Ripping on Microsoft – Fun and educational

So, I wanted to learn how to use Cinelerra, a free open source non-linear video-editing program (http://cinelerra.org/), and what better way to learn than by doing? Triple Baka OS, a little music-video, is what came out of it. It’s little more than a slideshow most of the time, as it was mostly an excersise in syncing images and audio-lyrics in a relevant fashion, fear not, there’s sweet compiz-fusion action towards the end. A 1080p-version is also available on Youtube.

Linux, check.

Ripping on Microsoft, check.

Hatsune Miku, check.

Yes I know it’s bad taste to rip on the opposition to further your own agenda, this was all about having fun and learning something new.

Disclaimer: Non of the resources in the video are my own, I’ve tried crediting the major resources at the end of the video, so that’ll have to do. I doubt Hatsune Miku is going to DMCA me ^^

Anonymous shuts down Australian Government website

…and good on them for doing so. Kevin Rudd and Stephen Conroy have since their election put Australia on the fasttrack to a censorship nightmare, grossly misusing the publics resentment of pedophilia, bestiality, rape and murder as a ruse to implement a government-sanctioned blanket-blacklisting of websites.

If you do not know about Anonymous, learn. The Internet is Serious Business.

Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 8:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Microsoft Gamma-correction

Well, Microsoft Poland messed up royally today, and as the internet goes it’s almost unfair not to kick them when they’re down.

Here’s a little re-imagining of the ad that made you wonder “Just how many heads, bodies, arms and legs does Microsoft keep stowed away on their servers for commercial use?”. Now I know why I think my router whispered a mechanical “d’oh!” earlier today.

Published in: on August 26, 2009 at 5:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

The fallacies of a CCP-supporter

I’m the kind of guy who likes to partake in heated debates from time to time, and China is a hot topic at this point in time. What astounds me about chinese people (in the debates I’ve been part of least, let’s not judge all chinese from my few observations) is the lengths they’ll go to in order to defend their prescious government (yes, CCP-supporters, I’m looking at you). It’s not so much that they believe strongly in what they’re doing is right, but rather the willingness to disregard arguments against them and write them off as silly. Now, I could open up a whole debate on China and human-rights, but that has been done before, let’s not beat that dead horse anymore. Instead I’d like to fokus on the strange retorts I have received over time in various debates; some are utterly meaningless red herrings, others are more cleverly designed. So let’s have a go at it shall we?

“You don’t know anything about China/chinese!” - By far the most common retort. Disregarding that I do, in fact, know something about China/chinese (my wife is chinese), what on earth has this argument got to do with anything? If somebody I don’t know shoots somebody else in front of my eyes, then do I loose my right to have an opinion on the incident since I didn’t know either person? Of course not. Am I not in my right to say what happened was right/wrong based on a logical/ethical basis? Of course I am. If this argument was valid then everyone could be individually right about everything, as they could simply say “You don’t know anything about boys, Greenland, vacuum-cleaning etc. ergo I am right”.

“China has a long history!” - (Argumentum ad antiquitum) This argument is so blatantly irrelevant that it really doesn’t deserve any further explanation. Whatever it is we’re debating, then I’m pretty sure your 10x great-grandparents are applying their palms to their foreheads, in their caskets, at you utilizing such completely off-topic reasons for why you are right about what you are doing now. Arguments are not decided by how long you can trace back your lineage, how old your country is, or whatever illustrious event from times of old you decide to pull out. If there ever was a blueprint for a Red herring-fallacy, this would be it.

“You don’t know physics!” - I’ve given some snappy replies on youtube before, and a staple accusation that one can expect to get in return at some point, is someone telling you how little you know about X schoolsubject (in this case physics regarding the video of the Nangpa La shootings). Yes I know, it probably belongs in the first category as well, however this is one of those “set-and-forget”-accusations which is widely used on youtube which, given youtubes limited character-count allowed in the replies, is hard to reply properly to. “You don’t know anything about physics”, well gee, let me convince you that I know physics in 500 characters. Again, completely irrelevant argument, the point is not whether or not I know physics, the point is whether the physics I apply to the subject is correct or not. It’s a simple “poisoning the well”-tactic, don’t let it fly.

