The important question about Iran is not "Is she?", but that even if the answer to that question is yes (which I doubt), the question should be "But why? But how?". I believe these have happened because of what the United States has done, directly helping the matter.
I will only write about the very recent case, the case which became a very important question for me, "should I leave Iran before our new business blossoms in full?" (Presently, the answer is undoubtedly yes.)
It was the recent election. Several media supported financially by the United States government, mostly including Iranian satellite channels operating from California but also official US media like VOA and Radio Free Europe, persuaded possibly millions of voters to not vote in the presidential elections. Who would have these voters voted for if they had voted? Very probably Moeen (who would have continued Khatami's program in a way) in the first round and Rafsanjani (who would have continued his own presidency's program from eight years back) in the second. Very few of them would have voted for Ahmadinejad.
The short result? The new Iranian administration, being so inexperienced, is digging its grave by acting incompetently both nationally and internationally. Internationally, they are starting to diverge from Europe and work only with close allies like Syria and Venezuela instead. The famous example is Ahmadinejad's remark about the Middle East conflict. Internally, business is declining badly, with several companies almost bankrupt and several people with shares in public companies in their hands who can't find new buyers. Everything is in a stalemate, and this is five months after the new administration has come to power.
All I can point to, is Ebrahim Nabavi’s “Why is President Ahmadinejad not afraid of America?” It may not be as funny as his Persian satires, but is undoubtedly enlightening. Just a quote: “If the US attacks Iran, many innocent people will die, which would eliminate many of Ahmadinejad's opponents.”
The algorithm is the simple 33-year leap rule, which will fail to match the official Iranian calendar around 2089 CE.
But well, it's my own fault: it is the description I provided to Microsoft's Houman Pournasseh in 2001, IIRC, with some test data (the sentence "A leap year is a year that, when divided by 33, has a remainder of 1, 5, 9, 13, 17, 22, 26, or 30." in MSDN looks very much to be my own words). At that time, I thought that was the correct rule.
There is also a 2820-year rule suggestion circling in various "patriotic" circles, which is 1) more complex than the 33-year rule; and 2) fails in about 2025 CE, in my own lifetime. For a while, I and Behdad were fooled into believing that this 2820-year rule is the official rule. It was only luck that Houman has asked me about the rule earlier than that. (We don't need that kind of luck in free software much, but that's another story.)
The official rule, implemented in a 1925 law, says that the beginning of the year is the first day of spring, that the year is the "true solar" year "as it has been". This means that one needs to do astronomical predictions of the time of vernal equinox and the true solar noon in order to compute the calendar properly. I am happy that the current predictions match the 33-year rule until about 2089, by when I will definitely be dead (if the law is not changed or something), and people won't be able to blame me for an incorrect implementation. (Well, my children may not like people blaming me for a Persian Y2K, but I guess I should not worry that much.)
Joel on Software: If you have not read the book, go and get it now. I got my hand on it last night, and was reading it until 7:45 in the morning, when I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer (hint: I was not a fan of Joel before, I just ordered the book since I thought it may be a nice thing to read). When I woke up at 15:30 or something, I couldn't get out of the bed until I finished it. It's incomparable to the blog, so don't use the blog as a sample of what's really in the book. The book is much superior.
The exact text is something like this: "the company is asking the colleague ladies to wear the uniform that has been provided to almost all of them. Using the uniforms is obligatory, and the presence of the hounorable ladies in the company will be only possible if [they are] wearing the uniform."
The minister has mentioned that this is because "the sensitive role of the country's women in the elavation of the Islamic society and the necessity of effective presence of ladies in the warm focal point that is the family, in order to fulfill the sensitive responsibility of educating the children". I won't say much about the case of mothers, but if you don't have children at home to raise, I guess it's only the first part, your sensitive role in the elevation of the Islamic society, that applies to you. So, logically, it seems that the new minister believes that if a single or childless woman leaves work at 6 pm (or earlier), their absence elevates the Islamic society.
It may not be a coordinated act in the whole administration and may only be random opinions of inexperienced public servants, but it still takes its toll, and results in seeing less women in the society. As someone who has tried to help a few women find their place in the work environment, I am very concerned about this.
New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.
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