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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

EU-Ukraine trade agreement: give us ethanol, we'll take your utilities.


I've read the draft of the EU-Ukraine agreement. Below I'll explain the main documents.

The agreement is slightly skewed in favour for export TARIFFS from Ukraine to EU.
Tariffs are not taxes. It are costs exporters/importers have to pay directly into state-coffers.
Further more it pushes the Ukraine to be more inline with IMF regulations, so they can start dancing to their ropes more. That IMF carrot for quick cash influx is very tempting for nations with large debts and corrupt leaders. But devastating in the long run.

The problem for me is article 148 about the EU directive on opening the market for public utilities as water, energy, transport and postal services. This will be in effect 4-5 years after the treaty is signed.
It's the next step after the opening of some general markets upon signing.
In that period Ukraine has to change national laws regarding the tendering of contracts to comply with EU directives on how the tendering of contracts should be handled. For Ukraine it does mean some judicial changes.
So increase in opportunities for Ukrainian companies to the EU at first, while in a few years EU companies, or US companies that have residencies in the EU (who hasn't with the Irish-Dutch sandwich?) to pluck all the state owned properties after the financial crisis has loomed. But most international companies are sitting on full coffers already...

We've seen in Europe that liberalising these markets is not wise. The UK sold their Royal Mail recently meaning they have a short influx of cash, but in the long run will not receive any further revenue on this. I'll not address the issues of the Royal Mail share price since going public ;-) Look it up yourself and judge if selling off national interests is smart at this time, if at all.

This is what the IMF/WTO likes to implement world wide and the EU is supporting it:
Sell off all national assets. In the end the only way to sustain a nation is by implementing higher taxes to compensate for the loss of regular income from those services.
and quick liberalisation of public services like water could have some nasty consequences. Remember Brazil anyone? Where the water company even claimed the rainwater so locals where fined if they collected it off their roofs... Some 3rd wold country, you say. Well the privatized company was US-owned.

Further more, there is a military clause attached to it as well: Regular security meetings between the parties and the obligation to work together in crisis situations. (what ever that means)
As well as engagement in training operations, just with the EDA (European Defense Agency), of course. Not a word about NATO. And all explorational, of course. Next are the disarmament article and "Combating terrorism" article.
Oh yeah, maybe sharing some military technology too, they're not sure about that, yet.

Ukraine will, Ukraine shall
All in all there is a whole lot of "Ukraine will" and "Ukraine shall" in there. Only a few times that the EU Parties will or shall do something as well. Plus the fact that this agreement does imply that an outside party, the EU, can insist that some laws are changed within a non-EU country. And there is not a word about joining the EU in this agreement. This include how judges are chosen, how the judicial system should look at corporations, patent laws, trademarks, etc. As well as how the police system works.
For better or worse, the fact stays that when EU directives change, so do laws in the Ukraine, just to stay within the agreement. Does a sovereign country want that? That's up to the people. And that does include giving that public a neutral view, not participating on a square with the people demanding that a given, elected, government signs that agreement.
I do have to add that in May 2013 a law was drafted in the Ukraine for a re-vote in five districts where it was not clear if the voting was rigged or not during the 2012 elections. So you could agree that the EU (and US) politicians where in their right when on Maidan square. On the other hand, there wasn't a nation that questioned the 2012 elections and the US and the EU recognised Yanokovitch as the lawfully elected leader of the Ukraine after the 2012 elections and have held meetings and talks with him.

Myths explained by the EU
There is a nice Myths document about the treaty as well.
I was puzzled by the graph on page 14. It shows the GDP of Poland, Romania and Ukraine.
There is a noticeable dip in 2012 for Poland and Romania. But not for Ukraine.
Not explained in the text why, but I suspect it may have to do with ex-pats sending less money back home or ex-pats returning back home unemployed or in the process of starting up businesses. The two countries that opened their borders the most early on are now in austerity. (Ireland and the UK). It could also be the burden of the crisis in Greece.
Continuing that myth, on page 15, they mention Russia made very little GDP growth between 1990-2012.
They forget to mention that Russia paid an enormous amount of money back to the WTO somewhere in the end of the nighties for loans, at high rates, that where "granted" to them after the fall of the Soviet Union. It caused quite a stir at the time because the bankers that are joined in the Group of Paris didn't want Russia to pay the loan back entirely and so early, because they where loosing out on future interests. After that payment Russia finally decreased their deficit, and in the end increased their GDP. So yeah, on a 22 year average you get slow growth, take only 2000-2012 and you'll get a different average for Russia.