“America invaded Iraq!” - When discussing topics where the CCP has been caught red-handed killing/torturing minorities in their own country, one can be sure this argument is presented sooner or later when dealing with CCP-supporters. There is apparently no limit to the atrocities one can get away with as long as you keep yourself on or below par with countries you hate. It is basically justifying your own actions by pointing to someone else and say “hey, he does it too, so I’m allowed to do the same”, “hey, Peter killed his grandmother, so I can do the same!”, clearly one can see why this reasoning is flawed. In classical logic, this is known as the “Tu quoque”-fallacy, or in the more colloquial tongue “Two wrongs make a right”. Unfortunately arguments like these have a tendency to inflame the receiver, given he (in this instance) is american. The proper course of action is of course to unveil the trap, lest you will be caught in a lengthy discussion about justifying events which has no connection to the topic.
This fallacy has a peculiar little-brother-variation where the CCP-supporter not only commits said fallacy, but starts to hold his opponent accountable for the whole history of his country (or in some cases the whole world minus China). Not only is this wrong because of above-mentioned fallacy, it is also wrong in the sense that one can’t hold other people accountable for actions happening in other places, and certainly not for things that happened in different time-periods where the ethical zeitgeist was radically different from now.

“Free the aboriginals!” – No, this is not the Chewbacca-defense. This is an argument usually applied to the whole “Free Tibet”-issue. Basically the CCP-supporter will demand that aboriginals, indians, zulus, hopis and aztecs should be given back their homeland if China is going to give Tibet back to its native people. Again the timeframe of things is important here, there is, so to speak, a timelimit on how long one can cease ownership of ones country before demanding it back. I’m not the one to discuss this timelimit or the length of it, but it does seem more agreeable that the tibetans get their country back compared to aboriginals getting Australia back, doesn’t it? It’s a kind of over-generalization spiced up with the formerly mentioned tu-quoque. Yes invading America, Australia etc. was probably wrong seen with todays ethical glasses; back then, though, it was accepted. That does not mean one can do the same today however. If people could agree on an “expiration date” then that could be an interesting debate all by itself, as not only Tibet would be in question, but also the whole deathmatch-arena which is the West Bank today.

“My chinese newspaper doesn’t say anything about it, ergo it didn’t happen!” – This is the real danger in arguing with CCP-supporter. Sooner or later they are going to demand evidence of your “preposterous” accusations, but apparently not just any evidence will do. No, they will demand chinese sources that supports your argument, which is kind of like asking a bear to wipe your ass after a trip to the little boys room. The reason for this has to do with the reigning political party in China, the CCP. They have a snazzy little law in place that endows them with the power to suppress any information they might deem “sensitive” and at risk of unsettling “social stability”. This “sensitive” information is just a whitewashing of censoring stuff that might turn chinese against their own government; in other words: issues like Tibet, persecution of religious groups, human-rights-violations etc. gets silenced because such grotesqueries could make even the most proud chinese citizen squirm with disgust. The result is of course that all outside information critisizing China will be dismissed as anti-China, political activism, propaganda, etc. even by normal chinese citizens. The Tiananmen Square Massacre, for instance, didn’t happen in the minds of most chinese because of this suppression of information. The success of this argument can be contributed to the rigorous conditioning mechanics set up inside China mentioned above. The nr. 1 news-source in China is the state-controlled Xinhua News Agency receiving beforementioned censorship-treatment, the internet is DNS-filtered, certain keywords are filtered, and surfing is monitored to keep people from getting “too curious”. My personal favorite, which really shows the absurd machinery at work, was the designated protest-areas during the Olympics. They were promoted as so-called “Free speech areas” where people could voice their protest, however in order to protest there you had to get the governments permission, which kind of makes the whole idea silly.
It’s a rather strange feeling for a westerner to be confronted with an argument as this. It just seems unreal and outlandish to be accused of being a government-sockpuppet well-knowing that governments in the western world are at the mercy of its people; it takes less than one wrong word on television, one affair with an intern or one unfortunate childhood-association to force politicians to throw in the towel in the western world, simply because the publics opinion matters here. To even think that just two newspapers would conspire to publish false news seems strange indeed, given that they would be doomed if/when it is discovered and loose all credibility towards their readers, and thus their income.
The way to dismantle this argument is to appeal to the persons common-sense (remember, it isn’t just CCP-supporter who think this, normal chinese do too): which is more likely? That hundreds (or even thousands) of news-sources all-around the world is partaking in some kind of global conspiracy to make China look bad (for no apparent reason, of course), at the risk of getting blown out of the water by a competing newspaper and incur the publics wrath? Or that their own government-controlled news-source is lying to the population in order to boost national pride while demonizing the outside world, which in turn translates into more support for the government who instigated the censorship it in the first place? If one trusts ones government so much, why disallow foreign journalists entry to places of newsworthy interest in the first place? Or in other words: if you say the paint is dry, then why am I not allowed to sit there?
It is by far the most annoying argument, because it is hard to point fingers at something when the one you are arguing with denies its existence zealously, and dismisses any evidence a non-chinese might have a chance at finding (and even prohibits people from taking a look themselves). One has to ask oneself whether or not these people actually wants to play internationally or not, since it’s kind of hard for kids in a sandbox to play with each other if they do not recognize each others existence.

