Category Archives: Educational

Documentaries

[1] LIFE IN THE BIOSPHERE

Explore the wonder and interconnectedness of the biosphere through the magic of technology.

Home
How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth
The Magical Forest
Ants: Nature’s Secret Power
Mt. Everest: How It Was Made
Mariana’s Trench: The Deepest Spot On Earth
Natural World: The Andes
Shining Mountains: The Rockies
Grand Canyon: How It Was Made
The Intelligence of Plants

[2] CREATIVITY AND DESIGN:

Learn about all the amazing things that people create with their imaginations.

Everything Is A Remix
The Creative Brain: How Insight Works
Design: The New Business
PressPausePlay: Art and Creativity in the Digital Age
Infamy: A Graffiti Documentary
Influencers: How Trends and Creativity Become Contagious
RIP: A Remix Manifesto
Design: e² – Sustainable Architecture
The Genius Of Design

[3] THE EDUCATION INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX:

The modern school where young minds are moulded into standardized citizens by the state.

The College Conspiracy
Declining by Degrees: Higher Education at Risk
The Forbidden Education
Default: The Student Loan Documentary
College Inc.
Education For A Sustainable Future
Networked Society: The Future of Learning
The Ultimate History Lesson With John Taylor Gatto
The Education System in Communist China
The War On Kids

[4] THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION:

The Internet is now the driving force behind change and innovation in the world.

The Age of Big Data
Resonance: Beings of Frequency
Life In A Day
Networked Society: On The Brink
Us Now: Social Media and Mass Collaboration
WikiRebels: The WikiLeaks Story
The Virtual Revolution: The Cost of Free
How Hackers Changed the World

[5] A NEW CIVILIZATION:

We are at the dawn of a new golden age of human inventiveness.

THRIVE: What On Earth Will It Take?
Zeitgeist III: Moving Forward
Paradise or Oblivion
2012: Time For Change
The Crisis of Civilization
The Collective Evolution II
The Quickening: Awakening As One
2012 Crossing Over: A New Beginning
Collapse
The Awakening

[6] POLITICS:

Explore the politics of power and control and how it affects your life.

Owned and Operated
UnGrip
The Power Principle
The True Story of Che Guevara
Earth Days
Capitalism Is The Crisis
WikiLeaks: The Secret Life of a Superpower
The Putin System
The War On Democracy
Rise Like Lions: Occupy Wall Street and the Seeds of Revolution

[7] BIOGRAPHIES OF GENIUS:

The biographies of modern geniuses who pushed humanity forward.

Isaac Newton: The Last Magician
The Unlimited Energy of Nikola Tesla
The Missing Secrets Of Nikola Tesla
Richard Feynman: No Ordinary Genius
How Albert Einstein’s Brain Worked
The Extraordinary Genius of Albert Einstein
Leonardo Da Vinci: The Man Who Wanted to Know Everything

[8] WAR:

War is history’s oldest racket for stealing from the powerless and redistributing resources to the powerful.

Psywar: The Real Battlefield Is Your Mind
The Secret History of 9/11
Robot Armies in the Future
The Never Ending War in Afghanistan
Shadow Company: Mercenaries In The Modern World
Why We Fight
The Fog Of War
The Oil Factor: Behind The War On Terror

[9] ECONOMICS:

Learn about the financial system works and how people and societies are enslaved through debt.

The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power
Overdose: The Next Financial Crisis
The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of The World
The One Percent
Quants: The Alchemists of Wall Street
The Last Days Of Lehman Brothers
The Four Horsemen
Inside Job: The Biggest Robbery In Human History
Capitalism A Love Story
Money and Life

[10] DIGITAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP:

Profiles of the entrepreneurs who used technology to change the world.

The Life Of A Young Entrepreneur
Profile: Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin
Profile: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg
Starting-Up in America
Steve Jobs: One Last Thing
Steve Jobs: The Billion Dollar Hippy
Elon Musk: Risk Takers
The Story of Twitter

[11] SPORTS:

Watch the inspiring stories of amazing athletes.

