Sunday, July 30, 2006

The truth about Mac's

Old but still funny...

Monday, July 24, 2006

If everyone is right?

If everyone is right, then who is wrong? If you look at the various news agencies today, they bring you news coloured to the audience they serve or the interests they represent. Some more then others of course. Even if you look at individual conflicts or minor arguments, often you get to see multiple versions of "the truth". The question of what is truth and if these is such a thing as absolute truth I leave to those wiser then myself. And enough books have been written about it, enough studies done towards it, and the outcome? Inconclusive.

Especially the recent conflict between Israel and Lebanon (or I should say Hizbolla, with Lebanon caught in-between) has made this all to clear once again. Sometimes the propaganda of both sides is easily recognised, other times it draws you right in there. And at yet other times, you can not help but feel that the atrocities reported are shamefully not propaganda, but as close as one can get to the cold hard truth.

While I believe news reporting is one of the most important things there is, I also believe it to in a way inherently flawed. It needs to be there, people need to see and know about things. Else we would go right back into the dark-ages. But news can never fully tell the story, never fully be independent. Luckily there is a lot of information and different sides available. But sifting through all the information available is a dawning task to say the least.

Perhaps one of the most important things to realise is simple the fact that this is the way of things. Realise it before drawing conclusions to quickly, and to quickly be suckered into believing things told to you that fit your own idea's about the world best. But perhaps it is also a thought to cherish for small inter-personal communication.

"I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance."
- Socrates

Fox News; your un-ending source of propaganda

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Breeding hate in the middle-east

Since 1 picture has been used so much to breed more hate and cause a conflict already never-ending to for sure be never ending, the following link I believe is very important.

One arab person on a forum spouting hatred, lies and intolerance when I told him off asked me "what is your solution then?". Just because there is no solution, does not mean you need to become part of the problem. And perhaps just that is the solution: Stop being part of the problem.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Medical insanity

Hoogervorst displaying his intelectual powersFor those not familiar with the Dutch medial system I'll briefly explain. In the Netherlands the state takes care of all finances for medical care. Every civilian is by law required to pay for medical insurance and out of this money the hospitals and doctors are paid. Everybody gets helped, no requirements to fill in credit card numbers, etc. If you want more luxurious care, you can get extra insurance or go to a private hospital.

Today Minster of healthcare, Hoogervorst, announced he is considering cutting the budgets of all hospitals. Why? Because they spend more money then he had planned for it. The primary reason for this is that he himself miscalculated the growing demand for health-care. Calculating it at a rise of 2% and it turned out to be 4%. Hospitals are already starting to treat patients worse and worse due to having to cut costs, and they simply can not cut it any further. They can't make the base that is set for them. So what is this brilliant man's solution? Lets give them even less money.

Not to mention most of his cost-cuts actually cause higher costs. He cuts down on cheap prevention measures, causing more illness and higher costs for eventually treatment of long term health issues. He's the living example of the saying in the Netherlands that "if your completely incompetent to get a real job, you go into politics'".

Amnesty report on IT companies in China

I've written about this before, so I thought I would add a link now to a report of Amnesty International about what Google, Yahoo! And Microsoft are doing to promote and support an oppressive dictatorship like China. It still angers me also to see people in the west wave this away as "it's China's laws". Violating human rights again loses out to money and the sad part is so many... sorry to use this word.. complete idiots... in the western world seem to think that's just fine. I guess because it doesn't affect them directly?

Amnesty report (PDF)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fire that man!

It's happened again. I've read it yet again. And yet again it angers me, or rather saddens me. Intel's profits are down this quarter to a mere 885 million dollars. And of course the company is as such firing people and re-organising. One company of many who are firing common people based on massive profits that just weren't massive enough. I've even at times read about companies who start to downsize not because of their profits going down, in fact their profits rose above previous profits. But because the expected rise in profits was lower then... expected.

I understand the fact that a company needs to act pre-emptive before they go into the red number. But I don't think this is the case usually. We are talking about very healthy companies that sometimes make a little less profit, or who's profits rose a little less then expected. Which I believe is quite normal, markets fluctuate and you can't endlessly expand and grow and grow. Making a huge 885 million dollars profit I think is something most companies only dream about. And it keeps the boat afloat for sure.

What also bothers me is how financial agencies report about this. Using negative terms like that Intel is in trouble or in stormy weather. Excuse me? They are making a huge profit! Sometimes I do think the economy has become a multi-headed beast that we sacrifice everything too. I think a healthy, free-market economy is one of the most important things there is. But the economy should serve the people, not people the economy. Human beings, us, we are the most important thing on this planet for ourselves as a race. Not the economy, it's the well-being of us as a human race that matters more. We need to use the economy to service us there, not be serviced up as a human race to a non living, created mechanism.

I also strongly believe that all this downsizing only works on the short-term. Fire some people, see profits go up. On the long term see customers disappear because you can't service them correctly anymore, see your best staff leave because they are unhappy, see everything decline. Al through not fully related a recent study by DolmatConnel & Partners also showed the IT top-managers who make the most money are achieving the worst. Their companies are doing the worst of all IT companies. Of course what the correlation and relation between the two is, is unknown at the time. But it does make you wonder a bit. To many companies focus on short-term profits to keep stockholders happy, sacrificing long-term survivability even. Let alone making the world as a whole better by providing quality to their customers.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Israeli-Lebanese conflict

A lot can be said about the Israeli-Lebanese conflict at the moment. A lot also has already been said. Some of it has been very wise, some of it has been very stupid (Bush speaking through an accidentally open microphone, showing this man is so far beyond incompetent its just sad). Both sides in the conflict also have valid and less valid points. But I think the thing that bugs me most at this point and time is the following.

Inside Lebanon there is a private army, Hezbollah, this private army is outside of control of the government. As far as I understand, due to religious differences within the Muslim community, as well as many other factors the Lebanese government would rather see them go then stay. This army is illegal, not government sponsored, but the current government is too weak to disarm them. Especially due to the foreign aid Hezbollah gets of countries like Syria and Iran. Not to mention Syria's residual influence over Lebanon and sometimes treating this country like a province they need to keep under control.

So, when Hezbollah attacks Israel, Israel attacks? Lebanese civilians! They bomb the infrastructure of the country (re-build with western money after their civil war) back into the stone-ages, they actively target Lebanese civilians and some of the weak (not involved in the conflict at all) Lebanese army. Aside from the horrific crime of directly and willingly murdering civilians, making them no better then Hezbollah, they weaken the government who was to weak in the first place to take care of Hezbollah? Talk about attacking the wrong target and the effects will be the reverse. Obviously now people will side with Hezbollah there, and the one force who might eventually be able to disarm Hezbollah gets weakened to a point Hezbollah can thrive and grow for decades to come.

I am in no way defending Hezbollah here, I think they are despicable. But if there is a conflict between 2 parties, why is 1 of these parties attacking a 3rd party essentially not involved in the conflict? One you actually need to strengthen so they can get involved in the conflict and solve it. And if you want to attack 3rd parties? Why not be a man and actually got for the real influences behind Hezbollah like Syria and Iran? (aside from that truly causing the region to explode).