What I’d really like to know is “Why?”. Why do chinese believe we’re all out to get them somehow, make them look bad, instill civil war, rape their women and steal their candy? How could a guy like me possibly benefit from this? I really don’t know. I know though, that a lot of my stuff is made in China, and having China go belly-up would not really help me get cheap stuff. I also love computers, and if China stopped making components then that department would suffer too, I don’t want that. So why?

My own reason for debating is pretty noble (none of the people who I debate with thinks so, though): I don’t like suffering, not in myself or in other people, nobody do, those who do are either monsters or have exotic sexual preferences. I want people to have as much personal freedom as possible without it infringing on other peoples same freedom, anybody do, except people who want to be led by the nose and, again, people of exotic sexual preferences. It is not politically motivated but rather ethically (in the philosophical sense) motivated instead.

And so we are at the end of my little rundown of fallacies most often committed by CCP-supporters. For your viewing pleasure I’ve found a little youtube-video that gives a quick overview of logical fallacies (in the video applied to religious beliefs). Learn them, use them, logic is never wrong. I warn you though, exposing yourself to logical reason in excess might come with the following side-effects: increased intelligence, shattering of ones worldview, making people annoyed at you always being right, being less likely to fail even when you want to. Until next time, fellow humans ;)

Published in: on August 20, 2008 at 3:17 am  Comments (1)  
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A new day, a new anime desktop-theme

The other day I got a bit bored and decided to try and spice up my desktop a bit. I love linux, and I love anime, so I figured I’d try and combine it in a theme. I’d been trying to find a good premade theme on deviantart.com and gnome-look.org, but no cigar (1440×900 is a horrible resolution to find fitting wallpapers to, mark my words). In the end I had to break out Gimp and throw something together myself.

The Gnome-theme is Slickness Black.

The wallpaper is something I scissored together from various sources (deviantart and google image-search), I didn’t ‘paint’ any of it myself, so kudos go out to whoever made Firefox-tan, Ubuntu-tan and the background.

I tried, for once, to make something that looks snazzy even without compiz-fusion or some funky dock-application, and I think it turned out pretty well. Nevertheless I’ll probably look into trying to integrate compiz-fusion and awn into the theme.

Published in: on July 25, 2008 at 8:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

A little exchange between Dansk Standard and I

A little over a month ago I was dumbfounded by Denmarks yes-vote on the whole OOXML-ISO-debacle. So I wrote to Dansk Standard (the danish national ISO-board), and had quite an email exchange. Which I will post in the following, in its entirety. The exchange is in danish though, but if anyone wish care to translate, I will not mind. Ok first my original letter :

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Fra: Henrik Peytz [mailto:
Til: Dansk Standard
Emne: En lille skrivelse fra det Danmark i repræsenterer

Jeg skulle høre hvordan at I kan retfærdiggøre den fadæse af en stemme til ISO vedrørende OOXML godkendelse som standard?

