Her Majesty the Speed

«  Stopped by a policeman for exceeding the speed limit, Moshe Dayan says with a wry smile: “I have only one eye. What do you want me to watch: the speedometer or the road?” »

I used to be a good driver

A good driver is an attentive driver. A driver who is watching out, at all times. And I used to be one of those good drivers. My cornerstone principle was 360°×100%: watch the road, monitor the situation around my car every second, anticipate bad surprises and leave enough room for correcting my and others’ mistakes. I was always adjusting my speed according to the real-time circumstances, not theoretical prescriptions invented in a ministry.

My first ±18 years of driving in the 360°×100% mode proved efficient and safe. I never looked at my speedometer during these 18 years, I was watching the road instead. I could be probably driving 32 km/h instead of the allowed 50 in a street of Namur if I deemed 32 the adequate safe speed. I could be probably driving 134 km/h instead of the allowed 120 when I was alone on the illuminated motorway in the middle of the Ardennes — maybe yes, maybe no, I don’t know. I never ever diverted my attention away from the road. As a result, during these 18 years of road-focused driving I have never had any radar flash, any fine, any warning, any problem in any country on any type of road — it means that my speed was always adequate, just naturally.

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Lucky Generation X

kaleidoscopeLife is like a box of chocolates kaleidoscope. Throughout our lives we see changing patterns that emerge and vanish as epochs come and go. Sometimes the speed of rotation is faster, sometimes it’s slower, sometimes the kaleidoscopes are not moving at all.

poor guyImagine an average man, let’s call him Hieronymus, who lived in let’s assume XIVth century in let’s assume the Holy Roman Empire. He had a kaleidoscope too. What has he seen in it during his life? Always the same picture: same social structure, same values, same technology. What changed between his life under Henry VII and his life under Charles IV (provided the guy survived in the Black Death)? Absolutely nothing. Hieronymus’s kaleidoscope didn’t move a single degree. He has been observing one primitive pattern all life long, one utter boredom.

Some generations are luckier. My Generation X (borns between ±1965-1975) is among the luckiest ones. Okay, we didn’t enjoy the “Trente Glorieuses” and “Wirtschaftswunder” of the Baby Boomers, but we can’t complain: we knew no Black Death, no world war, no nuclear bombing, no ice period, no slave trade, no witch trials, no hunger. Our lives are safe and extremely interesting because the speed of rotation of our kaleidoscopes is faster than ever in human history. Our kaleidoscopes are fascinating. Here’s what I have seen so far in my personal kaleidoscope ↓
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One language, much politics around

There is a language, óne language, spoken “from Đerdap to Jadran”, from Subotica to Podgorica across Vukovar, Sarajevo and thousands of picturesque towns and villages. Like Persian or Hindustani, the Serbo-Croatian language is pluricentric with two perfectly interchangeable and fully equivalent alphabets, with two equivalent standards of pronunciation (Ije- and Ekavian) unrelated to political borders (see map), with one single literary Štokavian norm and a number of extra-literary dialects, all unrelated to political borders across the linguistic continuum. Most important: the grammar — what principally makes a language a language — is identical in Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Srpska Republic and the Federation of Bosnia-Hercegovina. Without forgetting the Brčko district.

Regional differences in vocabulary are manifold (different areas use different blends of Slavic, Turkish, Hungarian, German and other ingredients), but those differences are well-known and intelligible for the speakers from other areas, exactly as is a Hollywood movie for a British film watcher. Croato-Serbian unconditionally remains a supranational koiné for 20+ million native speakers of this beautiful language.

Politicians and nationalists blindly ignore this obvious reality. They upgraded regional variants of the common language to a language proper, they invented “Serbian”, “Croatian”, “Bosnian” and “Montenegrin” languages emphasising trivial particularities and leveraging on minor differences.

Three TOTALLY identical texts. Political correctness 80 LVL

But the common sense should not suffer from this narrow-minded political myopia. Progressive people struggle for promoting the common sense, and this Declaration on the Common Language  signed by a lot of good people is a good example that there is hope.

