Dec 31, 2004

Poetry day

I am a long way from poetry fan and there are very few poems that I definetly enjoy. I find most poetry to be a novel-wannabe. Poor authors who cannot write a novel may create a poem, which is just as illegible, but its form is more likely to be 'recognized' Sheez.

But then there are some good poems, which do convey universe of meanings in their microscopic form (eeerrr...I think I am gettign to poetic myself, now.). So let me just invite you to familiarize yourself with work of Zbigniew Herbert.

Several his poems have been translated into English, including my favourite Report from the Besieged City. I like it so much I have learned it by heart once, just for myself :)

Unfortunately, my 2nd favourite, Powrót Prokonsula, is available online only in Polish.

In this last day of 2004, I think that some poetry is just what the doctor's ordered...enjoy, and see you next year :)

Dec 30, 2004

More featuredness

Max Weber has been featured today on Wiki.

And I submitted another bio to Featured Articles Candidates: Witold Pilecki

He took part in Polish-Soviet War, ensuring the communist menace didn't conquer Europe in the aftermath of IWW. He fought in the Polish Defence War of 1939 and Warsaw Uprising. He was the only person to volunteer to be imprisoned at Auschwitz Concentration Camp, where he organized a resistance movement and helped inform the Western Allies of Nazi Germany's camp atrocities (although the Allies chose not to believe him, considering his reports grossly exaggerated). If this is not a hero, who is? And for all this, he was executed in 1948 by communist authorities after a staged trial, for his loyality to the democratic Polish Government in Exile in London.

Consider: Pilecki in Auschwitz, 42, and Mokotów, 47. Good proof there was little difference between Nazis and Communists.

To a forgotten hero. We do remember you.

Dec 28, 2004

Schoolars here and far away

Google has recently launched a new, quite interesting service: Google Schoolar.
Google Scholar enables you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research. Use Google Scholar to find articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web.'
Definetly a tool with great potential. I spend hours looking for various info every day, and often it is difficult to find proper peer-reviewed materials in the flood of web junk. Google Schoolar seems like a good idea. Just look at the results on my fav topic, 'evolution of democracy'. Quite a few worthwile hits - a much bigger improvement then results from 'classic Google (keep in mind 'peer review', this is be or not to be for anybody thinking 'serious science').
Oh. It has its own official blog :)

On a more distant front, Cassini-Huygens,
the Saturn probe, has , released a probe to land on Titan. Setting beside many trivia things, I am nicely suprised by the coverage such a current event is getting on Wiki. Same as with Ukraine's Orange Revolution. Before Wiki, we had to wait years for new things to be added to encyclopedia. Now it is happening almost in an instant. Sign of times, perhaps? has a pretty nice coverage as well. A site dedicated to space news. Nifty. :)

Dec 27, 2004


Mecha. The nifty looking piece of sf military hardware, perfect for big dozes of property damage.

And they look cool. See the Battlemechs...

Oh. Found you another nice comic. Real life. Check their 'mecha' comic. Requirements: understand the difference between western and eastern mecha concepts :>

Dec 25, 2004

3rd Featured

With Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth becoming Featured on Wiki, this is my 3rd article that became Featured - after Warsaw Uprising and Max Weber.

I am not sure what topic I'll chose for next article. Suggestions or wishes, anybody?

Dec 23, 2004

XMAS Comics

It's time to relax and have a laugh.

And what better then to read some funny comics?

Garfield is my old favourite, although they have lately redisgned their site, making it cluttered with usless Flash junk, and even worse, music. And the new postcards and games are as bad as the movie was. Oh well, the comic is still is good. :)

Sluggy, as always, is nifty and a bit cracked.

Grand Avenue seems nice. Although I have discovered it just today :)

Calvin and Hobble are just being themsevles.

In case you want to see more, here is a nice collection of links.

Oh yes. Merry XMAS - Wesołych Świąt!

Dec 21, 2004

Ooooo! OO 2.0

End of 2004 is a good time for good open source soft. Not only browsers and email clients have been revolutionized by Firefox and Thunderbird, but now office suites are witnessing the birth of Open Office 2.0

Better then Microsoft Office, free, smaller, compatibile with all known formats, with text editor, spreadsheet, presentation tool, database and graphic editor - if you haven't tried OO, do so now!

In case you want a second opinion, here is a review from the Inquirer.

