Wednesday, December 28, 2005

SPIEGEL reloaded

I was ready to write that there was something interesting SPIEGEL didn't publish on its english site, as I had discovered a Jean Cluade Trichet's interview to the magazine yesterday, on European Central Bank's website. But, today in my inbox, SPIEGEL's newsletter (in english, sure) there was a link on the interview, uploaded here, under the title "We can't stop history".

Kudos to SPIEGEL, once again. I liked Trichet's optimism, I think we lack this kind of optimism in Europe, and we'd be much happier if we embraced it. The interview's memorable quote:

The collapse of the Soviet Union was partly the result of Western Europe's success. And you can't stop history. We must constantly explain to people in Europe, especially in the countries that formed the original core of the EU -- Germany, Italy, the Benelux countries and France, for example -- that the territory at issue today is far, far larger than the Europe of Charlemagne!

Long live SPIEGEL ONLINE in English!

SPIEGEL ONLINE has an excellent aritcle on globalization, in english. It talks about the merits of globalization, rebuffing many of the groundless points of the critics of open markets and free trade, but still, it's reality based, not prone to exaggerations. It recognizes the problems that still exist allover the world, abuses like child labour and the ineffectiveness of some measures like fair trade inciatives. I really think everyone should read this article. It's longer than usual but certainly worth it.

More generally, SPIEGEL has a great presence in the web, only judging by its english service. It has become one of my favourite websites, making me wish I could speak german if the magazine is really like this. Check out yestrday's interviews for example: the one with Professor Dennett and the one with Ukraine's President and Orange Revolution's hero Victor Yuschenko.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Κλείστε επιτέλους το Εθνικό Συμβούλιο Λογοκρισίας!

Οι αυτοδίδακτοι λογοκριτές ξαναχτύπησαν. Μετά τους ομοφυλόφιλους και τον Ψαριανό, τώρα η Διεθνής Αμνηστία. Οι τύποι δεν πιάνονται. Επόμενος στόχος η UNICEF.

Χρόνια πολλά..

Friday, December 16, 2005

Gentlemen, welcome to Shawshank!

The Shawshank Redemption, which I just watched for yet another time on DVD, is such a powerful story of loss and redemption, of hope, of freedom and of real friendship. Nothing short of a real masterpiece. Anyone who hasn't seen it, should do it immediately. Anyone who has, should resee it as soon as possible.

Update: "Gentlemen, welcome to *". I just remembered which was the other magnificient movie with this quote. Of course.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The wisdom of the boxers

From SPIEGEL's interview with Lenox Lewis:

SPIEGEL: You play chess. It's even said that before big fights you played a game to get yourself in the mood.

Lewis: Boxing and chess are similar. It's about the choice of means. Sometimes I need a pawn, a bishop or a knight to defeat my opponent. It's about finding the best way. A good boxer has to be variable. He doesn't just need to know how to punch. He must also know how to protect himself, how to defend, how to avoid the opponent's punches. Only a complete fighter can become champion.
Great quote.

PS: Title reference.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Orwell and the pacifists

Here's a quote from George Orwell, perhaps the wisest man that ever lived. I didn't know he has written this, and as I just bumped onto it while surfing, I wanted to post it here too:
"In so far as it hampers the British war effort, British pacifism is on the side of the Nazis, and German pacifism, if it exists, is on the side of Britain and the USSR. Since pacifists have more freedom of action in countries where traces of democracy survive, pacifism can act more effectively against democracy than for it. Objectively the pacifist is pro-Nazi."
How true. And how wise..

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Voting before learning the results

Every time I cast my vote on IMDB after having watched a movie, I wonder whether my vote is biased one way or another due to the actual score of the movie by votes already casted.

Wouldn't it by great if you could personalize and make the current score appear only if clicked? I think it would be a good idea and would help anyone wanting to see how much his view (dis)agrees with the "conventional wisdom".

Friday, December 09, 2005

Today's Chile

In today's New York Times there's a very interesting op-ed article by a Chilean journalist about his country on the occasion of the forthcoming elections. Chile seems to be not only a succesful free market economy country, but one with cultured, open-minded and tolerant people, too.