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Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

The name ‘Calmeyer’ sounds strangely familiar to my ears, but I can’t remember why. Have I heard about Hans Calmeyer before? Possibly, but that’s no reason not to be interested in the publication of a book about this man: “Seattleite, 92, finally tells story of German who saved more Jews during the Holocaust than Schindler“.

I have not (yet) read the book “Shedding Our Stars: The Story of Hans Calmeyer and How He Saved Thousands of Families Like Mine“, which is the subject of the article, or a biography of Calmeyer. But I don’t need to read such books to know that Calmeyer, like Schindler and many others, were living proof of the fact that the evils of racism and dictatorship (and so much worse) were visible to contemporaries of the rise and fall of the Third Reich. Better yet: people not just knew, but also resisted and fought that evil in one way or another. That does not make them heroes – or perhaps it does: will you have the courage to do the same if the time comes?

(Thanks for the pointer, BoingBoing)

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Of course I endorse the “Contract for the Web” – head over to https://contractfortheweb.org/ to do the same!

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Image of a blog post from Dave Winer

(Click on the image to see more of Dave Winer’s blog)

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The past few days I have been repeatedly called by criminals posing as “technical support people”, mainly for Microsoft – one said they called from my internet provider, but couldn’t explain why he spoke English although my provider should do its business with me in Dutch. I do wonder though: why is it that my home number is targeted just this week, after being ignored for many years? The callers all spoke English with an accent that I associate with India and Pakistan. I guess someone out there must have picked up a phone list from the past and said: hey, let’s try these numbers again.

Anyway, I had to think immediately of the solution to this problem that I read about in BoingBoing’s “Vacation scammer telemarketer spends 15 minutes talking to a bot”. The recording in that post is hilarious: it’s not just a Jolly Roger Phone Company bot replying to the caller, the bot takes the lead in the conversation while all kinds of interruptions are going on in the background.

Checking other samples from the other bots offered by the company shows that these are just as good (and just as funny). Too bad the Jolly Roger Phone Company service isn’t available here in Belgium!

By the way: isn’t it strange that phone companies are in no way responsible for helping these criminals?

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This news report from AP is a good summary of who Johnny Clegg was: “South African musician Johnny Clegg dies at 66 after cancer“.

When we bought our first music CD player, somewhere in the second half of the 1980’s, the CD “Third World Child” was one of the first we added to our collection. At first because the music is great, and then because of the significance of Clegg in the anti-Apartheid movement.

I’ll continue to hum/sing along with his songs.

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Belgian (and European) politicians keep saying that all of us must be ready to get on-board the unstoppable train of “digitalisation” (although the explanation of what that exactly means is not so clear). But everyone knows: digital is the future, if it’s not already today.

Modern society is noisy, especially so if you live in or near an urban / industrial area, or close to busy roads and highways. Noise is a known stress factor. Luckily, electrical vehicles are very silent, compared to their internal-combustion engine cousins. Electrical vehicles are taking over from their ICE cousins – just ask Norway. Hurrah! I’ll finally be able to sleep with the bedroom window wide-open.

Unfortunately, all new electric cars in Europe must by law emit an audible noise. So we’ll use a very analog solution to solve a problem caused by humanity’s technological progress. I can’t help thinking there must be other, quieter solutions to this problem.

But hey, I suppose it beats having to hire someone to walk in front of your vehicle, waving a red flag, no?

I found this image on Whaleoil, credited (I think) to ‘The giffgaff community‘…

 

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I saw this slogan in Chania (Crete, Greece) last week:

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