Tag Archive: Paris

General de Gaule & Claire Chicoteau

Strangely post on June 28th, 2010
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French Resistance: de Gaulle in London.

(This posting originally released on 16 Dec 2007.  Reposted and edited because of the subject’s death.)

Claire and Tereska

Claire and Tereska

This is a BBC News article on the women of the French Resistance who worked with De Gaulle in London and then went to Paris with him for the Liberation.

Tereska and Claire visit de Gaulle's headquarters in London

Tereska and Claire visit de Gaulle's headquarters in London

Claire is one of our local SGI Buddhist group and she has told me many stories of those times. Recently she was musing on what she would have done and what would have happened to her if they she’d been asked to join SOE (like some were) and be dropped in France (because of her good French etc).

She also mentioned about a sniper’s bullet aimed at De Gaulle that just missed him (and her) while he walked down the Champs Elysée but hit a young man from their London party who had had a premonition that he’d die if he went back to France with them.

I must ask her if it’d be okay to write more of this down for her (and us). She’s eighty odd, you know.

Claire Chicoteau

Claire Chicoteau

Postscript Added 28/6/2010

Claire died this week, peacefully, with her family around her, in France.  Bravo for her big, big,  life.  Too late to ask any more questions….

Information on her wartime exploits can be found here:

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Don’t Shoot the Messenger if You don’t Like the Message

Alan Johnson Sacks the Messenger

This, of course, relates to the recent sackings and supportive resignations of Government Scientific Advisors (see More advisers may go in drugs row) .

The home secretary faces the threat of more scientists resigning after sacking his chief drugs adviser Prof David Nutt for his comments about cannabis policy. Two members of the drugs advisory panel have quit in protest and others are to meet to discuss their next move.  Alan Johnson said Prof Nutt was sacked for “crossing the line” between giving advice and campaigning for a policy.

The point is that there’s a conflict between safety, facts, opinions, freedom, freedom of speech, duty, duty of care, education, class and knowledge.

Currently, a few tens of people each year die while taking ecstasy.   Most actually die from dehydration and related effects, not from the drug.

However, the drug is addictive in that it’s effects diminish with repetition and the user has to take more each time to obtain the same experience.

It can be argued that taking one drug leads to taking others, which seems a reasonable supposition.  But even so, the deaths due to drug taking, as opposed to the deaths due to crimes within the drugs supply industry are miniscule.

Far better would be to fully legalise all drugs but to have life imprisonment for illegal supply.  In this way, there’s be nothing to stop ‘curious’ people making their own drugs…

An even better, and logical proposition, would be to focus on preventable deaths as they stand in the real, accountable figures.  Start by checking the official government death statistics…  Oh!  And here they are (it’s a big PDF file)

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_health/Dh2_32/DH2_No32_2005.pdf

In this right-riveting read are all sorts of weirdness.

For instance, the number of deaths from CYSTITIS is greater than those due to those surrounding Ecstasy intake!!  Perhaps we should be focussing our energies here?

But even more shocking, is that the deaths due to NOT WEARING A CRASH HELMET while driving a CAR are more than Ecstasy and Cystitis combined.

If HM Gov were truly concerned about the welfare of it’s citizens, they would insist on the use of crash helmets now and also make it impossible for motor vehicles to exceed ANY speed limit by the use of automatic speed limiting devices?  Maybe install equipment to prevent vehicle movement if there’s alcohol on the driver’s breath?

But that removes the freedom of a person to drive how they like? – is the obvious riposte.  And why should I have to wear a helmet inside my car?  And if I want to drive while drunk, that’s my choice!

So?  And there we are back to my first statement: “The point is that there’s a conflict between safety, facts, opinions, freedom, freedom of speech, duty, duty of care, education, class and knowledge.

And in that, the scientist is absolutely right and Johnson has chucked away all ‘fair comment’ values of a free society and ended the debate by shooting the messenger.  Meanwhile the carnage on the streets continues both by vehicle and by the gun and knife.