- Der ER allerede en ISO-standard på det pågældende område, den hedder ODF og det ved I højst sandsynligt godt.
- Det er helt sikkert at der er flere fejl i OOXML-specifikationen end de 168 kommentarer I har fisket frem.
- Hvis man mangler tid til at gøre noget grundigt, så udbeder man sig mere tid.
- Hvis at man er i tvivl efter at man efterfølgende har stemt “ja, med kommentarer”, så betyder det ikke at man er tæsket til at svare “Ja” hvis de kommenterede fejl bliver rettet og der derefter viser sig at være andre fejl i specifikationen.
- Hvis man véd at 7200 siders specifikation er meget at tygge sig igennem (og at det forholder sig på samme måde med resten af verden), så protesterer man og beder om MERE TID til at gøre et ordentligt arbejde, på egne, alle andre medlemmers, og de lande I repræsenterers vegne.
- Hvis hele stemme-processen har været præget af korruption, urent trav, stemmer der pludselig bliver væk, lande der stemmer nej i mødelokalet og efterfølgende figurerer som ja på resultat-tavlen; alt sammen på vegne af det firma hvis specifikation man stemmer om, så godkender man det principielt ikke. Man anmoder om en genafstemning, trækker sin stemme tilbage eller stemmer imod det moment der har forsøgt (og haft succes med, lader det til) at forpurre processen til egen fordel.

Har I tekniske og ærlige folk med en hvis sans for moral og samfundets bedste i sinde siddende derinde, eller er det en flok jakkesæt der bare ikke KAN sluge den kamel det ér indrømme at man har gjort noget ufatteligt dumt? Hvorfor, Dansk Standard HVORFOR?!? Det er en rigtig dårlig aprilsnar I har gang i.

- Henrik Peytz

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At this point I thought the mail was going to be instinctively vertically archived. To my surprise though, they responded to my mail:

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Kære Henrik Peytz
Problematikken omkring ODF og OOXML er svær. ISO’s og IEC’s målsætning er “One standard, accepted everywhere”. Så det kan selvfølgelig bruges som argument for at afvise OOXML, når nu ODF er accepteret. Men ODF vil ikke blive “accepted everywhere”, det ville betyde, at en væsentlig standard på markedet lå uden for ISO/IEC regi. Og det går den ikke væk af.
Der er muligvis flere fejl end de 168 kommentarer. Men det danske udvalg udførte en stor og seriøs indsats, der førte til formuleringen af de 168 kommentarer. Så de burde dække de væsentlige punkter. Vi har haft meget dygtige folk med, herunder en del fra “modstanderne”.
En fasttrack procedure indeholder ikke optionen “mere tid, tak”. Ideelt set kunne det have været optimalt med mere tid, men vi har ikke haft den mulighed at bede om mere tid.
Det er lidt svært at sige “vi accepterer, hvis I retter disse 168 ting” og så efterfølgende, når de er blevet accepteret som rettelser, sige “vi har i øvrigt også nogle andre ting”.
Nu er standarden accepteret som ISO/IEC standard. Men det er jo ikke enden på det. En standard skal vedligeholdes, hvis den skal forblive ISO/IEC standard, og her kan den tilrettes.
Jeg kan selvfølgelig ikke udtale mig om processen i andre lande, men generelt er jeg fuldt tryg ved, at der er styr på processerne i de nationale standardiseringsorganisationer. De ting omkring stemmer, der bliver væk osv., som du peger på, er løse rygter og ikke fakta. Der har fx ikke været nogen “resultattavle” på det møde, hvor kommentarerne blev behandlet.
Selvfølgelig har vi sans for moral og samfundets bedste. Det er en noget løsagtig omgang med disse begreber at påstå andet uden at have sat sig ind i vores processer og overvejelser. Det kan godt være, at det i din optik er meget enkelt, hvad der er den rigtige løsning på denne sag, men det har det ikke været for os – vi har overvejet nøje, hvad der talte for og imod at godkende standarden.
Venlig hilsen
Jesper Jerlang
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At this point I replied by ‘cutting up’ this last mail and commenting directly on individual sections. For the sake of avoiding repetition I’ll only post my responses :
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Det giver ikke mening at tale om  ‘modstandere’, det er en saglig vurderingsproces der skal foretages hvor der ikke er plads til bias, hverken personlig eller økonomisk.
Det er svært, ja, men af de forkerte grunde. Blot fordi  man risikerer at ‘tabe ansigt’ ved at sluge kamelen betyder ikke at det er rigtigt at lade være.
Hvis formanden for et nationalt standardiserings-organ indsender en officiel klage til ISO vedrørende hans eget lands proces, er det vist en smule mere end blot løse rygter.
Jeg er godt inde i hvordan ISO-processen forløber, omend overvejelserne omkring emnet endnu ikke er kommet for dagens lys så vidt jeg kan se. Problemet er jo netop processen når man kan overloade et board med P-members og influere godkendelsen af sit format via disse. Jeg siger ikke at det nødvendigvis er dette der er sket i Danmark, men jeg kan svært forestille mig at der ikke har siddet folk med ved bordet der har haft andre hensigter end at gøre det der er i samfundets bedste. Enten dét, eller også må de ny-udsprungne tekniske mekkaer Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan og Elfenbenskysten virkelig være fremme i skoene når de kan nå frem til samme konklusion som Danmark.

