Monday, February 28, 2011
If he had orchestrated this, it would've not been so good.
Almost a movie: Cool Obama defeats the Crazy Man in the desert.
Maybe I can give the name of the movie:
Obama defeats Gaddafi.
All Arab children will learn this in future History lessons.
What a moment!
Because of my wife's nationality, I did not have to pay these amounts to reside in the US.
The head of our university just informed us that he can get money for a new academic program in Iguala. Right now we teach around fifty students mathematics for school teachers there. To get more support it will be necessary to offer more options.
I just proposed Science Education.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
The funny thing though, is that he likes motorcycles too, so we had a bunch of his buddies, leading the parade!
Only in Iguala, the cradle of the Mexican flag; you gotta love it!
BTW when I was looking for the kids that were going to march, I ended up watching a Mexican Style Rodeo!
Only in Iguala.
Friday, February 25, 2011
I am Mexican, PEMEX oil is my oil; but I haven't seen a drop of it, the henchmen of the ruler of this land, Joaquin (aka Chapo) Guzman, stills it from the pipes and sells it for his own profit.
Fidel: Don't you see that Kadafi is corrupt?
Kadafi's page in Wikipedia is very active, here is the last edit:
This page was last modified on 25 February 2011 at 15:35.
Sites allows pdf documents shared with the whole world. Since now I have an HP Mini, I can carry around, I installed MiKTeX, and TeXMAKER; and I intend to start posting my pdf documents, together with those of my students, for the whole world to see.
Here you have the URL, [link]
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Two thoughts crossed my mind, get into the small business protection unit, and make a living that way, or just promote the use by small business of software solutions, with open source tools.
Actually the second idea is an old one for me. Since I learned about computer farms at Fermilab, it has been clear to me that most small businesses do not use their new computer resources efficiently.
Both ideas have to do with entering into the Information Era for the masses.
After the triumphs in Tunisia, and Egypt, maybe the time has come for smart young people to be appreciated.
Nevertheless a nagging thought lingers: Is the Information Era free of old time criminals, using brute force?
Just cautious. If Gaddafi can call thugs from all over Africa to defend his corrupt regime; brute force is still winning.
``Wolfram|Alpha is a completely different kind of thing-something much more radical, based on a quite different paradigm. The key point is that Wolfram|Alpha is not dealing with documents, or anything derived from them. Instead, it is dealing directly with raw, precise, computable knowledge. And what's inside it is not statistical representations of text, but actual representations of knowledge.''
Monday, February 21, 2011
Maybe I'm reading too much into Mr. Cohen's diatribe, but I could change a few names and have a Mexican elite story with their cozy relationship with the likes of Ambassador Tony Garza. Read about Ms. Aramburuzabala, [link].
BTW the name of the Mexican fixer for the mess we have down here is Andrés Manuel López Obrador., aka AMLO.
Judge by yourself:
``So will the attack on unions succeed? I don’t know. But anyone who cares about retaining government of the people by the people should hope that it doesn’t.''
I could not have put it better Mr. Krugman.
I see my peers doing their best to do scientific research. Only some of that will be really original.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
The army is fulfilling this role more and more. It is common now to see them on the streets with their faces covered, to avoid retribution by the ever more powerful criminal gangs which have been taking our towns, and cities.
We are witnessing the biggest wealth transfer in our history. Anybody can be a victim.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Robert Fisk: Three weeks in Egypt show the power of brutality – and its limits
Just as the non-violent millions in Cairo learnt from Al-Jazeera and from their opposite numbers in Tunis – even down to the emails from Tunisia urging Egyptians to cut lemons in half and eat them to avoid the effects of tear-gas – so the state security thugs in Egypt, presumably watching the same programmes, have used precisely the same brutality against the crowds as their colleagues in Tunis. Incredible, when you come to think about it. The cops in Cairo saw the cops in Tunis bludgeoning government opponents to a bloody mess and – totally ignoring the fact that this led to Ben Ali's downfall – went into copy-cat mode.
Having had the pleasure of standing next to these state security warriors in the streets of Cairo, I can attest their tactics from personal experience. First, the uniformed police confronted the demonstrators. Then their ranks parted to allow the baltagi – the former policemen, drug-addicts and ex-prisoners – to run forward and strike the protesters with sticks, police coshes and iron crowbars. Then the criminals retreated to police lines while the cops doused the demonstrators with thousands of tear-gas canisters (again, made in the US). In the end, as I watched with considerable satisfaction, the protesters simply overwhelmed the state security men and their mafiosi.
