Why is Airbus obstructing technological advancement?

Who doesn’t love France, right? Mountains, beaches, wine, cheese, Le Mans, Le Tour. Then why is it that a country that seemingly has it all, doesn’t want others to have something as well. In this case, why would French airplane manufacturer Airbus put money into developping an idea, only to make sure others don’t use it.

Flying on a saddle
Flying on a saddleRecently Airbus patented the idea of not placing passengers in a chair for short flights, but on some sort of bicycle saddle. It’s  it like that BMX scene from E.T., but not really. That way, a lot more passengers could fit into the same plane. Sounds great huh!? No it doesn’t, but that’s not the point. Airbus is obviously very much aware that this particular idea would be a tough one to market. Even for notoriously cheap and unfomfortable price fighter airlines. But they patented it anyway

What are you, five?
But why? Are the French just that stubborn? Good question. And, lucky for us, British newspaper The Telegraph asked it. Airbus’ response? It somehting like “We have no intention of actually using this patent, but we file hundreds of patents a year. It’s about protecting our ideas.” So, they’re saying that they don’t patent ideas to work with them, but to prevent others of thinking of the same ideas and working with them.
My kids classmates do that. “You can’t draw a purple elephant, because I just thought of drawing a purple elephant.” Not only are they five, they are also told by parents and teachers that that’s just ridiculous behaviour. As it turns out, it’s only ridiculous if you don;t have enough money to patent your though of drawing a purple elephant. After that, it’s yours.

Ideas are like oxygen
I once attended a workshop by German artist and art professor Horst Rickels. He claimed that ideas are not yours. Like oxygen they’re just something that float by. You don’t develop an idea, it visits you. And than it’s up to you to decide to do something with it, or not. And if you don’t, the idea will go to someone else. The French may also be known for their poetry , but Airbus can go suck on that one for a long long time.

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Why Google feels it should never ‘forget’. And why they’re wrong.

The European court has decided that people have a right to be forgotten, or have certain things forgotten about. This ruling means that Google is no longer allowed to ‘remember’ certain things for us, forever and for everyone.

This morning I read an open letter by David Drummond, Chief Legal Officer at Google. Google, he writes, does not agree with the European court. He claims the difference in opinion is ideological (and practical). But actually (and not surprisingly) it’s economical.

WP_20140714_001Other than the ‘it’s a lot work’ claim, Google’s defense seems to rest on two pillars:

  1. Google feels they should receive an exempt from this ‘right to be forgotten about’, like the press.
  2. Google claims they are defending the universal right to access information versus the right to privacy.

However, both arguments are false. Here’s why:

  1. There is no conflict of universal rights. Google also feels that there is a conflict between ‘a right to privacy’ versus ‘a right to access to information’. That’s quite an arrogant position to take since, in fact, there is no such conflict. Nobody is denied the right to anything if Google does not link to it. If the New York Times writes that you are an idiot, they can keep that on their website forever. Even if Google is no longer allowed to link to that article when someone does a query on your name. In Drummond’s words “it’s like a library that is allowed to keep a book on it’s shelves, but no longer in it’s catalogue.” (It’s funny how Google compares itself to ‘the old media’ at a time when it suits their purposes.)
  2. The press has to put effort into evading someone’s privacy. Google has to put effort in not to invade your privacy. It’s pure economy. If the New York Times wishes to write that you are an idiot, it has to do research, write it down, print it, distribute it. Google has written an algorithm that simply does what it does. A blogger writes you’re an idiot might not get quoted in the New York Times, but it will show up in Google’s search results. Since economy is not holding it back to be nice and their own philosophy is not enough to make extra effort in these cases either, that leaves only legislation to protect society against everything being out in the open forever, regardless of context, relevance, evidence, rebuttal or any other principle that would guide a journalist.
  3. The press can be held accountable for what it writes. Google cannot (or hardly) be held accountable for what it links to. Google does not readily admit that it’s results are curated and that search results are not objective. To get ‘good’ results there Has to be some kind of curation. It’s algorithms need a way to give a score to certain content to be able to decide what type of information someone is searching for. And as far accountability goes: Do you know why newspapers don’t print photo’s of that cute girl next door while she in the shower? Because they will be, justly, prosecuted. Do you know why you can use Google to find a website that shows pictures of cute girls next door under the shower? Because they make money that way and they claim no responsibility for the content they link to unless they are made to take that responsibility by legislation.
  4. You cannot wrap fish in yesterday’s search results. Back to the fact the The New York Times called you an idiot. I bet you already forgot about that. Do you know why that is? Because people don’t read yesterday’s news. So, if you were called ‘an idiot’ just that one time, it’s probably safe to assume that people will forget about it, unless you truly are an idiot in which case such claims would probably be made regularly.
  5. The (professional) press is not nearly the biggest problem. Sure, it’s quite inconvenient if The New York Times has actually called you an idiot. But how many people has this actually happened to? A much bigger problem is social media. Stuff you did as an teenager can haunt you forever. Or the picture a colleague tagged you in. Or a vicious blog where a name was misspelled and now you are suddenly a pervert in the eyes of Google.