If the equation sovereign state = language is deemed normal, then I wonder why we still have no “Austrian language”, “Kuwaiti language” or “Australian language”. «Do you speak Nicaraguan?» — «No, sorry, I only speak Salvadorian, please translate». If being a sovereign state is enough to claim an individual language, then there would exist even two “Belgian languages”, because both Belgian Dutch and Belgian French do have a number of particularities vs. the Amsterdam and Paris norms, so why not? With this logic I would, as anybody else, have easily tripled or quadrupled the number of spoken languages.

P.S. The above text was proudly written in Bahamian. Don’t confuse with English!

Laissez les enfants tranquilles

Si ça continue, je finirai par agir contre la planète:

à WWF Suisse
Avenue Dickens 6
1006 Lausanne

Madame,
 Monsieur,

Stuff Vous avez pris la liberté d’adresser à ma fille mineure une carte de membre WWF et un bulletin de virement en faveur de votre organisation. Je vous prie de trouver ces objets ci-joints, je vous les rends dans leur état original, y compris les post-its en forme de panda.

Je vous demande de bien vouloir radier immédiatement ma fille de vos bases de données, ne la plus considérer comme membre de votre organisation, effacer notre adresse et ne plus rien lui envoyer.

Ma fille n’a jamais demandé de devenir membre de votre organisation. Je vois qu’elle ne manifeste aucun intérêt pour nourrir, “protéger”, “sauver” ou “parrainer” des animaux quelconques. L’école et les média l’ont déjà suffisamment informée du mouvement écologiste. Elle fait déjà tout ce qu’elle peut à son âge pour devenir une citoyenne responsable sans pour autant avoir l’ambition d’arrêter l’extinction de l’Holocène.

Le jour où ma fille aura 18 ans, elle décidera elle-même, mais pour le moment je vous prie de l’épargner des appels aux actions qu’elle ne peut pas évaluer objectivement et des choix qui ne sont pas les siens.

— André Kobzar

Gary Johnson for President!

Voting for Gary Johnson is good — not because the two big competitors are both bad options for America and the world. Voting for Gary Johnson is good per se, because only Libertarians manage to simultaneously embrace freedom, peace, prosperity, justice and — last but not least — common sense.

J’étais, suis et resterai charlie

3’700’000 manifestants, la population d’un pays entier comme la Bosnie-Herzégovine  — bravo les Français! Bravissimi!

Si l’on devient charlie, c’est parce qu’il y a une raison, à chacun la sienne: pour condamner la barbarie terroriste, pour défendre notre mode de vie, pour se sentir solidaire, ou encore pour être trendy et faire comme tout le monde avec une jolie pancarte noire sur Facebook. Quant à moi, j’étais déjà charlie bien avant le massacre chez Charlie Hebdo et je n’oublierai pas de rester charlie.

Ma raison principale d’être charlie c’est pour défendre la liberté d’expression illimitée et inconditionnelle quels que soient le sujet (religion ou toute autre chose), les moyens d’expression (dessin ou toute autre chose) et le public visé. Et ceci dans toutes circonstances: que la blague du journaliste / politicien / blogeur plaise ou non, qu’elle blesse quelqu’un ou non, qu’elle fasse rire ou qu’elle fasse frémir de dégoût. Je suis convaincu que dans un monde libre on a le droit de se moquer de tout, absolument de tout. Et ceci à tout moment. Toujours, et sans aucune exception. Les uns trouveront ça drôle, d’autres dégoûtant, mais n’importe — celui qui n’apprécie pas les blagues de certain genre ne doit simplement pas acheter le journal / assister au spectacle / regarder la chaîne télé qui dérange — c’est pas plus compliqué que ça. Zappez et trouvez ce qui vous plaît.