But what happens when I turn on Al-Jazeera to see where we should travel next? On the streets of Yemen are state security police baton-charging crowds of Sanaa's pro-democracy demonstrators then parting ranks to allow plain-clothes thugs to attack the protestors with sticks, police coshes, iron bars and pistols. And the moment the cop-criminals retreat, the Yemeni police douse the crowds with tear-gas rounds. A few minutes later, I am watching Algerian cops batoning the crowds, allowing plain-clothes men to race forward with crow-bars and coshes, then spraying tear-gas across the streets. Then Bahrain where – I don't need to tell you, do I? – cops baton the demonstrators and slop thousands of tear-gas rounds into the men and women with such promiscuity that the police themselves, overcome by the gas, retch speechless on to the road. Weird, isn't it?
But no, I suspect not. For years, the secret services of these countries have been mimicking their mates for one simple reason: because their intelligence capos have been swapping tips for years. Torture tips, too. The Egyptians learnt how to use electricity in their desert prisons far more forcefully on genitals after a friendly visit from lads based at the Chateauneuf police station in Algiers (who specialise in pumping water into men until they literally burst apart). When I was in Algiers last December, the head of Tunisian state security dropped by for a fraternal visit. Just as Algierians visited Syria back in 1994 to find out how Hafez el-Assad dealt with the 1982 Muslim uprising in Hama: simple – slaughter the people, blow up the city, leave the corpses of innocent and guilty for the survivors to see. Which is what le pouvoir then did to the vicious and armed Islamists as well as their own people.
It was infernal, this open university of torture, a constant round of conferences and first-hand "interrogation" accounts by the sadists of the Arab world, with the constant support of the Pentagon and its scandalous "strategic co-operation" manuals, not to mention the enthusiasm of Israel. But there was a vital flaw in these lectures. If the people once – just once – lost their fear, and rose up to crush their oppressors, the very system of pain and frightfulness would become its own enemy, its ferocity the very reason for its collapse. This is what happened in Tunis. This is what happened in Egypt.
It's an instructive lesson. Bahrain, Algeria and Yemen are all following the identical policies of brutality that failed Messrs Ben Ali and Mubarak. That's not the only strange parallel between the overthrow of these two titans. Mubarak really thought on Thursday night that the people would suffer another five months of his rule. Ben Ali apparently thought much the same.
What all this proves is that the dictators of the Middle East are infinitely more stupid, more vicious, more vain, more arrogant, more ridiculous than even their own people realised. Ghengis Khan and Lord Blair of Isfahan rolled into one.
Virus similar to one used against Iran was released by Anonymous.
Mind vs. Mind through computers, we have entered a new Era.
Destroy WikiLeaks! Independent
``The presentation, which has been seen by The Independent, recommends a multi-pronged assault on WikiLeaks including deliberately submitting false documents to the website to undermine its credibility, pioneering cyber attacks to expose who the leakers to WikiLeaks are and going after sympathetic journalists.''
Am I a sympathetic journalist?
NYT: Mubarak Killed the Internet!
``The blackout was lifted after just five days, and it did not save President Hosni Mubarak. But it has mesmerized the worldwide technical community and raised concerns that with unrest coursing through the Middle East, other autocratic governments — many of them already known to interfere with and filter specific Web sites and e-mails — may also possess what is essentially a kill switch for the Internet.''
Sunday, February 13, 2011
I go with the wise old journalist.
At this rate, could a performance be ruled out on Sept. 28, 2018, the 50th anniversary of his Met debut?''
I am 61, this week I was in my mother's hometown of Huitzuco, Guerrero, in Mexico. I went to an old folks home, supported by pious women and men, in that order.
I am sad.
A woman not even 70, I don't think; immediately approached me to get her two cigarettes, and a coke. I asked permission and went to buy her the alloted one cigarette. She seemed grateful, and I held her hand.
Later I found out that the only man there, raped and killed his mother; now I wonder if that woman's anxiety has some connection with this awful fact.
I just saw Biutiful, there is a character, played by Javier Bardem, that among other things tries to help some Chinese illegally in Barcelona, causing their death by asphyxiation. Good intentions may not be enough
Definitely, I don't want to pass my last days there.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
When these kids get their citizenship, I doubt they'll join the Republican Party.
