Jul 162017
 

Is it all that bad? The recently passed Hans Rosling and his son Ola don’t think so. In fact, whenever the state of the world gets me depressed, I like to watch one of their TED talks.

Change takes time. Things are getting better, but they do so slowly. We as human beings on the other hand are not very good at perceiving slow change at all.

So, it’s not all that bad, right? It just takes time, right? Unfortunately it’s not that simple either. Change can go both directions. We can spend money on development and education, or we can pump it into a never-ending War on Drugs (or on Terror). Change is slow. This makes it hard to predict the consequences of, for instance, a Trump presidency. Consequences there’ll be though, that’s for sure. So, whatever consolation we get out of the Rosling’s message, it does not take away our duty to constantly try to give our best to improve this planet. Only then will statistics continue being on our side.

Jul 152017
 

A lot of words yesterday, no solution, I know. One of the reasons why we don’t have a revolution at the heart of the empire is in fact its distributedness. The other reason of course is, that most people here don’t have a problem.

Those who do have problems already walk towards the shores of the Mediterranean, and obviously the problems they have are so grave, that they come, although they likely know that they might not get through. They come, although they know that they are not welcome, because they disturb our peace of mind, by reminding us of the fact, that we are the cause of their problems.

Politicians like our smart young Sebastian talk about holding them back, but in the long run we’ll see what that euphemism really means.

Remember Boston Dynamics, the robot company bought by Google and then sold on to a Japanese company, likely because their image could only have been seen as detrimental to what Google likes to be seen as? Take their “Wildcat” and you’ll have a hard time to not imagine it weaponized. And now imagine thousands of them patrolling the Sahara, controlled by drones with normal and infrared cameras.

Not enough? Here’s another one for all those people who say they are not xenophobic and they don’t want to hurt anybody, and that we just have to secure our frontiers and build a Fortress Europe: Why not nuke the Sahara? Lay a deadly belt of nuclear hell across the desert. Would work like the perfect fence, right?

But then, of course nobody in the civilized world would do such a thing, That’s almost as if someone would have the idea to drop large amounts of poisonous herbicides over the jungle in a foreign country, just because they suspect a supply trail running through there, supplying their enemies in another country that they have no business in. Nobody would do that, right?

Frightening? Sure. Likely? Sure. Anything that can be done is done by our governments. We’ve painfully learned that since Snowden’s and Manning’s revelations. And it’s not even because they are so evil. They are not. They just try to get reelected, and so they do our bidding and try to keep up our illusion of paradise by hiding the ugly truths.

Exaggerated? I don’t think so. I’ve already heard one of our politicians talk about how important it would be to secure the southern Lybian border, in order to let refugees not even come to the shores of our private swimming pool.

Jul 142017
 

The G20 summit in Hamburg is over and everybody pretends to be shocked. Or is shocked. But shouldn’t.

I didn’t really understand why the militant part of the protesters went through streets flying torches and randomly burning cars. It’s not a very civilized thing to do and it’s not a very clever communication strategy either. Whatever they may protest against, they mute their own voices and make sure that surveillance and inner repression go to the next stage. Why did they do that?

Well, a comment under an article about Hamburg pointed out that, whatever representatives of the so-called Autonomous Movement say now, the kind of warfare-like behavior had been planned beforehand. As proof he presented a link to the blog of the organizers of the “G20 – Welcome To Hell” demonstration.

I didn’t stop with the short quote, I read the whole call to action (unfortunately not available in English), and found it to be a mostly stringent analysis of global politics and their economic roots. It’s a marxist analysis and I wholeheartedly agree with everything but some of the conclusions.

Basically there is a group of globalization critics with a marxist background, that believes in a kind of low-profile revolution. These protests are meant to be seen as a harassment of the mighty. You make those summits, we make clear that there is opposition.

Only that it does not work.

You can’t make a revolution without the masses. You can’t make a Ghandi-type peaceful revolution without a majority, and you can’t make a bolshevik-like revolution without at least a critical mass of supporters. They are magnitudes away from that. They are not even able to get their message across, and therefore all their actions are open to misinterpretation by establishment and media. And of course that’s exactly what happens.

The only thing that comes across is the call to arms, not the analysis behind. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t sympathize with violence, because although we live in a system of injustice, violence never goes against the system, it always goes against individuals. Some individuals may be guilty to a degree that violence against them would seem justified, but in the end those are never the victims. They always stay behind, they always get away.