appendix to annex IA annexes IB-ID; you really need to have OCD to get a job in Brussels
Only odd point I found is in the export restrictions for the Ukraine. Most are set, some can be increased after 5 years. In general the lifting of quotations look like optimistic growth figures. so from 8.000 tons to 10.000-20.0000 tons. from 20.000 tons to 40.000 tons.
etc.
Only thing that can increase in export to a whopping 400% is ethanol: from 27000 tons/year to 100 000 tons/year for export. Will Europe finally step into ethanol? Or force Ukraine to get into that industry. As they will keep agricultural restrictions in favour of the EU  with direct subsidies to EU farmers.

Yes, there will be lower import tariffs for goods from the Ukraine. As well as lower export tariffs from the EU.
The pro-side is saying that this will be an immediate influx in the Ukraine economy.
True, but just in cost savings and only directly to importers and exporters as they pay less fees. Making in the end the products cheaper IF the lowering of the tariffs are calculated in as well.
The pro-side is saying that Ukrainian goods will increase in quality, so that's good for the Ukrainian people.
There is a saying: you can get good, cheap and fast service. You can only select two of them. And good and fast service won't be cheap, as cheap and fast service won't be good.
At the moment people tend to go for the cheap and fast option, rather than the good option.
Just because that won't be cheap. or in the worst case: not fast.

with the implementations of so many EU directives, the inflation in Ukraine will increase. The people will not be able to effort higher quality of goods thus companies have to make a choice: go for export with high quality of goods and leave the "non-EU-compliant" goods for the national market.
We've seen that in most, if not all of the EU during and after WWII. It's called surrogates.

and I suspect Ukraine will be flooded by a lot of big international players to pluck all the good national assets and walk away with it in 4-5 years. Like has happened in Europe over the years. It's like saying: it's better to rent and move than to buy once and maintain, so sell your house and rent it back. It looks good for the first 10 years, but you feel the burden after 40-50 years... And for politicians you should look at those last kinds of timelines and not the first one when you're in office only.

But don't worry. Ukraine has to drop the tarrifs for second-hand clothing, so now all the Chernobyl charities can take your clothing again and flood Ukraine market. (one of the reasons those tariffs where implanted, or a bit of a proud stand: we don't need charity)
Talking in Chernobyl, there is mentioning on it where the EU is willing to help build a new dome over reactor 2.

Coming back to that ethanol thing
Ukraine's biggest opportunity in the whole agreement is the export of ethanol.
While the taxation on cars exported from the EU stay for a full 15 years.
That is, IF the car manufactures turn to ethanol. And to break a myth: EVERY car should be able to drive on ethanol with minor adjustments to the fuel injection system. Not just old T-fords, Citroen 2cv's or the modern "special hybrids". Although most of the old carburetor cars can make it a 1-2-3 change to run on ethanol, just by changing the nozzles inside the carburetor.
So Ukraine can make a lot of ethanol, but can't sell much of it on the national market, but only export it because those new European ethanol cars stay more expensive in the Ukraine.
But the car industry is coming up with the ethanol car for the last 50 years or so. They been playing that card over and over just by passing it on from one manufacturer to the next. Never gets further than a test-case. So I wouldn't really put my bets on it, yet.
This is, btw, the reason all those old carburetor cars need to go to the junkyard. You can quickly convert them to ethanol, making it less likely you go buy a new ethanol car. When the word gets out that most of those 60's, 70's and 80's cars can run on ethanol just fine a new round of cash for clunkers will be needed to increase the new car sales.

The only positive things for the Ukraine are the option to participate in some EU programs. But the Ukraine does have to pay a fee for each program, in order to benefit from it.
They do get a say in the regulation authorities over such programs, if the Ukraine chooses to participate in them.
The visa restrictions will not be lifted, but the EU will make it easier to obtain a visa for Ukrainians.