``I’m in Tahrir Square, and of all the amazing things one sees here the one that strikes me most is a bearded man who is galloping up and down, literally screaming himself hoarse, saying: “I feel free! I feel free!” Gathered around him are Egyptians of all ages, including a woman so veiled that she has only a slit for her eyes, and they’re all holding up cellphones taking pictures and video of this man, determined to capture the moment in case it never comes again.''
Thomas L. Friedman
Monday, February 07, 2011
Sunday, February 06, 2011
Jar of Athens, drip the dewy juice of wine, drip, let the feast to
which all bring their share be wetted as with dew; be silenced the
swan, sage Zeno, and the Muse of Cleanthes, and let bitter-sweet Love
be our concern.
Sweet is snow in summer for the thirsty to drink, and sweet for
sailors after winter to see the garland of spring; but most sweet when
one cloak shelters two lovers, and the tale of love is told by both.
Nothing is sweeter than love, and all delicious things are second to
it; yes, even honey I spit out of my mouth. Thus saith Nossis; but he
whom the Cyprian loves not, knows not what roses her flowers are.
LOVE AND THE SCHOLAR
Once when turning over the Book of Hesiod in my hands, suddenly I saw
Pyrrha coming in; and casting the book to the ground from my hand, I
cried out, Why bring your works to me, old Hesiod?
Kissing Agathon, I had my soul upon my lips; for it rose, poor wretch,
as though to cross over.
THE FIRST KISS
At evening, at the hour when we say good-night, Moeris kissed me, I
know not whether really or in a dream; for very clearly I now have the
rest in mind, all she said to me, and all that she asked me of; but
whether she kissed me too, I doubt and guess; for if it is true, how,
after being set in heaven, do I go to and fro upon earth?
Let the die be thrown; light up! I will on my way; see, courage!--
Heavy with wine, what is thy purpose?--I will revel.--I will revel?
whither wanderest, O heart?--And what is Reason to Love? light up,
quick!--And where is thy old study of philosophy?--Away with the long
toil of wisdom; this one thing only I know, that Love took captive
even the mind of Zeus.
LOVE AND WINE
I am armed against Love with a breastplate of Reason, neither shall he
conquer me, one against one; yes, I a mortal will contend with him the
immortal: but if he have Bacchus to second him, what can I do alone
against the two?
LOVE IN THE STORM
Snow, hail, darken, blaze, thunder, shake forth all thy glooming
clouds upon the earth; for if thou slay me, then will I cease, but
while thou lettest me live, though thou handle me worse than this, I
will revel. For the god draws me who is thy master too, at whose
persuasion, Zeus, thou didst once pierce in gold to that brazen
A KISS WITHIN THE CUP
I am no wine-bibber; but if thou wilt make me drunk, taste thou first
and bring it me, and I take it. For if thou wilt touch it with thy
lips, no longer is it easy to keep sober or to escape the sweet cup-
bearer; for the cup ferries me over a kiss from thee, and tells me of
the grace that it had.
Evermore in my ears eddies the sound of Love, and my eye silently
carries sweet tears for the Desires; nor does night nor light let me
rest, but already my enchanted heart bears the well-known imprint. Ah
winged Loves, surely you know how to fly towards me, but have no whit
of strength to fly away.
The cup is glad for sweetness, and says that it touches the sweet-
voiced mouth of love's darling, Zenophile. Happy! would that now,
bringing up her lips to my lips, she would drink at one draught the
very soul in me.
LOVE THE RUNAWAY
I make hue and cry after wild Love; for now, even now in the morning
dusk, he flew away from his bed and was gone. This boy is full of
sweet tears, ever talking, swift, fearless, sly-laughing, winged on
the back, and carries a quiver. But whose son he is I may not say, for
Heaven denies having borne this ruffler, and so Earth and so Sea.
Everywhere and by all he is hated; but look you to it lest haply even
now he is laying more springes for souls. Yet--there he is, see! about
his lurking-place; I see thee well, my archer, ambushed in Zenophile's
Our friend was wounded, and we knew it not; how bitter a sigh, mark
you? he drew all up his breast. Lo, he was drinking the third time,
and shedding their petals from the fellow's garlands the roses all
poured to the ground. He is well in the fire, surely; no, by the gods,
I guess not at random; a thief myself, I know a thief's footprints.
THE MAD LOVER
A man wounded by a rabid dog's venom sees, they say, the beast's image
in all water. Surely mad Love has fixed his bitter tooth in me, and
made my soul the prey of his frenzies; for both the sea and the eddies
of rivers and the wine-carrying cup show me thy image, beloved.