What I do agree with is the need for radical changes, but how?

What we’ve seen in Hamburg was harassment. You can call it terrorism, if you like, but I think “terrorism” has already been stretched into meaninglessness. They couldn’t do anything more, because they lack popular support – and I think for a lot of bad and some weighty, good reasons.

A revolution can’t happen at the fringes, it must happen at the heart of the empire. If it happens, it must have massive popular support. Even then, in times of globalization, it is doomed to fail, because the very heart of the empire is globalized itself.

SciFi author Daniel Suarez tried to solve this problem in “Daemon” / “FreedomTM” by introducing a benevolent artificial intelligence, created as the testament of a dying genius programmer / billionaire. Basically this is the tech equivalent to divine intervention. Unfortunately it does not work. AI is much more complicated. I’m afraid it’s part of the problem, not part of the solution 🙂

So what should we do? I think it is important to recognize that this has not been random violence. It was planned violence. It’s also important to recognize, that these protests – however ineffective and counter-productive – were rooted in honest and serious concerns about a current economic and political system, that has demonstrated its inability to steer the world into a peaceful, just and prosperous future. The violence is a symptom, and it won’t do us any good to carry on and ignore the malady.

3797 – Let’s Face the Music and Dance

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Mar 132017
 

This is my last image taken in Maribor. All in all I can say is, that I was surprised by how lovely this small city is. Maribor is actually not far from home, but it is in that unfortunate zone that is a little bit too far to drive there for a coffee, but on the other hand so near that most of the time we drive by to another destination. It shares that fate with Udine or Ljubljana. The question is always: “Why not drive a little bit further and down to the sea?”. Well, this time we didn’t and I’m glad about it 🙂

3789 – The Secret Map

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Mar 052017
 

Before I began taking photographs, I played a lot of computer games and even made two maps for the game Unreal Tournament 2004. I spent lots of money on graphics cards and fast computers.

Then all changed. Today I don’t even have a computer capable of playing current games. Ten years old “Half Life 2” runs pretty well on my Mac, but forget about “Far Cry 4” or anything like that.

Two weeks ago I bought a Playstation 4 Pro. I did it mostly for VR, but – as everybody else has likely found out – there are not that many good VR games currently on the market.

The seemingly best one is “Resident Evil 7”, a horror game that lets you creep through a decrepit house somewhere far away from any other people than the members of a psychopathic family who are out to kill you. It’s all dark, dirty, mouldy and full of insects. Guess what? I am not interested 🙂

The VR game that I did buy is “Eagle Flight”. Here’s an in-game video on YouTube. Basically you’re a bird and you fly over and through a Paris without people, reclaimed by nature.

The game has a great and intuitive control system that lets you fly wherever you look. Tilt your head to the right and you make a turn to the right, tilt to the left and turn left. It’s that easy. There are only two buttons on the controller, one to accelerate, one to slow down.

That’s exactly what I was looking for. I think VR works great for horror (“Jump in your face” was never so real), but it also works great for flying. My preference is clear, I prefer flying 🙂

3655 – Modes of Human Communication

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Oct 212016
 

Both of today’s images were taken through my spying glass, the big, heavy 40-150/2.8 PRO. What did I bring along? The usual vacation gear (aka “The Big Gear”), meaning the trinity of the Olympus PRO lenses. Additionally I carried the small fisheye. I had bought it only days before the trip, and I figured I should use it while it was new, otherwise I’d probably forget about it 🙂

Do you still write post cards? I used to do it on vacations, but I have stopped at least ten years ago, maybe much, much longer.

In a way it was a nice ritual: searching typical, beautiful post cards that still avoided clichés, trying to perfectly match cards and recipients, trying to write individual, witty messages tailored to their recipients, buying stamps, finally searching for a mailbox. Yes, it sounds tedious, and that’s probably the main reason why we stopped doing it 🙂

Oct 202016
 

Does not look like stereotypical Provence, does it? Well, don’t fear, we’ll get to that 🙂

Today’s images (and tomorrow’s as well) were taken on Place des Cardeurs, where we sat for our first dinner. It’s one of the few places spacious enough that you can sit outside in the sun. Most other places crowded with restaurants are narrow and always in the shadow. It does not matter after sunset, but with long June days I enjoyed dining in the sun.