All in all, the EU wants to open up the water, energy, transport and postal service as soon as possible in the Ukraine. I doubt that Ukraine companies will be able to compete in this.
This agreement forces the Ukraine to keep updating laws to keep in line with EU directives. Changing the juridical system, and even some stuff about the police system.
Looking at the export quota's I'd say that the EU has little fate in produce from Ukraine and rather wish that they start producing Ethanol.
Ukraine needs to invest in procedures changes, both in politics as well as in production.
I can understand Yanokovitch saying: I want Russia in here as well, make it bi-partisan so to say. But it seems the EU doesn't want to risk the Ukrainian utilities in Russian hands. So that's why none of this agreement is up for negotiation. Ukraine just has to sign and deal with it. Further more, with the military cooperation in there, it will make it harder for Ukraine to do exercises with Russia, as it could be a conflict of interest. (EU procedures falling into Russian hands) So the EU is locking Ukraine into it's vault and create tension between Ukraine and Russia, although they firmly deny it.
Sorry, through the ages, Ukraine was always more brothers with Russia than with the EU.
While Poland and Ukraine do not always see eye to eye together. EU has always send a Polish ambassador to the Ukraine. It could be seen as a way of reconciliation, or a continues provocation.

after 15 years the EU will have the Ukrainian utilities, and Ukraine is the main exporter of ethanol. But will not receive benefits from it's utilities, and will lost out of income of the tariffs. How a bankrupt country can survive in the long run without owning it's own utility services and without receiving income out of imports is to be seen. One way is to tax the population higher. But the Ukrainian people will have more expensive and better quality goods, so they obviously can affort the higher taxes at that time.

The documents:
It is a bit of a puzzle. Like in article 148 they state at the end: (hereinafter referred to as "Directive 2004/17/EC"). So in the timeline only the directive is mentioned, not the concerning article 148
- Full draft agreement
- Timeline for implementation
- Trade related matters (with articles 148, 151, 152, those are the articles that handle the sell off of utilities)
- list of all quoata's on export from the Ukraine (appendix to annex IA annexes IB-ID)
- Myths document: (myths_aa_en.pdf)
- study into the Ukraine reform as of June 2013
.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Playing with numbers

Just watched House of Numbers, about the HIV / Aids epidemic. (see also: www.houseofnumbers.com) It's focussed on one thing: The statistics.

In the medical world we currently have two major deceases that receive billions in funding without creating results: Cancer and HIV/Aids.
For cancer the diagnose is simple. If you have tissue that can live without oxygen it's a cancer. There is no cure, people say. Other scientist claim to have found a cure but it's not profitable due to being 'alternative' and rejected by health organisations or because it can't be patented. (there was a follow up article on May 16, 2011. following the hypothesis of Otto Warburg) And if there is a cure, for example: smart bombs, the results are buried away or not made common knowledge.

For aids the results are not conclusive. Turns out that, not only, interpretation of the tests vary, but also that all tests have a clause stating: Further testing is needed.
Meaning that there is actually no conclusive test available and you can be tested positive in one country and negative in another. Also: you could be tested positive one day and negative the next.

Cooking up numbers is done regularly. As they say: 90% of all statistics are made up. Most of it is political. First, lets look at a bit of history. Polio vaccination in the US was instituted by Franklin D. Roosevelt. He wanted to eradicate the disease that caused him to be bound to a wheelchair.
From Fear of the invisible:
I found firm evidence that the regulatory authorities had employed from 1960 another weapon from their armoury to bring down the numbers of reported polio cases. They promulgated new regulations that rewrote the rules for polio diagnosis, effectively wiping polio nearly out of existence by simply changing the rules for polio diagnosis!
In 1956, the health authorities instructed doctors that they were in future only to diagnose polio if a patient has paralytic symptoms for 60 days or more. As polio was diagnosed previously if there were just 24 hours of paralytic symptoms, and as the disease in milder cases frequently lasted less than 60 days, this automatically meant vastly fewer cases of polio would be reported.
Furthermore, it was now decreed that all cases of polio occurring within 30 days of vaccination were to be recorded, not as possibly caused by the vaccine, but as ‘pre-existing'. This regulatory change also ensured that far fewer cases of vaccine failure would be recorded.
In case of the polio disease it was looking bad in politics that a vaccine actually increased the number of polio patients, so cooking up the numbers made it all better again. Vaccines are basically introducing the body with a 'harmless' virus, bypassing the natural defence systems of nose, skin, thyroid glands, etc by injecting the virus straight in the bloodstream. This will make the person sick and thus kickstart the anti-bodies to fight the virus that would normally be stopped by the body's defence system by creating white blood cells to fight of a possible infection before it actually starts.

