Sunday, April 30, 2006

True to their principles?

Hamas is ready to negotiate with terrorists

"if you are willing to accept the principle of a long-term truce, we are prepared to negotiate the terms. Hamas is extending a hand of peace to those who are really interested in peace based on justice."

even after Hezbollah has set the record straight...

"Instead of labeling us terrorist groups..the US should label (US president) George Bush and his aides as terrorists"

Can Hezbollah say 'hypocrites' to Hamas?

Friday, April 28, 2006


This is just so funny...

By the way, Firefox is here.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Quote of the day: Neturei Karta

From an interview of neturie karta rabbi with an iranian newspaper:

"Dr. Majid Goudarzi: Would you like to be eliminated the Israelian government or not?

Rabbi Cohen: Would I not... pardon?

Dr. Majid Goudarzi: Would you like to be eliminated?"

What I think Dr. Goudarzi meant to say was "Would you like the Israelian (sic) government to be eliminated or not?" but his poor english prevented him from delivering his meaning to the rabbi (probably because this is the more natural sentence structure in farci). What heppened next would make Freud proud.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Art of Naming

I am wondering, why "Computer Science" ? It makes sense to be a "software engineer" (you engineer = write software) or "computer engineer" (you engineer = design computer hardware), but what does computer science mean? Science that explores computers? But computers are artificial creations, you don't explore them, you design, build, program, and use them. After all, nobody calls biology "microscope science", astronomy "telescope science", or physics "particle accelerator science". It's just silly. Not to mention that computers are no longer the only devices around that perform computation. I think the neatest thing would be simply call your science "science", but, damn, mathematicians already got away with it (mathematics is "science" in Greek) and will fight for the turf.

So, what are we, the bastard children of mathematics to do? The name is incorrect to the point of hordes of casual computer users being tricked into thinking that a "computer scientist" should know something about computers. Not so. What computer science studies is computation. As a result, we get chased around by people with broken computers, people with broken computers get upset because nothing gets fixed, and all this while people that should be doing the fixing are hiding behind some obscure "software developer in test" title.

Should "computing science" be used instead? Not really, since mathematicians are no less involved in the study of computation. The difference is that if mathematicians study the mountain, computer scientists study how to climb it, and then sometimes climb it, just to prove the point in practice (to extend the metaphor, programmers are "professional mountain climbers" who mostly climb on charted territory).

My personal favorites would be "Algorithm Science" or "Dynamic Mathematics". But then again, who is asking me?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

It's getting better

Abramovich still has 18,3 billion $$$. That's not much, but it is only the clean part of the money. So, don't judge. It's not easy to be a billioner. It's not easy to be the richest Russian with a name like Abramovich either.

Forbes has published the list of 100 richest Russians. The cumulative this year is by 107 Billion $$$ more then the last. That's a juicy 75% growth from last year's 141, up to 248 Billion for anybody who is counting. The most successful #2 in the list made a wooping 8.6 Billion $$$ in just one year, increasing his fortune by more the 200%. Like #1, he is first and foremost in the oil business. The list also features 14 brand new Billioners (20 new names in total), up from last year's 30 - 46% more happy people, totaling 44.

Now, I am not the one to look in someone else's pocket. But I have to ask. What about the people in the government? Personally, I would really like to know how much is Putin worth. Because methinks, he could give this list a boost. I would also like to know how much money is really in those people's pockets. Finally, I would like to know how does one makes so much money so fast in a country that claims to have capitalistic economy and an average salary of 1200$ a year?

At least, for some people it is getting better.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Amazing World of Windows

I am not a big fan of Windows and nowadays Linux is my fancy. The last time I used Mac was about 10 years ago. So, obviously, I am pretty biased in this regard, even though I think justifiably so. Yesterday I was very amused to find an interesting discussion on the web about the benefits of Windows. It all started from a user of Mac who never used Windows before (people like that exist it turns out) being excited about a new program created by Apple called Boot Camp. Boot Camp allows to dual boot OSX and Windows on Macintosh computer (dual boot means being able to choose between working in Windows or OSX when computer starts). This guy finaly got a chance to try Windows without having to buy a new computer to do it, and wanted to know what new exciting applications will become available to him in the Windows world. The question was asked on, which means he was answered by a very big and very technical crowd. What did people came up with? Here is grouping of different types of answers:

1. Games
2. Antivirus e.t.c applications (this is not exciting, this is the grim reality of a Windows user)
3. Applications that came from or are available on Mac (iTunes, Photoshop ...)
4. Applications that came from Linux
5. Games

That's it. Obviously, there are crucial things that are not available on Mac that are not mentioned here. But almost all of them are professional applications, like Visual Studio. Non-professionals don't care about them. So, I guess, games then. Makes it much more clear why Microsoft is ready to loose billions (and it does) in a war with Sony's PlayStation. PlayStation is not using Windows (PlayStation 3 uses Linux) and in effect takes away the last reason for the casual user to ever touch Windows computer.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


My 21st year in the prison is getting near, and unless a miracle happens, here is what awaits me during the week of Hag Herut:

* Hunger
* Overheating
* Slave labor
* Loneliness and depression
* Sickness
* Betrayal


In the prison, during Pessah, there is constant lack of food, and so my hunger is my constant companion. This year will be worse, because kosher for Pessah food that could be bought in prison's stall is stolen by other prisoners. So, now I can't imagine what will happen.