It’s a start, but not nearly enough

I can understand that this ruling by the European court is big nuisance to Google. It will certainly cost them a lot of money. But since they are making the bulk of this money out of selling our privacy anyway, I don’t feel too bad about it.

Actually, I don’t even think this ruling goes far enough. I feel Google should be made to really forget private information they have. We were all outraged at what the NSA knows about us. But this does not even compare to what Google (or, for example, Facebook) knows about us. And google actually uses this information to earn money. The European Court ruling only means that Google should not show certain links in their site results. It does not mean that Google itself no longer knows certain information is there, ready to be commercially exploited. I totally believe that Google does not mean to be evil. But sometimes this kinds of things just happen, don’t they? Just because no individual google employee is evil, doesn’t mean that Google itself can’t be. You can only promise to never shoot anyone, if you never have a gun.

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The agonizing crawling continuity of time

Not sure if I was ever actually there,
Nor if I ever left at all.

(HD version available at request)

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Nothing is beautiful,
Nothing makes it, so you don’t know,
   what you’re getting,
   what it’s going to be,

Nothing let’s you see what is,
and that what is, is good,
even though,


you’re not quite sure what to do with it yet,
maybe nothing.


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Sort of random thought on saying ‘yes’



Ideas and insights tend to pop into your head at unexpected moments. This one came to me during my commute on the train to Amsterdam. I’m not pretending it is unique discovery, I’m sure many of you were aware of this simple fact a long time ago. But for me, it was actually new. Here it comes:

Saying ‘yes’ is more difficult than saying ‘no’.

By which I mean, if someone tells you an idea or shows you something, it actually a lot more challenging to say: “hey, you did a good job, I like it.” than it is to give criticism, disguised as ‘constructive’ feedback. Approving takes more courage than disapproving.

To say ‘yes’ means that you’re committing to something. It makes you vulnerable. To say ‘no’ (or most variations of ‘yes, but…’) means you’re protected. No matter what happens, you cannot be held responsible for anything. At the same time, since you gave your input, you’re still eligible for the taking of possible credit should that time ever come.

I like living on the edge. I like saying ‘yes.’

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The problem for the hopelessly romantic melancholic

bosbaanEveryone has problems. So do the hopelessly romantic melancholic people. Especially in communicating with ordinary folk. Like in the example below where two friends sit in a diner having a coffee, waiting for their breakfast.

Said: “How I’m doing? I don’t know…. [pause] I guess today I sort of feel like I’m in this Norwegian art house film. Where a middle-aged divorced woman from Bergen receives a letter from a long-lost brother somewhere way up North. And then she and her two teenage kids take a train to go meet him. You get panned camera shots of all these railway stations and mountains glide past in the window. Everything is really slow, gray and desolate. And the nature is really rugged except for a shot of a reindeer mom and a youngling which sets of a really heartwarming scene between the mother and the kids. You know? The soundtrack is beautiful but a bit sad and you sort of just wish you were in that film, not as an actor, but for real you know. Cause everything about those people just seems to matter even though it doesn’t. It’s a bit like that.”

