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Showing posts from April, 2007

"Let's wank together!"

If you want to learn about the boneheadedness of the custodians of the Slovenian language - the editors who decide what sort of Slovene is good for publishing, and what sort is not - then look no further than the official Slovene translation of the film title Blades Of Glory. The translation is Drkajva skupaj - which to every Slovenian person under the age of 35 means "let's masturbate together".

Just to make sure that there is no confusion about the title of the film, the publisher adds the following justification where the translated title appears:From the Dictionary of Standard Slovenian (SSKJ): drkati, -am (outdated):to slip multiple times;to skate.What the SSKJ doesn't mention, of course, is that the prevalent meaning of this word among the current population is 'to masturbate'. And the reason that the dictionary doesn't mention this is because the people who create the dictionary are conceited enough to think that their job is not just to document th…

Libertarec

I've just - belatedly - discovered this amazing blog, written by someone for whom I have a lot of respect. The blog is in Slovenian and is, in general, aimed at the Slovenian public. The author is an exceptionally bright and informed thinker on economic policy and freedom, and many of his articles shed some Socrates-like light on the sorry envy-based economic situation in Slovenia in particular and Europe in general. He also has an amazing sense of humor, as evident from his articles Kritični intelektualec 1.0 and Generator sporočil za javnost Matjaža Hanžka, as well as his other posts.

I wish that we had more people like him. :-)

The Commission for Unfair Trade

Here's something I just noticed looking at one of Microsoft's sites:In compliance with the Korean Fair Trade Commission Order, Microsoft will produce for distribution in the Republic of Korea new versions of Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional. The new versions containing “KN” in the name will not include Windows Media Player or Windows Messenger. Note that computer manufacturers may pre-install third-party media players or instant messaging software on computers running these new versions of Windows XP. Korean consumers may also separately install media players or instant messengers, either from Microsoft or a third party. The new versions containing “K” in the name will include links to Web sites containing links to software downloads to third-party media player and instant messaging software and will also be available to Korean consumers.How is there anything "fair" in this "Fair Trade Commission" order?

Commissions like this are…

Joel Spolsky and income tax compliance costs

Here's just one reason why income taxation is evil. Instead of having people like Joel Spolsky do what they do best - run a software company - it forces them to spend their time figuring out complex workarounds on how to construct office walls so as not to attract a 46% income tax on money they don't have.

The FairTax book mentions:Some have estimated that nearly 80 percent of all business decisions at the highest corporate levels are made only after due consideration of the tax consequences involved. This, in and of itself, constitutes a tremendous drag on dynamic business decision making, and thus our economy.

(Chapter 4, Our current tax code: The cost of compliance, page 46)And also:For several years, the Tax Foundation has calculated the costs of complying with the increasingly complicated federal tax code. They estimate that in 2002 individuals, businesses, and nonprofits spent 5.8 billion hours complying with the tax code - an effort that cost an estimated $194 billion. [.…

The average person's skewed perception of risk

Schneier quotes this excellent article:Although statistics show that rates of child abduction and sexual abuse have marched steadily downward since the early 1990s, fear of these crimes is at an all-time high. Even the panic-inducing Megan's Law Web site says stranger abduction is rare and that 90 percent of child sexual-abuse cases are committed by someone known to the child. Yet we still suffer a crucial disconnect between perception of crime and its statistical reality. A child is almost as likely to be struck by lightning as kidnapped by a stranger, but it's not fear of lightning strikes that parents cite as the reason for keeping children indoors watching television instead of out on the sidewalk skipping rope.

And when a child is parked on the living room floor, he or she may be safe, but is safety the sole objective of parenting? The ultimate goal is independence, and independence is best fostered by handing it out a little at a time, not by withholding it in a trembling…

Magic Ink: Information Software and the Graphical Interface

I haven't read all of it yet, but this paper (via LtU) is a revelation to all software developers and designers. Intelligent, witty and insightful, it discusses how the methods of presenting information in software can be greatly improved, how interactivity in information presenting interfaces is frequently a crutch, and demonstrates lucid examples.

Worthy of a bookmark.

Don Quixote and the Battle Against Global Warming

There's been some ado recently (Time, New York Times, Shtetl-Optimized) about Schwarzenegger's wimpy proposals to cut California's carbon emmissions by... 2020... starting in... 2012.

We've also been privy to some other wimpy exhortations, notable among which was Al Gore at the Oscars about how we should all participate in doing something against climate change. Ride mass transit, Al Gore says. Switch to energy-saving lightbulbs. And so on.

When people seriously propose with long, straight faces that we should all go save this planet through individual contributions such as, hmm... driving our cars less, installing energy efficient light bulbs, and choosing paper bags over plastic bags - hearing such proposals makes me sick. It makes me sick because they're so... luddite; so missing the forrest for the trees.

Here's an anecdote. One time my father was explaining to me how he hates to eat at McDonald's because - among other things - they throw away so much pack…