Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day Opening - January 12

It is Wednesday and the entire world will turn yellow!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Are scapegoats really necessary???

Yesterday the news of Turkish-Dutch youth feeling neglected and discriminated really struck me. My first impulse was that the Dutch press has found the Turks again to problemize and critisize.
This is just another hype, which is typical for the media. You can compare it with a conjunctural phenomenon that moves between all kinds of minorities, of which the Moroccans were the last subject, fed by mister Wilders' Freedumb Party. But hey, all Turks are Muslims, so why shouldn't we suggest that Turkish youths aren't sensitive for fundamentalism, because they're unable to find a job, so all of them find shelter in the mosque and all turn to extremists...

Well, I dare to call myself a good example of an integrated Dutch citizen, more Dutchified than some self-declared cheeseheads. The fact that I need to explain this or even defend myself is one way or the other pathetic, it illustrates that this well developed nation, which pretends to be highly civilised, has devaluated to a media controlled society, that promotes self fulfilling prophecy.

Back to the core of the case; I wonder if this action of a few so called intellectual Turkish men has been meant to draw some (negative) attention or is it just to kick the butts of a couple of boys and girls who need this message to scare them off? One way or the other, these men should've been aware of the fact that these signals in this era are always referred to Islam, although it's only a minor part of the message. Let me put it this way; if it was only referring to the fact that high educated Turkish young men and women feel that they have a disadvantage in their quest for a job, the news value would have been of a small article on page five in the newspapers. I have had the feeling that my name has been an obstacle in some of my job applications, although I unprovable of course, but I'm convinced that I have been a victim of silent discrimination. I don't mind anymore, I take a positive stand, and too bad for those that didn't select me, my current employer is happy with me!

This is also a signal to all who feel discriminated; focus on the positive effect it can have on your future, you'll make it anyway! As long as you keep your sense, and respect others, even when others try to make you believe something else... Set an example for your peers. Scapegoats of the future, be prepared.

Day Opening - January 11

Catch me if you can

Monday, January 10, 2011

Turks-Dutch youth position in the Netherlands worriesome

The position of Turkish-Dutch youth in Holland is “extremely worrying”, according to a letter written by ten Turkish professionals to the left-of-centre Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant.
The bleak social climate and a lack of leadership in the community is said to be causing the young people to become apathetic and increasingly alienated from Dutch society. This in turn leads to their being drawn more easily into crime and Islamic radicalism.
In their letter, the professionals called on the government, the business world, the educational establishment and Turkish-Dutch organisations to pay more attention to the problem of the community’s young people. “They have to be made to feel that their future belongs in the Netherlands,” they argue.
The Turkish-Dutch community is the country’s largest ethnic minority.
Osman, any comments?

Day Opening - January 10

The farmers wife by Ylasta Kovacek

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pakistan: how deep a nation can sink

More than 20,000 people rallied in Pakistan's southern city of Karachi on Sunday, police said, against proposed amendment to blasphemy laws that were recently used to sentence a Christian woman to death.

The protest follows Tuesday's assassination of the governor of Punjab province, Salman Taseer, by one of his bodyguards, after the politician sought to reform the law that gives the death penalty for 'defamation' of the 'prophet' Mohammad.
Pakistan's most high-profile political killing in three years has bitterly divided the country, horrifying moderates but winning praise from religious scholars and lawyers who festooned the presumed killer in garlands.

Two senior police officers in Karachi said more than 20,000 protesters had joined the rally and more were arriving, while senior police official Irshad Sehar told AFP that more than 30,000 people were taking part.
Banners at the event included some supporting Taseer's presumed killer, police commando Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, who has been praised by religious conservatives for shooting his boss outside an Islamabad coffee shop.
"Mumtaz Qadri is not a murderer, he is a hero," said one banner in the national Urdu language.
"We are ready to sacrifice our lives for the dignity of the Prophet Mohammad," read another.

Activists at the rally, which has been organised by conservative religious groups, called for "Jihad" or holy war.
The protest forced the closure of the city's main road and all markets in the teeming southern metropolis.
Controversy over the law flared when former information minister Sherry Rehman tabled a private member's bill in November, calling to end the death penalty for blasphemy, after a Christian mother-of-five was sentenced to hang.
Rights activists also say the law encourages Islamist extremism in a nation already beseiged by Taliban attacks.
Politicians and conservative clerics have been at loggerheads over whether President Asif Ali Zardari should pardon Asia Bibi, the Christian mother who was sentenced to death under the blasphemy law.