Either way, it’s still carnage – and deaths from Ecstasy are a pimple in comparison.

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Watch Out for cleanup-registry.net!

Introduction

I got a ping this morning from a website called cleanup-registry.net   It arrived because I’d been referenced as a website in the network setup using the plugin, “Related Websites” by the Blog Traffic Exchange (actually, it may be time to knock this experiment on the head as generally, the sites are only loosely related and have poor linkage otherwise).

Whatever; the link referenced an old post of mine about Microsoft software problems here.  Notionally, the website looks okay and professional – but I smelled a rat!

cleanup-registry.net

Cleanup-Registry.net

Cleanup-Registry.net

This is a screenshot of the whole post (at ).  So I did a search on the user’s  error message:

‘The DOTNETFX35SETUP.EXE file is linked to missing export NTDLL.DLL:NtShutdownSystem.’ (it turns out later that I should have just done a search on the text in the first paragraph of the post…)

Yahoo!Answers page

Yahoo!Answers page

About six entries down in the Google search results, is this page from the respected ‘Yahoo! Answers’ forums website, shown at left.

The screen-shots of each WILL blow up to full-size, but to save you making direct textual comparisons, let me tell you now that the text in both, and one comment, the accepted answer in Yahoo! Answers, is EXACTLY the same!

For your interest, the accepted answer is that the OS’s are incompatible and there’s a fix described.

The real problem is the dates!  cleanup-registry.net’s is the 8th September 2009;  Yahoo! Answer’s is from 8 months ago!

Conclusion

What we are seeing is the same sort of tactic employed by the Google Treasure Chest scammers of a fake blog (now called a flog!) being used as part of a selling campaign.  They’ve content-scraped decent content and passed it off as their own as a means of justifying their flogging area.

Q. Their product?

A. They are trying to sell a registry cleaner type software and a computer maintenance service ($25 per month!) in Las Vegas.

All of this is done under the banner of some fairly useful video how-tos and some less worthy content scraping from other websites….

The killer bits are that all the ‘blog’ entries are dated 24/9/2009 (apart from the odd one) and all the pages and how-tos are dated 24/7/2009!!!

Furthermore, the domain owner is hidden by our old friends at Domains by Proxy..

Do you really trust this sort of stuff?  I don’t.  Whether it’s supporting malware or not, it’s selling by devious means using the same methods as used by zillions of scams worldwide.

Caveat Emptor – buyer beware!

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Microsoft Performance in the Browser and Search Engine Wars

Introduction & History

Recently, Microsoft has reworked it’s search engine (MSN Live Search) and renamed it Bing.  This was followed even more recently, with a joint venture between itself and former search king Yahoo! into a hazily explained search and advertising combination.

Microsoft is well known for wheeling out the lawyers as backup to it’s long-running scheming that batters any competition into the ground.  I’m thinking particularly about the Netscape battle here…

Netscape, of course, although winning the final battle, lost the war and is no more.  But it’s technical expertise re-surfaced as the Phoenix browser, whose modern name is Firefox.

An advertising and search war has been extant ever since Google shot to prominence because it… er… gave better search results!  Microsoft has had umpteen attempts at catch up or smash down with the Google behemoth over the past decade.  None have had any real effect.  Likewise, Google has had umpteen attempts at rolling out profitable software to compete with Microsoft’s desktop dominance or Sun’s & HP’s mainframe business.  The only success is their own system of networked mini-computers using open-source software – so this doesn’t count!

Current Statistics

Below you’ll see the statistics globally, and also, as they hit this website, http://strangelyperfect.tv  This is for comparison.

