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Nobody pees but you

By Fjodor on Apr. 23, 2016.

So, it would seem that going to the bathroom has become an issue somewhere, provided that the person in need was born with a biological gender that doesn’t quite fit the psychological self-image.

This would, by rough estimations, give rise to the following four characteristics, the first labeling genetic gender, and the second labeling self-identification. Do note that I leave out “ambiguous gender” such as genetically intersex people, but they are used to being ignored or abused already, and the hysterical hypocrites are unlikely to have the mental fortitude to deal with this concept altogether, so let’s keep it as simple as possible:

Male – Male
Female – Female
Male – Female
Female – Male

Now, no matter how esoteric it may sound that someone was born with one gender, but identify as the opposite, this does occur, so let’s just look at the simple logistics of using a public restroom. The options are:

Gender-neutral (usually single rooms)
Male (usually pissoirs and stalls)
Female (usually stalls-only)

Quite obviously, a male restroom with pissoirs provide the benefit for male patrons to relieve their respective bladders in short order, usually with very little in the way of queues, since the main duration of occupancy is less than a minute. For defecation, we are relegated to the stalls, which are, usually, unqueued as well, since the pissoir takes care of the usual order of business.

Female restrooms, on the other hand, are usually characterised single stalls only, since both urination and defecation is, traditionally, performed in a sitting position. For the sake of space, fewer woman can usually be accommodated by a public restroom for females, than the male equivalent, since more pissoirs can be fitted in the same space.

Now, for a male seeking to urinate, the male restroom is the venue of choice, since he can either use the pissoir, or, if shy, he can use one of the usually unoccupied stalls. A female does not have the same choice, but at least privacy, by the way of a stall, is guaranteed.

As a non-transgendered, straight, male, it would seem to me, that the utilitarian choice would be to make use of the male-oriented facilities if one holds a Y-chromosome, but that being said, utilitarianism is hardly a goal to strive for, and if I am to imagine a life where I would be constantly be reminded of my masculinity, by the very fact that, for the sake of argument, I were to self-identify as a woman, this seemingly trivial matter of using a public restroom could, very likely, become a very great deal.

Atop of the above, we then, apparently, have a number of Male – Male politicians who seem to believe that female restrooms, like pissoirs, consist of numerous toilets in a row with no shields between you and your fellow woman, since they argue that it would, somehow, be a problem for a transgendered woman to make use of a stall that might or might not be adjacent to a stall used by someone’s wife or child.

To be quite honest, if said politicians are so afraid of what Y-chromosome-bearing people might be doing in a public restroom, I think I shall opt for the stall if I ever chance upon one of them while preparing to go about my natural business…

Om ytringsfrihed, ytringspligt og det falske dilemmas fejlslutning

By Fjodor on Jan. 9, 2015.

Lad mig starte med en præcisering: nÃ¥r jeg i overskriften, og i det følgende, taler om “ytringspligt”, sÃ¥ er det ikke i den forstand, som Anna Libak lader Stephane Charbonnier stÃ¥ for i http://www.b.dk/kommentarer/ytringspligt. Det kan næppe overraske, at ordet er brugt før, men jeg var ikke stødt pÃ¥ det, da jeg selv, mentalt, begyndte at formulere nærværende indlæg, men den brug, der anføres i linket ovenfor, er alligevel relevant for det følgende.

Nuvel: Tragedien i Paris er en kendsgerning, og uomgængeligt må være det faktum, at den er udført på baggrund af en religiøs fanatisme, som må synes de fleste mennesker så fremmed, at det er svært at forstå, og også, at enhver mulig tale om, at de selv var ude om det, bør bandlyses af enhver, der ønsker et demokratisk samfunds ytringsfrihed.

I forhold til disse “de fleste mennesker”, vil jeg anbefale http://www.b.dk/debat/fordoem-terroren-ikke-muslimer-generelt af Berlingskes chefredaktør Jens Grund, der fortjener megen ros for netop det indlæg.

