Archive for April, 2009

Death Sentence in the Palestinian Authority

… And the BBC have also done that yet again: Palestinian handed death sentence.

The article is more or less OK. It says that the sentence is not actually expected to be carried, which is good. (Although similar cases have already ended in executions in the past.) But why does a half of the article discuss the “occupation”? And why does it have a photo of an Israeli soldier with the caption “Israel has settled hundreds of thousands of its citizens on occupied land” instead of a photo of a man who was sentenced to death for selling land to Jews? Many countries have border conflicts – Armenia, Serbia, Russia, China, India, the UK, etc. But what other country has a law that says that anyone who sells land to Jews, must be killed? (Oh, and the PA is not exactly a country.)

That’s exactly why i think that Israel, despite its demographic problems, should not have laws that prohibit selling of land to non-Jews. Such laws are discussed in the Knesset, but implementing them would be badly racist. The right thing to do is not to be like the PA.

Messiah

For many months the Hebrew word for “messiah” in the English Wikipedia was spelled terribly wrong. The correct vocalized spelling is מָשִׁיחַ, which looks very logical to anyone who has intermediate understanding of Hebrew morphology. But the Wikipedia article Messiah had this atrocious spelling since 2008-12-24: מֹשִׁיַּח and before that, since 2008-02-08, it was even more monstrous: מָׁשִיַח. Before 2008-02-08 it was correctly written מָשִׁיחַ, and when some user changed it, possibly in good faith, nobody noticed.

From the article Messiah it was copied to an even more important article: Jesus. From both of them it was copied to many websites by people who don’t know Hebrew, but probably like foreign alphabets. Try this Google search: “מֹשִׁיַּח” -site:wikipedia.org. You can find there, for example the San Antonio Hard Rock Church. Say hello to Pastor Roland Gloria! WTF.

Sex, part 2

The BBC have done it yet once again: ‘Sex’ star having surrogate twins.

Reality – Jerusalem Bus Stop

… To further my point about fighting antisemitism by improving Israeli bus services.

jerusalem-bus-stop

An Israeli has hard time understanding this mumbo-jumbo, let alone a tourist. This bus stop is placed in the center of the city, a place bustling with foreigners, and at least one of these bus lines is relevant for tourists. Would you know which one, if you wouldn’t know Hebrew?

Now we are six

I’ve been blogging in English for six years.

Fighting Antisemitism

I helped two nice Italian tourists find their way in Jerusalem today. They knew English, but how could i miss an opportunity to practice my Italian? I barely touched any Italian for two years, so i spoke slowly, but managed to say complete sentences and didn’t mix in any Catalan words. They were pleasantly surprised, of course, and said that my Italian pronunciation was correct.

Now there’s a little less antisemitism in the world. But not just because of my Italian skills, but because the bus they needed to take arrived quickly, which, for Israel, is a miracle. So, Egged: Fight antisemitism, improve the Israeli bus services!

Create another fable

When i first saw the video “Lama” by the Israeli singer Maya Avraham, it immediately reminded me of Massive Attack’s “Protection” directed by Michel Gondry.

Somehow i didn’t notice that the music of the song itself is also a knock-off. Compare its first seconds with “Chop Suey!”. Except that the song is standard Israeli pop.

Yet this video is very special. It is not centered on the singer walking around Tel-Aviv, walking around her rented apartment in Tel-Aviv or a huge close-up on her face. It has each of those things in certain proportions, but it is centered on knocking off Massive Attack and System of a Down. That’s a start.

Oh, and it’s two years old. The only Israeli video worth watching that was produced recently is Yadayim Lemaala by Knesiyat Hasekhel.

I somehow still believe that rock ‘n’ roll can never die.

Shark?

A couple of weeks ago i read the whole xkcd back catalog over a few days. A lot of laughs and insights. And since then most of the new strips don’t seem so funny anymore.

Wagner

Wagner’s antisemitism and use of his works by the Nazis caused him to be banned in Israel: he’s not played on Israeli radio, and playing him in a classical music concert is a sure way to be booed and to be mentioned on the front page in the next day’s newspapers.

As far as i know, Wagner had sick opinions, but didn’t kill anyone.

Now: Will “Let It Be”, “Imagine” and “Jealous Guy”, produced by an alleged murderer, be banned from Israeli radio? Or from BBC? I think not.

Obnoxious Firefox Licensing

Mozilla Firefox comes in many localized versions for many different languages, which is a good thing.

Mozilla Firefox has built-in spell-checking, which is also a good thing.

So, for example, if you download the installer for English (US) or for Lithuanian and install it and go write an email in GMail or edit a Wikipedia article in one of these languages, you’ll immediately see your spelling errors. This makes perfect sense.

But if you download an installer localized for English (UK), Catalan or Hebrew, you won’t see your spelling errors. The Firefox binary has spell-checking capabilities, but the installer doesn’t include the actual dictionary. Firefox-compatible dictionaries for these languages exist, and they are licensed as Free Software (GPL or LGPL), and you can add them manually after installing (right-click -> Languages -> Add Dictionaries), but here comes the ridiculous part: The guys behind getfirefox.com refuse to include those dictionaries in the installer. The reason, apparently, is that to be included in the installer, the dictionary must be 300% compatible with Firefox’s license, because Firefox is tri-licensed as GPL/LGPL/MPL, and a dictionary that is GPL-only is not good enough.

It is hard enough to convince people to install Firefox in the first place; convincing them to install additional dictionaries, plug-ins, add-ons etc. tends to frustrate them even more. Contrary to the belief which is popular among Firefox power users, most people are not add-on junkies and don’t right-click everywhere. So, even though Firefox users in London, Barcelona and Jerusalem can see Firefox menus in their respective languages, they have dead-weight spell-checking code on their hard drives, because they didn’t get a spelling dictionary in the installation, and many of them don’t even know that a Firefox-compatible spelling dictionary for their language exists.

Is this obnoxious licensing requirement really required? Isn’t Free Software licensing supposed to make distributing software easier?

When i told my wife Hadar about it, she said that it is as ridiculous as the stuff i tell her about DRM.

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