This is a name for all sort of sicknesses that appear as a consequence of constantly staying in overheated premises. Although nowadays the temperature in North Carolina is warn, the prison keeps heating the section in which I live. The section turned into a warm sauna, and my cell - into a pressure cooker.

Slave labor:

I won't have Seder Pessah. I won't have matza. I won't have wine. I won't be sitting, leaning my elbows. Like any other week, during the entire week of Pessah I will be cleaning windows and bathrooms. It is nothing personal. I am just a symbol of Jewish nation.

Loneliness and depression:

Completely alone. No family. No friends. No meetings. I am very worried about my beloved wife Ester, who is now in Jerusalem fighting for my freedom, despite her broken health, absence of money, and absolutely no support from the government of Israel. I miss her more then one can describe in words. My heart tears into shreds with the thought that again we will be spending this celebration of freedom as prisoners.


21 years of constant asperity in extremely hard prison conditions have destroyed my immune system. My blood pressure maxes out measurement devices. I have high cholesterol, chronic rheumatic arthritis, symptoms of approaching glaucoma, brutal cholecystitis attacks, chronic sinusitis, that is often accompanied by nose bleeding, head spinning, nausea, and blinding headaches. Additional stress in a form of lack of food and Pessah asperities will only make the matters worse.


My service for Israel wasn't for some political party, or a specific leader. I came forward for the welfare of the people. I never asked for thanks or medals. But even in my worst nightmare I couldn't imagine that my people will care so little about fulfillment of commandment of "pidion shvuim", and that they will raise to the heights of power the same man who betrayed me 21 years ago. Instead of an outcry to bring me back home in time for Pessah, my people voted for Rafi Eitan, my ex-commander, to be a member of Knesset.

While I am rotting in prison, Eitan is celebrating his victory. That man not only did not provide me with a plan of escape, he came up with the idea to throw me out of the embassy, then falsely testified against me, and then didn't move his finger for 21 years to help me. Worse, for the past 21 years Eitan is sitting on the only copy of a document of supreme importance that could be the key in negotiations about my release. Election of Rafi Eitan is unpleasant for Americans, and I am paying for that with my life.

Don't rely on miracles

Our tradition teaches us not to rest our hopes on miracles. It says that we need to do "hishtadlut", do our best, and the God will do the rest. This message is my "hishtadlut". It is my last outcry from my very heart, from the depth of my soul (min ha amakim), from the depth of desperation (min ha meitzar), a cry from hell tearing apart the insides and shaking the ground, an outcry of heart directed to my brothers and sisters, the entire House of Israel.

For the past 21 years I am bleeding to death in front of the eyes of all the people of Israel. For the past 21 years my cries for help fall on death ears. If, God forbid, time will run out, nothing will pay for this sin of indifferently standing on the blood of a brother.

Hear Israel! Our God! One God! It is time to make teshuva. It is time to repent. It is time for the entire House of Israel to unite in the name of fulfilling one commandment: pidion shvuim, the returning of the imprisoned! Time to act! Time to pray! Time to use the influence! Time to demand!

Only with the unity of Israel we can show the creator of universe that the people of Israel will not be silent any more, will not stand indifferently on the blood of a brother. Through saving one single prisoner the entire nation of Israel can save and reborn itself.

Celebration of freedom is nearing by. The nation should not wait! With the help of God the salvation can come in a blink of an eye! Let this Pessah be the Pessah of our salvation - collective and personal - and let this Pessah bring the miracle of salvation to all Jewish prisoners. Amen!

Jonathan Pollard,
April 2006

Translated by Yury Puzis from Russian version. All errors are the responsibility of translator. This translation is not official.

This letter was recently published in Israeli newspapers. On April 10 Ester Pollard was interviewed by Israeli Channel 2 on TV. Ester said that she just received information from a high-ranking American source that President Bush is seriously considering freeing Pollard right now, in time for Seder Pessah. However, President Bush is reluctant to sign the pardon without official request from the government of Israel. No government of Israel has ever made such a request.

Ester is urging people to contact the office of Ehud Olmert and demand that such an official request be urgently made. This appeal is to you, my dear reader.

There are people in Israel that will try to jeopardize this unique opportunity. One of them is Rafi Eitan, the leader of the Pensioners party. Right now he is sitting in Olmert's office, getting ready to become a minister.

Please, mention this on your blog, and consider contacting Ehud Olmert yourself.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Price of 1 vote: Part 2

In the previous post I talked about the effect of the soldier's vote on the right-wing parties in Israel. And what about the left? Before the vote left parties were numbering 59 seats, 2 short of critical 61, a blocking number in a 120 seats Knesset. After the votes were counted Kadima and Meretz gained one seat each, turning the power into the hands of the left parties. At the same time one of Arab parties lost 1 seat, getting the Arab total down to 9. However, it turns out that one of the Arab parties claims there was an error in count, and a small number of it's votes went to Herut. The issue is still under consideration, but if it turns out to be true, Arabs will take one seat from... Avoda. This will bring the total left-wing seats to 60, costing left-wing parties the short-lived dominance.