Archive for May, 2008

No Nukes, part 5 – Scientist

The Israelis have never confirmed they have nuclear weapons, but this has been widely assumed since a scientist leaked details in the 1980s.

(Israel ‘has 150 nuclear weapons’, BBC News, 26 May 2008)

BBC is very careful about quoting—they put ‘has 150 nuclear weapons’ in quotes because they don’t claim that this is true, but because it’s just something that Jimmy Carter said. I’m not sure that all BBC readers actually understand this subtlety, but it’s good that they do it.

However, they say that ‘a scientist leaked details in the 1980s.’ Obviously, they refer to Mordechai Vanunu, but he wasn’t a scientist, just a technician. According to vanunu.org, a website that supports Vanunu, it is an “important point often misunderstood or forgotten”; quoting that site, “Vanunu was not an advanced scientist, but a subordinate technical assistant.” But BBC misunderstood and forgot.

I don’t strongly support Vanunu, because he makes too much of a joke out of himself, but i do support nuclear disarmament.

Lo

I should be ignoring this, but i can’t.

There’s this Eurovision Song Contest thing, right? And Israel participates in it? And the Israeli songs are terrible, just as nearly all the rest, right? And it’s not really about music, but about some fake national pride and a particularly stupid television show, right?

Well, yes, it is.

This year it’s the same crap as every time. The singer’s name was shortened from Boaz Mauda to Boaz. They do it to many Israeli artists for marketing reasons. Crap. OK, i can live with that and i couldn’t care less. And of course they translated the song to English, which is also very pointless, but i can live with that, too. But on the official website they named this so-called song “Fire in Your Eyes (Ke’ilo Kan)” and this i can’t stand.

It’s this Israeli stupidity in its worst. It’s supposed to be written “Ke’ilu”. כאילו. In Hebrew the sounds of [o] and [u] are usually written with the same letter, vav, and the correct pronunciation can be easily guessed by people who know Hebrew. But when transliterating Hebrew to Latin characters Israelis carry this confusion over, and often write an O where they should have written a U and vice versa. It’s similar to a hamburger place i saw once in southern Tel Aviv, which had a big ugly handwritten sign in “English” saying HMBORGR. The A and the E are gone, because they are not written in Hebrew at all, and the U turned to an O, because it’s “the same letter”. Now i think that a stupid hamburger vendor in southern Tel-Aviv should pay a heavy fine for that transgression. What is the appropriate punishment for the “representative” of Israeli culture that can’t fucking spell transliterated Hebrew words?

Now comes the funny part: If i try to change it in Wikipedia, it may be reverted, and someone will say “give me reliable sources; the website says Ke’ilo”. Crap.

Made Me Cry – Hague

A guy called Ian Hague gave US$200,000 to The Perl Foundation to help the development of Perl 6.

Well, it didn’t make me weep like Misha or The Walkabouts. But i did shed a tear.

Maybe it’s a tax writeoff and maybe he could give the money to the victims of the bad weather in Burma.

But he gave it to one of the geekiest and weirdest causes possible—development of a programming that possibly no-one will ever use seriously. But it could also happen that it will be the best programming language ever. And for whatever reasons he gave his money to it. It is almost a religious story: At least three of the leading developers of Perl 6 have been struck by bad health problems. And then an angel came, so this undertaking won’t perish.

The world is not lost.

Almost Made Me Cry – Chicken

Driving alone on Kvish 6. Putting on I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One. That’s right, the album that opened my “Made Me Cry” series.

I already expect that i’ll cry of happiness from listening to this brilliant record.

And then i see a truck of cows that are going to die. No happiness.

And then i also realized that the opening track is titled “Return to Hot Chicken”. Great. Everything is broken.

Actually i should try to suppress and forget this stupid experience.

Mentiras

What do you know—my persona is being discussed and lied about in Spanish. And it doesn’t even have anything to do with my Catalan studies, but with my being an “Ashkenazi Jew”. It’s been a long time since anybody called me an “Ashkenazi Jew”, so it’s quite funny.

Small Blue Thing, i really welcome you to be my friend —and even sister if you want—, because i am happy about having friends around the world—i have friends from Belarus, USA, Serbia, UAE, Iran, Lebanon, Argentina, Catalonia, Valencia, Mallorca and a whole lot of other places. I am especially happy about any opportunity to practice my very poor Spanish. But please don’t quote me incorrectly.

Treatment

Since about 2004 i watch very little television. I don’t have one at home and i don’t miss it. However, when i am at homes which do have one, i can hardly take my eyes off it when it’s on. That’s probably a good reason not to have one at home.

It doesn’t mean that everything on the TV is crap. I noticed that some Israeli drama series are pretty good. The stories are very humane and many of the actors are genuinely talented.

So i am quite proud to hear that an American TV network bought the rights for the fourth Israeli television script to be adapted for American TV. First there was In Treatment, the American version of Betipul. I haven’t watched any of them, but many other people did. Now, according to ynet, there are three more: Mesudarim and Merkhak Negia and The Ex List, which don’t yet have an article in the English Wikipedia.

So yay—Hebrew TV drama joins Hebrew rock n’ roll as one of the greatest achievements of Zionism.

SAFE HAVEN FOR DONKEYS IN THE HOLY LAND

Wow.

Secrets

This is so ridiculous: If is forbidden for newspapers in Israel to publish this: Israel Scandal’s LI Link.

The article says: “In a highly unusual move, Israeli authorities have barred the country’s media from publishing Talansky’s name – revealed now in The Post – saying it could hamper their investigation.” The move is really unusual, because the Israeli press is one of the freest in the world. But for the Israeli government, it is stupid in a very usual way.

This is called “Israbluff”. We can’t even censor things properly. In the really rare occasion when a news story, a song or a movie is censored in Israel, it causes it to be immediately published everywhere. The bad thing about it is not the silly censorship itself. When a state uses law to try and make people not do something, which they will do anyway, it will make people disrespect the law even when it does good things.



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