Et puis, attention — charlie est incompatible avec politically correct. Charlie est l’opposé du politically correct. Si vous êtes charlie, ne dites pas demain que vous êtes blessé par une blague qui vise votre groupe. Sinon vous n’êtes pas charlie du tout.

et je le resterai

Le temps passera vite — n’oublions pas de rester charlies! Repensons aux gars de Charlie Hébdo chaque fois que quelqu’un qui a une larme facile se plaint d’un dessin / chanson / publication / phrase. Blessé? — pas grave, change de chaîne et respecte le droit de chacun de s’exprimer sans faire des innombrables révérences envers tous les groupes existants ou imaginés. Les journalistes de Charlie Hebdo sont morts pour ce droit fondamental: dire ce qu’ils voulaient dire.

Votre participation était formidable. Merci, chers amis français! Vive la liberté d’expression, vive la France et vive la République!

22 Nivôse an 223 de la Révolution

Non c’è da sorprendersi

“Terremoto”, “shock”, “scandalo” — moltissimi sono i termini che disegnano il voto europeo del 25 maggio.

Ma veramente — che c’è di sorprendente? Ogni idea, ogni concetto ha un punto di ottima efficienza, un apogeo. Se non si ferma al buon momento, comincia la decadenza. Troppo è troppo. Bisogna sapere fermarsi.

Questo destino è accaduto alla magnifica idea europea. L’apogeo del progetto europeo è avvenuto il 1 gennaio 1993 quando il Mercato unico ha veramente visto il giorno. L’Europa ha fatto qualcosa di fantastico mettendo in pratica le Quattro Libertà della circolazione: merci e servizi, persone, manodopera, capitali. Non c’erano più di dogane, di controlli ai confini — niente. Un paradiso sulla Terra: vivete e lavorate dove volete, producete, comprate, vendete dappertutto — tutto è diventato possibile in questo mercato grandissimo, promettente e meraviglioso.

E bisognava fermarsi perché c’era proprio l’apogeo del progetto europeo. L’UE doveva restare un organo di sorveglianza leggero e poco visibile con l’unico scopo di far funzionare il mercato unico e le sue Quattro libertà, forse proporre qualche standard industriale e ambientale, forse allineare qualche legge — e basta. Invece l’Unione è diventata un colosso burocratico che ci dice come vivere, una cassa di dotazioni prese dalle nostre tasche, una fabbrica di direttive inutili, una fine a sè stesso fissata su una sola idea: allargarsi ancora e ancora. L’Unione Europea è invece diventata un vero mostro socialista che finanziamo noi.

E’ normale cha la gente non voglia più questo casino.

Een gezellige koning

ZKM Albert IIAlbert II was een bijna perfecte koning. Hij was een… gezellige koning. Telkens als hij op zijn eigen manier “De Koningin en ik” zei, bracht me zijn stem tot rust. Dank U voor Uw inzet, Sire, en veel plezier nog met Uw pensioen!

Domani cacceranno te

La maggioranza degli Americani pensa che costui chi ha avuto il coraggio di dire che le loro e-mail, contatti e calendari privati vengono visti dal Grande Fratello senza alcun ordine fondato dalla procura — questa gente pensa che l'uomo dovrebbe essere perseguito penalmente.

Un mondo alla rovescia! La maggioranza pensa che uno stato possa perquisire la corrispondenza privata dei cittadini perché le "buone persone di ordine" siano al riparo e allora non abbia niente da temere. O sancta simplicitas! Questa benignità cieca si paga cara. Gli operai dell'Unione Sovietica pensavano, anche loro, che il giusto fucile del terrore rosso era puntato solo contro i cattivi — i ricchi in quello caso. Errore — nello stato senza controllo civile troppi operai hanno finito nel Gulag. L'origine non ha aiuto.

Troppa gente si sbaglia pensando che esistono delle categorie dei "buoni", esonerate dai bracci di uno stato incontrollato dai suoi cittadini. Oggi leggono le lettere del tuo vicino, ma se tu non protesti, allora domani leggeranno il tuo. Oggi cacciano Snоwdеn per aver detto la verità, ma se tu stai zitto — allora domani cacceranno te.