Heard: “So you wanna be woman huh?”

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Master Chief does safe sex

Halo’s Master Chief is a genuine hero. Brave, strong, sexy… But does he practice safe sex?
I made this video a couple of years ago with some of Holland’s most talented YouTube bloggers; DusDavid, DitIsMilan, Dionnetje1990, Dylan Haegens and Realiteittijd.

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Attempting to give a fuck

Attempting to give a fuck

Source unknown… to me. But, well.

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Female viagra is just Whoppers for between the sheets.

This morning I read a large article about a new drug that is currently awaiting FDA approval. or actually it;s two drugs, Lybrido and lybridos. Both have been developped to make women want to have have sex. So, in a way, it is supposed to fix a problem much like viagra does. One big difference: where Viagra helps men who already want to have sex, these pills are supposed to make women want something which they therwise wouldn’t.

All the sex you want
Your sex?I am not against having sex. And I am certainly not against other people having sex. If people want to have sex with each other five times a day and no one gets hurt: good luck to you. The keyword in those phrases is ‘want’. As much as am I very much in favor of people having sex who want to have sex, I am also very much against people having sex who do not want to have sex. Which does not make me a fan of pills that aim to do precisely that, make someone want something she does not want out of her own.

Filthy bastards and desperate housewives
Undoubtedly thereare women who would actually benefit from such a pill. Women who as a result of medication or a hormonsl inbalance would like to ‘want to’, but are physically unable to actually get ‘in the mood’. But, let’s face it, the majority f these pills will be sold to

  1. Filthy bastards who do want to ‘shag the missus’, but do not want to have to go through all that romantic crap
  2. Desperate houswives who believe all their neighbours are having wonderful tantric sex everyday and therfor are afraid something is wrong with them

No matter which way you look at it, it seems like a typical male (and I mean this in the most Neanderthal-like way) solution to a potential problem. Take a pill, lie down and shut up.

Screw thy neighbour
The sexual revolution and feminism have something in common. Where they both advocated freedom for all genders, they ended up with a big win for men. Women have to choose their careers over their familiy (thats what feminists fought for apparently), in others words: they need to pretend they’re men. And you have to have sex at least 2,7 times a week, because after the sexual revolution you need to fuck above the national average. Both are, with all due respect, complete bollocks. We are in desperate need of a new hollistic revolution that says; if you want to stay at home with your kids instead of working for a seconds car, third flatscreen and fourth Carribean cruise, then that’s okay. If you don’t want sex 2,7 times a week but, say, once a month and you and your partner are fine with it, then that’s okay. Don’t take pills (or jobs) just to live up to your neighbour’s expectation. Screw them… well, you know what I mean.

Quality, not quantity
The point of all this? These pills are typical for our consumerist mentality. These pills are only aiming to help you have more sex, not better sex. It does nothing to help you in your relationship, to respect, enjoy and love each other more. just like hamburgers make you forget about real food, these pills make you forget about real sex. They’re just Whoppers for between the sheets.  Good food requires good ingredients and thoughtfull, loving preparation.It requires time and attention. Get the analogy?

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Mrs. Merkel’s privacy

Apparently, after Edward Snowden’s information showed that the NSA might have tapped Angela Merkel’s private phone (as revealed by the German magazine Der Spiegel) she immediately placed a call to Obama, demanding an explanation.
This has not been officially confirmed (yet) ofcourse, but it sounds plausible enough. Especially since the American ambassador has been summoned to the German parliament for an explanation.

Go Brussels

It’s quite understandable that the German prime minister would be outraged at such a breach of her privacy. And of course her first response was an emotional one. However, at the same time: her privacy is not worth more than mine, or that of any German citizen. And since we do not have Barrack’s telephone number, where was her call when our privacy was violated by our American friends? Or why didn’t she place a call to Brussels to place a call to the White House on behalf of all European citizens?

Yeah, if I’d had Obama’s direct line, I guess I’d call directly too.


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