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A nano-tonal mouth organ. The instrument is made out primarily of six dog whistles, wood, cork, and string. The dog whistles are tuned at around 10,000Hz, with slight deviations between each other. The mouth organ produces very clearly audible difference tones when played with enough strength, so relatively low pitches can be heard together with the high pitches of the whistles.
The Canadian dollar (CAD) and the Mexican peso (MXN) are tightly linked to the US economy; specifically here the DJI (Dow Jones Industrial average), as can be seen in the image. When the DJI strengthens, so do the CAD and the MXN, and vice versa. Note however that, on the long term (2 years, 5 years), the MXN never quite recovers the way the CAD does after a dip in the DJI.
The top graph shows an interval of one year (Oct 2009 - Oct 2010), the middle graph shows an interval of two years (Oct 2008 - Oct 2010), and the bottom one an interval of five years (Oct 2005 - Oct 2010).
- Posted on:
- 2010.10.23 -0500
Releyendo vieja correspondencia que tuve con Gil... esta me dió mucha alegría.
Se te extraña harto viejo amigo...
- Felíz cumple cabroncito!!
- Víiic!! Gracias por el correo, y debo decir que ha sido por lo menos aceptable, hoy he tenido más felicitaciones de las que me esperaba, lo cual me regocija y no poco, pero afortunadamente para mi, mis festejos duran varios días aún, con TRES! comidas agendadas (y no pago en ninguna además :)) en fin, estoy contentote y tú juiste el primero en felicitarme hace días, por si se te olvidaba, pero te conozco y aunque se te olvide yo sé que no se te olvida, es la sensación interna del tiempo, qué tú y yo lo vivimos diferente, ya nos topamos pronto mi buen.
- Posted on:
- 2010.09.15 -0500
Omar Hernández, one of the most amazing musicians I've known, was recently killed. Another depressing day... man is, indeed, the wolf of man.
Need to access Windowz XP computer via ssh through a Netgear WGR614 v7 wireless router...
- Install ssh (openSSH) on server computer.
- Configure the ssh daemon so that it's running properly.
- Add ssh port 22 as an exception to the Windowz Firewall.
- Go to 192.168.1.1 (or www.routerlogin.net) with browser to configure router.
- In 'Port Forwarding' under 'Advanced', hit the 'Add Custom Service'.
- Add ssh, port 22, and set the 'Server IP Address' to the (internal) IP of the Windowz machine assigned by the router. To check what this is, run
ipconfigfrom the command line (should look something like 192.168.1.xxx).
- Check that the port is indeed accessible from the outside with http://canyouseeme.org. If that works, you are set.
- ssh using the public IP of the Windowz machine (given by http://canyouseeme.org or http://whatismyip.com) from a remote client.
- Posted on:
- 2010.06.10 -0500
Dead Aid (2009)
[...] The 1980s also saw the rise of the neo-liberal thinking which argued that governments should liberalize their economies in favor of the laissez-faire paradigm, which encompassed [...] the private market. The experience of the newly industrializing economies of Asia gave these market-based ideas a popularity boost in policy circles in the United States and Europe. The Asian tigers seemed to have achieved high growth rates and unprecedented poverty reduction with free-market policies and an outward orientation. As free-market proponents, Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics had great influence on the policies and thinking of the US President, Ronald Reagan, and the UK's Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. [...]
In Africa, as with other parts of the developing world, this economic overhaul necessitated two new aid-based programmes: first, stabilization, and then structural adjustment. Stabilization meant reducing a country's imbalances to reasonable levels [...]. Meanwhile structural adjustment was aimed at encouraging greater trade liberalization and reducing price and structural rigidities by such means as removing subsidies.
Both the World Bank and the IMF launched aggressive aid programmes to institute these two initiatives; the IMF's Structural Adjustment and Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facilities are examples of these. Poor governments received cash in the form of budgetary support, and in return agreed to embrace the free-market solutions to development. This would entail minimizing the role of the state, privatizing previously nationalized industries, liberalizing trade and dramatically reducing the civil service. [...]
By the end of the 1980s, emerging-market countries' debt was at least US$1 trillion, and the cost of servicing these obligations colossal. Indeed, the cost became so substantial that it eventually dwarfted foreign aid going into poor countries -- leading to a net reverse flow from poor countries to rich to the tune of US$15 billion every year between 1987 and 1989.