Pakistan has yet to execute anyone for blasphemy, but Bibi's case has exposed the deep faultlines in the conservative country
Bibi was arrested in June 2009 after Muslim women labourers refused to drink from a bowl of water she was asked to fetch while out working in the fields.
Days later, the women complained that she made derogatory remarks about the 'prophet' Mohammed. Bibi was set upon by a mob, arrested by police and sentenced on November 8.
Most of those convicted of blasphemy in Pakistan have their sentences overturned or commuted on appeal through the courts. But ALL 32 people were were convicted are killed by mobs...

Rights activists and pressure groups say it is the first time that a woman had been sentenced to hang in Pakistan for blasphemy.
Only around three percent of Pakistan's population of 167 million are estimated to be non-Muslim.
But when the mobs rules a country, civilization ends...

Day Opening - January 9

puppy love

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

Light theraphy might help

Did Santa bring you a bad case of the midwinter blues? In that case, light therapy may just be what the doctor ordered against what is officially known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. However, Dutch researchers have now proved that light therapy may also benefit patients of over 60 suffering from a serious ‘normal’ depression. This particular demographic gets outside less often and also cannot see as much light as those with younger eyes.


Earlier this week, the results of more than five years’ worth of research into the effect of light therapy on depression were published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. The research team, led by Ritsaert Lieverse, treated 89 patients over 60 who were suffering from a serious depression. Each morning for a period of three weeks, about half of them were exposed to one hour of ‘early morning bright blue’ light using a commercially available special lamp covered with a bright blue-permitting filter. The other half of the group, which served as a control group, was also given an hour of additional light using the same lamp covered in a dim red-permitting filter. Neither the patients nor the staff handing out the lamps were aware of the purpose of the lamps.

Placebo effect

The treatment resulted in a reduction of depressive symptoms in 43 percent of the patients involved. Surprisingly, the researchers also found a reduction of depressive symptoms in 36 percent of the patients in the control group, which they said could be explained by the placebo effect. So in other words a seven-percent net profit, which many people would not consider a remarkable result, but research leader Lieverse said was still ’significant’.
The research team says it is impossible to determine exactly why an extra dose of daylight should lead to a reduction of depressive symptoms. According to Dr Lieverse “It could have something to do with the stress hormone – light therapy helps bring the disrupted stress hormone system back to normal. There was also a clear improvement in the patients’ biorhythm.

It will be quite some time before light therapy finds its way into the regular treatment circuit for elderly depressive patients - or gets covered by health insurance companies. Dr Lieverse warns seriously depressed elderly people against experimenting with light therapy at home. “There is a number of counter-indications, both physical and psychiatric. Light therapy should take place under the guidance of a psychiatrist”. As examples of possible side-effects, the doctor cited eye damage and an increase in suicidal thoughts.

Day Opening - January 7

Salvador de Bahai, Brazil

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Some photos of Ahmedabad

It has been a long time since I updated this space. I welcomed 2011 on a hopeful note and was busy the days preceding the new year and days succeeding it.

A cousin came visiting and we had a fabulous time shopping in the walled area of Ahmedabad. Sharing some photos.

The fabric Ahmedabad is so famous for...

Oxodized jewellery. This is a rage during Navratri, our nine-day-long dance festival.

Day Opening - January 6

eclipse this week and view on international space station

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Create your own Wikileaks

The success of WikiLeaks has encouraged many people to start similar projects. Their main motive is to expose wrongdoing, either at the local or national level.
But it’s more complicated than you might think to set up this kind of website. There are three parties involved: the source, the website and the journalist. Each needs the others, but is also independent. Below are a number of tips and suggestions for a DIY WikiLeaks. But be aware of what you’re getting into. It’s like chess: you always have to think a few moves ahead. And never lose sight of your own safety.

What’s the safest way for sources to supply documents?

There are different degrees of risk attached to different types of information. Even a simple letter can be traced back to the location it was posted from. Bear in mind that, if it’s intercepted, a letter might carry fingerprints, and the post office may have security cameras. Digitise the documents and destroy the originals. If the authenticity of the documents comes into question, there are plenty of forensic possibilities with the digital version.

How can sources prevent their IP addresses from being recorded?

An internet cafe is an option, but it’s also a risk. Other users can be pressurised into revealing information about you, or there might be security cameras. It’s not our preferred option. A Tor network (originally an abbreviation of ‘The Onion Router’) is a possible solution. Tor is an encryption system developed to enable anonymous internet traffic. The technique prevents eavesdroppers from seeing that any communication is taking place, let alone with whom. The software is free.
Alternatively you could use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or add Open Proxies abroad.

