Some interesting decisions…

Don’t know if you have read / heard about this. Or this. Both links are in German, I know, but what they say still is clear: both the South Korean government and the Russian army are about to change from Windows to Linux, contrary to what some German lobbyist pushing did in Munich or in Hannover…

… and the question of course must be about the reasons. Well as a long-term Linux user myself, I know about the advantages of course – but could this also be related to politics? To the recently forced boycott of the biggest Chinese telco through Google?

Lots of comments here in Germany were of the kind: time to get rid of anything American – because some lunatic could decide to take it away, or try to blackmail us with the idea. Imagine if the motto of the day would have been: take away Microsoft from those Germans, just because we don’t agree to a war on Iran for instance…

I’d rather run instead of walk towards free software like Linux… (I did so anyway years ago, but not because of fear or political reasons)

Proposition 65 Warnings

California seems to have a law which requires businesses to inform potential customers about potential risks when using and/or consuming any of the company’s products, for a far better and deeper explanation see their government website about those proposition 65 warnings.

Why does this affect me? Or you?

Well I for instance was looking for ‘Ebonol‘ yesterday, which according to Wikipedia “is a synthetic material whose name derives from its similarity in appearance, hardness, and stability to ebony wood”. Wikipedia also say that “The material is particularly well suited for the fingerboards of fretless bass.”, and that it’s also used for clarinets. Some people claim it’s much harder than ebony, and also environment-friendly since you don’t have to use rare woods.

All fine and well. But when looking at the page of my fretless bass (which isn’t produced anymore, they’re now selling the last ones available), I came upon a warning:

WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm – www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.

Hmmm. First I thought: “Damn!”, and thought that it must be this Ebonol material. But as it turns out, Fender has this (almost) everywhere now:

Classic Vibe ’60s Jazz Bass® Fretless: – has it
Vintage Modified Jazz Bass® Fretless: – has it
American Professional Jazz Bass® Fretless (with definitely no Ebonol fingerboard, had this in my hands at Thomann lately, a really nice instrument): – has it
Player Jazz Bass® Fretless (Mexican): – does not have it
Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass®: – has it
Tony Franklin Fretless Precision Bass®: – has it

I stopped there because I was only looking for fretless instruments, and I also haven’t checked other makers yet. That the Mexican Jazz Bass is the only one *without* that warning could also be an error of the page, it does not mean the product is better than American and/or Indonesian ones. But this should be further investigated, and I should probably also remove the “Play me!” sticker which I put onto my instrument last August during the Wikiloops members’ meeting.

I’ll write more as soon as I know more about this. Thanks for reading.

Edit, from short before work: for EU guidelines, see the German or English Wikipedia pages about RoHS. And the most prominent example from the Californian Proposition 65 list is the Bayer/Monsanto money maker Glyphosate, which is indeed highly toxic (and maybe Bayer’s biggest management error so far, or, like one of the shareholders put it: “I want to see a man who’s so dumb as to buy a poison-cooking company!”).

Planned outage of de.wikipedia.org

As announced, the German Wikipedia is off today:

I had followed and supported the change.org call and petition already:

But like suggested from Wikipedia, I also wrote to some (German) politicians who hopefully will represent us all against this planned censorship.

And if you’re a democrat, you should probably think about this as well. Thanks for your consideration.

P.S.: got a first answer from one of the parliamentarians already. Which shows that democracy actually works, it’s only up to ourselves to become active, and do the first (baby-) steps…

Good articles in German, and Freak Shows

I’ve read some remarkable articles in the German (online-version) magazine “Die Zeit” recently. One of them was “Das rote Sommermärchen”, and it’s about Sahra Wagenknecht’s new “Aufstehen” movement, which is some kind of a think tank for us lefties if you so wish. Interesting, and if you understand German, it’s a recommended reading.

Another article, also in German and in the same publication, is called “In einer Welt der Verbote”, and it’s about freedom in art, which seems to be in danger from the sides of some (even left) mobsters who are loud enough to get others scared enough to think about public displaying of “difficult” stuff.

And that got me thinking about an image I made myself a few days ago. That was a photo of a colleague who changed from smoking tobacco to inhaling fumes from one of these new pocket steam devices, into which you fill some kind of oil to inhale the fumes of it. That gives a whole lot more clouds than tobacco smoking ever did, and it’s also not yet clear if that is any less dangerous than inhaling burnt tobacco leaves.

Anyway, I had asked that colleague to wait with his next inhalation, got ready with my camera, and took a photo of him exhaling.

And he looked like a monster in that photo. Steam coming out of his mouth, his nostrils, totally unreal. Which reminded me of Freak shows, and led me to the question to myself if I would want to participate in something like it (which I don’t, obviously).

So like always, there’s a fine line between what *can* be done, and what *should* be done, and judgements never come easy – at least they shouldn’t. To question yourself is always a good beginning in my opinion, and should you be interested in a bit of self-reflection, it makes all of the articles mentioned above recommended readings.

As always, thanks for reading.

The non-word of 2017

And the “winner” goes to… “alternative facts” (which might be copyrighted by Kellyanne Conway, who knows).

See here (in German), here (in English), and here (in other news).

Let me use a short quote of the English Wikipedia article about something else related to truths:

“The phrase “alternative facts” was claimed to be similar to a phrase used in Trump’s 1987 book, Trump: The Art of the Deal.[23][24][25] In that book, “truthful hyperbole” was described as “an innocent form of exaggeration—and … a very effective form of promotion”.”

Sounds quite a bit Ferengi to me…

So much about (bad) joke figures for today; sorry about the rant.

Bravo, Anastasia!

Look at this article in the British Journal of Photography, which reports about young photographer Anastasia Taylor-Lind doing some portraits of dignity in the crimes committed against the Rohingya. Thanks also to Human Rights Watch, and Peter Bouckaert for publishing reports and photos like these.

Other than the pope, we can report about this. We can name their names, and accuse those responsible for it. So we have to. Again, thanks for your good work, Anastasia, BJP, HRW, and others.