LOVE AT THE VINTAGE
We, as we trod the infinite fruit of Iacchus, mingled and wound in the
rhythm of the revel, and now the fathomless flood flowed down, and
like boats our cups of ivy-wood swam on the sweet surges; dipping
wherewith, we drank just as it lay at our hand, nor missed the warm
water-nymphs overmuch. But beautiful Rhodanthe leant over the
winepress, and with the splendours of her beauty lit up the welling
stream; and swiftly all our hearts were fluttered, nor was there one
of us but was overcome by Bacchus and the Paphian. Alas for us! he ran
plenteous at our feet, but for her, hope played with us, and no more.
I will twine the white violet and I will twine the delicate narcissus
with myrtle buds, and I will twine laughing lilies, and I will twine
the sweet crocus, and I will twine therewithal the crimson hyacinth,
and I will twine lovers' roses, that on balsam-curled Heliodora's
temples my garland may shed its petals over the lovelocks of her hair.
She is carried off! What savage could do so cruel a deed? Who so high
as to raise battle against very Love? Light torches, quick! and yet--a
footfall; Heliodora's; go back into my breast, O my heart.
LOVE IN SPRING
Now the white violet blooms, and blooms the moist narcissus, and bloom
the mountain-wandering lilies; and now, dear to her lovers, spring
flower among the flowers, Zenophile, the sweet rose of Persuasion, has
burst into bloom. Meadows, why idly laugh in the brightness of your
tresses? for my girl is better than garlands sweet to smell.
Shrill-crying gnats, shameless suckers of the blood of men, two-winged
monsters of the night, for a little, I beseech you, leave Zenophile to
sleep a quiet sleep, and see, make your feast of flesh from my limbs.
Yet to what end do I talk in vain? even relentless wild beasts take
delight in nestling on her delicate skin. But once more now I proclaim
it, O evil brood, cease your boldness or you shall know the force of
PARTING AT DAWN
Farewell, Morning Star, herald of dawn, and quickly come again as the
Evening Star, bringing secretly her whom thou takest away.
DEARER THAN DAY
"Fare thou well," I would say to thee; and again I check my voice and
rein it backward, and again I stay beside thee; for I shrink from the
terrible separation from thee as from the bitter night of Acheron; for
the light of thee is like the day. Yet that, I think, is voiceless,
but thou bringest me also that murmuring talk of thine, sweeter than
the Sirens', whereon all my soul's hopes are hung.
THE MORNING STAR
Morning Star, do not Love violence, neither learn, neighbour as thou
art to Mars, to have a heart that pities not; but as once before,
seeing Phaethon in Clymene's chamber, thou heldest not on thy fleet-
foot course from the east, even so on the skirts of night, the night
that so hardly has lightened on my desire, come lingering as though
among the Cimmerians.
ANTIPATER OF THESSALONICA
Grey dawn is over, Chrysilla, and ere now the morning cock clarisoning
leads on the envious Lady of Morn. Be thou accursed, most envious of
birds, who drivest me from my home to the endless chattering of the
young men. Thou growest old, Tithonus; else why dost thou chase Dawn
thy bedfellow out of her couch while yet morning is so young?
Grey dawn, why, O unloving, risest thou so swift round my bed, where
but now I nestled close to dear Demo? Would God thou wouldst turn thy
fleet course backward and be evening, thou shedder of the sweet light
that is so bitter to me. For once before, for Zeus and his Alcmena,
thou wentest contrary; thou art not unlessoned in running backward.
Grey dawn, why, O unloving, rollest thou now so slow round the world,
since another is shrouded and warm by Demo? but when I held her
delicate form to my breast, swift thou wert upon us, shedding on me a
light that seemed to rejoice in my grief.
Cleophantis lingers long; and the third lamp now begins to give a
broken glimmer as it silently wastes away. And would that the
firebrand in my heart too were quenched with the lamp, and did not
burn me long in wakeful desires. Ah how often she swore by the
Cytherean that she would be here at evenfall; but she recks not of
either men or gods.
WAITING IN VAIN
Nico the renowned consented to come to me at nightfall and swore by
the holy Lady of Laws; and she is not come, and the watch is gone by;
did she mean to forswear herself? Servants, put out the lamp.
THE SCORNED LOVER
O Night, thee and none other I take to witness, how Nico's Pythias
flouts me, traitress as she is; asked, not unasked am I come; may she
yet blame thee in the selfsame plight standing by my doors!