Fearless: The Jeb Corliss Story
Carts of Darkness
Usain Bolt: The World’s Fastest Man
Wayne Gretzky: The Life and Times
Mike Tyson: Beyond the Glory
Birdmen
The Legacy Of Michael Jordan
We Ride: The Story of Snowboarding

[12] TECHNOLOGY:

Find out more about the impact of exponential growth and the approaching Singularity.

Ray Kurzweil: The Transcendent Man
How Robots Will Change the World
Human 2.0
Trance-Formation: The Future of Humanity
The Venus Project: Future By Design
Bionics, Transhumanism And The End Of Evolution
The Singularity Is Near
Car Technology Of The Future

[13] ORIGINS OF RELIGION:

Explore the original religious experience of mankind at the dawn of civilization.

Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within
Manifesting the Mind: Footprints of the Shaman
Ancient Egypt and The Alternative Story of Mankind’s Origins
The Hidden Knowledge of the Supernatural
Re-Awaken: Open Your Heart, Expand Your Mind
Shamans of the Amazon
The Root of All Evil: The God Delusion
Ancient Knowledge
The Naked Truth
Before Babel: In Search of the First Language

[14] WESTERN RELIGION:

The fascinating history of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Secret Quest: The Path of the Christian Gnostics
The Secret Gate of Eden
Forbidden Knowledge: Lost Secrets of the Bible
Banned From The Bible: Secrets Of The Apostles
The Road To Armageddon
Muhammad: The Legacy of a Prophet
A Complete History of God
Gnosis: The Untold History of the Bible

[15] EASTERN RELIGION:

Expand your mind by also studying the entirely different religious worldviews of the East.

Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds
The Life Of The Buddha
The Seven Wonders of the Buddhist World
Mysteries of the Cosmic OM: Ancient Vedic Science
Where Science and Buddhism Meet
The Yogis of Tibet
Taj Mahal: Secrets To Blow Your Mind
Light at the Edge of the World: Tibetan Science of the Mind
Myths of Mankind: The Mahabharata
Ayurveda: The Art of Being

[16] CONSCIOUSNESS:

Learn about the basic unity of existence and the miracle of consciousness.

Athene’s Theory of Everything
Theory of Everything: GOD, Devils, Dimensions, Dragons & The Illusion of Reality
The God Within: Physics, Cosmology and Consciousness
5 Gateways: The Five Key Expansions of Consciousness
Return to the Source: Philosophy and The Matrix
The Holographic Universe
DMT: The Spirit Molecule
Kymatica
Neuroplasticity: The Brain That Changes Itself

[17] MYSTERIES:

Indiana Jones-style explorations into the unsolved mysteries of the past.

Alchemy: Sacred Secrets Revealed
The Day Before Disclosure
The Pyramid Code
The Secret Design of the Egyptian Pyramids
Decoding the Past: Secrets of the Dollar Bill
Origins of the Da Vinci Code
Forbidden Knowledge: Ancient Medical Secrets
Secret Mysteries of America’s Beginnings: The New Atlantis
Secrets in Plain Sight

[18] MASS CULTURE:

Learn about how our thoughts and opinions are influenced by mass culture.

The Century of the Self
All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace
The Power Of Nightmares
Starsuckers: A Culture Obsessed By Celebrity
Human Resources: Social Engineering in the 20th Century
Obey: The Death of the Liberal Class
Motivational Guru: The Story of Tony Robbins
Bob Marley: Freedom Road
Radiant City

[19] CORPORATE MEDIA:

Discover how the mass media and advertisers channel our irrational impulses.

Weapons of Mass Deceptions
Secrets of the Superbrands
Orwell Rolls in his Grave
The Esoteric Agenda
Propaganda
The Myth of the Liberal Media: The Propaganda Model of News
Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media
Symbolism in Logos: Subliminal Messages or Ancient Archetypes
Edward Snowden: A Truth Unveiled
Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism

[20] ART AND LITERATURE:

Explore the lives of famous artists and how art opens people’s minds.

