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Remember Bob - Chapter 2

by Alex in Toulouse Mon Mar 13th, 2006 at 04:37:50 PM EST

Bahhh what the hell, I thought I'd just write another short chapter so I can get this over with (I don't know how professional writers do it, I can barely manage).

Previous entries:

Remember Bob - Prologue

Remember Bob - Chapter 1

Read more... (14 comments, 465 words in story)

Remember Bob - Chapter I

by Alex in Toulouse Mon Mar 13th, 2006 at 10:12:23 AM EST

Ok, let's see if I can still pull this off, now that I have Agnès' blessing. It will be a short story.

I noted Migeru's post about Falling Down, with Michael Douglas. I hadn't thought of an actual ressemblance, but the gun and psycho/grudge part are definitely there. (great movie too!)

Previous entries:

Remember Bob - Prologue

Read more... (15 comments, 568 words in story)

Remember Bob - Prologue

by Alex in Toulouse Sun Mar 12th, 2006 at 07:48:44 PM EST

I had an idea tonight, while writing a "mock-the-rich" paragraph in Agnès' honour in the Evening thread (but of course not meant to mock Agnès' story nor her writing, which are both very very good ... only meant to tease the rich !!).

Agnès deserves all the credit for my idea here below, in the sense that I am anyhow only being a copycat by writing my own short story.

My idea was to write a cheap/raw lingo short story, which at some point would briefly mingle with some of the places/characters in Gone with the Windmill ... but not in a way which will affect Agnès' story ... only in a "parallel" way. And briefly.

So here is my first chapter.

Tell me if this is workable, readable, if it sucks etc. And Agnès of course, you've got to tell me if you agree with/to the brief mingling I'm proposing, I don't want to intrude?!

Read more... (9 comments, 674 words in story)

French govt: "privacy is overrated"

by Alex in Toulouse Tue Mar 7th, 2006 at 02:37:50 PM EST

For 3 days, and starting tonight, the infamous DADVSI law, version 2.0,
will be (re)discussed in the Assemblée Nationale.
Last December, version 1.0 of the DADVSI law was scrapped after contradictions appeared in the text.

This law:

  • proposes to implement anti-copy mechanisms in the digital world that will help control and watch the internet (thus trampling privacy rights)
  • threatens open source software
  • threatens free internet radios
  • will complicate library and research issues regarding access to protected knowledge content
  • introduces strange concepts of "guilty until proven innocent" in French law
  • plays very favourably into the hands of the major distribution companies
  • etc etc

Promoted by Colman

Read more... (53 comments, 306 words in story)

Verdun & Verdun

by Alex in Toulouse Mon Feb 27th, 2006 at 11:47:43 AM EST

I'm sorry I missed the thread on the Verdun commemorations (Verdun remembered) when I was deprived of an internet connection, but I've decided to make up for it by drawing a few people in here to read a few anecdotes.

Read more... (26 comments, 1187 words in story)

AGE poll

by Alex in Toulouse Sat Jan 28th, 2006 at 11:50:50 AM EST

Ok, this may be self-serving, may even already have been done, but I think it would be interesting to know how age groups are represented on ET ... don't you think?

So here's a poll.

Read more... (140 comments, 44 words in story)

Chew on this

by Alex in Toulouse Wed Jan 25th, 2006 at 08:53:09 PM EST

« Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. »  ~Albert Einstein

Welcome to a world in which food revolves so much around meat, that when you lack the money to often buy meat, you're considered barely capable of looking after your family. Welcome to a world in which you can't formally invite people for dinner at your house and serve them only peas and carrots, for you may pass off as a penny picker. Welcome to a world in which the carcasses of breast-feeding and caring mothers are chopped and neatly presented in polysterene packages streaked with marketing slogans written in snazzy colours. Welcome to the meat age. Welcome to a world bent on eating more and more meat.

In France alone, people eat 50% more meat than 50 years ago, 200% more meat than 100 years ago, and 500% more meat than 200 years ago (source). But France is no outstanding culprit, as this trend is not specific to developed nations, as you will see below the fold. Follow me inside for a quick review of the reasons why you shouldn't eat as much meat as you (perhaps) do. Or simply why you should stop eating meat altogether.

Read more... (182 comments, 2412 words in story)

Sri Lanka: how paradise can turn into hell

by Alex in Toulouse Sat Jan 7th, 2006 at 04:23:45 PM EST

Frontpaged by Sirocco.

Sri Lanka was once considered the pearl of the British Empire for being the most developed and the most promising nation under Her Majesty's rule.

