 'Marteen' instead of 'Maarten'. The funny thing is, this can't have been the result of a mishearing, simply because he only knows my name from written material (i.e. e-mail I sent).

This particular misspelling of my name seems to be quite common among French speakers. I wonder what the reason might be. It can't be phonetics, that's for sure.

An educated guess: perhaps the double-a has an extremely low frequency in written French, while double-e is (much?) more common. Perhaps French speakers subconsciously 'correct' the spelling mistake they think they see when copying my name from some other text or from memory?

Any French speakers care to comment?

 
WiFi, a Modern Dad's Best Friend

Trying to get some work done, but keep getting interrupted by a crying baby over the babyphone intercom system? You just take the laptop upstairs and camp outside her bedroom so you can quickly pop in that pacifier when it has fallen out again. And you can even get some work done!

Which once more proves: technology is cool! (and so are baby daughters)

P.S.: You are all lucky I'm no Lileks, or this would cover three screens, at least!

Tuesday, June 01, 2004
 
Old TV Intro's

Just spent some great moments reviving childhood TV memories by watching the movie clips at this site:yasin.be. They have some American stuff like CHiPs and The A-team, but also Dutch classics like 'De Film van Ome Willem' and 'De Familie Knots'... Great site if you have fifteen minutes to kill...

 
Viridian Scaredycats

Just stumbled over this issue of Viridian Note via Slashdot. It is a 'Fisking' of James Lovelock's conversion to the benefits of nuclear power to stave off global warming (he's the guy who first floated the Gaia hypothesis). The fact that this guy is now saying this is to the Greens as to catholics as if the pope or a high ranked cardinal would suddenly start advocating the use of condoms to halt population growth.

Quite naturally, his arguments are being 'Fisked', but it is not a very convincing Fisking if you ask me. Most of the arguments against him can seemingly be condensed to:
  • Nuclear power = nuclear weapons
  • Nuclear weapons = very, very bad (no, really, very, extremely baaaaad! Understand!?)
  • And what about nuclear waste? That's very bad too!
  • Carbon dioxide will cause global warming and billions of deaths, all our fault for using coal and oil.
  • But even that would be better than using nuclear anything! Ever!
  • Oh, and Chernobyl and Three Mile Island!
  • Waah! Waah!

    Personally, I've been a believer in nuclear power for a very long time. I mean, it is just another natural way to generate energy: just look at the sun, which is one giant nuclear reactor. Uranium and other nuclear fuels come from mines, which means the stuff occurs in nature under the ground, where it has apparently harmed nobody for aeons. So what exactly is the problem with putting the spent fuel back there? And as to the risk of accidents: those can be minimized by using safe designs and operating procedures. Besides, with nuclear power we are indeed talking about risks of pollution. With fossil fuels we are talking about certainty of pollution.

    Unless of course you just prefer we stop using energy as much as possible altogether and go back to an agrarian society where nobody lives longer than 40 years and we first have to have a mass starvation to get down to 'sustainable' population levels. I strongly suspect some Greens secretly want this, but I hope not many do.

  •  
    The Winds They Are A-changing?

    Louis Michel, our doofus minister of foreign affairs, seems to be changing course from rabidly-anti-American to more moderate, at least according to this: Entre Nous / Musings of a former Belgian: Michel: Belgian foreign policy will change course