Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Unicorns exist ! (At least they do in French)

Imagine my surprise when I see that the President of France talking about increasing the number of unicorns in France. Is it April First?

Nope, your French dictionary may be dated, but Antidote (https://www.antidote.info/en) came to the rescue:
économie – Jeune entreprise du domaine des nouvelles technologies qui, sans être cotée en Bourse, est estimée à plus de un milliard de dollars

That's "Young company in the field of new technologies which, without being listed on the stock exchange, is estimated to be worth more than one billion dollars" in English. Not to mention this is a really good term since some of these companies really have zero assets.

Their real assets are YOUR INFORMATION which they sell.

Maybe some of these companies actually have a product, but they sell airware for the most part.

Here's your unicorn.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Let's do Malcolm X's birthday instead of MLK!

Malcolm X, who became El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, is a very interesting person to me. He should have told the teacher who said he shouldn't be a lawyer, that he would be the best at whatever Malcolm put his mind to. 

He was.

And he made an impact in the Nation of Islam, enough so that he was probably under more FBI surveillance than MLK ever was. I watched the Netflix series on Malcolm X's assassination and I am even more convinced that his talent was wasted by that event. The FBI feared a charismatic black leader, which is a reason I think that even was allowed to happen. It was also why Fred Hampton met the same fate.

I'm not going to address the FBI and other "Law Enforcement" surveillance of either of these men, but it was extensive. But the threat they both posed as charismatic black leaders is dangerous, but the real threat was that they both were moving toward a rainbow coalition. The fact that oppressed people can be any race, creed, or colour.

Malcolm Little became El Hajj Malik El Shabazz because he made the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. That trip opened his eyes to see that Muslims can be any race. Which was a dangerous event for the Nation of Islam. 

Think if both of these men, Malcolm X and Fred Hampton, had gone on to unify people to work together on the problems of society. They were formidable leaders who would have made Berniemania look like nothing. 

Sadly, both of them were cut down way too early.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Just when you thought it was safe...

 I was going through the French press and saw a headline about "duck bill masks" ("bec de canard") and wanted to find out if the term was slang. You are probably aware that cloth masks are pretty much worthless. That's where FFP comes in, or:

FFP2 is actually classed as a respirator, rather than a mask, meaning they offer better protection. FFP stands for "Filtering Face Piece", with the number corresponding to the level of protection the piece provides, 1 being the lowest level of protection and 3 being the highest.
So, these are a little more than the fashion statement that cloth masks make. I'm not sure how effective they are in real life since the one study used the FFP3 masks, which are the most effective of this type of masks.

 Alas, I am not trained to a level where I can make strong opinions on this issue, but people who are and I respect say that this virus may need to be accepted as a fact of life.

Interesting links:

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

More reasons you need to be concerned about monopolies and oligarchs

 Yet another interesting interview by Russell Brand on why you should be worried about the current situation:

Wanting strong data protection laws isn't "privilige": it's sanity.

The billionaires made money on your information. And it all gets scarier.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Aux Armes, citoyens!

 Imagine my surprise seeing this headline in Le Figaro after listening to gun nuts extol how the US is the beacon of "gun rights" and gun ownership. Here's the link, but you need to:

  1. Be a subscriber to Le Figaro and
  2. be able to understand French

to be able to read the article.


Yes, the French aren't "victims" to use the Gun Culture paradigm since they can get a firearm for protection. Sure, they have to undergo some form of serious background check before they can get permission to own them, but France is in 24th place for armed citizenry in the world with a ratio of 19.6 guns per 100 inhabitants. Or 12 million weapons in civilian hands in France.

Anyway, it was amusing to see an article like this in a French newspaper since the gun nuts like to claim that the US is somehow "unique" in the ability to own firearms. This article could have come from a US newspaper, which is the source of my amusement. Here are a few excerpts:

"Stop hoplophobia", chanted the activists of the Association for the Restoration of Citizen Carry of Arms (Arpac). Hoplophobia? "The irrational fear felt by some people at the mere mention of a weapon, where a normal person distrusts the one who carries it," they say. On Facebook, their page has more than 45,000 subscribers - three times as many as five years ago - who promote self-defence and the carrying of weapons for "responsible citizens". With a firearm, "you are no longer a victim, but an actor in your own safety", they insist...

Does he see himself shooting a potential burglar? I'm going to take all the necessary measures to prevent that from happening," he says. I'm going to install an armoured door and close the shutters every night. But I can imagine myself taking the gun out of the window and firing it into the air to scare the attacker. What is not possible is to stand by and do nothing...

Marie-Hélène, who lives alone in her house in the heart of a small town in the Hérault region, has the same desire to be safe. During the lockdown, "in the middle of the night, the municipal police rang my doorbell: they had seen a man loitering near my gate", reports this 60-year-old widow.
I think the "uniqueness" is less in the ability to own firearms and more in the irresponsible manner that they are owned in the United States. Or as the police advice mentioned in the article says:

Don't shoot if the man happens to be passing through your garden. You would be in more trouble than the offender.