All night long I sob; and when grey dawn rises and grants me a little
grace of rest, the swallows cry around and about me, and bring me back
to tears, thrusting sweet slumber away: and my unclosing eyes keep
vigil, and the thought of Rhodanthe returns again in my bosom. O
envious chatterers, be still; it was not I who shore away Philomela's
tongue; but weep for Itylus on the mountains, and sit wailing by the
hoopoe's court, that we may sleep a little; and perchance a dream will
come and clasp me round with Rhodanthe's arms.
THE LOVE LETTER
Rufinus to Elpis, my most sweet: well and very well be with her, if
she can be well away from me. No longer can I bear, no, by thine eyes,
my solitary and unmated severance from thee, but evermore blotted with
tears I go to Coressus or to the temple of the great Artemis; but
tomorrow my home shall receive me, and I will fly to thy face and bid
thee a thousand greetings.
LOVE AND REASON
My soul forewarns me to flee the desire of Heliodora, knowing well the
tears and jealousies of old. She talks; but I have no strength to
flee, for, shameless that she is, she forewarns, and while she
forewarns, she loves.
ODI ET AMO
Take this message, Dorcas; lo again a second and a third time, Dorcas,
take her all my message; run; delay no longer; fly. Wait a little,
Dorcas, prithee a little; Dorcas, whither so fast before learning all
I would say? And add to what I have just said--but no, I go on like a
fool; say nothing at all--only that--say everything; spare not to say
everything. Yet why do I send thee out, Dorcas, when myself, see, I go
forth with thee?
LOOKING AND LIKING
Eyes, how long are you draining the nectar of the Loves, rash drinkers
of the strong unmixed wine of beauty? let us run far away, as far as
we have strength to go, and in calm I will pour sober offerings to
Cypris the Placable. But if haply there likewise I be caught by the
sting, be you wet with chill tears and doomed for ever to bear
deserved pain; since from you, alas! it was that we fell into all this
labour of fire.
Dost thou then also, Philinna, carry longing in thee, dost thou
thyself also sicken and waste away with tearless eyes? or is thy sleep
most sweet to thee, while of our care thou makest neither count nor
reckoning? Thou wilt find thy fate likewise, and thy haughty cheek I
shall see wetted with fast-falling tears. For the Cyprian in all else
is malign, but one virtue is in her lot, hatred of proud beauties.
At evening Galatea slammed-to the doors in my face, flinging at me a
speech of scorn. "Scorn breaks love"; idly wanders this proverb; her
scorn inflames my love-madness the more. For I swore I would stay a
year away from her; out and alas! but with break of day I went to make
Constantia, nay verily! I heard the name and thought it beautiful, but
thou art to me more bitter than death. And thou fliest him who loves
thee, and him who loves thee not thou pursuest, that he may love thee
and thou mayest fly him once again.
So mayest thou slumber, Conopion, as thou makest me sleep here in the
chill doorway; so mayest thou slumber, most cruel, as thou lullest thy
lover asleep; but not even in a dream hast thou known compassion. The
neighbours pity me, but thou not even in a dream; but the silver hair
will remind thee of all this by and by.
Golden-horned Moon, thou seest this, and you fiery-shining Stars whom
Ocean takes into his breast, how perfume-breathing Ariste has gone and
left me alone, and this is the sixth day I cannot find the witch. But
we will seek her notwithstanding; surely I will send the silver
sleuth-hounds of the Cyprian on her track.
Lady of Night, twy-horned, lover of nightlong revels, shine, O Moon,
shine, darting through the latticed windows; shed thy splendour on
golden Callistion; thine immortality may look down unchidden on the
deeds of lovers; thou dost bless both her and me, I know, O Moon; for
thy soul too was fired by Endymion.
LOVE AND THE STARS
On the stars thou gazest, my Star; would I were heaven, that I might
look on thee with many eyes.
Would I were a pink rose, that fastening me with thine hands thou
mightest grant me grace of thy snowy breast.
Would I were a white lily, that fastening me with thine hands thou
mightest satisfy me with the nearness of thy body.
LOVE AND SLEEP
Thou sleepest, Zenophile, dainty girl; would that I had come to thee
now, a wingless sleep, upon thine eyelids, that not even he, even he
who charms the eyes of Zeus, might come nigh thee, but myself had held
thee, I thee alone.
SLAYER AND HEALER
I have a wound of love, and from my wound flows ichor of tears, and
the gash is never staunched; for I am at my wits' end for misery, and
no Machaon sprinkles soothing drugs on me in my need. I am Telephus, O
maiden, but be thou my true Achilles; with thy beauty allay the
longing as thou didst kindle it.