In cancer there is evidence as well of cooking up numbers. Maybe incidental, but it does change the statistics and thus could be described as 'cooking up the numbers'.
For instance. Until the 1980ties in many countries it was mandatory to do an autopsy when somebody died. This is a very easy way to precisely determine the cause of death.  Often, cancer cells where found, even if those cells where not the cause of death, so cancer numbers where high. When this obligatory autopsy was stopped suddenly the number of people with cancer dropped as well. Researched of woman between their 40's-50's that died in car accidents in America showed that 40% of them developed microscopic cells of breast cancer.
(no direct resource found, quote by William Li)
If you watch the house of numbers, it becomes evident that not only HIV tests are not conclusive but also that pre-existing diseases or symptoms are suddenly labelled HIV/AIDS, inflating the numbers and thus inflating the infections. It seems very clear that if you politicise an issue, statistics are being adjusted/manipulated.

I suggest making up your own mind and doing your own researches. As always. Never take any body's word as absolute truth, as nobody has it. Even scientific truth is made through consensus or "general truth and general laws" and thus is by definition not the absolute truth.

So here's my hypothesis.
First off, it is understood by the general public that having unprotected sex will cause aids and you only need to do it once. True or false? Hmmm, kinda. Lets look at Nancy Padian's research, one that's quoted most often by 'deniers' and debunked the most by 'truthers'.

The current likelihood of male to female infection after a single exposure to HIV is 0.01-0.32%, and the current likelihood of female to male infection after a single exposure is 0.01-0.1%.
Group 1. Aidstruth.org states:
If safe sex practices are followed, and if there are no complicating factors such as those mentioned above, the risk of HIV transmission can be as low as our studies suggests. But many people misunderstand probability: they think that if the chance of misfortune is one in six, that they can take five chances without the likelihood of injury.
Group 2. Reducetheburden.org states
But what should strike the uninformed viewer to the drama as odd, is that her study – the longest and most rigorous of its kind on record – is absolutely and totally censored on the Wikipedia pages devoted to both “HIV” and “AIDS.” Even her own page does not mention the results of her longest study.
 Her study actually shows that condom use and abstention grew from about 30% to about 90% among the subjects. So is it true or false? Nancy Padian suggests the following: Read my study as it is.
So I'll read it as it is and conclude:
We looked at 175 couples where one partner has HIV, did 3384 tests among those couples over ten years where 30% of the couples had protected sex at the start and after 10 years 90% of them. In a maximum of 0.1% of the cases the uninfected partner contracted the HIV/AIDS virus.

So is it true to get infected if we have unprotected sex with an infected person after one time? Sure, the chance is there so it is true.
So what's the reason to bury this particular study as well as the 'smart bomb' study for cancer?
Well, first of, the aidstruth.org group are a group of scientists from the AIDS research field that "contribute to the website in their spare time, and decisions on content are made by the team members in the interest of global public health." with the purpose "to debunk AIDS denialist arguments and prevent further harm being done by AIDS denialists to public health."
So the site is biased from the start, focussing only on saying that the large numbers and the cause of HIV/AIDS is real because it's run by a group of people in the know that want to protect their work for what they get paid for. Same as any corporation that protect the sale of their products through marketing and that tend to downplay any consumer reports.

