Older blog entries for berend (starting at number 176)

chalst, that "hatchet job" has been done by econopundit.

haruspex wrote:

Oh, we'll get to that point, berend: it's just a matter of when. Oil is a finite resource and I don't see any downward trend in consumption, do you?

Toby, that prediction goes right into my bin with the predictions that if the number of people with telephones grew at the then current rate, everyone would be employed at the phone switchboards. Or that the streets of Paris would be full of horse shit if the number of horses and people kept on growing. Of course we got computers to do the switching and Paris got automobiles. Or the prediction in the sixties that by 2000 twenty million would die of starvation in the United States. Of course, 30 million died of starvation, in China, in the sixties. If there's no oil, there's always hydrogen.

From personal experience I can add the prediction, in the 80s, made in The Netherlands that in ten years 4/5 of all trees there would be dead or seriously sick. Sorry, but hasn't happened. And the green loonies lost another disillusioned member.

I suggest you read "The Sceptical Environmentalist". But I have to warn you, this book can have a significant impact. This guy originally set out to proof a sceptic wrong: that all those figures released by Green Peace, Earth First, and you know it, were right indeed. But after researching the facts and figures, he turned around:

We are not running out of energy or natural resources. There will be more and more food per head of the world's population. Fewer and fewer people are starving. In 1900 we lived for an average of 30 years; today we live for 67. According to the UN we have reduced poverty more in the last 50 years than we did in the preceding 500, and it has been reduced in practically every country.

This is not a book with "all is well". Things are better than they were: there is less hunger, poverty, and so on than 50 years ago. But things are not necessarily good.

Keep in mind that all those doom and gloom predictions is a big industry. Green Peace is doing 120 million US a year, with a market capitalization of around 360 million. Their directors earn 300,000 US a year. That is serious money.

On another front: I went to the ACT party conference in Auckland. Great to see all the MPs personally and shake their hands. Good speeches. Now the task to get the message accross the nation: ACT isn't about taking things away, but letting anyone rise to their full potential. Nanny state doesn't know best. For me personally, ACT is the closest to a conservative party in NZ. National is just Labour, the differences are small.

16 Oct 2003 (updated 16 Oct 2003 at 00:26 UTC) »

Weather is fantastic right now. Spring has truly arrived!

Raph might want to read something else than Paul Krugman:

A threat to the nation is being vastly exaggerated. The president, it is claimed, must take draconian countermeasures against the deadly enemy immediately -- an enemy that a powerful ideological faction has had in its crosshairs for years. To build public support for action, intelligence reports are being "sexed-up" to make the enemy seem stronger. Yes, there are seeming disclaimers that the threat is not "imminent" -- yet the message is crystal clear: the republic is in grave danger, and we must act before it becomes too late to act.

Am I talking about Paul Krugman's version of the Bush administration's build-up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq? No, I'm referring to Paul Krugman's own campaign of lies, exaggerations, and sexed-up intelligence designed to fool the American people into thinking that America's federal budget deficit is a deadly threat.

I don't like deficits, but I don't like Krugman either. If every prediction spewed forth by greenist and leftists were true we would have no oil and 50 billion people on the planet or so.

OK, a data dump. What I would like is that advogato does not lump all entries for a date together. Especially as there is only one correct date, probably Berkeley or so. Rather I would have a date+time.

I released eposix 1.9.4, the first beta for the 2.0 release. Still want to have a separate manual with the flat-short form of the classes. And the Unicode string to C zero-terminated pointer should work fine. That should be it.

Nice that Slashdot was really quick to place my dead-line approaching for the Eiffel Struggle 2003 article. Need to get finish my application to process the entries. And perhaps we need more judges? We had a lot of publicity for this struggle. Even DDJ reported about it.

Saw Nemisis. Should have seen it in the cinema. The best Next Generation by far in my honest opinion. All the real things that make Star Trek great were present. Unfortunately it contained a scene between Riker and Troi that will make it unsuitable for my children. I should check if there is a plugin for xmms that allows me to play a DVD while skipping certain sections. Children imitate everything they see, that's how they learn. Daddy doesn't want to explain yet what's happening in that scene. I've less problems with the violence. I don't find blowing up a starship very problematic. That kind of violence is far removed from daily reality. Things like Rambo are much closer to reality: feal threatened? Blow it up. That's not exactly the approach and example I want to give. So no toy guns in the house. Shooting people isn't fun. Although it might sometimes be necessary. But it's not something kids should feel comfortable with.

I also decided to see Terminator a while ago. You can guess why. Hadn't seen it before. Indeed a powerful movie. Can imagine why it became a cult hit.

And Raph, voters are not dumb and have not lost their mind. I get friggin' irritated when the left accuse voters of being to stupid to vote. Yeah right. We need only Ein Partei after all. And a single Fuhrer. Protect the 90% Americans more stupid than the enlightened left against themselves by abolishing democracy! If people cannot distinguish between a score on a contrived test versus wisdom, give me those stupid voters please. They raise their kids, pay their taxes, and don't spend all their time blocking roads, burning flags, or writing self-lefteous posts.