[...] The aid campaigners capitalized on the success of raising cash for emergency aid, and extended it to a platform to raise development aid; something entirely different.
In some recent times, the Irish musician Bono has made his case directly to the US President, George Bush, in a White House visit in October 2005, and Bob Geldof was a guest at the 2005 G8 meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland, and advised the UK's Commission to Africa. It would appear, despondent with their record of failure, that Western donors are increasingly looking to anyone for guidance on how best to tackle Africa's predicament.
Scarcely does one see Africa's (elected) officials or those African policy makers charged with the development portfolio offer an opinion on what should be done, or what might actually work to save the continent from its regression. This very important responsibility has, for all intents and purposes, and to the bewilderment and chagrin of many an African, been left to musicians who reside outside Africa. One disastrous consequence of this has been that honest, critical and serious dialogue and debate on the merits and demerits of aid have atrophied. As one critic of the aid model remarked, 'my voice can't compete with an electric guitar'.
- Posted on:
- 2010.06.07 -0500
The French Atlantic Triangle (2008)
"Could it be that freedom is only maintained through the support of servitude? Perhaps. The two extremes meet." [Rousseau]
Enticement for early French settlement in the Antilles came from Jean Baptiste Du Tertre, a missionary priest in the mid-seventeenth century, who deplored the sale of young white men "as slaves" (his characterization of indentured labor) on the islands, which he called a "detestable" and a "shameful commerce." Du Tertre, however, optimistically reported that a settler owning "two good Negroes" can live "well at ease and honorably" because the slaves can produce "1700 or 1800 pounds of tobacco, not counting the food they grow."
For the European slave traders the transformation of value by displacement was almost a miracle. At the height of the trade the businessmen of Nantes could hardly believe their good fortune: "We have in our State no ... commerce as precious as the commerce with Guinea [Africa], and one can hardly do enough to protect it. What other commerce could be compared to this one, which results in obtaining men in exchange for merchandise?" [...]
In the upper echelons of society colonial products were not only found to be delicious and stimulating; they also connoted imperial power. Blackburn points out the symbolic value at Versailles of colonial accessories and elaborate confections made of sugar. The rising craving for sweetness and stimulation in Europe [...] played a large role in the enslavement and forced migration of Africans, through the workings of the Atlantic triangle.[...]
It seems clear that under the regime of slavery from the time of the Code Noir until abolition, "instruction" was seen as instruction in religion only, as catechism; that it was oral, with no attempt to impart literacy; and that very little of it took place. [...] Fenelon, the governor of Martinique in 1764, wrote, "Education... is a duty for the principles of holy religion, but wise policy [la saine politique] and human considerations are against it. ... The safety of the Whites demands that we keep the Negroes in the profoundest ignorance."[...]
The problem of silence about the slave trade touches all points of the triangle and constitutes a veritable complex. The slave-trading ports of Europe (Liverpool excepted) have shown little inclination to acknowledge this part of their past: the elites of the slave-trading cities prefer to keep their "little green boxes" of family secrets secret; [...]
In a recent novel Edouard Glissant evokes the condition that underpins France's forgetfulness: the absence of slaves on French soil, a fact of the triangular trade. "The former slave-trading cities of Europe [...] did not know the crowds of piled-up and festering slaves, nor the shouting markets nor the shitholes, the din and the public whippings, which haunt the atmosphere of the port cities of the Americas, of the Caribbean or of Brazil.... We look in vain for the stigmata of the Trade: the odor has not remained in the air; there was never any odor; no noise left a trace."
Christopher L. Miller
Mariana Simões, Sibi Arasu and Thomas Quirynen
[...] One key issue in the state is the inequality that comes with a high concentration of wealth. The resorts function on what they call an “all inclusive policy,” where food, drinks, entertainment and lodging are all included for an affordable price to foreign tourists – especially those who come from countries deeply affected by the crisis. In 2008, 67 percent of tourists who came to Quintana Roo stayed in five-star hotels, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography. Another 14 percent go to four-star facilities. A one-night stay at a luxury hotel in Playa del Carmen costs about $480 at this time of year, and that includes access to chain restaurants, high-end stores, and massages along the coast.
A world away from white sand beaches of Playa del Carmen is the workplace of Ruben Cahan, a Mayan who works as a vendor in a small shop that sells ponchos, sombreros and other tourist souvenirs, just a few blocks away from the tourist epicenter on the coast. Cahan says that business is difficult in this area. “They tell us that the locals’ shops are too far away,” he says, noting that the hotels give away hats and shirts to tourists anyway.