Secondly it's the "follow the money" theory. I quickly looked at how much is spend on cancer worldwide, but absolute world-wide figures are a bit buried, so to take the US alone: it's an average of 4.9 billion a year between 2005 and 2010 alone. And that's probably not taking in account donations and sorts. So in over 90 years of research (taking the research of Francis Peyton Rous as starting point) the amount of money pumped in is astonishing. AIDS is only discovered and named for the last 30 years. But received billions of money as well.
So it's safe to say that economically it's better to not come up with a solution than do come up with one. It's basically up to the moral obligation of the scientists and pharmaceutical industry to come up with an answer. And if that moral obligation is missing it's in their own interest of survival to bury, downplay or ignore any studies that show a cure.
On the other hand, it's in the interest of the people to not pursue any false claims.

Final point is the timing. And yes, this might be far fetched, so ignore this if you will.
On March 1980 the Georgia Guidestones where erected. Claiming that mankind needs to "Maintain humanity under 500 million in perpetual balance with nature." (that means that today over 6,5 billion people need to disappear)
Soon after, at the end of 1980 AIDS was discovered and, although first claimed to be a homosexual disease, it was quickly known that both sexes could get it by having unprotected sex. As "sex before marriage" was no longer a moral sin, it makes sense to scare the public in order to prevent an explosive growth in population.
Same with cancer, discovery, research and development of different cancers (this link is highly recommended) followed the, then popular, eugenics theories and was founded (and spread) by a known eugenic.
In both cases I can't confirm a correlation, just see coincidence and a pattern: Influential people with money, in the case of Cancer: Rockefeller and in the case of the Georgia Guidestones: Ted Turner, drive towards a cleansing or elimination of large parts of the population and research is being set up. Costing billions, with no end in sight.

Thanks to the internet alternatives do surface but can lack funding and proper research. There are many examples where scientists are portraited as quackery and their research being burned down, stolen, kept under wraps or otherwise disappeared from view. Some of these are indeed quackery, false claims, etc. And one should look closely into the methods and parties involved to make your own decision. To give a few of these examples in different fields: Tesla,(wireless cheap energy; much of his notes and research disappeared)  Dr Royal Rife (stolen documents, vandalising of his lab, etc), Paul Pantone (declared insane and institutionalised because he didn't trust his own layers any more), Dr. Reich (smear campaign) and Stan Meyer (his research disappeared right after his unexpected death). Especially in the fields of Tesla's research and the research of dr. Royal Rife, mankind could be years ahead and live in a completely different world today.
No doubt cancer is a real disease. With aids, looking at the way the statistics are made up and the tests involved I would say that it's being exaggerated but probably real. Just not as big as it's claimed to be and is rather a collection of different illnesses named the same. As the opposite was done with polio where it got differentiated into different illnesses and thus eradicated.
If there is a double agenda, involving economics or even a triple agenda involving eugenics, I don't know. Maybe it's just cases of cause and an opportunity, but undoubtedly big money is involved in prolonging or even growing the problem rather than solving it completely. Maybe we should start the Japanese doctors way: You pay your doctor when you stay healthy for a year. And you don't pay when you get sick. This way it's in the doctors interest to cure you, rather than keep you sick.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What the ^%&$ is going on?


Wikileaks Cable February 2008 "Extremists in Eastern Libya" states that the, now supported, rebels have nothing to loose and the area is a breeding ground for martyrs around the world. It also states that Ghaddafi used to try and keep that area poor, so they wouldn't revolt. Mind you, this region was and is loving their old king very much. The cable ends that the son of Ghaddafi promised to create jobs in the region.
According to this Pravda article, in 2009 Ghaddafi proposed to nationalise the oil companies, influence oil prices and share the profits with the people of Libya. The article also states the cable mentioned in the first link. They further mention the Sinjar documents that establish a fact that a disproportionate part of al-Qaida's network come from Libya. Disproportionate in relation to national populations, not in absolute numbers!
Now, there is the fact that at least one(!) rebel leader fought in Afghanistan against the US.
And these are the same rebels that formed an alternative government that is recognised by part of the world? Ah, it's not that bad... So far France, the EU with exception of Bulgaria and Qatar recognises this rebel government as the ONLY legit government in Libya.
So this "recognised" new government is already making big progress during this civil war. They already established a new central bank. And a new national oil company, and made a deal with Qatar to sell their oil. Qatar being one of the few Arab nations that are left in the coalition! Some others stepped out when air-to-ground strikes began.

