18 March, 2021

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Barbed wire, left behind from one of the wars. (There are also trenches, bullets and other detritus.)

Legs

I gave in and restored the legs to my desk, the other day. I don't mind sitting and working on the floor, but getting up and down is a pain, and I do think I should stand up or change my position every twenty minutes or so. One thing I've never much needed is a chair back; when I'm typing or doing any work, I almost never use back support.

Screen

My laptop screen suddenly started fluttering today. After restarting the computer, the phenomenon continued and I realized I might have to get the laptop fixed. But later it stopped again, so the jury is out. I think what happened is that sometimes when connecting the two external monitors, or detaching them, there are several seconds of screen chaos; this might have shocked the laptop screen; may even have damaged it. I will have to be more careful and turn the computer off when making these changes.

Vivaldi

I like how, if one opens a secondary window in Vivaldi, this creates a different icon, so it is possible to differentiate between the real application and the new window.

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I've never liked flags for designating keyboard input languages. In fact I've never liked flags at all. As a child I was appalled when I saw flags hanging in churches. I couldn't convince my elders that this was highly inappropriate. On XFCE it took me quite a while learning how and where to replace those stupid flags with letters. Languages do not correspond closely to nations or their flags.

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I had to make these specially.

COVID

Israel's high court has overthrown the government's travel restrictions on the basis that preventing them from traveling or returning to the country contravenes their civil rights. It says that what is needed is better enforcement of regulations governing isolation on their return to the country. Among the measures that are already being taken is the attachment of electronic tracking bracelets.

Links

The ICC and Israel’s Charge of Anti-Semitism - CounterPunch.org

"We are at a critical historical juncture in which it is becoming increasingly difficult to criticize Israel without being branded an anti-Semite. You are an anti-Semite if you support the International Criminal Court’s recent ruling that it has jurisdiction to open a war crimes investigation against Israel. But you are also likely to be called an anti-Semite if you reject the logic informing the court’s decision."

Israel’s upcoming election: Where did the occupation go? | Middle East News | Al Jazeera
“who wins Israel’s upcoming election, and forms its next government, is of little consequence in regards to the most fundamental questions facing not only the Israeli society, but also the Palestinian people who have been living under occupation for almost 54 years. For peace and democracy lovers, after March 23, with or without Netanyahu, it will be business as usual.”

The Necessity of Dismantling the U.S.—A conversation with Ajamu Baraka - CounterPunch.org
"The whole logic and rationale of capitalist society has to be looked at in a new way. There are a number of movements that are in fact doing that. That make an argument that we’ve got to completely reorganize every aspect of society if we’re going to be able to survive, because one of the obvious contradictions and consequences of the industrial processes we have is that we’re basically destroying the ability of human beings to sustain themselves on this planet."

He talks a lot about euro-centrism and how we have become accustomed to regarding contemporary European (and North American) society as the pinnacle of civilization. I think we all consciously or unconsciously do, and shudder at the illiberal others who denigrate the freedoms and privilegeswe have come to take for granted. At the same time, we realize that this same supposedly advanced civilization is despoiling the planet, wiping out the species, and endangering our future existence.

Anyone who departs from the consensus, talks about decolonizing our minds, dismantling nations and finding a different way deserves to be listened to; they may be on to something.

Tanzania's Covid-denying president, John Magufuli, dies aged 61 | Tanzania | The Guardian

"Magufuli had repeatedly denied that Covid-19 was spreading in the east African country and claimed without evidence that vaccines are dangerous, suggesting instead that people pray and inhale herbal-infused steam."

‘The best cops’: Indian state recruits its first transgender police officers | Global development | The Guardian
'“They are sensitive, have a high emotional quotient and know not just how the other half lives but what it’s like being on the other side of the law,” said Awasthi.'

Plummeting sperm counts, shrinking penises: toxic chemicals threaten humanity | Environment | The Guardian
'The chemicals to blame for our reproductive crisis are found everywhere and in everything.'
Sperm counts have dropped by 60% in the past 50 years. If it continues at this rate, the human race will be over before climate change can finish us.

The Guardian view on new work from Proust: more lessons from lockdown | Marcel Proust | The Guardian
"Rediscovered early texts offer fresh insights from an author who created his masterpiece in self-isolation"

Google Antitrust Suit Takes Aim At Chrome's Privacy Sandbox - Slashdot
"Google's new scheme is, in essence, to wall off the entire portion of the internet that consumers access through Google's Chrome browser," the complaint reads. "Google is trying to hide its true intentions behind a pretext of privacy," the suit continues. With Privacy Sandbox, "Google does not actually put a stop to user profiling or targeted advertising -- it puts Google's Chrome browser at the center of tracking and targeting."