Astrid Cavazos, one of the managers at the Porto Royal hotel in Playa del Carmen, admits that local business that can’t afford to be near the coast line can’t compete with the resorts, “because the prices of everything we sell inside the hotel are so cheap.” She explains that “other hotels in Cancun and Playa del Carmen are like mini-cities that trap the tourists within the confines of the hotel.”
Walking along the coastal strip filled with shops in Playa del Carmen, Canadian tourists Alana Smith and Donny Smith announce that they have not had to use a word of Spanish since they arrived, because at the resort they are staying at the “staff makes an effort to speak English.”
“At the restaurants waiters are not allowed to speak Spanish even amongst themselves,” says Alejandro Eguia Lis Luis, a community organizer and coordinator of the Tzol K’in Center for Culture and Environment, a group that aims to promote a sense of community amongst the poor people in Cancun.
Arturo Ek Rodriguez, a bellboy of Mayan descendant who works at one of the hotels, says he had to apply to many different resorts before finding a job. “I was told I’d have to have a certain height to get the job, and that I did not have the profile to work there,” he says. “You’ve got to be fair-skinned and tall, more like an European type.” Along the coast line, the only testament to the Mayan culture of Quintana Roo can be seen with plaster decorations depicting Mayan statues and artwork.[...]
“This is little Miami,” says Alejandro Luis, as he drives through the 17-kilometer stretch that is the hotel zone in Cancun, where the cost of a room for one night can be anywhere between $300 to $5000. Driving through the region, there is not a stone out of place or the slightest sign of any blemish on the roads or on the sidewalks. All of the lawns are trimmed to perfection and even the bus stops are lit up, which is an uncommon site in other parts of the city. Starbucks, Hard Rock Café and an assorted delight of various chain stores appear along the stretch, and the only thing out of place in the hotel zone are the municipal police, who drive around wearing bullet-proof vests. “We live too far from God and too close to the USA”, Alejandro Luis adds. [...]
- Posted on:
- 2010.03.15 -0500
Un presidente de México solía llegarle, en el mejor de los casos, al hombro a un presidente de América. A veces la cabeza de un presidente de México apenas estaba unos centímetros por encima del ombligo de un presidente de los nuestros. Ésa era la tradición. Ahora, sin embargo, la clase alta mexicana está cambiando. Son cada vez más ricos y suelen buscar esposa al norte de la frontera. A eso le llaman mejorar la raza. Un enano mexicano manda a su hijo enano a estudiar a una universidad de California. El niño tiene dinero y hace lo que quiere y eso impresiona a algunas estudiantes. No hay ningún lugar en la tierra donde haya más tontas por metro cuadrado que en una universidad de California. Resultado: el niño obtiene un título y consigue una esposa que se va a vivir a México con él. De esta forma los nietos del enano mexicano dejan de ser enanos, adquieren una estatura media y de paso se blanquean. [...] La clase alta mexicana, de hecho, está haciendo, por su cuenta y riesgo, lo que hicieron los españoles, pero al revés. Los españoles, lascivos y poco previsores, se mezclaron con las indias, las violaron, les metieron a la fuerza su religión, y creyeron que de esta manera el país se volvería blanco. Los españoles creían en el blanco bastardo. Sobrestimaban su semen. Pero se equivocaron. Nunca puedes violar a tantas personas. Es matemáticamente imposible. El cuerpo no lo aguanta. Te agotas. [...] El sistema de los españoles hubiera dado algún resultado si hubieran sido capaces de violar a sus propios hijos bastardos y luego a sus nietos bastardos e incluso a sus bisnietos bastardos. ¿Pero quién tiene ganas de violar a nadie cuando has cumplido setenta años y apenas te puedes mantener de pie? El resultado está a la vista. El semen de los españoles, que se creían titanes, se perdió en la masa amorfa de los miles de indios. Los primeros bastardos, los que tenían un cincuanta por ciento de sagre de cada raza, se hicieron cargo del país, fueron los secretarios, los soldados, los comerciantes minoristas, los fundadores de nuevas ciudades. Y siguieron violando, pero el fruto, ya desde entonces, comenzó a decaer, pues las indias que ellos violaron dieron a luz mestizos con un porcentaje aún menor de sangre blanca. Y así sucesivamente. [p. 365]
- Posted on:
- 2010.02.13 -0600