I am delighted with the response of nu.nl. I reacted to an article where they accussed Sharon of war crimes and of initiating the Intifada. I quoted to them an article from Honest Reporting:

... it is now common knowledge that Arafat planned his new war prior to Sharon's visit, as Al-Ayyam, the Palestinian Authority daily newspaper reported (December 6, 2000):

"Speaking at a symposium in Gaza, Palestinian Minister of Communications Imad el-Falouji confirmed that the Palestinian Authority had began preparations for the outbreak of the current intifada from the moment the Camp David talks concluded, this in accordance with instructions given by Chairman Arafat himself."

They said to me that their goal was to give facts, not interpretations. And removed ten paragraphs of crap from the article.

MSNBC also seems to have seen the light:

Well, I for one have had enough of it. And if you want to see misleadingly negative stories about Iraq, turn the channel, because we are going to be giving you the ?Real Deal? on Iraq every night. You are going to learn about the schools being built, about the hospitals being open, about how Iraqis really feel about Americans, and the positive poll numbers that other networks are hiding.

I especially love this part:

This thing, to put it in perspective, has gone like grease lightning compared to all those other wars. You have a plan in four months, instead of four years, like the Marshall Plan. You got the schools open. You have a provisional government in here. They are going to write a constitution in the next six months. We are not telling a Pollyannaish story.

But of course, good news from Iraq, we can't let that happen! Blow up the reporters who dare to bring that news. And let's concentrate on the real enemy, Bush (Howard Dean). Speaking on that, just search for "real enemy" on Google and you will temporarily forget who blew up 3000 Americans in the greatest terrorist attack in human history. If I was Osama, I would take a rest. The Americans will blow each other to pieces real soon now. Just listen to the sane voice of amars: rich, white, illiterate, drug-addicted, warmonger, it goes on and on. Bought his way into the White House. Yeah, democracy is dead in America, let's grab the guns!

mrorganic, Eiffel is my favorite language. And what major package isn't written in C? What reality do you live in? Most software is still written in Cobol or Visual Basic. You might not encounter a lot of other software on your Linux machine, but it rarely has to do with suitability. Many choose C over C++ for example, because C is easier to bind/use in other languages as Python or Perl.

Given up on porting FireBird 1.0.3 to FreeBSD. What a mess. The 1.5 release seems to be near, but can't find a source code release. Let's just wait.

Finished and uploaded a proof of concept NT service in Eiffel. Nice trick. Now the library that will make it easy for everyone.

Perforce now has a Visual Client. That's great stuff. I still used the Windows client a lot, because certain things are just easier with a GUI. Moving all files in a directory to a different changelist is easier with the command-line, but just moving that single file is easier with the GUI. And now I've a visual client on Unix as well. Works good, but seems a fair lot slower than the Windows client.

Trying to get firebird to compile in FreeBSD. Not trivial. Current maintainer no longer reachable.

Working on the eposix manual. Hopefully a beta real soon now.

mrorganic, LOL that COM works badly with C++. Who wants to use that language anyway? I've had enough buffer overflows, thank you very much.

badvogato, universal free health care was tried in the USSR. Like all socialist schemes, it failed. Capitalism doesn't have the concept of efficiency in the sense you describe. And that's why it works, and socialism doesn't. If you're really sick, do you really care if your healthcare system is optimized for global efficiency, at the cost of local, your health, efficiency? The only person who can take care of your health, is you. You don't want the government to take care of your healt. It's you who decides how much money you want to spend on it, if at all.

24 Sep 2003 (updated 24 Sep 2003 at 09:36 UTC) »

mrorganic, COM with Delphi is also easy. Writing Corba stuff in the early years required 100 lines of C++ or so per routine (forgot). That was before they even had the notion of a unified client interface. But that wasn't exactly the point I think of the rant. The rant confused a lot of things: the essential simplicity of COM, the sometimes confusing interfaces built on top of it, and the hard problems COM tries to solve. What are you going to do if you have a single-threaded component in a multi-threaded application? Forbid that? Make the multi-threaded application single-threaded? Such things work with COM. That's not bad. Transparant access over the network? Works as well. And used by a lot of people. There is always room for improvement. And I haven't seen any alternative with a significant following.

mx assumes that all good interfaces are text based. Supposedly the founders of the Internet new all about this. What about DNS? It's binary. NFS? Binary RPC. NTP? Binary as well. I also like text interfaces, but the Internet is not build on it exclusively.