Cosm: Alex Gray’s Visionary Art
Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop
New Art and the Young Artists Behind It
Salvador Dali: A Master of the Modern Era
The Day Pictures Were Born
Off-Book: Digital Age Creativity
This Is Modern Art

[21] HEALTH:

Explore issues in health, how our bodies work and the incredible power of our brains.

The Human Brain
The Truth About Vitamins
How To Live To 101
America’s Obesity Epidemic
The War On Health
The Beautiful Truth
Food Inc.
The Truth About Food
The Living Matrix

[22] DRUGS:

Documentaries on the effect of drugs — legal and illegal — on the body and mind.

The Union: The Business Behind Getting High
The Drugging Of Our Children
How Marijuana Affects Your Health
Making a Killing: The Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging
Clearing the Smoke: The Science of Cannabis
LSD: The Beyond Within
The War on Drugs: The Prison Industrial Complex
Are Illegal Drugs More Dangerous Than Legal Drugs?
The Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic
Run From The Cure: The Rick Simpson Story

[23] ENVIRONMENT:

Thought-provoking documentaries on the environmental movement and the growing threats to our biosphere.

Earthlings
Blue Gold: World Water Wars
Shift: Beyond the Numbers of the Climate Crisis
All Things Are Connected
The Fight For Amazonia
Flow: For Love Of Water
Here Comes the Sun
The World According To Monsanto
The Story of Stuff

[24] COSMOS:

Expand your mind by exploring our indescribably large and beautiful Cosmos.

The Search for Planets Similar to Earth
Cosmic Journeys : The Largest Black Holes in the Universe
The Mystery of the Milky Way
Fractals: The Hidden Dimension
Into The Universe With Stephen Hawking: The Story of Everything
Pioneer Science: Discovering Deep Space
Carl Sagan’s Cosmos
The Strangest Things In The Universe

[25] SCIENCE:

The history of scientific discovery and how scientific instruments expand our perception.

The Complete History of Science
Secret Universe: The Hidden Life of the Cell
Stephen Hawking: A Brief History of Time
Quantum Mechanics: Fabric of the Cosmos
The Light Fantastic
DNA: The Secret of Life
Parallel Universes, Alternative Timelines & Multiverse
What Is The Higgs Boson?
Infinity

[26] EVOLUTION:

The story of our evolution and the emergence of self-aware human beings.

The Origin of Life
Homo Sapiens: The Birth of Humanity
Beyond Me
The Global Brain
Metanoia: A New Vision of Nature
Birth Of A New Humanity
Samsara
Ape Man: Adventures in Human Evolution
The Incredible Human Journey
The Human Family Tree

[27] PSYCHOLOGY AND THE BRAIN:

New research is shining a spotlight on how we can improve our brains.

How Smart Can We Get?
The Science of Lust
The Secret You
What Are Dreams?
A Virus Called Fear
Beyond Thought (Awareness Itself)
The Human Brain
Superconscious Mind: How To Double Your Brain’s Performance
How Does Your Memory Work?
Secrets of the Mind

[28] MODERN HISTORY:

The story of the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the modern world.

History of the World in Two Hours
The Industrial Revolution
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
The French Revolution
Big Sugar
The American Revolution

[29] PRE-MODERN HISTORY:

The story of the Americas and European history in the pre-modern world.

Socrates, Aristotle and Plato
The Medici: The Most Influencial Family In The World
A History of Celtic Britain
The Crusades: Victory and Defeat
The Vikings: Voyage To America
Copernicus and the Scientific Revolution

[30] CURRENT EVENTS:

Become more informed about current events that are shaping the world.

Syria: The Reckoning
Empire: Putin’s Russia
The New Arms Race
The Killing of Yasser Arafat
Egypt In Crisis
Inside Obama’s Presidency
The Untouchables: How Obama Protected Wall Street
Behind The Rhetoric: The Real Iran
A History of the Middle East since WWII
Climate Wars

[31] ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS:

Fascination explorations into the ancient civilizations of our past.