Kunne I evt. offentliggøre de overvejelser der har gjort at I valgte at stemme for? De bliver under alle omstændigheder aktuelle når EU skal undersøge sagen i forbindelse med deres undersøgelse af MS Office.

Mvh. Henrik Peytz

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Here it gets a little tricky with the mail as we’re now commenting on each others comments. I’ll restate my mail, and his comments to them (blue text is his response) :
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Det giver ikke mening at tale om  ‘modstandere’, det er en saglig vurderingsproces der skal foretages hvor der ikke er plads til bias, hverken personlig eller økonomisk. Jeg er enig, det er også derfor jeg har anførselstegn omkring. De danske deltagere har generelt haft et højt faglig niveau og arbejdet meget seriøst.

Det er svært, ja, men af de forkerte grunde. Blot fordi  man risikerer at ‘tabe ansigt’ ved at sluge kamelen betyder ikke at det er rigtigt at lade være.  Det er ikke noget med at tabe ansigt. Udvalget lavede et grundigt arbejde i sommer/efterår, og selv om det er et stort dokument, så er jeg tryg ved, at de havde fat i de vigtigste ting. Og disse ting har vi fået igennem. Der var tale om et betinget ja, da vi stemte i efteråret, og disse betingelser er blevet opfyldt. Og det er simpelthen grunden til, at vi har stemt ja. Hverken mere eller mindre, og det er hvad der fremgår af vores hjemmeside, så vi har ingen skjulte eller ikke-offentliggjorte overvejelser bag.

Hvis formanden for et nationalt standardiserings-organ indsender en officiel klage til ISO vedrørende hans eget lands proces, er det vist en smule mere end blot løse rygter.  Den kender jeg ikke til?

Jeg er godt inde i hvordan ISO-processen forløber, omend overvejelserne omkring emnet endnu ikke er kommet for dagens lys så vidt jeg kan se. Problemet er jo netop processen når man kan overloade et board med P-members og influere godkendelsen af sit format via disse. Jeg siger ikke at det nødvendigvis er dette der er sket i Danmark, men jeg kan svært forestille mig at der ikke har siddet folk med ved bordet der har haft andre hensigter end at gøre det der er i samfundets bedste. Enten dét, eller også må de ny-udsprungne tekniske mekkaer Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan og Elfenbenskysten virkelig være fremme i skoene når de kan nå frem til samme konklusion som Danmark.
Det med mindre seriøse medlemmer i ISO, der influeres af en enkelt spiller på markedet, er desværre et problem, vi ind i mellem støder på i ISO. Der er meget fokus på at minimere risikoen for den slags, men det er en balance, for strammer vi reglerne for meget, så går det også ud over seriøse lande. Heldigvis er det undtagelsen og ikke reglen, det sikrer ISO’s regler trods alt, men netop i en sag som denne, kan jeg da sagtens forestille mig, at det sker. Under alle omstændigheder kan vi ikke lade vores stemme afhænge af, om der er andre lande, der ikke arbejder seriøst.