64 minutter senere lod selvsamme Berlingske så Marie Krarup (DF) komme til orde med http://www.politiko.dk/b-tinget/vi-skal-turde-fortsaette-religionskritikken, for hvilket Berlingske fortjener ros af hensyn til ytringsfriheden, og for hvilket Marie Krarup selv fortjener netop den kritik, som Jens Grund lægger op til.

Det er i sig selv forstemmende, at Krarup slÃ¥r en hel religionskategori i hartkorn med en fundamentalistisk fraktion af selvsamme, og selvsikkert proklamerer, at “Det er frygteligt uhyggeligt at mÃ¥tte se i øjnene, at forhÃ¥bningerne om at kunne integrere store muslimske mindretal i Europa er slÃ¥et fejl.”, men hverken mere eller mindre kan man vel forvente fra hendes side. Mere forstemmende er det, at der selv fra mere moderat side (jeg mener at kunne huske Lars Løkke Rasmussen nævnt – find selv kilden) er ytret ønske om at trossamfund her til lands partout skal tage afstand.

Netop heri ligger min egen forståelse af ordet ytringspligt, som jeg vil betegne som en udemokratisk konstruktion af værste skuffe, og som jeg vil beskrive med følgende eksempler, som der snildt kan findes flere af:

1) Sovjetkommunisme har ateisme som et af sine erklærede mål og midler, men i deres optik forstået som aktiv forfølgelse af religion. Jeg er selv ateist, og vil så hjertens gerne tage afstand fra både indskrænkelse af religionsfrihed som sådan, og særligt fra kommunismens rædsler, men skal jeg af et politisk system afkræves dette på grund af min ateisme?

2) Det sker fra tid til anden, at kristne fundamentalister udfører eller opfordrer til dødelige angreb på abortklinikker i USA. Skulle vi afkræve Folkekirken, Kirkeministeren, Dronningen og gerne Marie Krarup, at de tager offentlig afstand fra disse ugerninger, hver gang, de sker, qua deres kristne tro?

Svaret vil forhåbentligt, for det fleste, være nej til begge, men hvorfor? Som jeg ser det, skyldes det, at så snart man pålægges at ytre noget bestemt, som en anden har formuleret, så fratages man sin ytringsfrihed i fuldstændighed, idet den erstattes med en ytringspligt, som jeg personligt mener, hører totalitære regimer til.

Om den sort/hvide tankegang om, at hvis man ikke siger det ene, så mener man det andet, kan spores til det falske dilemma, som ses fra Jesus i Mat 12:30 om, at hvis du ikke er med os, så er du imod os, og som glad og gerne er blevet brugt af andre farverige personager såsom Lenin, Mussolini og, nok så berømt, G. W. Bush (se http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You%27re_either_with_us,_or_against_us) skal jeg ikke kunne sige, men det er en logisk fejlslutning, og den har ingen gyldig plads i et sekulært demokrati.

 

 

Trænger Danmark til (endnu) et nyt parti?

By Fjodor on Aug. 17, 2013.

Jeg har, på løst plan, men meget ofte, tænkt over, hvor jeg står på den danske, politiske scene.

Jeg har, i det meste af min karriere som vælger, stemt konservativt, ud fra en idé om, at virkelyst, iværksættertrang og det at, med sit virke, bidrage til samfundets opretholdelse, bør støttes og belønnes frem for at blive straffet med ting som topskat, arveafgift og deslige, men at man som skatteyder dog, trods alt, bør bidrage, sÃ¥ledes at de, der, af den ene eller anden grund, er ude af stand til drage nytte af den rent liberalistiske tanke om at enhver er sin egen lykkes smed, dog stadig, og med personlig værdighed i behold, kan oppebære en rimelig tilværelse “pÃ¥ samfundets bekostning”.

SÃ¥ meget for min baggrund.

Jeg er ingenlunde lige så politisk engageret, som jeg var i min gymnasietid, men jeg synes at have hørt, at der er en tendens til, at folk engagere sig mere i enkeltsager end i egentlig partipolitik, hvilket på sin vis kan være sundt, men på den anden side er det også min opfattelse, at der ofte er tale om sager, hvor det er let at lade ens følelser løbe af med sig.