The Persian Empire : Most Mysterious Civilization in the Ancient World
What The Ancients Did For Us
What the Ancients Knew
Egypt: Beyond the Pyramids
Secrets of the Ancient Empires
Graham Hancock’s Quest For The Lost Civilization
Atlantis: The Lost Continent
Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

 

Water Time – Film Review

Somehow the film Water Time by Allan Weisbecker made it onto my hard disk and it was well worth watching albeit frustrating.

Frustrating because it confirmed my own experience with my fellow human’s acceptance of new facts that violate their ready-made conceptions – namely none, zero, nada, zilch.

But I never heard such honest statements as “No, I don’t change my mind – whatever the evidence might be!” What I personally get most of the time is rejection or attempts to question the validity of evidence or fact.

Over the last years it has become quite evident to me that the root of all evil is government. For the simple fact that they claim for themselves to be above and beyond any morality. We teach our kids that taking things away from other kids is stealing and we should not do that. Yet when the tax collector calls it tax and does the same thing – it somehow is something other than stealing – but it’s not!

This is such an obvious truth but try to explain this to somebody who has paid taxes for all of his life and could not admit that this is morally wrong – simply because he would have to admit that he was wrong for all of his life.

It appears that to admit being mistaken is very difficult for many and it is easier to insist to have been right all along.

WaterTimeDVDFinal

What did you learn in school today?

That’s one answer down my alley…

 

And for all of you who want to sing along with this song “What Did You Learn in School Today?”  by Tom Paxton – here you go…

What did you learn in school today,
Dear little boy of mine?
What did you learn in school today,
Dear little boy of mine?
I learned that Washington never told a lie.
I learned that soldiers seldom die.
I learned that everybody’s free.
And that’s what the teacher said to me.
That’s what I learned in school today.
That’s what I learned in school.

What did you learn in school today,
Dear little boy of mine?
What did you learn in school today,
Dear little boy of mine?
I learned that policemen are my friends.
I learned that justice never ends.
I learned that murderers die for their crimes.
Even if we make a mistake sometimes.
That’s what I learned in school today.
That’s what I learned in school.

What did you learn in school today,
Dear little boy of mine?
What did you learn in school today,
Dear little boy of mine?
I learned our government must be strong.
It’s always right and never wrong.
Our leaders are the finest men.
And we elect them again and again.
That’s what I learned in school today.
That’s what I learned in school.

What did you learn in school today,
Dear little boy of mine?
What did you learn in school today,
Dear little boy of mine?
I learned that war is not so bad.
I learned of the great ones we have had.
We fought in Germany and in France.
And some day I might get my chance.
That’s what I learned in school today.
That’s what I learned in school.

Paperless Living

I am getting better at living a life without paper.

A few weeks ago I have started again to read a pulp science fiction series that I started to enjoy when I was at the tender age of 16. It is still available in print but hard (speak expensive) for me to come by. So, I found a real application for my tablet and am reading these novellas now on a screen.

But beside the entertainment part of my life, I  have also started to get rid of any receipt and other need-to-keep papers. There is a short decision when something comes across my desk if I will ever have to look at or refer to this piece again. If so, it get’s scanned and the  hard copy goes in the trash – or shredder.

This is also true for manuals. Fortunately most devices already come with electronic manuals or you can find them online. But unfortunately not always. Today I looked for the manual of the thermostat at our new house. There was one tucked right behind the wall unit, but obviously I will not leave it there. But I also did not want to start a new shoe box with manuals of things we have around the house, so the decision was made to scan it. But wait, maybe somebody else did this already and I can save the work.

Somebody did, but it was hidden behind having to jump through who knows how many hoops to get it free. Create a free account first. I still did that, but when I then was asked to try this subscription or sign for a trial membership on that other thing, I canceled out of that and did the scanning myself.

Hopefully Google will properly make it known that I did that, so, in case you need that particular manual you don’t have to sign up for any stinking free account – instead you get it right here…

DoIt Model No. 474045 5/2 Day Programmable Thermostat

 

Canon and Nikon together – At Last

Sometime in the dark ages – more than 15 years ago – I invested in a Nikon SLR 6006 with a nice 35-135mm zoom lens and it served me well until the dawn of the (reasonably priced) digital age. Early DSLRs were way too expensive and not worth the money, so I went with a few consumer digital cameras for some years, one of them also a Nikon, albeit not with exchangeable lens.