LOVE THE GAMBLER
Still in his mother's lap, a child playing with dice in the morning,
Love played my life away.
Bitter wave of Love, and restless gusty Jealousies and wintry sea of
revellings, whither am I borne? and the rudders of my spirit are quite
cast loose; shall we sight delicate Scylla once again?
Soul that weepest sore, how is Love's wound that was allayed in thee
inflaming through thy heart again! nay, nay, for God's sake, nay for
God's sake, O infatuate, stir not the fire that flickers low among the
ashes. For soon, O oblivious of thy pains, so sure as Love catches
thee in flight, again he will torture his found runaway.
LOVE THE BALL-PLAYER
Love who feeds on me is a ball-player, and throws to thee, Heliodora,
the heart that throbs in me. Come then, take thou Love-longing for his
playmate; but if thou cast me away from thee, I will not bear such
wanton false play.
Nay by Demo's tresses, nay by Heliodora's sandal, nay by Timarion's
scent-dripping doorway, nay by great-eyed Anticleia's dainty smile,
nay by Dorothea's fresh-blossomed garlands, no longer, Love, does thy
quiver hide its bitter winged arrows, for thy shafts are all fixed in
Arm thyself, Cypris, with thy bow, and go at thy leisure to some other
mark; for I have not even room left for a wound.
MOTH AND CANDLE
If thou scorch so often the soul that flutters round thee, O Love, she
will flee away from thee; she too, O cruel, has wings.
LOVE AT AUCTION
Let him be sold, even while he is yet asleep on his mother's bosom,
let him be sold; why should I have the rearing of this impudent thing?
For it is snub-nosed and winged, and scratches with its nail-tips, and
weeping laughs often between; and furthermore it is unabashed, ever-
talking, sharp-glancing, wild and not gentle even to its very own
mother, every way a monster; so it shall be sold; if any outward-bound
merchant will buy a boy, let him come hither. And yet he beseeches,
see, all in tears. I sell thee no more; be comforted; stay here and
live with Zenophile.
INTER MINORA SIDERA
Pour ten cups for Lysidice, and for beloved Euphrante, slave, give me
one cup. Thou wilt say I love Lysidice more? No, by sweet Bacchus,
whom I drink deep in this bowl; Euphrante for me, one against ten; for
the one splendour of the moon also outshines the innumerable stars.
Pour for Heliodora as Persuasion, and as the Cyprian, and once more
for her again as the sweet-speeched Grace; for she is enrolled as my
one goddess, whose beloved name I will mix and drink in unmixed wine.
LOVE IN ABSENCE
Pour, and again say, again, again, "Heliodora"; say it and mingle the
sweet name with the unmixed wine; and wreath me with that garland of
yesterday drenched with ointments, for remembrance of her. Lo, the
lovers' rose sheds tears to see her away, and not on my bosom.
Who of my friends has imaged me sweet-voiced Zenophile? who has
brought me one Grace of the three? Surely the man did a gracious deed
who gave this gift, and in his grace gave Grace herself to me.
THE SEA'S WOOING
Fond Asclepias with her sparkling eyes as of Calm woos all to make the
voyage of love.
THE LIGHT OF TROY
Athenion sang of that fatal horse to me; all Troy was in fire, and I
kindled along with it, not fearing the ten years' toil of Greece; and
in that single blaze Trojans and I perished together then.
LOVE AND MUSIC
Sweet is the tune, by Pan of Arcady, that thou playest on the harp,
Zenophile, oversweet are the notes of the tune. Whither shall I fly
from thee? on all hands the Loves encompass me, and let me not take
breath for ever so little space; for either thy form shoots longing
into me, or again thy music or thy graciousness, or--what shall I say?
all of thee; I kindle in the fire.
HONEY AND STING
Flower-fed bee, why touchest thou my Heliodora's skin, leaving
outright the flower-bells of spring? Meanest thou that even the
unendurable sting of Love, ever bitter to the heart, has a sweetness
too? Yes, I think, this thou sayest; ah, fond one, go back again; we
knew thy news long ago.
Fly for me, O gnat, a swift messenger, and touch Zenophile, and
whisper lightly into her ears: "one awaits thee waking; and thou
sleepest, O oblivious of thy lovers." Up, fly, yes fly, O musical one;
but speak quietly, lest arousing her bedfellow too thou stir pangs of
jealousy against me; and if thou bring my girl, I will adorn thee with
a lion-skin, O gnat, and give thee a club to carry in thine hand.