Browsers

Global: (source: w3schools.com)
  • Firefox: 47.9%
  • IE (6 to 8): 39.4%
  • Chrome: 6.5%
  • Opera: 2.1%
StrangelyPerfect.TV (logs for August 2009 so far)
  • Firefox: 34.3%
  • IE (6 to 8): 49.7%
  • Chrome: 3.4%
  • Opera: 1.8%

Search Engine Usage

Global (source: hitslink.com)
  • Google: 78.45%
  • Yahoo!: 7.16%
  • Bing: 3.17%
StrangelyPerfect.TV (logs for August 2009 so far)
  • Google: 76.6%
  • Yahoo!: 4.2%
  • Bing: 15.4%

Conclusion

What’s clear is that the visitors to this website StrangelyPerfect.tv, have clearly different preferences to the global norm.  In fact (much to my chagrin it has to be said), there’s a clear tilt towards Microsoft products compared to global usage ratios.

  • Q.  Why?
  • A.  I don’t know!

Search

What I do know is that the Bing results following search queries that finish at this website are on a par with the Google ones!

From my analysis of my (admittedly small) sample of website hits, I can categorically say that’s there’s now no difference between Google & Bing for general searching.  I’ve proved this to myself with a few searches to corroborate this.

In this respect, Microsoft have done very well.   How they’ve done this, I don’t know.  But the similarities suggest similar logic at work on similar datasets.  Whether industrial espionage is the reason or the more likely cause of parallel evolution, only time will tell.

Browser

Microsoft’s browser has come on leaps and bounds since development stopped at IE5/6 after they’d crushed Netscape out of existence (why develop new software when there is no competition?).  Firefox has been the catalyst.  It’s security, stability and user-friendly features have pushed it’s share right up.  This forced Microsoft to react; first with the dreadfully slow IE7 and later with the much better IE8.

The in-built hysteresis of their desktop user base ensures that IE will be hard to beat.  For myself, Firefox is still streets ahead, primarily because of it’s interface – the key features are sized and placed proportionately to their importance on the screen.

It’s just, right; that’s all.

My gut feeling is that we’ve reached a balance point now that will remain for a couple of years at least.  Because the vast bulk of computer users are only just computer literate and ignorant of any alternatives,  I can’t see any browser pushing past the Microsoft desktop domination to enable the displacement of IE from the 50-50 mark.

Postscript

Weirdly, these are two battles of free against free.  Browsers are free to use – as is internet search.  It’s all about competing for advertising revenue in the end.

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Technical Xenophobic BBC Air Crash Reports

Introduction

You may not have noticed the co-incidence yesterday, but an Iranian aircraft crashed and the US Space Shuttle took off.  the co-incidence was in  the strange reporting that envelops such events.

Iranian Crash

Fly home, AF447

Fly home, AF447

This, as air crashes go, was pretty ordinary – something went wrong, it crashed, everyone died.  You’d expect some reasoned discussion, bearing in mind that one of the most modern and newest planes in the sky plummeted into the South Atlantic little over a month ago.

This is what the BBC said about it near the end of the piece:

The plane was built in Russia in 1987.

It was the third deadly crash of a Tupolev Tu-154 in Iran since 2002.

The BBC’s Jon Leyne says Iran’s civil and military air fleets are made up of elderly aircraft, in poor condition due to their age and lack of maintenance.

Since the Islamic revolution of 1979, trade embargoes by Western nations have forced Iran to buy mainly Russian-built planes to supplement an existing fleet of Boeings and other American and European models.

West v East technology

This is all well and good, but the deadly tone with an emphasis on old and/or Russian aircraft makes a bad taste in the mouth, does it not?…  Why?

A.  Because there’s very little technical difference between the Russian and Western aircraft.

challenger

Challenger

Indeed, on the very day that the Shuttle takes off, I’m reminded of the technical superiority of Russian astronautics and space exploration.  While not putting a man on the moon,  they pragmatically put a robot there instead, paving the way for the robots we now have placed on Mars & Venus, etc.

They have a long and distinguished history of space “firsts”…  But the ultimate irony is that the much vaunted Space Shuttle has had very public catastrophic failures in the past and is soon to be retired.  And until the US gets a new launch vehicle, for the next 4-6 years they will be relying on the Russians to put men in space!