Kunne I evt. offentliggøre de overvejelser der har gjort at I valgte at stemme for? De bliver under alle omstændigheder aktuelle når EU skal undersøge sagen i forbindelse med deres undersøgelse af MS Office.
Det mener jeg som sagt, at vi har gjort.
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So…the head honcho in Dansk Standard who’s overseeing the danish processing of the most controversial ISO-vote to date does NOT keep tabs on what is happening on other national ISO-boards? I play nice and give him a link :
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Hvis formanden for et nationalt standardiserings-organ indsender en officiel klage til ISO vedrørende hans eget lands proces, er det vist en smule mere end blot løse rygter. 

Den kender jeg ikke til?

http://digi.no/php/art.php?id=517414

Tak for svarene, forresten.

Mvh. Henrik Peytz

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To which he replies :

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Tak for den info, som jeg ikke havde set (endnu). Jeg var opmærksom på, at der var ballade i Norge, og set udefra virker det også som om, deres proces kunne have været håndteret bedre. Det er skidt, når man står med en udvalgsformand, der indgiver en formel protest. Men vi har ikke haft nogen dialog med Standard Norge om denne sag, så jeg ved ikke, hvordan de har grebet forløbet an, eller hvad deres bevæggrunde har været.
mvh

Jesper Jerlang

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So did Dansk Standard do well? I for one think the argumentation is flawed for several reasons, how about you?

Published in: on May 20, 2008 at 7:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Strength in numbers vs. Logic, China vs. The World

It’s a common thing to, from time to time, rip on some of the major sites which has gained immense popularity over little time, often due to effective marketing-schemes rather than any real merit. Social networking sites are the most common, with sites like myspace and facebook one should think there’d be plenty of stuff to complain about, but it, of course, doesn’t end there. Youtube is also often given the moniker of ‘stupifying timewaster’, something I can half-way agree with. It’s a timewaster, and yes, often stupid in the sense that some of the content surely doesn’t seem to reflect the brightest minds of our species. One thing, though, has had me impressed about youtube : it’s simple rating-system, yes, the silly mechanism by which you can assign 0-5 stars to any given content on the site. It’s nothing new really, but since youtube today is one of the major hubs of expression, that’s a lot of oppinion. Generally the community around youtube has been surprisingly good at distinguishing shit from silver, most likely because the site facilitates a possibility for snarky retorts in the form of user-created videos as well as the generic comment-function. It’s simply hard to argue against logic, and when creative people take it upon themselves to spell out things that are a bit above the level of the average Joe, explaining evolution with cardboard-dolls, or showing the possibilities of the wii-mote in a way everyone can understand, it is often rewarded with a star. It works, the stars give a good impression of the quality of the content (to a certain extent, of course), and generally if one argues a case without making any logical fallacies, that is what people tend to reward.

There are certain hiccups along the way of course. Religion is a hot topic for instance; for some reason logic is less effective here, and if one is to go on a tirade against christianity or islam, then one can forget about the coveted 5-star rating, as religionists instinctively will mod content which is critical of their belief down, regardless of the logic. Little is lost though, as different religions gladly will mod arguments against other religions diffrent from their own up. So although you probably will not see a 5-star-rating on a religion-debate, you can look for 4-starred videos and know they’re probably interesting in some aspect.

But then China opened up their internet-floodgates…

I shall not start up an argument about the whole ‘free Tibet’ issue, that’s for someone else to do. What I’ll like to do though is remark an extremely worrying trend. China has had a strictly enforced censorship for decades. Generally uttering anything critical of their own government is a big no-no in China. Along with the censorship a certain kind of curriculum has also been taught in the schools which, generally, seeks to instill national pride into the individual while ‘correcting’ some of the minor glitches in history which doesn’t reflect on China as well as one could wish for.

So now we have 1.6 billion people roaming the internet, editing stuff the way they were taught, correcting ‘misinformation’ and modding content up and down in concordance with their questionable canon of history.

An example, you ask? Find a well-visited youtube-video pertaining to the Tibet-issue which is pro-tibet or a video which is somehow critical of China, watch it. Now notice this : if the video makes sense, makes a good case and is logically reasoned without being fallacious, then notice how this doesn’t reflect in its rating, or the comments for that matter. At the contrary, these kinds of videos are being modded down systematically with comments like “do you know anything about chinese history?” or “this is a big western conspiracy against China”. It’s not that I worry about comments like these, hell, you can find such slogans repeated in a lot of places. What worries me is, for the first time, videos which make a valid case without being fallacious are systematically lower than videos on the same subject (with the opposite view) which are a horror to behold from classically logic point of view. Videos containing throngs of ad hominem-, non-sequiteur-, tu-quoque- and ad-populum argumentation seem to be more ‘approved’ of than the more logically consistent ones.

