Saturday, July 30, 2005

Nothing new under the sun

I watched a movie yesterday (name didn't stick) about American woman marrying a Muslim and going with him to Iran of the 80s. The movie is western, but Iran is portrayed very well. And what I saw, although it was nothing I didn't know about, was quite a surprise. Before, if someone asked me about Iran I would think "evil ayatollahs", "nuclear warheads", "religious fanatics". That's about all I know about Iran. But when watching the movie I suddenly realized I am looking at something painfully familiar. Something I actually understand. It looked so much like Soviet Union period Russia! Not in big things but in many small details that merge into an atmosphere. The scale of gray everywhere; the poor apartments; the wooden doors; the dirty walls; the attitude of relatives; the job trouble; the patriarchal society (like in Russian periphery); the religious zealotry; the women wearing exact same kerchiefs as Russian orthodox nuns (only in Iran it's all the woman); the dissidents; the "revolution" with it's guardians and beneficiaries; mixture of fear, idolatry, and hate of the "system" in the air; the feeling of a lost generation.
Scary. It has the taste of evil empire in that movie. While I realize that movies distort reality, I also know that it looks real enough. Now, Iran could go down the path of USSR and disintegrate on it's own. But I doubt it. Communists made the mistake of going against Russian orthodox church. Ayatollahs are the “church”. Communists were afraid to use nuclear weapons. Ayatollahs dream to use them as soon as possible. Communists had Regan. Ayatollahs have Bush.
Do the math.

Monday, July 25, 2005


United States Patent Application: 0050156873

This is not a joke. Do not attempt to laught. Microsoft wants to patent smile. Or the computer's "smile face" to be more exact. So smile away, while you can. Soon, you will be able to do so only with MS permission. On Windows? Just agree to the EULA, giving away all but your golden tooth. On Mac? Pay royalties to MS. On Linux? Better smile while you can.

I know I will.

And when the patent is granted, I will be smiling illegali. Because I am a rebel. Because I have no regard for the law. Because I am a danger to the society. Because I want to empeede innovation happening in Redmond. Because I am evil.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005



Today 19th July there is going to be a demonstration in many major USA cities against transfer of jewish population of Gaza strip. List of cities is on the website. See you there!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The right to opinion

It is not a big secret that people often have opinions about things they cannot possibly understand. Such opinions are usually based on second hand information or misinformation, and are nothing more then idle talk by people that don't know any better. On the other hand, there are people that were in the midst of the events, smelled the gunpowder, and formed their own opinion based on first hand experience. So, it should be very simple to make out who has the right to an opinion and who doesn't, right? Not so fast.

For example, what if two people that lived through the same events ended up with opposite opinions? Clearly both had first-hand experience, how come they didn't reached the same conclusions? Maybe their experience wasn't the same? Maybe it is not even about the experience? Take Israel of today. Everyone lives in the same country, but somehow left and right are, to put it gently, in huge disagreement.

Another example. If in order to have an opinion one has to experience the events first-hand, do we ever have hope to know our history? First, just a tiny portion of human history is covered by authors that claim to be witnesses of the events they describe (and way too many of those texts are forgeries, biased or were copied or translated incorrectly). More important, historians that read those originals are not witnesses, and hence are not equipped to separate truth from a lie, let alone to fill in the missing gaps of information! Yet I doubt anyone will claim that good books on history do not exist. Somehow (not often enough) historians do manage to get something right about things long gone and far away. How?

Here is my answer. Every person has his own, built in ability to make out lie from truth and right from wrong. Those who use it, slowly build up a system of values and evaluations. If one tries to at least keep the system self-consistent, lie will always attract lie, and truth will attract truth. The more lies one lets in voluntarily (and there are so many twisted reasons for this to happen!), the more lies will be later added without him even noticing. Our opinions are formed based on those values. The less lies and contradictions exist in the value system, the greater that opinion's right is to exist.

The only way to evaluate other person's opinion for quality is to first evaluate the person himself. This is highly subjective, as our own system of values might be wrong. I personally do not see escape from this deadlock. The only thing we can do is do our best.

In any event, "smelling the gunpowder" is just as valuable to understanding what is going on, as sitting in a bus is valuable to understanding how it's engine works. It can provide some quality info, but only if you know how to read it, and only up to a point.

But then again, this is only my opinion.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Young Monopolist Guide

So, you have an illigal monopoly. Great! Here is a good strategy:
Say you have a monopoly on computer operating system. Adware software makes a lot of money on your customers.
Step 1: Buy the company that creates the best Anti-adware program on the market
Step 2: Bundle the Anti-adware product with your illigal monopoly for free
Step 3: increase price on your illigal monopoly to cover the cost of Anti-adware program
Step 4: Watch yourself becoming the de-facto monopolist in Anti-adware market
Step 5: Buy the company that creates the best adware product on the market
Step 6: Stop blocking (only) it with your monopolistic Anti-adware program
Step 7: Watch yourself becoming the de-facto monopolist in adware market
Step 8: Increase price on your illigal monopoly to cover cost of the adware program
Step 9: Enjoy

For real-world example google for Microsoft. They are now doing just that.

Yellow submarine

This is a keeper. Russian Ortodox church is going to finance ongoing operations of a nuclear submarine. It is called the "St. Georgy the victor". In your face, Bin Laden!

Monday, July 04, 2005


Israeli government just signed a 15 year, 2.5 billion $$ deal to finance terror against itself.

Imagine you live in a desert. The only source of water on your land is a well located right next to the border with your very bad neighbor. So, you give that well to that neighbor as a present. Now you don't have any water left to drink. You are a man of principle however, and will not pay the neighbor for that water because when he was accepting the gift he promised to use the money from selling your water to buy bullets to kill you. Instead, you hire a person to be a middleman between you and your neighbor, and buy the water from him. The middleman, another neighbor, happily agrees although he has his own water to sell you. He wants the other neighbor to buy the bullets.

Back to reality. Once upon a time Barak gave Israel's only source of gas to Palestinians as a present. Now Sharon signed a 2.5 billion $ 15 year deal to buy gas from Egypt. Which signed a 2.5 billion $ 15 year deal to buy gas from Palestinians. Despite the fact that Egypt has a surplus of it's own gas, and has no buyers.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Simple questions

Anybody cares to answer?

General William "Kip" Ward, sent by Bush to middle east to be his right hand in working with Israelis and Palestinians, says that it will take Palestinian autonomy (PA) 10 years to gain control of law, order and it's own armed forces. In middle east things move very fast. Predicting something one week in advance is a very unsafe bet. In 10 years all assumptions general bases his estimation on will be gone 100 times over. In other words "10 years" = "maybe in 10 years maybe never. Not before". Two questions:

1) If PA is not in control who is? And who is going to take control over Jewish settlements that Ariel Sharon wants to evacuate? That's right, Hamas, the real power in Gaza strip. So, why are we doing this again?

2) Is Israeli and US leadership stupid or evil to want to create a sovereign country out of this mess? Worse, Bush wants territorial continuity for this new international entity. It means literally cutting Israel in two in order to create what again?!