Now, don't get me wrong. Ghaddafi has done a lot of bad things, but since 2001 he's on a PR drive to set the record straight. He was more than willing as he has a hot bed of potential Al Qaida fighters in his country. Some that he didn't like, so all international help would be welcome. US awarded his efforts by lifting a decades long weapon embargo back in 2003. EU followed in 2004.

In 2005 the world factbook published figures that Libya had 7.4% of their population living under the poverty line. In March 2011 this figure is corrected to 1/3th of the population. Mind you, that 7.4% was an estimate, but stating "1/3th of the population" is an even worse estimate. (See the history between the February 2011 and the March 2011 entry on wikipedia. Both sources are from the world factbook.
In six years time the poverty rate has more than quadrupled, despite efforts in 2008 to create jobs in the poorest region of Libya (wikicable), despite a call to the government from Ghaddafi in 2009 to nationalise the oilcompanies in Libya (Pravda article) and despite the abolishment of taxes on home grown and imported foods in the wake of the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings.   

I just find it hard to get the facts straight. Either the 7.4% was completely wrong, and other studies do not really support that, or the 1/3 part is completely wrong, just to enhance that Ghaddafi is so rich and his people are starving and that humanitarian aid is needed.
It's not the first time that facts are being distorted to get some UN resolution on the table.

Even though UN resolution 1973 is not fully compliant with the UN charter, especially part 2.4 it did found some grounds on other parts of the charter, buried deeper away (chapter 7). Even though article 2 establish the PRINCIPLES of the whole UN charter.

Now, I think it's safe to say that if the UN, or better: the coalition, is supporting rebels that are, likely to be, al-qaida influenced that it's rather strange that in the neighbouring country part of the coalition is supporting the opposite part. Especially now that that same state is having a civil war on it's own.

War is never good, and it seems hard to live with eachother in harmony. Especially when greed is a very big factor in play. I hope the world would change for the better, but I fear that as long as lies, greed and self interest play the high notes in this world, there will be no solution. These wars, point out hypocrite parties involved that would like nothing more to see one country destroyed, in order to get what they want. While at the same time doing the opposite in another country.
It's just striking that on the day the coalition came together in London to discuss Libya, that in Libya the rebels announce a new central bank. On top of that, they establish a new national oil company. All on the same day. There seem to be a lot of higher forces at stake, and although it's clear that Ghaddafi is getting less popular by the day in his own country and there are many educated people residing in Libya, this seems to be more orchestrated from outside Libya than from within. Only time would have to tell. It already told a tale that is very old in that same continent. And right now, it seems that this tale is not very different.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Did we just started world war III?

The United Nations was founded to establish world peace, use diplomacy and never have a repeat of world war II.
Now this very institute overruled their own chapter, article 2.4 stating:
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

And not only was a No-Fly zone imposed to a member state, there are also air to ground missles.  Those missles have nothing, nothing to do with a no-fly zone. Nato needs to pull out, the coalition needs to pull out and we should bring over any leader of a member state of the UN that supports this illigal war to The Hague for a trail. This is an illegal war. And the world is being dragged in.
There was no diplomacy and it seems that grabbing weapons was the only available option. Didn't Ghaddafi tried to win over the world with a charm offensive in recent years? Come on nations, we can do better than this. Yes, it's terrible to what is happening to the people of Libya, but that doesn't give any other nation the right to start a war against another UN member state.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Internet marketing

courtesy of http://www.jamesjordan.tv/tag/internet-network-marketing/ 
(as his copyright was only for 2009)
Pffff, sometimes internet is just not easy.
I needed to make a copy of a video for somebody. So I grab an empty DVD pop it in, start Nero and, wait, 4.7 gig space for a 730 mb video? That's a bit overkill isn't it? Especially for a lightscribe DVD...
Up to the next cd I had. Damn. 700mb space...

So now I have two options:
Simple: put it on a USB drive and bring it over.
Hard: Add more videos and make a proper DVD with a menu and stuff.