Take for instance the 2 following videos, one is pro-china with a catchy tune, the other one is an imitation but pro-tibet. Both claim to have “The Facts” about why Tibet is/is not a part of China. First the pro-chinese video :

Next the pro-tibetan one :

Notice the inconsistency between quality and rating? While the pro-chinese video manage throw a myriad of red herrings into the arena which doesn’t really pertain to the issue, it still has a better rating. It’s also more aggressive using words like “go fuck yourself”, which is not really the vocabulary of informed discourse. The pro-tibetan video on the other hand is pretty nice, although it does mess up at one place (what does lights in a satelite-photo got to do with anything?), and ends with some allegations without backing them up (30 million dead chinese? Where does this number come from?). Regardless, it manages to give a nice and to the point historical overview of how it went down (according to everyone but China of course), yet it has a lower rating (2 stars compared to 4 for the pro-china-one as of writing).

So, is the internet getting overrun by a fallacious horde of chinese drones as we speak? It sure seems so in some cases (check the history-tab on the wikipedia-article on Tibet and China). The question is : will the opening of the information-floodgates in China serve to empower its people with information, or will it serve to dilude our reality with contra-factual nonsense? These are not religious extremists or creationist wackos, it’s scarier than that. These are ¼ of the worlds population who subscribe to the same idea, and only the future will tell whether logic will prevail over strength in numbers.

Published in: on May 18, 2008 at 10:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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EU will inquire into irregularities in OOXML voting process

I’m usually not the guy to send letters or e-mails to state my disapproval of something. However, the ISO-approval of OOXML as a standard was not something I could just sit idly by and watch from a distance. So, as a million other people (or at least a couple of hundred) must have done lately, I wrote a letter to the EU board of competition, stating what has been going on and asked what they are going to do about it. To my surprise, they actually mailed me back :

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Subject: Regarding the ISO-vote on OOXML

Dear Mr Peytz,

I can confirm that in the course of pending investigation of the interoperability issues with Microsoft Office the Commision also inquires about possible irregularities in the OOXML standardization process.

With best regards,

Per Hellström

Head of Unit

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I know, I know, it isn’t much. But at least it’s nice to know that a vote which would make Zimbabwean elections look like the poster-child for democracy will not go unnoticed by the EU.

Moral of the story : Letters and mails help, yes the probability of my letter being the proverbial drop that made the glass overflow is probably close to nill (most likely the EU has been keeping tabs on this whole process from the beginning); still, writing letters and mails to your officials is one of the few ways you can help them get a quick overview of a situation.

So to all of you just dying for a future Neelie Kroes pin-up, make yourselves heard, mail your official.

Published in: on April 3, 2008 at 10:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Open Source and Communism – Why it makes no sense

Throughout the dealings between the open source community and the rest of the world an often quoted point of view is that, that open source equals communism and/or socialism. It’s a blighting accusation that gets a luke-warm reception on both sides, partly because the open source way of thinking in some aspects could be said to contain communist aspects, and in other areas not. Nonetheless it has become a knee-jerk reaction for any staunch capitalist to rip on open source using the C-word if it happens to instantiate itself in a fashion which could seem detrimental to the capitalist way of thinking. In the following I will elaborate on the fallacy being committed in regards to such misnomers; the notion does not pertain to open source only, indeed it is a fallacy committed on a daily basis by anyone who put their personal inclination and agenda above the desire for truth and objectivity. My ramblings may seem tautological to you, if they do then all is well and good, I salute your honesty, however worthless such a salute may (and should) be. On the other hand some people seem to believe that their own oppinion hold equal, if not greater, value than objective truth; a strange lemming-like behavior that does not seem to provide anything constructive than the placebo-effect of believing one is right.