Ooo, the power of OO! :)

Dec 20, 2004

Say No to Patents

But first, let's start with nice e-library - online collection of Greg Egan's texts (on his own page, of course).

Perhaps this short poem from his novel 'Distress' will illustrate best what today's blog is about:

It is not true that the map of freedom will be complete
with the erasure of the last invidious border when it remains for us to chart the attractors of thunder
and delineate the arrhythmias of drought to reveal the molecular dialects of forest and savanna
as rich as a thousand human tongues and to comprehend the deepest history of our passions
ancient beyond mythology's reach
So I declare that no corporation holds a monopoly on numbers
no patent can encompass zero and one
no nation has sovereignty over adenine and guanine
no empire rules the quantum waves
And there must be room for all at the celebration of
for there is a truth which cannot be bought or sold imposed by force, resisted or escaped.

And now, with no further diversions, the most important link of this post:

Dear Minister, please click here!

Dec 17, 2004

Wiki as a portal

I believe I let you go over two weeks without hearing (err...reading) me talking about the virtues of Wikipedia. So for today's argument on 'why Wiki is so nifty':

Wiki main page as a portal

Wiki main page consists of several very useful tools, making it an accidental but extremly nice portal. Unlike the commercial portals, that shower you with adds and substandard services like 'free' (lol...) email or advertisers-friendly search engine, wiki sports no ads and has both the important utility and trivia features you may want to start your day.

Utility comes first, so here it is: In the news. Or as wikipedians call them - current events. Look to the right side of Wiki's main page. If something important is happening out there, wiki will have a note about it asap. For me it is much better to start my day checking for important global news on Wiki then going to a site like CNN and trying to see what is going on by browsing through dozen of US-centric dumbed-down news, half the time concerned with (let me check what is on CNN *now*) - oh yes, 'Slain mom's baby believed to be found.' Geez. Like I care. This is what is important for me: European Union leaders agree to invite Turkey to begin negotiations to join the EU from 3 October 2005. With a picture, it is one of the first things that hit me when I loaded Wiki page today. And suprise, to find it on CNN I had to scroll down one screen and check the tiny World news hyperlinks section. No comment :>

Then there is the wiki search engine. Sure, it is limited to wiki only, but if it doesn't find you what you want, it gives you the choice to search for the term on Google or Yahoo. Honestly, I find myself more and more often going first to Wiki site for search then to Google. The logic is simple: if I type whatever on Google, I get zillion hits, sometimes getting lucky and having relevant ones early. But if I go to Wiki, sure, I have a good chance of finding nothing and having to go to Google anyway - but more and more often Wiki nets me a releavant article, saving me having to sort Google pages. Btw, you can now have Wiki search in your Mozilla browser in addition to Google toolbar. If it is not near perfect, then what is?

After you know the news, then you can check the trivia. Althoug Wiki trivia is almost always useful. Sooner or later...knowledge is power. Behold, the left of Current Events: Featured Articles.

Featured articles are the heart of Wiki. Or at the very least, one of several heats. Each day they provide new article for the Main Page. With a nice picture. Btw, while I am talking about pictures, please take a look at Featured Picture section! Featuered section means that people have a good reason to visit Wiki every day, even if they are not looking for anything particular - they can read the short lead on interesting subject, and if they find it interesting, the entire article itself. Well, thats trivia for you :) Then there is of course more trivia like Selected Anniversaires and Did you know... section.

If you ever though encyclopedia is not fun (who didn't? :>), time to revise that. Off you go, have fun at wiki. :)

Dec 16, 2004

Mozilla news

Firefox 1.0, the best browser out there, is old news - but I will remind you about it in the unlikely event some of you forgot about it and - Passion forbids - are still using the virus-friendly Internet Exploder.

But just few days ago it was joined by Thundirbird 1.0, the best email client out there :> So if you are using Outlook Exploder, the virus-friendly client, feel free - or should I say obliged - to check the 'bird.

Of course it will import all you old mails, settings, passwords, and such.

Consider this: many people happily load Firefox and Thunderbird onto Windows, but would anybody ever load Internet Explorer onto desktop Linux?

Feel the power of open source...

Dec 13, 2004

Fallen Art

An island.

An old forgotten base somewhere out on the pacific. An asylum for insane soldiers and officers, too highly connected or (in)famous to be send elsewhere.