For many years my old 6006 sat in the closet losing value but I always had in mind  that at one point I would invest in a DSLR and then I could use the nice lens which was about five hundred bucks in the days I acquired it.

The time of the DSLR finally came in form of a Canon T4i. I had strongly considered waiting for the perfect mirror-less camera, but the deal I got on the Canon – I just could not pass up. I did not go with a Nikon DSLR because I also wanted to use the camera for video and Canon seemed to be superior in that department. Thus, I still had that good Nikon lens sitting there without any use. The idea of selling it on eBay shattered quickly when I saw for how little these cameras were traded – it really appears the time of the 35mm film is over.

I finally a reasonable offer for an adapter for Nikkor AF lenses to EOS bodies and it arrived today.

First test with that ‘good’ Nikkor lens were rather disappointing. It appears that lens technology has made long strides over the last decade and a half. The lack of transfer of data to and from the lens through the adapter (none) was no big deal, as I grew up, focusing manually and with the camera set to aperture priority the exposure was still pretty automatic – if I wanted. One feature of the Nikkor lens I was looking for was the macro range – at 35mm I could push one little button and extend the barrel quite a bit further, thus getting much closer to the subject.

Here the closes with the Nikkor

nikon-out

and the closest I could get with the Canon 18-55

canon-out

That was pretty good, but then I wanted to see how it fared when I looked closer, and this is where the disappointment took hold.

Big bad color fringes on the Nikkor lens

nikon-in

at least in the out-of-focus areas of the image while the Canon lens showed no such faults

canon-in

I will have to make some more test to see how the aperture will affect this behavior as, I believe, the Nikkor was wide open, while the Canon was exposing with the lens closed to 11. Now I start to imagine how the quality will be for a modern lens for the price of the old Nikkor, and even more so for a modern lens that I can not justify to buy.

What this little experiment really drove home to me is that the experts are right when they say that glass is more important than body.

UPDATE:

The above was written sometime in March of 2013. Since then I looked into other options of getting a closer look at things without using the macro setting on the Nikkor lens.

When it was time to buy something from Amazon with a price under the minimum to get free shipping, I added a Macro Extension Tube Set and a Macro Reverse Ring Camera Mount Adapter. The first one simply adds distance between the sensor and the lens, thus allowing to focus on objects closer to the lens (but losing the ability to focus on infinity with a ring inserted). The second allows to reverse the lens and mount it on the camera with the filter thread, allowing for extreme close-up shorts.

When I received these adapters I took my trusted lens cap and took a few shots to compare with what I could get with the old Nikkor lens. This time I was positively surprised. I got the same good quality of the image with my 18-55 lens – much better than the old Nikkor lens.

Close-up with Distance rings

Close-up with Distance ringsNow, that I have a solution to do close-up photography without the use of the Nikkor lens I can put that lens on eBay again, throwing in the body of the 6006 which I have not been able to just throw away so far.

Past Life Echoes

Past Lfe EchoesEchoes from the Past – a story once told on a web site that were to promote diving into past life times, not out of curiosity, but to find and remove reasons for things not quite going right…

It was a beautiful morning in Frankfurt…

I had been very excited about my first job after college although that excitement had now calmed down a bit after a long winter – living in bread-and-breakfast hotels waiting for my own place to become available. Spring had finally come and with it the date to move into my own apartment close to my new work in Frankfurt, Germany.

Now life was just perfect. A good job with the perception of an abundance of money after long years of scarcity during college. A very nice girl-friend, my own comfortable apartment and now – to top it all – spring had sprung.

And there I was, driving through this beautiful morning, along the river Main. Heading into Frankfurt.

Music from the radio, and then suddenly I started to cry.

I mean CRY – tears running down my face, sobbing deeply.