How do you set up a WikiLeaks site?

The technology is the easy part - what you have to dig a little deeper for are the ideals, willpower and nerve. Plus people who support and believe in the project, and also believe in the possibility of change.

Is it an advantage or a disadvantage if the people involved know each other?

View the team around a whistle-blowing site as a movement made up of different cores. Work goes more smoothly if you have a few familiar people around. But the fewer people who know each other the better. It’s not a social club. Make your friends at the pub.

How safe is it for a WikiLeaks team to communicate using chat channels?

It might be safe. Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is secure enough if you work via other servers and bouncers (BNC). But be on your guard for the unexpected. Here too a Tor network is safer.

How can the WikiLeaks team guarantee its sources’ anonymity?

• Servers should never make log files.

• Remove all metadata from files you receive – either automatically or as quickly as possible (metadata may include information on who created the document and where it was sent from, and is not always visible).

• Files should then be encrypted or taken offline as soon as possible, or constantly transferred from one storage location to another.
If you take all of these precautions, even members within the leaks site will be unable to trace the source.

How can the WikiLeaks team ensure its servers are secure?

Some important standard procedures:
• Use an up-to-date operating system on the server

• Use the latest version of crucial software such as Apache

• Work via an SSH and turn off things like FTP and direct admin

• Never ever work from the root account

• Make sure you have a good firewall

• Use multiple server locations
It’s often easier for governments to block a domain name than shut down an entire server. Locate your server in a country where legislation makes it virtually impossible to confiscate it. Host your server yourself or know who’s hosting it.


VPN: Via a VPN (Virtual Private Network) you can create a secure network within an existing one – like the internet. VPN is a solution if you want to send data via an internal network.

A website can be partially secured via an SSL/TLS connection (Secure Sockets Layer and the improved Transport Layer Security). With authentication you can control access to a servers’ secure connection. You can recognise an SSL certificate by the ‘s’ on the end of http(s). Bear in mind that in some countries data encryption is illegal. Check the law where you are.

Where is it safe to locate the servers?

The European Union’s Data Retention Directive requires providers to store data for at least six months. Check how the directive is applied in your country.
There are fewer and fewer places you can safely locate a server. The law is also changing fast. As the number of WikiLeaks projects increases, the danger is that more and more countries will amend their legislation.
France, however, is adopting a tolerant approach towards WikiLeaks.

What should the WikiLeaks team do with the information it receives?

It’s not wise to put leaked information straight online. There’s a risk that it may not be relevant and you could harm people unintentionally. The data could be corrupted by irrelevant information and spam.

Step 1:

Receive the documents. Go through them in a first selection round. If in doubt, let a document go through. You can reject an instruction manual, for example, but you should keep it if it has unusual page numbering. Don’t look at the content too much – don’t be distracted by your own opinion.

Step 2:

Write a three-line summary of each document and add it to the file. Ask sources (via the website) in advance to write a brief explanation. Save the explanation and the summary together.

Step 3:

If you know journalists who are willing and brave enough to publish the information, you can show them the summaries. If not, try to make contact with one or more international organisations, such as human rights groups or trade unions. Don’t send the whole team to see them, choose just a few delegates.

If you really can’t find anyone else to do it, you’ll have to write something yourself and publish it online. However, this is a last resort.

Step 4:

A journalist checks the documents for their authenticity and value according to the generally accepted standards of journalism.

If the team writes the piece themselves, the same standards apply. Check the facts, approach both sides for comment, and write the article on the basis of fact. Your own opinion is irrelevant.

Step 5:

Agree on a date for publication with the journalist. Only release the original documents after publication. Then readers can make up their own minds on the facts and judge their significance.

Once the website is on line, what does the WikiLeaks team need to be prepared for?

Recent weeks have seen repeated DDoS attacks. You can imagine a DDoS as a queue in a store made up of customers who don’t want to buy anything, preventing the real customers from getting to the front. DDoS attacks are hard to combat. Attempts to defend against them simply provoke fresh tactics.

There are a few possible solutions:

• Increase the bandwidth (‘open more tills’)

• Ensure server redundancy and scalability (‘Anycast’)

• Change IP address regularly

How can you tell whether the website is secure enough?

Don't be complacent. Invite people you trust to try and hack or disable the website. Nothing teaches you more than a hacked website. Learn from errors you made and improve the site's reliability and safety.

How does the WikiLeaks team keep itself out of harm’s way?