And a pearl Sri Lanka is. From African-like dry areas with leopards and elephants, and some of humanity's oldest wildlife reserves, to tropical lagunas with corals and coconut trees, to cool mountains with pines and apple orchards, to dense humid jungles with gigantic carved or twisted rocks housing forgotten palaces, buddhist temples or statues entangled in vines ... anywhere the traveller will go will be a place of surprise and majestic beauty. So surprisingly beautiful that the word "serendipity" was named after this island, "Serendip" being the ancient Persian name for Sri Lanka. (serendipity: the act of finding something valuable or delightful when you are not looking for it. Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin's properties was said to be serendipitous).

But as we speak, Sri Lanka is about to become, once again, one of the ugliest places in the world.

Read more... (14 comments, 1733 words in story)

Unexpected Grief, Empathy, Anger and Words

by Alex in Toulouse Tue Jan 3rd, 2006 at 04:18:32 PM EST

This is kind of a personal diary entry, in which I'd like to invite any of you to write something just as personal.

Late this evening, a friend of mine visited. He is at his parents who live nearby, on holiday from Croatia where he works. He told me that he had just seperated from his wife after only a few months of marriage, and though accepting that an intense moment of personal problems had prompted the seperation, was still feeling some grief at what could have been. We had a couple of beers, it was nice to see him. He was naturally shaken, seperations are always painful.

I always seem to find the right words to say to a friend who's been seperated. I say what I need to say, naturally, without hesitation ..

However I don't do as well with unexpected grief ...

Read more... (30 comments, 630 words in story)

Perception of foreigners in the European Union

by Alex in Toulouse Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 10:25:16 AM EST

More interesting polls...from the front page ~ whataboutbob (NOW its up!! frontpage-edited by DoDo)

The Fondazione Nord-Est and the political science laboratory at the LaPolis university in Urbino have been carrying out a pan-european survey named "Immigration & Citizenship in Europe". This survey focuses on perception of foreigners in various countries of the European Union, and on issues concerning the European Union itself. Not all countries are studied, though different surveys sometimes involve the same countries. The initial 2005 results are out, and I've synthetized the questions on foreigners here for you, while providing you with a reminder for previous years.

As for conclusions to get from this data, I'll leave that up to you. The only blatant thing I noted is that people in France were completely manipulated on security issues up to the 2002 elections. This shows up as a spike (i.e. 2005 figures are back to, even sometimes below, pre-2002 values, as can be seen in pictures in the 2005 report.

Read more... (18 comments, 716 words in story)

Everything you've always wanted to know about the environment ...

by Alex in Toulouse Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 11:04:21 AM EST

... but were always afraid to ask.

For those who don't already know him, Jean-Marc Jancovici is an interesting person (Bio ). He was enrolled by the former French government to give his views on Greenhouse gases (causes, solutions etc). His views involve a lot of numbers. He basically indulges in very detailed analysis of particular environmental issues.

You may agree or disagree with him, but whatever you do at least you'll have to agree that the questions he asks are worth answering.

Here is the link to some of his computations. (in French here)

Here is another link (in French here), this time answering all sorts of questions on Global Warming.

You'll find some typical questions he answers below the fold. They are often based on French models and data, but generally apply universally.

Read more... (5 comments, 207 words in story)

Global Warming and Sea Level

by Alex in Toulouse Fri Nov 18th, 2005 at 01:23:20 PM EST

This is an extract from the blog of a few friends. Basically a simple Java applet that enables playing with the sea level and see what impact this has on the world's coastlines.

Read more... (11 comments, 117 words in story)

A new French political party

by Alex in Toulouse Mon Nov 14th, 2005 at 12:25:27 PM EST

A new political party is born in France. One that may appeal to environmentalists, and people generally wary and weary of our consumer society.

Read more... (26 comments, 116 words in story)

Unemployment rates of immigrants/non-immigrants, sensitive suburbs vs rest of France

by Alex in Toulouse Sun Nov 13th, 2005 at 07:57:18 AM EST

Back from the front page ~ whataboutbob

This is a summary of the differences in employment/unemployment rates, between immigrants/non-immigrants, and also between people in sensitive suburbs vs people from outside sensitive suburbs, at different levels of education and by gender.

Some information was initially found in French on http://www.inegalites.fr, which was only relaying the result of a national study done by the government body INSEE in 2003 (different elements of this study can be found in French on their website, by using the search engine, so that's what I ended up using.

Read more... (22 comments, 1618 words in story)
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