Why do I always go for the hard way??
In search of a free DVD movie maker that works I went with the mainstream and choose Sothink Movie DVD Maker. It's free, better than Windows DVD maker, and the only catch is: "Has a prompt text on interface; Leave information on burnt DVD chapter(s) indicating that is created by the free version." Does that mean a little watermark logo on the video? Screenshots? Nothing... So on to the internets for a search. After 10 google pages, mine shows 20 results per page, and about 15 tabs further on the terms "Sothink free movie DVD maker", "Sothink free movie DVD maker review", "sothink free movie DVD maker forum", "free DVD maker text on video", etc. I came to this conclusion:
  • Free software is big business, because the amount of websites with free software offering and some copy-paste of the makers website is virtually endless, with dozens upon dozens of links to 'downloads for free software'.
  • The program does what it says on the tin.

The only way to test this for sure is to burn it and check. Luckily the program saves to the harddrive if no writeable CD-rom is available! So in the hour I had to wait for the test run I had time to search for a "internet fail" picture.
I finally stumbled on the above picture and that shows exactly why the internet is not about giving information any more, but just leading people to nowhere. It's also surprising how many "marketing gurus" you'll find that sell stuff on the keywords "internet fail". But the only conclusion I have is... ...how to put it nicely. Ah well, let's use Bill Hicks' words: "If you are in advertising or marketing, go kill yourself. Seriously."
Personally I'm against suicide. It's the last thing I would ever want to do, but internet marketing is just getting sicker and sicker, leading to 100s of pages just to create links and links and links. Maybe I'm just old-school and wish to cut out the middle man.
Problem is that, due to this whole thing and my own business, I'm being forced to do the exact same thing. Drive traffic. It seems that it's all about traffic, traffic, traffic. Creating links to make google believe you are popular, creating clutter. "You have to have a clear vision" this so-called "internet millionaire" says. Posing next to a Ferrari owned by millermotorcars.com showing his ultimate vision. I think the best thing to become an internet millionaire is this. Just saying you have a vision and calling yourself millionaire just isn't cutting it. Especially if you are going arseways in creating traffic as the above picture taken from his website shows.

So, what do I think of the DVD movie maker? I don't know. While it's doing it's thing on the videos I discovered it converts all the AVI's to MPG's before creating the DVD. One AVI increased in size, the others decreased. The SRT-subtitle files where embedded automatically, and no sign of "Free" anywhere as a watermark on the videos, but the quality is not what I was looking for due to compression to the mpeg2-format. This was the only available option and it doesn't show on the website that the "Pro" version does have the capability to convert or better yet, no conversion at all.
It only shows a screen for a couple of seconds at the beginning of the movie, claiming it's made by the free version. Which is good. But the conversion from AVI to MPG before making the DVD is a big downside. Just copying the original AVI-versions was almost 4 gig. Using the DVD maker turned it into 4.17gig. I'll skip the whole DVD making process and keep the original files. My friend can only play DVD's on the computer any ways, so it doesn't really matter.
Time wasted, lesson learned: sometimes you just want something, sometimes you have this bright vision and sometimes you're just have to ask for it, but usually, in the end, it just doesn't work that way!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cablegate

What is the significance of Wikileaks Cablegate?
First of all, the cables are marked 'secret' or 'non-foreigners' and where/are accessible by about 3 million US government employees. And all of them would have been released to the public in less than 20 years from now.
The cat and mouse game on keeping wikileaks.org running are in full swing. Amazon dropped hosting a single HTML page that explains how to get to the cables and other files, due to pressure from the US government. The DNS server dropped their entries from wikileaks.org to, for instance, http://88.80.13.160 (old 2008 IP address, server not loading)
This is stiffening access, but currently there is a swiss server, a Dutch, German and Finnish  domain name up and running. There are also dozens of mirror sites, like indymedia.org and The NYTimes keeps us updated with The Lede's blog. Besides that, NYTimes, The Gardian and other newspapers already have the full cables and that's where the juicy news came from in the first place.
The public had to do with information about Iran on the first and second day. Now it seems it will publicise from different embassies every day.
It worried me that it started off with cables about arms deals with Iran and other cables concerning mostly Iran. Was wikileaks a tool to ramp up the public for yet another war?
Still not sure about that yet. I stay with the old saying that if you make something illegal people will try harder to get it. So in the events around wikileaks it seems we are focussing more and more on it and will try harder to get the information.