LOVE THE SLAYER
I beseech thee, Love, charm asleep the wakeful longing in me for
Heliodora, pitying my suppliant verse; for, by thy bow that never has
learned to strike another, but always upon me pours its winged shafts,
even though thou slay me I will leave letters uttering this voice,
"Look, stranger, on Love's murdered man."
Why so woe-begone? and why, Philaenis, these reckless tearings of
hair, and suffusion of sorrowful eyes? hast thou seen thy lover with
another on his bosom? tell me; we know charms for grief. Thou weepest
and sayest no: vainly dost thou essay to deny; the eyes are more
trustworthy than the tongue.
THE SLEEPLESS LOVER
Grasshopper, beguilement of my longings, luller asleep, grasshopper,
muse of the cornfield, shrill-winged, natural mimic of the lyre, harp
to me some tune of longing, striking thy vocal wings with thy dear
feet, that so thou mayest rescue me from the all-wakeful trouble of my
pains, grasshopper, as thou makest thy love-luring voice tremble on
the string; and I will give thee gifts at dawn, ever-fresh groundsel
and dewy drops sprayed from the mouths of the watering-can.
REST AT NOON
Voiceful cricket, drunken with drops of dew thou playest thy rustic
music that murmurs in the solitude, and perched on the leaf-edges
shrillest thy lyre-tune with serrated legs and swart skin. But my
dear, utter a new song for the tree-nymphs' delight, and make thy
harp-notes echo to Pan's, that escaping Love I may seek out sleep at
noon here lying under the shady plane.
THE BURDEN OF YOUTH
I am not two and twenty yet, and I am weary of living; O Loves, why
misuse me so? why set me on fire; for when I am gone, what will you
do? Doubtless, O Loves, as before you will play with your dice,
Holy night, and thou, O lamp, you and none other we took to witness of
our vows; and we swore, he that he would love me, and I that I would
never leave him, and you kept witness between us. And now he says that
these vows are written in running water, O lamp, and thou seest him on
the bosom of another.
O night, O wakeful longing in me for Heliodora, and eyes that sting
with tears in the creeping grey of dawn, do some remnants of affection
yet remain mine, and is her memorial kiss warm upon my cold picture?
has she tears for bedfellows, and does she clasp to her bosom and kiss
a deluding dream of me? or has she some other new love, a new
plaything? Never, O lamp, look thou on that, but be guardian of her
whom I gave to thy keeping.
THE DEW OF TEARS
Stay there, my garlands, hanging by these doors, nor hastily
scattering your petals, you whom I have wetted with tears (for lovers'
eyes are rainy); but when you see him as the door opens, drip my rain
over his head, that so at least that golden hair may drink my tears.
When I am gone, Cleobulus--for what avails? cast among the fire of
young loves, I lie a brand in the ashes--I pray thee make the burial-
urn drunk with wine ere thou lay it under earth, and write thereon,
"Love's gift to Death."
Terrible is Love, terrible; and what avails it if again I say and
again, with many a moan, Terrible is Love? for surely the boy laughs
at this, and is pleased with manifold reproaches; and if I say bitter
things, they are meat and drink to him. And I wonder how thou, O
Cyprian, who didst arise through the green waves, out of water hast
borne a fire.
LOVE THE CONQUEROR
I am down: tread with thy foot on my neck, cruel divinity; I know
thee, by the gods, heavy as thou art to bear: I know too thy fiery
arrows: but hurling thy brands at my soul thou wilt no longer kindle
it, for it is all ashes.
Did I not cry aloud to thee, O soul, "Yes, by the Cyprian, thou wilt
be caught, poor lover, if thou flutterest so often near the lime-
twigs"? did I not cry aloud? and the snare has taken thee. Why dost
thou gasp vainly in the toils? Love himself has bound thy wings and
set thee on the fire, and sprinkled thee to swooning with perfumes,
and given thee in thy thirst hot tears to drink.
FROST AND FIRE
Ah suffering soul, now thou burnest in the fire, and now thou
revivest, and fetchest breath again: why weepest thou? when thou didst
feed pitiless Love in thy bosom, knewest thou not that he was being
fed for thy woe? knewest thou not? Know now his repayment, a fair
foster-hire! take it, fire and cold snow together. Thou wouldst have
it so; bear the pain; thou sufferest the wages of thy work, scorched
with his burning honey.
THE SCULPTOR OF SOULS
Within my heart Love himself has moulded Heliodora with her lovely
voice, the soul of my soul.