Humans in general hate to be wrong, let’s not deny it. In a world where success is no longer measured by how many mammoths you have brought home from your hunting-trip, and everyone can communicate instantly with each other via technology, the veracity of claims have attained a status as the ultimate trophy for humanity. This is all well and good, after all truth is an absolute about which we can all agree is a desirable thing to attain. However, there exist those who would seek to exploit truth for their own gains, and leverage their private knowledge against those who are ignorant of the truth to attain praise. This notion of exploiting others through superior knowledge is nothing new, indeed human history is rife with instances of smart people screwing over the less intellectually inclined. What has changed though, is the way that this process is carried out. In old times, priests and oracles could use their superior knowledge of astronomy to call upon solar eclipses (at specific times of courses) to sway the public into submission. Today this is less likely to be the case; people have become smarter, if someone postulates the incredible, it is fairly easy for the individual to either check the veracity of this persons claims, or point to an element of the claims and say “prove it”. Logic and reason seem to have become a household ability which everyone touts, but alas, the rhetoric with which to delude people has become equally advanced in place.

Let us disregard the fact that software and material goods are two very different things for a moment. If I share my software, then I can copy it indefinitely without ending up with less software; if tried the same with a block of butter, I probably would not be as lucky, which is arguably a major contributor to the shortcomings of communism in history. Take for instance the accusation which open source adherents repeatedly must answer to these days : “open source is communistic”. The problem with this statement is that people who utter it most likely does not have a comprehensive knowledge of what communism is in its entirety (not even I would claim a feat as grand as that). Rather, in this day and age, uttering this sentence is simply a badly hidden declaration of ones own political stance, which in this case would be that of a capitalist or a liberal, and an attempt to tie the negative elements of communism as we historically know it to the person spoken to. So when a person says “open source is communistic” he most likely does not mean that open source is an ideal in which people share their creations freely in order to modify them and make them better for the good of the community, which is a communistic ideal; rather he most likely thinks that open source will erect Gulag-camps and silence political opposition if allowed to run amok. In logic this way of reasoning is one part of the fallacy termed as the relativistic “if-by-whiskey” fallacy. Whiskey can have negative connotations as well as good ones, depending on what angle you view it from, however, attacking whiskey solely from the point of view that it’s a bad thing does not embody the whole debate about whiskey, much less says anything about whether or not whiskey is good or not. It is simply nothing but people shouting “Boo!” and “Hooray!” against each other, and very little of any value has ever emerged from that. If you apply this to the open source argument, then it is no longer a question of whether open source is communistic or not, it is a question of whether the proponents and opponents on both sides of the “if-by-whiskey”-constellation are right in their claims. Is open source an ideal in which people share their source code for the benefit of the community, definitely yes. Is open source trying to erect Gulag-camps and silence political dissent, absolutely no.

My big question here is, why even drag communism into the debate? As demonstrated it holds a double-meaning depending on the point of view, and serves no other purpose than to muddy up the waters, and throw the discourse into an emotional disarray. Any debattant, no, any human, should be able to identify this horrid way of side-tracking a perfectly valid debate about the relevance of open source, and, on a greater scale, everything else for that matter. The “if-by-whiskey”-fallacy has become the most misused fallacy in the world today, a world in which humans mistakenly has begun to think that their oppinion matters even when hard evidence exists that contradicts their oppinion. In concordance with this, it has become every humans job to chain their inclinations and gullibility in favor of their duty to crystallized and verifiable truth.

So, if someone ever asks you “is open source communist”, and they don’t seem like the person who would be permeable to logic, you shouldn’t answer “yes” or “no”, you should smack them on the cheek for asking a stupid question, or simply ignore them. If you do not understand logic, if you have nothing but an unfounded oppinion, why should you warrant an answer in the first place?

Published in: on March 23, 2008 at 7:56 am  Comments (5)  
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Wiki til Hypermedier og Web

Her er et link til wiki-siden som en del af en obligatorisk opgave i Hypermedier og Web. Siden skulle have heddet “H&W Wiki” men blev åbenbart forkortet til “HW Wiki”. Vissevasse det går nok.

http://editthis.info/hw_wiki/Main_Page

Og så lige et lille bidrag til dansk wikipedia vedrørende den generelle populations opfattelse af anime i 80′erne :

http://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anime#Popularitet

Published in: on March 12, 2008 at 8:36 pm  Comments (1)  
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