Entries from September 2006 ↓

Smart dolphins

And, in another Hitchhiker-themed post… The Guardian has an article on the intelligence of dolphins that, honestly, left me speechless (I saw the article mentioned in Jeremy Zawodny’s blog). It starts by describing how dolphins trained to clean their own pools “game the system” by, first, handing litter out to trainers in small portions and, latter, capturing gulls to trade for fish (that’s how an economy starts…). It goes on to describe the behaviour of “wild” dolphins using tools to hunt and to protect themselves.

As the author says, it seems that the more we study dolphins, the smarter they prove to be. If they all go missing at some point in the future, start to worry.

Not getting it

On Earth, Belgium refers to a small country. Throughout the rest of the galaxy, Belgium is the most unspeakably rude word there is.
-Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

In the news today there is a report that a Belgian association of newspapers managed to get a court to order Google to remove all of the French- and German-language Belgium-based news items from Google News and the regular Google cache. The argument is copyright violation (debatable) and causing loss of ad revenue (very weird, considering the Google News only shows a few words from each news item and then sends users on their way to the original web site; if anything, they were getting more ad revenue from the users sent to them by Google).

It’s interesting that, at a time when most web site owners are thinking about how to be displayed more prominently on Google, some people seem to simply “not get it” and do their best to get out of it. It’s not clear to me, also, whether that association actually asked Google about being removed before going to court; shouldn’t the judicial system be a “last resort”,only to be used when a situation can’t be resolved amiably? Or am I the only one thinking that?


World Trade CenterThe first I went to New York was in 1995, and that’s when I took the picture you see here. It was taken from the ferry to Liberty Island. At the time, I was on a business trip to Connecticut, and in a free day I took the train down to Manhattan; in that single day I went to the top of the Empire State Building, the top of the WTC, Liberty Island, Wall Street, Chinatown… it was a very busy day. And no, this picture was not photoshoped; I guess the colours are a result of the Sun being almost directly behind me at the time.

I’ve been to NY a few times since then, but I never went up to the top of the WTC again. The last time I was there was in early 1999. Still, NY is a kind of a “magical” place; the events of 2001 touched everyone who has been there, even those of us who were not directly affected.

Today, five years later, is a good time to remember what happened, and to think of those who suffered with the attacks, both in NY and DC.