Sergant Al cultivates his love for young soldiers.

Dr. Friederich cultivates his love for photography.

And the old, mentally lost General A creates his art.

He uses neither paper nor canvas.

He uses something totally different.


I feel Oscar a'comin'. Check it yourself.

Dec 10, 2004

Enjoy the reading

Today I have some free (legal) ebooks for you. Well, perhaps more of a short stories. Still definetly worth reading - check out Michael Stackople's Wars stories

Enjoy. And if you want more, remember there is the entire Bean Free Library out there!

Dec 9, 2004

Hot Stock Options

In blogs. LOL. BlogShares. LOL again.

On second thought, it is not as crazy idea as one may think. Economic games do allow one to see which blogs are most popular, and some other nifty tools provided by BlogShares allow are useful for seeing blogosphere growth or track how individual blogs are doing.

Still. LOL. Oh, do invest in Voice... :D

Dec 8, 2004

Best space opera ever

Is Legend of Galactic Heroes. And you can download it from animesuki. Now isn't it nifty?

Let's hope it does gets licenced in US or Europe one day, so it all can be reased as high quality did sign the petition, did you? No? Go now and sign! NOW!

One can always dream...

Dec 4, 2004

Max, featured, raises questions

Just letting you know that my* work on Max Weber article on Wiki has paid off - it is now officialy featured (i.e. among a hundred or so best articles on Wiki).

Feel free to read it. I have to admit, parts of his work are really fascinating.

There is this problem that I can't get out of my head.
I. Weber concluded that:
* Christianity is the reason our Occident (Western) culture is dominant today
II. Weber never wrote directly that in his works, but it is (my) logical conclusion:
* if we accept the Christianity religious view that there is a God and he gave his revelations to Jews and later Christians - we have to ask why didn't He gave this revelations to other civilisation (Chinese, Native American, African, etc.)? Did He meant for Western culture to dominate?
* if there is no divine puprose behind that process, does Western culture domination is based on accident - i.e. invention of 'right' religion in the Middle East few k years ago?
* is the path towards modern state, illustrated by Weber, the only path a civilisation can take? ie. if Christianity never appeared, would we be still living in 'ancient era', without scientifc method and capitalsm? What is needed for civilisation evolution? For how long can a civilisation stagnate - consider that in our world it was Occident that evolved fast and thus gained domination over other civlisations/cultures, which compared to Occident development, mostly stayed frozen in time...

This relates to extraterrestial life and alternative histories, you know :)

Consider. If similar religion is needed for technological and cultural advancement, then if we meed aliens, they should be some interesting similarities between our cultures, even if they evolved in entirely idffrent and separate places.

Hmmm. From Weber to ETs. My mind does amaze even me sometimes. Take care,

Dec 3, 2004

Good news for oranges

From Wikipedia: Ukraine's Supreme Court annuls the run-off vote of the disputed presidential election. The judges have declared that a new vote must be held by 26 December.

Le Sabot
: Big News -- Supreme Court Ruling

Tulip Girl
: Just In -- Supreme Court Has Ruled!

Still, this is just the beginning. The process of 'democratization' (and I need to write about what this means one day) is not achieved in one election. Poland started it 14 years ago and we are still feeling the aftershocks, especially the corruption of most of our politicians (for which we have to thank the Western companies and their generous bribes, I am afraid).

Don't despair though. However flawed our reality is today, it is uncomparably better to what we left behind. Ukraine is in for a rough, but better times, I hope.

Still keeping fingers crossed,

Dec 2, 2004

Late News

Apologies for being tad inactive here. I have been writing an AAR - After Action Report - from a multiplayer 4X game Space Empires. Think of it like a space opera story.

Feel free to read it here: link. Unfortunately, it is in Polish. Sorry :>

In other news.

Le Sabot: The Reformers are nobody's fool. Just found out that Poroshenko is saying the protesters will stay put until Yanukovych is out of office. This makes sense, since there's no way to trust any vote run by his ministers. On a practical level little compromise seems possible (in my opinion) so long as Yanukovych holds on to his office.

Agreed. As long as they hold office and power, what has changed? Not much.

Orange Ukraine: is now officialy orange (in all meanings of both officialy and orange :D).

Keep the support going. This fight is not yet over, and the bad guys still may have a few aces to play out. Remember: evil rarely goes down quietly.

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