Min tanke er, derfor, at der måske kunne være brug for et parti, der ikke, som sådan, lægger sig fast på en venstre-, højre- eller centrumpolitisk plads i det eksisterende spektrum, men mere virker som en fælles platform for (kommende) politikere, der (måske kun) er enige om, at hvis der skal træffes politiske beslutninger om dette eller hint, så bør det ske på baggrund af en saglig afdækning af de problemstillinger, som bemeldte beslutning fordrer.

Mit forslag er, hermed, et parti hvor det enkelte medlems mandat er:

  1. Opsøg viden om problemområdet fra dettes eksperter
  2. Hvis der ikke er konsensus blandt eksperter, så følg din intuition men gør rede for dennes baggrund

Jeg tænker, at partiet kunne kaldes “Evidensbaseret Folkeparti”, men er ganske Ã¥ben overfor bedre forslag til navngivningen.

Det værste fra to verdener

By Fjodor on Feb. 14, 2013.

Der er rigeligt med eksempler pÃ¥ kommentatorer, der henviser til, at blokpolitik burde have været uddød forlængst (find dem selv, det er ikke det, der er pointen i det følgende), og selvom jeg, i blokpolitisk perspektiv, mestendels er borgerlig, sÃ¥ er jeg ikke blind for, at den side har nogle alvorlige problemer i visse sammenhænge, medens “den anden side” har nogle ret gode argumenter i andre. Heraf følger, naturligt, diverse nytænkninger om kortvarige politiske alliancer, alene pÃ¥ baggrund af det enkelte emne, hvorefter man er fri til at indgÃ¥ nye af slagsen.

Som udgangspunkt går jeg ud fra, at det nok er den vej, det går, og jeg går også ud fra, at det faktisk vil være en god ting! Men:

Hvis jeg ikke husker meget galt, var det den tidligere regering, der troede, at de valgte at privatisere postetaten (Post Danmark, PostDK, eller hvad de nu kalder sig), og det er vist den nye regering, der har gennemført den seneste revidering af Postloven.

Dermed har vi, in effect, præcist det værste fra begger verdener, og det vil jeg demonstrere med nedenstående historie. Hvis jeg har kedet dig hidtil, så glæd dig, i det mindste til det følgende:

Den 31. januar i år foretog min kæreste en bestilling på nettet. Vi har, siden den seneste lovs ikrafttræden, været ulovlige borgere, eftersom hverken vore navne eller vort husnummer har stået på den, ellers lovligt opsatte, postkasse, som vi blev tvunget til at købe omkring årsskiftet. Angånde husnummeret, så står det dog med store kobberbogstaver på husmuren, ca 50cm over postkassen.

I den forbindelse har vi, da vi ofte modtager forsendelser, set en hel del passivt-aggressive beskeder på de pakkesedler, som vi dog, ellers hidtil, har modtaget, og min kæreste er da også blevet personligt skældt ud af det pakkepostbud, som jeg går ud fra, er ansvarlig for det følgende (uagtet at han ikke syntes at være i tvivl om, at hun var den rette at skælde ud).

Nuvel: i forbindelse med bestillingen, indsneg der sig en stavefejl i den emailadresse, som min kæreste opgav til forhandleren, og modtog derfor, naturligvis, ikke et “track-and-trace”-nummer per email, hvilket hun dog ikke tænkte over før senere. Efter et rimeligt antal dages tid forespurgte vi dog i den lokale postbutik, om pakken lÃ¥ der – “Nej”.

Eftersom vi var opmærksomme pÃ¥, at vi, alene, kunne være ansvarlige for, at en eventuel email med sporingskode ikke var dukket op, og eftersom vi, fejlagtigt, *stolede pÃ¥ PostDK*’s integritet, valgte vi dog at vente lidt med at beklage os nogen steder, og tænkte “den dukker nok op”.