Never forget the government has experts too. Always think one step ahead. Keep abreast of technical and legal developments.
Be a movement, not an organisation. Then you can carry on if you lose one link in the chain.
Stay in control, but to some degree allow the process to run its course.
Maintain mutual anonymity. Divide tasks. External contacts shouldn’t know programmers and vice versa. Always look out for your own safety.

source: RNW

Day Opening - January 5


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011

Cavernous Resorts: luxury in the caves

Mountaineering may not be your thing, but strike a more than slightly sumptuous balance by booking into the Yunak Evleri Cave Hotel. The five-star resort has 30 rooms renovated from 5th and 6th century ancient chambers in the Cappadocia region of Turkey.

Restored and modernized to house an unrivaled resort experience, the Yunak Evleri Cave Hotel has all of the expected amenities of accommodations of its caliber. The interior design is derived from an Ottoman Empire aesthetic of the Middle Ages, incarnated into more contemporary antique replica furnishings.

Day Opening - January 3

fisherman in the Amazone by Andre Baertschi

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What trend watchers, visionaries and astrologists predicts for 2011.

The US economy will pick up, two Latin American presidents may face collapse, the Middle East will confront “crushing dangers” and sandals may be worn with a suit: a sample of the most relevant, and oddest, predictions for 2011.
Beginning in the Netherlands, trend watcher Adjiedj Bakas expects the next decade will be much like the 1980s: drastic budget cuts, falling real estate prices and threatened pensions. This year, bargaining will be popular, as will vegetable gardens and electric cars. Bakas, the 2009 trend watcher of the year, also predicts the euro’s eventual demise.
Exit Facebook

Pink, however, will be definitely out, according to Bakas, with purple facing the same fate. Orange, in whatever hue, will be popular—despite last year’s World Cup football fiasco.
Like Bakas, Dutch daily De Telegraaf expects the allotment will be cool, at the expense of this year’s rage, growing cannabis. And this year will hark back to the 70s, the country’s biggest paper purports. Most shocking of all perhaps: Facebook will be out, to be replaced by that bygone relic, the old-fashioned family.


Unlike Holland, Latin America boasts a long tradition predicting the future, with soothsayers, visionaries and astrologists flooding the media towards year’s end.
Venezuela’s Davil Goncalve, better known as King David, predicts that five Latin American presidents will face rebellions, with two of them making the narrowest of escapes.

Black Cat

No less catholic in his vaticinations, Mexico’s Wenseslao Flores Xalas, the Black Cat warns: “Evil will spread across the world. Next year will also witness events relating to climate change with devastating consequences.”
Like their Mexican counterparts, soothsayers in Kenya see 2011 through a glass darkly. For Isaac Sagala, in Nairobi, this year is bound to be “complicated”. Another diviner, forebodes widespread famine due to drought, not, alas, such a fanciful fear.
Another augur foresees that the International Criminal Court in The Hague will convict six Kenyans for their role in post-election violence in 2007. Both Kenya’s government and parliament, the sage forewarns, will be powerless to prevent the convictions.
In North America, opinions regarding 2011 are sharply divided. CBS’s best reporters, who last year accurately predicted events in 2010, completely disagree on this year, including developments in Afghanistan or the winner of the World Series. An American-Indian commentator for CNN, Time and the Washington Post is moderately optimistic, suggesting the American economy will improve, Europe will survive and the conflict with Iran will fail to escalate. Two cheers for 2011, he says, in what he calls his “glass-half-full column” for Time Magazine.

Natural disasters

In her latest best-seller, the most popular astrologer in the Arab World, Lebanon’s Magi Farah, predicts 2011 will see “crushing dangers”. Tunisian astrologer Hasan al-Charni forebodes nothing but gloom and doom, too, but knows why: the first four months of the year will be quiet only to be followed by a series of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, a coup in Pakistan and a fresh war between Hizbollah and Israel during the holy month of Ramadan.
A so-called "real estate bubble blow-off schedule” circulating widely on the internet predicts that China’s real estate bubble will burst in 2011. The schedule claims that the Chinese situation is similar to Japan’s before 1991. Their banking systems, population structure and urbanisation rate, many experts say, are rather different, so the "blow-off” may just remain a "prediction”.
Whatever the case, housing prices have been soaring for several years, leaving many Chinese struggling with mortgages and rent, so much so that housing now is one of China’s biggest social problems.


More trivially, Holland’s top trend watcher Bakas is absolutely certain: sandals will be back in fashion, even worn with a suit.