It was just a song on the radio! In case you are interested – it was “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” by Edith Piaf – -

- – what, you don’t even know who that is? – OK, just briefly so that my story will make more sense. Edith Piaf was a big singing star in the 30′s in France. Her stardom peaked during the 40′s when Germany occupied bigger parts of France, especially Paris. She died before I was beyond the children’s song phase – in this lifetime.

In other words, I could not have had any experience with her that I could place within my current lifetime.

So – what the heck happened?

It took me many years to find out – many years and a lot of money. I might, at a later time, tell this long story of my trials and tribulations, but for now let’s get on with the short version and Edith Piaf.

On this beautiful morning my drive into town was fortunately long enough to give me time to collect myself, this was an experience that I could not forget and that did not really seem to make sense to me.

Shortly after these events I started to study a philosophy that easily accepted the idea of past lives. However learning about a philosophy and making a connection to the real life around us are usually two very different subjects.

Although being educated in the hard sciences I had started to look for more meaning behind it all. Somehow physics alone was not explaining all the things I could observe. Science fiction had been a nice compromise with the technological aspect on one side and the possibilities of mental and spiritual powers on the other.

I had easily accepted the idea of telepathy, surviving the death of a body and similar concepts found in science fiction but it had always been from the point of view of a spectator.

That was about to change! The philosophy I was learning about was an applied philosophy, meaning that the ideas we studied were not only of intellectual value but were actually put to the test by trying them out.

This allowed me, for the first time, to leave my spectator’s view-point behind and get involved. Thus I experienced that there were past lived and that made a whole lot of a difference in my daily life.

Now back to Edith …

… it must have been one of those WOW-moments while singing in the shower – that I realized, some time after I had to cry so hard, that I knew Edith Piaf! I did some digging with the techniques I had learned and found myself to be one of those Germans occupying Paris, France in World War II and having a hell of a good time, going to shows and other entertainment Paris had to offer.

Imagine this proper SS officer, arrogant to the max, believing that Paris was all his – that was me!

One of those shows my buddy-officers and I had liked had been a concert with Edith Piaf.

And did I ever connect to this tiny person with the huge voice and those sad eyes.

There was something about those eyes – something always there but never firm enough in my grasp so that I could have examined it to understand.

I also felt that there was something more but I could not get a handle on.

What to do?

For quite a while I chose one very interesting way of handling it – ignoring it. Have you ever done that? That was pretty easy, because rarely this incident was brought up to it the level of consciousness in order to actually bother me.

But deep down we always know if a matter is just dormant, right? Waiting to be restimulated and taking control is rather different than the condition when something is really, once and for all, handled.

I did unravel the whole story to a point where it now takes effort to recall it because it has become unimportant. It obviously had an effect on my life because uncontrollable crying can be considered ‘having an effect.’

There are now many resources available on the interweb if you are on the quest to unravel your past or find out, for example, why you are afraid of heights or small spaces. One I can recommend is the Whole Self Institute which takes a no-nonsense approach to subjects like past lives or grief handling.

Anarchy is Good

voluntarizmI have to admit that my first understanding of anarchy was in line with the definition that most people use these days – chaos!

But if we look at the definition and root of this word, we find that chaos is not really part of it. It comes from the Greek an- + archos meaning no ruler. It is certainly true that the removal of an established ruler can easily lead to chaos.

Take, for example, a kid that is strictly controlled. Take this control away suddenly and you will most likely had a child that goes wild. But does that mean that the child will remain wild? With most sane kids – and most of them are sane – they will soon find a balance and become accustomed to the lack of control and will be as productive or unproductive as their inherent make-up is. This has been demonstrated in an experiment of un-schooling, where a group of kids were not forced to do anything. Certainly they first slacked off, but after a rather short time of turbulence they started to better themselves voluntarily. If you have ever experienced the difference between forced and voluntary learning you know how much more efficient learning is that you actually want.

But this is an experiment that needs to be run to its end result. A system that would want control could easily subvert the experiment by first taking away control, let the kids go wild and then, when chaos is at it’s best, step in, proclaim that freedom does not work, and put the control back on.

