Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

I discovered Scott Helme’s blog only recently, but I’m glad I did. Scott knows much more about HTTPS and certificates than I do, and he succeeds in explaining the subject in a very understandable way. The post that pointed me to his blog explains how certificate “Revocation is broken“. And that subject has some surprising aspects, by the way. Earlier posts on his blog will let you discover what SSL means, how you can install certificates, what to look out for, and more.

Let’s face it: I’m happy to blog here on the WordPress site, which takes care of all the SSL stuff for this blog (and probably does it better than I could do myself at this moment). But if I want to continue to help build and run other websites, I’ll have to get my hands dirty on this subject! We may all be waiting for the days when “buying” a domain name will include the corresponding SSL certificates, but as long as that isn’t the case, you and I will have to do it ourselves. That’s where people like Scott can be a big help.

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The title of the article on this German motorcycle website is not exactly correct, but it may well point to something that will soon be a reality: “Südtirol sperrt ersten Dolomitenpass. Experiment am Sellajoch“. No, this alpine pass, the Sella Pass, isn’t permanently forbidden for all traffic. But local authorities are experimenting with an interdiction for all cars and motorcycles powered by combustion engines: this summer, only cyclists and electric vehicles – and horses – can travel over the pass on Wednesdays. I can appreciate the words of Reinhold Messner, one of the supporters of this measure, as quoted in the article:

Damit die Berge wie vor 200 Jahren genossen werden können: Der Berg ist ein Ort der Langsamkeit und des Schweigen, nicht der Geschwindigkeit.

Translated to English: “That way, the mountains can be enjoyed like 200 years ago: the mountains are the realm of slowness and silence, not a place for speed“.

Photo by Klaus Nahr (CC BY-SA 2.0) on Flickr

Some cities have already set the first steps into a future with more electric vehicles, and now the mountains could well be next in line. I understand the rationale behind that strategy, even if it means that I can no longer wait too many years to try a few mountain passes myself (or invest in an electric motorcycle, of course).

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Isn’t there a saying about the truth coming from a child’s mouth?

“I stood in front of them and said, ‘If someone is mean to you online, you have to be meaner back,’” an almost verbatim echo of Sanders’ and Melania Trump’s discourse. Aftab wanted to see how the kids would respond. “This one girl with bright red hair took her books from her lap and slammed them on the floor. She said, ‘No, it’s wrong, it’s just wrong!’ And I said, ‘Well, why is it wrong? We do it in New York.’ And she looked at me and said, ‘Well this isn’t New York. This isn’t the United States of America. This is Canada, and we’re nice to people here.’”

Aftab laughed. “We need to listen to that fifth-grader and remind ourselves about what’s right and what’s wrong. … Feeding fire with fire just means you’re going to burn down the town.”

It’s worth reading the whole article titled “How the Psychology of Cyberbullying Explains Trump’s Tweets“.

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Call me stupid, but I don’t understand why American politicians think that people can do without health insurance. Just read Eric Meyer’s plea:

Without insurance, even if we’d been able to get the insurer’s rate, we’d have gone bankrupt. All our investments, our house, everything gone. If pre-existing conditions had prevented us from being covered, or if we’d been less fortunate and unable to afford premiums—bankrupted.

In which case, Rebecca’s brother and sister would have suffered her death, and the loss of their home and what precious little remained normal in their lives.

How many families live through that double hell? How many go completely broke trying to save their child?

How many families will have to go through that double hell in the future? According to the Congressional Budget Office, many – here is their evaluation of the current proposal…

Ken Norton has a story to tell as well…
Click the image to read it on Twitter

It may be true that a certain style of living can help you stay healthier; one of the best ways to make that happen is, of course, making sure that our environment isn’t polluted. Anyway, getting ill isn’t something you do by choice, and no sane person goes to the doctor just for fun.

Dave Winer has another take on the subject, but comes to the same conclusion:

I’m not going to go into all the detail here, but every way you look at it, disease follows the pattern of a natural catastrophe. So the only reasonable way to fund treatment is to pay taxes, and that’s it.

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I have been a fan of science fiction literature since my youth. It started with a few books in Dutch when I was a teenager, with books from Paul van Herck and Carl Lans. I currently own 300+ titles, almost exclusively in English – going to the source seemed the best way to enjoy the genre.

So after talking about 1984, allow me to introduce another literary classic (which I haven’t yet read in its entirety, alas), commented by Cory Doctorow in a Slate article titled “I’ve Created a Monster! And so can you.“:

Frankenstein warns of a world where technology controls people instead of the other way around. Victor has choices to make about what he does with technology, and he gets those choices wrong again and again. But technology doesn’t control people: People wield technology to control other people.

People wield technology to control other people” – how true. Machines, be they constructued in hard- or software, don’t do anything, unitl guided by people. But is Cory Doctorow talking about the Facebooks and Twitters of this world, or about the NSA and other hackers? Both, probably. It remains remarkable how this insight was captured in a book more than 100 years ago.

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I should be re-reading “1984” again – it’s been many years since I opened the copy on my bookshelf. And there are good reasons to do so, if only to get a better grasp on what happens today in the world.

The dystopian future Orwell portrays in 1984 helps illuminate our post-9/11 world. In the novel, the government of “Big Brother” carries on a perpetual war that, as in American life today, “involves very small numbers of people, mostly highly trained specialists, and causes comparatively few casualties. The fighting, when there is any, takes place on the vague frontiers whose whereabouts the average man can only guess at.” And just as young Americans today have lived with that anti-terror campaign all their lives, so too 1984’s hero, “Winston,” “could not definitely remember a time when his country had not been at war.”

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Superheroes Can Be Funny, Too!

Just go looking for the phone number of Adam West (the actor playing the original Batman on TV) in the telephone guides of Sun Valley, CA.

See the rest of the story in Rusty’s photos on Flickr
by clicking of the image

Thanks, Rusty Blazenhoff!

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