Who may know if a loved one passes the prime, while ever with him and
never left alone? who may not satisfy to-day who satisfied yesterday?
and if he did satisfy, what should befall him not to satisfy
When they first came to office, the Obama team had a mantra: "Never waste a good crisis". They then spent the next two years doing exactly the opposite. In the past few months we've seen a couple of decent crises – the first involving WikiLeaks, the second involving the political upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt. Both involve the internet in one way or another. So, in the spirit of Obama Mk I, let us ponder what might be learned from them.
As far as the leaked US cables are concerned, the fury of the US administration and of certain US politicians was, for a time, positively comical. It stopped being funny when they began talking about prosecuting Julian Assange for "espionage", given the draconian penalties that a conviction would carry. But the State Department's indignation over the leaks of allegedly valuable secrets was, and remains, preposterous.
Why? Because there is absolutely no way that a huge database containing 250,000 "secret" documents that can be lawfully accessed by more than a million officials can ever be secure. Any security engineer will tell you that it cannot be done: if you want to keep things secret online then the only way to do it is by compartmentalising the system. Huge, monolithic systems are intrinsically insecure.
Ironically, that is how the Americans used to do it. They kept stuff in data silos. But in the recriminations after 9/11 there was a great deal of angst about the government's failure to "join up the dots", because it turned out that some of these silos had contained useful intelligence about the hijackers. So the silos were breached and linked – which is how Private Manning was able to access the system and download a quarter of a million documents on to the CD-Rom which eventually found its way to WikiLeaks.
The moral of the story: if governments want to keep information secure, then they have to think architecturally about system design. And if the UK government thinks that the NHS can put all our health information into a single, national system that can be accessed by more than 100,000 staff, and still keep it secure, then they ought to think again.
The WikiLeaks story has lessons for the rest of us too. The speed with which Amazon and PayPal dropped WikiLeaks should be a wake-up call to anyone who thinks that Cloud Computing services can be trusted to protect the interests of their customers when the government cuts up rough. The idealistic kids who signed up to participate in denial-of-service attacks on PayPal and the credit-card companies as retribution for cutting off WikiLeaks's funding need to learn how to conceal their IP addresses before they engage in "hacktivism" – as many of them discovered this week when the police came knocking.
For hardcore geeks, the WikiLeaks saga should serve as a stimulant to a new wave of innovation which will lead to a new generation of distributed, secure technologies (like the TOR networking system used by WikiLeaks) which will enable people to support movements and campaigns that are deemed subversive by authoritarian powers. A really good example of this kind of technological innovation was provided last week by Google engineers, who in a few days built a system that enabled protesters in Egypt to send tweets even though the internet in their country had been shut down. "Like many people", they blogged, "we've been glued to the news unfolding in Egypt and thinking of what we can do to help people on the ground. Over the weekend we came up with the idea of a speak-to-tweet service – the ability for anyone to tweet using just a voice connection."
They worked with a small team of engineers from Twitter and SayNow (a company Google recently acquired) to build the system. It provides three international phone numbers and anyone can tweet by leaving a voicemail. The tweets appear on twitter.com/speak2tweet.
What's exciting about this kind of development is that it harnesses the same kind of irrepressible, irreverent, geeky originality that characterised the early years of the internet, before the web arrived and big corporations started to get a grip on it. Events in Egypt make one realise how badly this kind of innovation is needed. The way in which the Mubarak regime was able to shut down the net provided a sobering reminder of the power of governments that are prepared to take extreme measures. As the country disappeared from cyberspace I was suddenly struck by the thought that if PCs still came with steam-age built-in dial-up modems, Egyptians could have logged on to servers abroad and stayed connected. The only way of stopping that would be to shut down the entire phone system. And even Mubarak might have balked at that.
In his novel The Autumn of the Patriarch, Gabriel Garcia Marquez outlines the behaviour of a dictator under threat and his psychology of total denial. In his glory days, the autocrat believes he is a national hero. Faced with rebellion, he blames "foreign hands" and "hidden agendas" for this inexplicable revolt against his benevolent but absolute rule. Those fomenting the insurrection are "used and manipulated by foreign powers who hate our country". Then – and here I use a precis of Marquez by the great Egyptian author Alaa Al-Aswany – "the dictator tries to test the limits of the engine, by doing everything except what he should do. He becomes dangerous. After that, he agrees to do anything they want him to do. Then he goes away".
Saturday, February 05, 2011