Det gjorde den ikke…

Cirka samtidigt med, at den utroligt søde og servicemindede ekspedient i vores lokale “postbutik”, som PostDK har udliciteret til Kvickly, efter min forklaring om, hvorfor jeg havde spurgt til den samme pakke sÃ¥ mange gange, bemærkede at hun har en veninde, der arbejder for det selskab, som pakken oprindeligt var bestilt fra, skete der sÃ¥ endelig noget, og det er det, der er hele kernen i historien:

  1. Pakken var afsendt fra forhandleren dagen efter den aften, hvor den var bestilt
  2. Pakken var, ved en fejl fra PostDK’s side markeret “til udbringning” frem for “til afhentning”
  3. Ved at pille lagene af labels af, har vi kunnet konstatere, at *pakkebuddet* har markeret den som “adressaten ukendt pÃ¥ adressen”, og prompte har sendt den retur
  4. I forbindelse med 3 har den *ikke* ligget til afhentning, og er ej heller blevet skrevet ind i noget system, hvor den kunne spores udfra vor adresse
  5. PostDK har, i den forbindelse, heller ikke informeret forhandleren om, at pakken er sendt retur, hvilket gav det problem, at forhandleren ikke, indenfor den ellers lovede svartid, kunne svare os på, hvor tingene var blevet af
  6. Veninden til førnævnte, udliciterede, ekspedient brugte en aften i sin fritid på at spore den, og mere af den næste formiddag på at få PostDK til at genudsende pakken uden udgift for hverken dem eller os
  7. Pakken er nu modtaget, 13 dage senere
  8. Vi troede, at forhandleren var dårlig til at håndtere sagen.
  9. Vi kan konstatere, at de har gjort langt mere for at opklare den, end vi kunne have drømt om
  10. Vi var enormt tæt på at proklamere for alverden, at bemeldte forhandler ikke var til at have med at gøre, eftersom vi ikke engang overvejede, om PostDK kunne have bidraget til miseren, men:
  11. Minimum én, lokal, medarbejder ved PostDK, har været tæt på at foranledige både monetært tab for os, og, endnu værre, negativ omtale af et firma, som faktisk har gjort mere, bedre, end man burde kunne forvente

Hvad er pointen så?

Jo, hvis post-“etaten” var statsligt drevet, sÃ¥ ville staten gerne kunne diktere, hvad der skal eller ikke skal stÃ¥ pÃ¥ befolkningens postkasser, eftersom det ville sortere direkte under den.

Hvis postservice alene var et spørgsmål om privat virksomhed, så ville staten stadig kunne kræve, at udbyderne levede op til visse krav.

Problemet er, at PostDK er tilpas privat til, at staten ikke kan stille krav, men tilpas vigtig til, at de kan få staten til at stille krav til borgerne, for at gøre brug af deres service.

Jeg har ingen anelse om, hvordan jeg bedre skulle kunne beskrive en rotterede for aspirerende skrankepaver…

Political musings of a Danish, former, farm-boy

By Fjodor on Mar. 19, 2012.

I’m not entirely sure if I even have a following on this blog (if you are there, do say hi), but that is not really my intent either. I moved my opinion content here as a combination of avoiding doing markup by hand on the (minimalistic) main page, and seeing what it would be like to use blog-oriented CMS such as WordPress and in the mean time firing off a few cheap (but important) shots at Microsoft.

This post is not about them!

I don’t think that I have ever given much information about my background, as I have not deemed it important, but the following details are relevant to this post:

I have lived my entire life in Denmark and grew up in a small village near the German border. A few months before my 7th birthday, my family moved to a small farm that my parents (and my sister and I) would spend a whole lot of time restoring to livable conditions, as well as doing actual farm work despite the fact that both my parents had normal jobs on the side.

Now, what could possibly be relevant to you, my dear, accidental, reader regarding that, one might ask, going on to ask what it has to do with politics?

Well, apart from the local grocery store being mugged last year, making national news for the record-breaking 3 minutes that it took for the robber to be apprehended, my home town is, and should be, relatively unknown to the general populace.