This is the same principle used to convince us that anarchy is not working. Governments want to keep their control because this is what they live on. Any instance where control slips for a while, for example after a revolution or war, is them used to rationalize that chaos ensued and that government has to be established again as soon as possible.

Let me give you another picture that demonstrated that perfectly and which you will have in mind from now on whenever you hear about anarchy. Think of cooking pea soup in a pressure cooker. All the ingredients go in the pot, the lid is closed (control) and heat is turned up. Soon boiling starts, steam develops, and pressure builds in the pot. Nothing dramatic happens. The valve in the lid of the pot will let off some of the steam occasionally in order to keep the pot from exploding.

Now, suddenly open the pressure relief valve and see what happens.

You will have pea soup all  over the kitchen. Yes, I tried that and this is the reason I used pea soup for my example. All the pressure trapped within the peas suddenly has no opposition any more and goes everywhere and takes pieces of the peas with it. The conclusion could now be to never relief the pressure – which would be equivalent to the politician telling us that we need police and military and prisons and laws regulating everything from commerce to farting.

But there is also another solution, because, after all, we want to get to the delicious pea soup. That solution is to release the pressure gradually, or – in the more dirty alternative – don’t care about the mess in the kitchen. Either way, we can enjoy the pea soup.

The sweet taste of liberty and lack of legalized violence where personal interactions occur on a voluntary basis.

Back to the idea of anarchy, a society of ‘no ruler.’ To get there will require a total revamping of the up-bringing of the next generations. Right now, kids, that have a disagreement or fight, are taught to go to an authority who will decide for them who is wrong and who is right. That will have to change to teach them to solve their problems and disagreements amongst themselves. Certainly this will not happen in schools that are sponsored by those who want the status quo.

I see this state of mind appreciating a society based on voluntary interactions spreading and getting more and more into the main stream, Ron Paul being one of the examples for that. He had to fail because the bigger part of the people is still too afraid of pea soup all over the kitchen, but it appears to me that we are at this time in state two of the three stages of truth as described by Arthur Schopenhauer:

  1. It is ridiculed.
  2. It is violently opposed.
  3. It is accepted as being self-evident.

I just wonder when we finally get to stage three.

 

 

German Seeking Political Asylum in the US

When I went to school in Germany, there was no real choice where to go. If you were Catholic you went to the Catholic school, and to the Protestant school when you were anything else – like Protestant.

That was the first four years. Then you could either stay and prepare for a life in trade or craft, go to middle school and plan to become a middle manager, or go to high school and aim for an academic career.

home schoolingWe heard it through the grapevines that there was something like private schools but that was for the very rich and weird and I never knew anybody who went that route.

Homeschooling was not even a consideration.

Apparently there are some parents now in Germany who don’t want to get their kids to be state-indoctrinated.Uwe and Hannelore Romeike are such parents and they tried to homeschool their kids but the government said ‘No!’ and the battle ensued. They, eventually,  fled from Germany to the United States after their family was vigorously prosecuted (fines, forcible removal of their children, threats of jail and more) for homeschooling. Initially, the Romeikes were granted political asylum, but the U.S. government appealed that decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals. That Board sided with the government. The HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association, a group defending homeschoolers in the US) took their case and appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

First of all I wonder why the US government would try to deny this family to stay in the US. I can only imagine that they want to stay friends with the Germany government which tries everything to avoid creating a precedence. Imagine the PR flop if a German family is granted political asylum in the US!

In addition, those domestic homeschoolers are already a thorn in the government’s flesh, daring to doubt their benevolence. The arguments brought by the government why this German family should be sent back to Germany to be torn apart and fined into oblivion are very revealing and indicate what might be in store for American homeschoolers.

Read the full story at the HSLDA web site…

X11Forwarding But DISPLAY variable not set

x11-logoSerious programming in the olden days mean to deal with Unix – the father of today’s ubiquitous Linux running bigger part of the internet.

The first bigger project I was involved in was still the good old DOS with Turbo Pascal – anybody remember that?