And on another front, I still have to reply to a private reaction I got with regards to a post about causes of gun killings in relation to Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine". The following points were raised in that email:

  1. The population density metric doesn't give any more conclusive answers, because it isn't true for Japan.
    I don't know a lot about Japan, but their society could be quite different. It is true for The Netherlands for example. But I don't think a single cause is the answer. And population density only has a correlation with crime, I'm not aware of research showing conclusive causal effects. Except interesting (science) fiction that is.
  2. Moore is only raising questions. That's the point.
    But why the "or are we nuts" subtitle at the beginning? Why making a joke of the word documentary by staging buying a gun at a bank, faking Charles Heston speeches, alleging that a factory that makes space rockets has something to do with atomic weapons? 11,127 homicides by gun in the US? According to the FBI it's around 8500 deads by gun.
  3. It might be the media, because that way you don't think about DMCA, Patriot Act, Homeland Security Dept., FCC & broadcasting & ownership rights, ...
    I don't believe the media in the US is controlled by the government. They certainly have an agenda, and as most journalist vote Democrats, its your guess what agenda that might be.

  4. Did anyone of the stories of the past months about viruses and worms mention that you're only vulnerable if you use Microsoft software? Did they mention there are alternatives?
    Good point. Media is biased. I agree with that.
  5. Because he gets you to react, it engaged you. That's what good storytelling is about.
    Maybe. But I know that I always resent it deeply when I thought when something was true, because I had seen it on TV, and later on it was a deeply skewed documentary, leaving out most of the really interesting facts.

On this subject, let me refer to and quote Theodore Dalrymple's 1998 essay on New Zealand crime. This great UK humanitarian, Doctor and advocate for the emancipation of the underclass from destructive liberal theories, injects more sense into each paragraph than Michael Moore in all its documentaries and books (quoted freely from NZPundit:

Such a society--prosperous, democratic, egalitarian--should be virtually free of crime, if the commonplace liberal explanations of criminality were true. But they aren't, and New Zealand is now almost as crime-ridden as its mother country, itself the most crime-ridden nation in western Europe (along with prosperous, democratic, egalitarian Holland). Indeed, in the ever-upward trend in the crime figures, New Zealand is only a handful of years behind Britain and, in point of homicide, a few years in advance of it. This fact is of great theoretical interest, or ought to be: it is an overwhelming refutation of the standard liberal explanations of crime.

Wow, more than 3500 Swen emails when I came back to work on monday. I'm lucky my IMAP Bayesian filter, emc filters them out automatically, but this is bloddy annoying. Server in the US is also being hit hard:

/home/berend$ w
  8:27pm  up 131 days,  4:28,  1 user,  load average: 6.44, 11.14, 19.09
USER     TTY      FROM              LOGIN@   IDLE   JCPU   PCPU  WHAT
berend   pts/0    smtp.xsol.co.nz   7:26pm  2.00s  0.07s  0.01s  w

On another front: mikehearn rants, while being mostly clueless. Try to write a Corba client in C++ mike. And have a little bit more respect for the issues Microsoft tried to resolve and has resolved. COM is and was a pretty good technology. And that certain things are hard, has more to do with the really difficult issues one tries to solve than with COM. And of course when everyone has a 1GB network, 10GHz processors and 2GB of RAM, things can and will be designed a lot differently.

diablod3 corrected me by pointing out that FreeCraft wasn't that, but had resumed under the name Stratagus. That's good news. I had visited that site, but wasn't really sure it they planned to continue FreeCraft or not, or that this was a continuation. Well, I checked out the sources, and this looks good.

And the FreeCraft 1.18 port for BeOS is now finished. Thanks to some pointers from jim4 at #stratagus I found out that the gzseek function on BeOS didn't work. That's unbelievable really. Luckily there was a function ready for an earlier release of zlib that didn't have gzseek. That function worked fine. I didn't have the energy to poor over the zlib sources to fix the bug there. Sorry.

After more than a year, a new official release for xplain2sql, version 2.0. Even better output for Xplain constructs, stored procedure support, XML output, Oracle. Quite pleased.

But there's of course a lot more to do. Would like to have support for assertions, indexes on extends, refactor the code, etc. Perhaps cascade support. Never ending.

Yesterday wrote a small tool with Python. Needed to copy data from some tables in a SQL Server database to another. Had never written a real Python program before. Great stuff! I think the number of examples helped of course. There is so much stuff, that if you know exactly what you want, you can find a piece of code that does it. Just copy and paste. Python will become my script language of choice, that's for sure.

Last days spend time on trying to get FreeCraft 1.18 to work on BeOS. It's a complete waste of time, since the project has discontinued. Apparently the owners of the WarCraft name objected to the current name. The FreeCraft developers stopped working on the project Instead of simply renaming it. Probably a good idea, trying to rename a project on SourceForge is probably impossible. You can get better devote your time on something else. As should I. Porting an obsolete game to an obsolete OS ranks high in 100 ways to waste your time I assume. Moreover, I'm hampered by the fact that I barely know C and no C++ at all. The application starts allright, but when I actually want to start a game, its a segv. I discovered and used the Be Debugger for a segv at startup, so I hope it's going to help me for this one as well. This time I get a "SDL Parachute deployed". The last one was just a segv and the debugger halted at the proper location.

A motiviation to do this is that the kids like the game. They still play the last version I ported. Let's see I can overcome the hurdles. I assume the game should work, it's just some variables that are not properly initialized or so.

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