What is more worrying is the man hunt after Assange and the cyberhunt to shut down the servers, that are based worldwide.
When advisers and would be president candidates start calling (and later apologizing) to assasinate Assange on this relatively unimportant data, we are made to fear our governments more and more.

What worries me the most is that this is accelerating the changes that our world governments want about the internet. Paygates, greater control of what is available on the internet and more. China is a prime example on how it deals with the internet and could end up in a template for the whole internet.
The internet is basically the 8th continent of the world, a place where you do not need a visa and can travel to instantly. Having companies restricting it, or worse: governments that limit it, will take this continent out of the hands of the people and into another tool for mass media, controlling what we should be informed of, and what we are allowed to see.
Already the big media companies are controlling what we see and what we are being informed. They are owned by only a few companies. If you see that Comcast, the US biggest internet provider, wants a piece of NBC that is owned by General Electric, you know what direction this is going. Comcast is not interested in Net Neutrality and thinks that issue should be scrapped from the senates agenda, leaving it to the corporations.  We all know what that did to banking.
This month the FCC asked to get Obama's Net Neutrality promise for a vote, just before christmas. Same as what happened in 1913, just before christmas.... Less congressmen, better chance of getting the vote on. And the plans don't look like how Obama envisioned it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Let's put two and two together...

Interesting development in the world.
Ireland has his bailout against the will of the people. At 6.75 percent interest.
Let's see what a critic has to say about that:


what he says about China and other countries that want to stop using the dollar as the world currency and most of all, don't want to keep supporting the failed US consuming economy, will pour down through the rest of the world.
Now that the US agreed to back out of Afghanistan, they are preparing a new 'intervention' in Asia. China will have to respond to the entering of a aircraft carrier in the Yellow sea.

But the US could, diplomatically, also mention to China that if they don't back up the US currency they will turn up the heat on North Korea, with the result that China will have to take in refugees. Something they are not willing to do. Because it will mean a collapse of North Korea.
Having the vultures of the IMF getting a grip on Ireland and having them slowly destroy the Euro, as Max Keiser suggests, will have an interesting effect on the world currencies.
I don't think the US wants to create a new Korean war. But having announced to wind down the Afghan mission and now showing their muscles in Korea is a nice way of keeping the dollars floating into the coffers of the defence industry.
Something that we all know is a bottomless pit that burdens the world economy. The only way to keep the US afloat is by printing more dollars, making the currency worth less and less or by increasing the inflation. Conspiracy theorists will see all of this as a marking to a new world currency and the new world order.
This is an older report from 2008 about the beginning of the crisis where a couple of points are made:
(1) I am doubtful of the Fed's ability to alter interest rate spreads through the kinds of compositional changes in its balance sheet implemented over the last two years. Whatever your prior ideas were about this, surely it's time to revise those in light of incoming data-- if the first trillion dollars didn't do the job, how much do you think it would take to accomplish the task?
(2) I think the Fed's goal should be a 3% inflation rate. Paying interest on reserves and encouraging banks to hoard them is inconsistent with that objective, as would be a new trillion dollars in money creation.

As we can see point one was taken and ended up in an influx in dollars on the market. Devaluing the dollar rapidity:

The full article behind this graph is interesting as well.

So what we have is an interesting mix that could not only bring the end to the Euro but also the dollar, that in it current form, is becoming increasingly unstable.
China will be the only country that could make a change and in that light the Korean conflict brings an interesting extra dimension.
Of course we can also follow Cantona's proposal on the 7th of December:



This article keeps bugging me, as I can't find any sources that back that story up. And if there are, it's hidden in heavy economic or lawyer lingo I can't seem to fully grasp.
And when pseudo economic analysts start stirring things up, we could be in for a roller-coaster ride. Especially if we follow that seigniorage link and Cantona mentioned above.

Maybe I'm the only one that likes those rides, because the alternative: walking slowly towards the end of a cliff sounds less interesting.
In the end we will always keep two things: Labour and resources. And as long as there are people on this planet those things will not disappear. With or without economics, with or without money, those things will keep existing. Maybe it's time for a revolution like a resource based economy and stepping away from greed and capitalism.
Let me finish of with a few words from my hero Bill Hicks:
Here's what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.