Yaba Yaba

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Archive for December 2007

Christmas Sameach II

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I’m not in any way a fan or supporter of MR. But this piece is such a classic, I had to steal it:

For Whom the Bells Jingle
by Susie Day

This time of year, when cute reindeer
And ruddy-suited Santa
Inspire shoppers everywhere
To spend more than they’d planned-ta

We’d like to glean for MRZine
The money Santa draws,
But we are godless communists
And can’t appear bourgeois

This time of year, when Season’s cheer
Means Jesus and things votive,
We stand as godless communists
And shun the profit motive

Day after day, we’ve had no pay
Yet covered Revolution
And why Iraq is boiling-hot
And how Iran is in a spot
And whether Cheney should be shot
And other apt solutions

O there are times, we must confess
To harboring a whim — we
Like to picture old Karl Marx
Sliding down our chimney

Old Karl would give us tips on stocks
On Bechtel and Blackwater
And tell us how to buy them out
To stop the Mideast slaughter

But we are godless communists
And dreams are overrated
We know that from production’s means
We are alienated

Yes, we are godless communists
And we need money bad
So at this time we’re forced to turn
To you, our dear comrade

We are so poor, we’re on the floor
We’re begging for our future
Please give to us —
Our chops we’ll bust
Continuing the lucha

[To stop this dreck, please send a check
For we’re not indestructible —
Or give online; both ways are fine:
Your gift is tax-deductible]

Written by yishaym

December 31, 2007 at 2:40 pm

Posted in hacktivism, LOL

Christmas Sameach

with 3 comments

I was the Jewish kid in kindergarten who, when asked if Santa was going to leave me any presents, responded “Who is Santa Claus?” My friends explained, and I said “are you stupid? You really believe that a fat man in a red suit with flying reindeer leaves you presents? Your parents buy you the presents, duh.” After having officially ruined Christmas for the entire class, everyones parents called my parents, and I had to go to the mall to sit on Santa’s lap, as a form of cultural sensitivity training. So on Christmas Eve, we went to the mall…standing in line, I was completely freaking out, and my Mom asked why I didn’t want to sit on the scary looking guys lap. I told her that I didn’t want to sit on the wierd Rebbe’s lap…my mom laughed and explained Santa some more, and what Christian people believed, and I calmed down a little. So, when I went to sit on Santa’s lap, he asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I told him, nothing, I am Jewish. So, Santa leaned in and whispered in my ear, “me too.”

From a comment on:


Written by yishaym

December 21, 2007 at 4:09 pm

Posted in Jewdaism, LOL

Tagged with , ,

caption this

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Propose a caption

*THEN* read the story

(digg story)

Written by yishaym

December 20, 2007 at 5:42 pm

Posted in LOL

gmail+firefox memory leak?

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I’m running FireFox on Win XP. Since Friday, every time I launch gmail, my browser freezes. A quick look at the windows task manager shows two(!) instances of firefox in the applications tab, one linked to the firefox process, the other to an explorer process. The firefox process continues to chew up memory until I kill it.

read more | digg story

Written by yishaym

December 18, 2007 at 3:09 pm

Posted in firefox, google, technology

so here’s an idea: buy them menu 4 hope vouchers.

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The previous post stopped you in your tracks, but you still feel the social pressure to buy xmas presents?

how about some menu 4 hope vouchers? totally e..

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Written by yishaym

December 15, 2007 at 3:10 am

‘Tis the season to be .. shopping?

with one comment

think again.

brilliant. absolutely brilliant. the first work of economics worth 20 minutes of your time in a long, long, time.

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Its what I’ve been feeling is wrong, wrong, wrong with the economic system we live in, but couldn’t say it in such a lucid way. Before you buy those Xmas presents, have a look. and think.

Written by yishaym

December 15, 2007 at 2:43 am

OLPC: the realisation of a Cultural Revolution?

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I just came across Ivan Illich’s Consitution for Cultural Revolution.  Strikingly relevant today as it was in 1971, if not more. Yes, Illich is radical, provocative. But its hard to deny he has a point when he argues:

The goals of development are always and everywhere stated in terms of consumer value packages standardized around the North Atlantic – and therefore always and everywhere imply more privileges for a few. Political reorganization cannot change this fact; it can only rationalize it. Different ideologies create different minorities of privileged consumers, but heart surgery or a university education is always priced out of range for all but a few: be they the rich, the orthodox, or the most fascinating subjects for experiments by surgeons or pedagogues.

Underdevelopment is the result of a state of mind common to both socialist and capitalist countries. Present development goals are neither desirable nor reasonable. Unfortunately antiimperialism is no antidote. Although exploitation of poor countries is an undeniable reality, current nationalism is merely the affirmation of the right of colonial elites to repeat history and follow the road traveled by the rich toward the universal consumption of internationally marketed packages, a road which can ultimately lead only to universal pollution and universal frustration.

His proposal? Establish access to educational goods as a basic undeniable equal right, open to free choice and trade:

A cultural revolutionary must fight for legal protection from the imposition of any obligatory graded curriculum. The first article of a bill of rights for a modern and humanist society corresponds to the first amendment of the United States Constitution. The state shall make no law with respect to an establishment of education. There shall be no graded curriculum, obligatory for all. To make this disestablishment effective, we need a law forbidding discrimination in hiring, voting, or admission to centers of learning based on previous attendance at some curriculum. This guarantee would not exclude specific tests of competence, but would remove the present absurd discrimination in favor of the person who learns a given skill with the largest expenditure of public funds. A third legal reform would guarantee the right of each citizen to an equal share of public educational resources, the right to verify his share of these resources, and the right to sue for them if they are denied. A generalized GI bill, or an edu-credit card in the hand of every citizen, would effectively implement this third guarantee.

I wonder, isn’t this percisely the agenda of OLPC? And in a broader view, the open source education movement? Public debate tends to focus on cost and benefit, technical specification, production politics. Its not about that. Its about breaking the feudal structure of knowledge production. About the right of any person to own the means of intellectual production. About equal access to the global conversation. Which is probably why the focus is on children rather than schools. As Illich concludes:

The social and psychological destruction inherent in obligatory schooling is merely an illustration of the destruction implicit in all international institutions which now dictate the kinds of goods, services, and welfare available to satisfy basic human needs. Only a cultural and institutional revolution which reestablishes man’s control over his environment can arrest the violence by which development of institutions is now imposed by a few for their own interest. Maybe Marx has said it better, criticizing Ricardo and his school: “They want production to be limited to ‘useful things,’ but they forget that the production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.”

I suspect Papert and Negraponte would agree.

Written by yishaym

December 7, 2007 at 7:01 pm