There is, however, the 3 times over the past 10 years when it has been reported that a pig transport fell over for unknown reasons in a local roundabout, and numerous other incidents of this nature abound here in Denmark, the land of pork.

Worth noting is, that this almost never seemed to happen anywhere until:

Danish television, some 10 years ago or some-such, reported on long-haul transportation of pigs for slaughter, to countries where slaughter was cheaper, and made a specific point of showing how the pigs where fixated in the trailers. Now, long-haul of animals is generally cruel in nature, and it is my understanding that the EU has, or is in the process of banning that practice. Score 1 for animal welfare (until slaughter).

The Danish media, however, made a specific and misguided point of showing how the pigs where fixated in the trailers, leading to general consumer uproar and a demand on politicians to forbid said fixture.

Now, I do not know, dear reader, if you have ever happened to stand upright on a moving bus, but if you have, you will grant me that it is of the utmost importance to be able to grab on to something – an ability that pigs simply do not possess…

Thus, to satisfy voter demand, a law was passed to forbid fixation on animal transports, which seemed to satisfy all relevant parties, except for the drivers of said transports and, most notably, the pigs in question, since it should be obvious to anyone who has traveled by bus in the aforementioned manner, that they are now doomed to be thrown around in the trailer, frequently offsetting the balance of the trailer itself to such a degree that both truck and trailer topples, generally killing the cargo and seriously injuring the driver, which is an outcome that any 15-year old farm-hand could have told the politicians without even thinking.

Now, one can derive a number of lessons from this, and surely a lot more than this, but the principal one should be that politicians, as politics are done today, are not only willing to cater to the demands of a vocal part of the public – without giving thoughts to the possible implications of doing so – as long as this, vocal, part, and the media, seem to make an issue of it.

Secondly, I said that “any 15-year old farm-hand” would know this to be a bad idea is important. It means that anyone who actually works in these conditions would know this to be moronic, but since most don’t, that is what’s called “expert knowledge”.

The assignment I give to you, dear reader, is to analyse the situation, adapt it to the workings and dealings of programming, internet use, copyright restrictions and some-such, and go forth to use this very down-to-earth (and real) analogy on your various members of your various parliaments, and please report back and/or discuss in the comment section of this post!

On religion and its significance

By Fjodor on Feb. 29, 2012.

It may not have been entirely clear to you, my very limited audience, that I live in a country that, while insignificant in size, does both differ and adhere to more general, international, standards in general, and raise questions about others specifically.

What I refer to here, is a discussion that I have been having in Facebook, regarding the US’ separation of church and state (or lack thereof), and what I think that I have learned from engaging in such conversations.

First of all, I shall state that I am not a US citizen, but since the US, in general, seems to be very keen on promoting its ideas abroad, and since my own country, while small, is generally praised as a valuable ally in more respects than just the normal, military, sense of the word, I do tend to take an interest in US politics. In this regard, I am a huge fan of the, seemingly constitutional, separation of church and state, but it would seem that at least some of my American acquaintances oppose this quite fervently.

Apart from stating that however you, US citizen, look at the constitutional separation from a purely “this piece of paper says this” stance, there is this neat little thing called the Supreme Court, which has consistently ruled that Church and State are, indeed, entities that should be separated in any and all respects as a matter of law. To advertise for divergence from this would not only be to undermine the authority of the courts, but also, and thus, to undermine any aspiration to adhere to the normal standards for a democracy.

I shall contrast this with the situation here in Denmark. We have a state church, to which every newborn child is automatically a member, until their parent or guardian says otherwise, or until the person, at a legal age, says otherwise. While member of the state church, one pays a 1% income tax in addition to the highest tax rate that I know of.

It is permitted, of course, to adhere to other belief systems than the state one, and you can be exempt from paying the church tax by “opting out”, but the state church still gets some of the tax money through other arrangements.

I am a very staunch atheist myself, but of any of you, who have religious beliefs, I ask if you would be comfortable having a bona fide State Church, that even if you were religious, but just didn’t subscribe to that specific branch, had a privileged position, set down in a constitution, that is actually involved in all aspects of registering child births and name giving.