Actual Crashes

So much for balance!  The BBC article then continues in a box-out,

IRANIAN PLANE CRASHES

Feb 2006: Tupolev crashes in Tehran, kills 29 people – E
Dec 2005: C-130 military transport plane crashes near Tehran, kills 110 – W
Feb 2003: Iranian military transport plane crashes in south of country, kills all 276 on board – E
Dec 2002: Antonov 140 commuter plane crashes in central Iran, kills all 46 people on board – E
Feb 2002: Tupolev crashes in west Iran, kills all 199 on board – E

Looks bad doesn’t it?

A Russian airliner that crashed near a city in the Urals, killing all 88 people on board, caught fire in mid-air, reports say.  The Boeing-737-500, belonging to a branch of the national airline Aeroflot, was on a flight from Moscow to Perm, near the Ural mountains.   One witness said the blaze lit up the whole sky

A Russian airliner that crashed near a city in the Urals, killing all 88 people on board, caught fire in mid-air, reports say. The Boeing-737-500, belonging to a branch of the national airline Aeroflot, was on a flight from Moscow to Perm, near the Ural mountains. One witness said the blaze lit up the whole sky

Compare and contrast this to this little list of large plane crashes (from the BBC article, but as a link), and count the relative abundance of Eastern versus Western manufactured planes…..

2009

15 July: A Caspian Airlines Tupolev plane crashes in the north of Iran en route to Armenia. All 168 passengers and crew are reported dead. – E

30 June: A Yemeni passenger plane, an Airbus 310, crashes in the Indian Ocean near the Comoros archipelago. Only one of the 153 people on board survives. – W

1 June: An Air France Airbus 330 travelling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashes into the Atlantic with 228 people on board. Search teams later recover some 50 bodies in the ocean. – W

20 May: An Indonesian army C-130 Hercules transport plane crashes into a village on eastern Java, killing at least 97 people. – W

6 April: An Indonesian army Fokker-27 crashes on landing near Bandung, West Java, killing 24 people. – W

25 February: A flight from Istanbul to Amsterdam crashes short of the runway at Schiphol international airport. Of the 135 people on board, nine are killed and at least 50 injured. – W

Forty-nine people were killed when a flight from Newark to Buffalo crashed in Clarence Center, a suburb of Buffalo, in New York state. One person was also killed on the ground.

Forty-nine people were killed when a flight from Newark to Buffalo crashed in Clarence Center, a suburb of Buffalo, in New York state. One person was also killed on the ground.

12 February: A passenger plane crashes into a house in Buffalo, New York, killing all 49 people on board and one person on the ground. – W

8 February: A passenger plane crashes into a river in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, killing 24 people, most of whom were from the same family. – W

2008

14 September: A Boeing-737 crashes on landing near the central Russian city of Perm, killing all 88 passengers and crew members on board. – W

24 August: A passenger plane crashes shortly after take-off from Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, killing 68 people.- W

20 August: A Spanair plane veers off the runway on take-off at Madrid’s Barajas airport, killing 154 people and injuring 18.- W

Wreckage of the Spanair MD82, 21 August 2008 [Pic: EFE]

Three days of mourning was declared after the Madrid air disaster

2 May: South Sudan’s defence minister is among 22 people killed after engine trouble causes a plane carrying a military delegation to crash about 400km (250 miles) west of Juba. -N/A

15 April: Some 40 people die when a DC-9 skids off the runway while attempting to take off in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo city of Goma during heavy rain, smashing through a wall and into a busy residential area.- W

24 January: Nineteen people die when a Polish Casa C-295M military transport plane crashes in the country’s north-west, carrying officials who had attended an air safety conference.- W

Conclusion

For 2008 to 2009, I make the totals, as reported by the BBC, 1 unknown, 12 (W)estern manufacture, 1 (E)astern manufacture.

Now do you see the technological xenophobia that I’m talking about?

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