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President Obama speaks to DoE employees – live now! February 5, 2009

Posted by dorigo in news, physics, politics.
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You can hear him at this site.

UPDATE:  shoot, I just missed him. I was hoping in a small delay, because I was late from a meeting, but it appears the speech was on time. I hope the audio will be made available offline… If you know a link to it, please post it in the comments thread below!

In support of UN sanctions to Israel January 15, 2009

Posted by dorigo in news, politics.
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As the war in the Gaza strip is approaching its fourth week, the number of casualties has surpassed a thousand, 300 of them children -needless to say, all from the defending side. 1500 more children have been wounded, and the situation configures itself as a humanitarian catastrophe, of which the guilt is entirely of the offenders, the leaders of the state of Israel.

The Israeli army continues the attacks, denies humanitarian aid, bombs hospitals, uses white phosporus to bomb densely populated areas. “Intelligent bombs“, somebody insists calling them. In order to minimize their army’s losses, the Israeli prefer to kill civilians blindly. Today they bombed a UN building, home of the UNRWA. Later Olmert commented that Hamas militians were shooting from its roof.

The IDF needs to be stopped, because it is clear that they cannot get back to reason by themselves. I believe the only way that the UN can put real pressure on Israel is to sanction it economically. Israel is a small state and its economy is more frail than its army. There needs to be a response to the barbarian acts they are committing in Gaza.

Yes, barbarian acts. How else can a civilized person call the indiscriminate bombing of civilians ? Israeli supporters will argue that the death of those 300 children is Hamas fault, because they allegedly use children as human shields. Israeli supporters will show videos of small palestinian children educated to fight, dressed in mimetic suits, carrying guns. They believe those admittedly disturbing images are enough to justify the deliberate killing of children. This, to me, is barbarous, period.

The hundreds of rockets randomly fired by Hamas into Israeli territory this year are a drop in the sea in comparison to the destruction, the deaths, and the steps farther from peace that this senseless war has brought. Terrorist is Hamas, and terrorist is Israel. And since the war is ultimately the result of the need of the present Israeli government to strengthen itself in view of the forthcoming elections, economic sanctions by the UN are the best way to respond.

I hope President Obama will be able to use his power to put an end to this horrible situation. A change from the unconditioned support that the US have given to Israel would be the strongest message. The US needs to support Israel in its attempts at creating the conditions for a durable peace with the Arab countries, and sanction it in case this bloody foreign politics is furthered.

I know these are likely to remain delusions: despite the strong condemnation by the French government, the shock declared by Merkel and Brown, the indignant reactions by UN officials, and the other reactions that have been proclaimed today, there is little hope that anything more concrete than spelling words will be done. But Israel, unfortunately, will pay for this senseless attack, because it has worsened the hatred that arabs feel for its citizens. This is the sorry aftermath of any military action against civilians: a renewed, reinforced hatred.

The israeli fanatics who read this blog will argue that I am anti-semitic: this is false, of course, and it equates to an accusation of racism. I hate racism as much as I hate wars, whomever moves them, and whomever argues that the attacking side has the right on their side.

One coffee for me too, George January 12, 2009

Posted by dorigo in humor, news, politics.
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Thank goodness he’s going.

George W. Bush, arguably the worst American President in the history of the United States, gave his last press release today. And he said he’s going to change life. Better late than never, one would be tempted to add.

I do not have much to say beyond what I have said in this column in the past. Bush junior has been utterly inadequate to sit in the oval office during the last eight difficult years. What a tragedy to have had him instead of Al Gore!  Fortunately, Barack Obama is going to take over, restoring hope that his great country will rise and lead the world in a better direction than the awful mess W has brought it.

According to the press release, George is planning to be bringing coffee to his wife. What can I say: a more adequate occupation, for sure. No milk on mine George, one cube of sugar. Will he be able to handle that ?

Thank you America! November 5, 2008

Posted by dorigo in news, personal, politics.
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I have  a busy day today – meetings, analysis approvals, code that won’t work, fits that won’t converge.

But this morning, upon hearing the NEWS, I realize there is really little today in my agenda or outside of it that can change my unconditioned happiness and my mood. Thank you America! That is, thanks to all of you who understood, who overcome fear, who believed change is possible. Thank you to all of you who feel ashamed for what eight of the worst years in your history have brought to all of us. And thank you also to those of you who are not ashamed by the Iraq war, by the economic fiascos, by the vacationing president, by the increase in poverty and the increase in selfishness of american society, but still decided it was time to send home the present government and their friends, and try something else.

In a few months Barack Obama will take office, and he may end up disappointing our hopes. That is in the equation. But the vote of tonight brings optimism around the globe.

Lunch with Joe Biden October 20, 2008

Posted by dorigo in internet, news, politics.
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David Orban, my futurologist / singularitarian friend, is more and more involved in global matters, and this drives him to meet notable people high up in the establishment (I will paste here a link to a video clip of his question to Al Gore at a meeting a few months ago soon). During last weekend David had lunch with Sen. Joe Biden, when he could collect some of Biden’s comments for us. Here’s one about McCain’s campaign:

“The campaign is going to get uglier. McCain is spending $60MM on robocalls spreading scurrilous messages and misinformation.
John McCain hired the very people that orchestrated the attacks on him when he was running against Bush. Literally the same people. Charlie Black was the architect of the smear campaign against McCain, and now McCain has hired him.”

And a positive note:

“America’s image in the world will be restored within 15 minutes of Obama being elected.”

Please don’t miss the full report put together by David on fickr.

UPDATE: well, Steve Jurvetson rightly points out in the comments thread below that HE is the source of the piece you find at the link above. Apologies to Steve – David pasted it in his facebook account and I got it from there as an original source.

This blog roots for Barack Obama! October 11, 2008

Posted by dorigo in news, personal, politics.
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In case you had not realized it yet, the US presidential campaign is red-hot. And in case you haven’t noticed, Sen. Obama seems to be leading. Now, offhand I have to say that despite my sympathies with one or the other candidate, I have grown a bit disillusioned about the fact that somebody who reaches that seat be capable of changing any of the deformities of the american society.

To become a President of the United States, you have been a Senator, a Governor, a politician for a long time; you have probably grown accustomed to cohabit with those deformities; maybe you do not notice them any more, or maybe you justify them, or even look at them as virtues by now, and that goes regardless of whether you’re a republican or a democrat.

But with Obama it is different. Not only for what he is: despite his good record, and his nice speeches, I am unable to really understand whether he is different or not, and whether he will be able to put repair to the deficiencies of the american society; but for what he represents. He represents a real change in the way the United States declare to think about themselves, and the way they present themselves to the rest of the world; he represents a strong statement that America is ready for a step forward.

I do not think the United States can lecture anybody about integration and tolerance to different races and cultures, despite the multi-racial nature of their society: conflicts and inequalities are still too strong at home. But I do think that Europe does need such a clear message as the election of an afro-american US president -and one with a father born in Africa!-, at a time when immigration is causing strong imbalances, and when center-right governments increasingly leverage on their citizens’ innate fear of the stranger to strengthen their power and create a classist society. All countries in the world need such a message. The US themselves need the message they are self-delivering with Obama as president.

Of course, a new face in the oval office cannot clean the slate of two centuries of foreign politics based on oppression and imperialism by itself. But the face of a democrat from a ethnic minority may be the right one, the credible one with which to take on some of the world’s problems. World economy, famine, the palestinian question, the dialogue with arab countries, the fight to terrorism. A more democratic approach to global issues.

That, at least, is what I hope. And that is why this blog roots for Obama.