As always, see things from the other perspective before you hold yourself righteously privileged…

Idea for a SOPA/PIPA protest by Google

By Fjodor on Jan. 19, 2012.

Let me start by stating that I don’t know if Google enjoy any Common Carrier (or other, similar) protections, but if not, it shouldn’t be all too hard for them to block access by IP addresses from known SOPA/PIPA proponents, plus, if they want to play hardball, any US Administration addresses as well.

Same goes for all other protesters.

As an additional nugget of legislative gold, I would assume that if they blocked the Administration, said Administration would need to institute and document a way of circumventing said blockade in order to get anything meaningful business done, which could be an interesting subject for a DMCA complaint, since SOPA/PIPA seem to assume that DNS filtering constitutes an effective means of restricting access…

I am not a US citizen, and thus, even if I was a lawyer, my expertise would not be in US law, but comments are more than welcome!

A very bad idea

By Fjodor on Mar. 22, 2011.

This might be one of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard of.

Basically, it’s a system to measure the stress level in the voice of whomever happens to call for help – in the present case case for military emergency response but with the possibility to expand into civil emergency services, to determine which calls should get priority if there is a back-log.

Now, for a military purpose, I can almost be persuaded to believe that military training for stressful situations might make this a useful metric, but for civil use, not so much.

I have had the distinct displeasure of calling ambulances for others a number of times, and as I have been taught that speaking calmly and responding to questions about details in a coherent manner, I usually make it a point to do just that – stay calm, leveled and objective, not letting the specific “badness” of the situation interfere with my attempt to convey the precise scope and nature of the emergency.

Now, the article says that the system has a very low error margin when tested on previous calls, where the prioritization of the operator in question is known. I take that to mean that it would make the same choice that the operator did. What is not mentioned is if said operator relied more on the apparent stress level of the caller or on the specifics of what was reported to make the choice of priority for the dispatch. I could, given data, easily be persuaded that the operator used the same metric as the system, and that said metric might not be the best.

A case would be an incident that took place when my oldest younger sister worked as a tourist guide in Turkey and I was there to visit. During the pick-up for departure, and elderly lady had a heart attack, and some other people in the bus stated that they were proficient in CPR, so we agreed that my sister would keep the other guests calm and alert her colleagues to the fact that the bus might be delayed, so they would have a chance to inform the airport of a number of delayed passengers, they would administer CPR, and I would call for an ambulance.

In the case of a heart attack, immediate first aid, in the form of CPR is paramount, so I had to work out this division of tasks quickly and then go on with my own. I found a local who could give me a number for the nearest hospital, called them, explained the situation and had the local describe where we were.

During all this, I made a conscious effort to keep as calm as possible, in order to understand and be understood by the local and the hospital. Furthermore, I had delegated the actual act of CPR to others who said that they were proficient in it (sadly, it turned out that they were not), so to my own mind, I think I came off as rather collected and coherent to both the local and the hospital – hardly with any significant stress level apparent, since I didn’t know the woman, but was aware that it was serious, so I should stay calm.

If a system as the one mentioned had been in place, and if the priority of the call would be set by the stress level, I rather doubt that it would have been given a sufficient level of priority, whereas a hysterical parent to a child with a minor cut on a finger or some such would probably score much higher.

In summary, I might be able to understand an argument that this could be useful in military situations, where one would expect every caller to have at least some experience and/or training in/for emergency situations, but for the civil populace, this idea is about as bad as they come…

Taxation of the rich vs. the poor

By Fjodor on Sep. 3, 2009.

I saw this comment on a slashdot.org article tonight.

In essence, it’s an explanation of the US tax system, explained in the setting of “beer for 10 people” by a professor in economics.

While one may (rightfully) question the quality of a great many slashdot comments, I find this one rather profound.

I’d say it could be adapted to many other countries’ tax schemes with an equivalent conclusion – perhaps because politicians worldwide seem to be more eager to please the readers of daily newspapers, than to listen to sensible science…

Update 11:12 – link fixed. Thank you Thode :-$

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