As soon as I could, and we had to build something less of a hack but more of a software-engineered application, I steered my client into Unix, first the X86 version of Xenix, which turned out to be too flaky, and then a nice hundred thousand dollar HP Workstation. As it was an application involving graphics, an important order of business was to get familiar with the principles and techniques of the X11 windowing system.

This was not a very long-lived project and with the advent of more powerful x86 hardware and a finally decent piece of software from Microsoft – Windows NT – the develoment was moved to that new platform. The fact that the port from X to NT was not terribly difficult was a nice testimonial for proper application of software engineering principles. Hacking mentality as promoted by something like Turbo Pascal would have required a complete rewrite.

System administration, I had become familiar with during that time, was helpful when I started to maintain a few linux web servers years later. I always considered X11 far superior to all the other graphical windows software but I really had never anything to do with it any more – until a point in time a few days ago.

First of all, I finally succeeded in getting Ubuntu running on an old laptop. A flaky DVD had never gotten me through an installation properly and the machine was so old that it could not boot from a memory stick. I ultimately succeeded when I found a utility I could burn on a CD and boot from that made my USB bootable. Now I could load Ubuntu from the USB stick.

So, there I finally was again with a computer with a proper graphical user interface. But that computer was tucked away somewhere with little physical access. It serve as a local testing machine for web development – did not really need that X Windows for that!

But it was sitting there, teasing me, so I finally got XMing – an X Server running on MS Windows – installed on my main computer where I sit all day and I could finally connect to that old laptop remotely with a graphical user interface. In my early days of X11 there was not too much concern about security – it was all on the local network – yes, a coax ethernet cable – and to have an application display on an xterminal you just had to set the DISPLAY environment variable to the IP address of any X-Server, like a xterminal, and authorize its use.

That is all different now. I learned that from a remote machine you start an ssh connection on my workstation (windows 7) to the remote host (old linux laptop) using putty. If the putty session had X Forwarding enabled then a secure tunnel for all the X traffic was created. This tunnel could even go through a router with NAT without a problem. Initially I had wondered why I saw the value of the DISPLAY variable set to strange things like localhost:10.0 – but I finally understood that this was how the ssh tunnel worked: the ssh server on the old laptop pretended to be a local X server on display number 10; then it transported all the X traffic it received securely to the machine I was sitting on and fed it into XMing. It all worked perfectly.

Two weeks later I received my first Raspberry Pi and that little wonder did behave the same way as the old laptop, a bit slower I have to admit, so the old laptop is still a bit more powerful than the miniature linux box sitting over there on my speaker. Both are full LAMP systems and are even accessible from the rest of the world through the magic of DynDNS and port forwarding.

But then my trouble began.

As I had all this so nicely and easily set up, it was suddenly not enough any more that I logged into my real web servers only with putty, SCP, and DirectAdmin. Nostalgia had me in its grip and I just had to get X running on them as well.

First of all there was no X-stuff installed on those servers as they were web servers in some remote data center. But a “yum install xterm” got this handled. Still no go – starting xterm from the ssh login gave me the error message that the display was either not there or could not be opened.

The next step, I found out, was to enable X11Forwarding for the sshd on the remote server – but still no go – the DISPLAY variable was still not set. Lots of Googling around but no solution – everything I tried made no difference.

But I learned about the -vvv parameter to ssh. It would give me insight into what was happening during the establishing of the ssh connection. Unfortunately, putty does not have it! But I found that it has a logging function and after turning this on and comparing the logs from connections to my local old laptop and the remote web server I finally saw the light:

xauth

After I had it yum-installed and run to generate a new .Xauthority file for a local X server my quest for the xterm running on that web server and displaying on my local machine behind a NAT router in my office had come to a successful conclusion.

Not that I will use that much – putty and SCP have done the job for me for years – but I now could, potentially, install firefox on that server and start browsing through that server located at a very different place on the planet.

Hmmm  – why don’t I just try that: yum install firefox……………………….
finally, after installing a gazillion dependent packages, the installation is – complete!

Now: firefox& – wait – wait – wait…

ff-on-linux

But it is clear that I have to file this away under ‘education’ as it is so slow to make it more or less unusable.