I am in the process of downloading a file that contains all the unedited cables that Wikileaks has obtained. You can do the same by downloading this link using a program like Vuze. This is a 1.4GB file so it may take a while. As far as I know it is not illegal to download it as it is not copyright material. In any case it is probably not illegal because you cannot read whatever it is that you are downloaded as it is encrypted. What this file is is a Poison Pill. Assange goes, this file is open for humanity to see.
During Franco´s dictatorship Spain was a very Catholic country. After more than 3 decades of democracy, Spain is not a Catholic country anymore. First, loss of religion became apparent with the legalization of divorce and contraceptives and the promotion of sex ed. This was followed by the decriminalization of abortion, the acceptance of drug possession for personal consumption (drug users are not criminals in Spain, but treated instead as medical patients) and a general acceptance of premarital sex. Later, gambling in public places became commonplace, prostitution was legalized and regulated, and gay marriage became legal as well. So other than euthanasia, I can´t think of anything that the Church used to oppose to that is not legal now in Spain. While 95% of the Spanish youth declared in the 60s that religion played some role in their life, now only a third do.
I am of Jewish origin, proud of my heritage but non religious. I am a secular person. Religion plays no significant role in my life. Judaism to me is interesting as a historical phenomenon, as a culture, but not as a religion. I don´t pray, I don´t listen to religious speeches, I believe that God, as portrayed by religion, most likely does not exist, and even if there is some all powerful being above us, it is unlikely to be say Protestant, or Jewish, or any other religion in particular.
Once, I did a ranking of life in the States vs life in Europe (in my case Spain) along 100 different categories, and surprisingly the result was basically even. There were significant differences in the quality of life in both sides of the Atlantic but USA exceeded in some and Europe in others. Let me give you some examples. In America justice works faster than in Spain, but in Spain it is much less likely that anyone will ever sue you. Or that America and Spain are equally safe, but America requires much more policemen per capita to achieve the same results. Or that America is much better than Spain as an environment in which to start a business, but in Spain there’s much less competition. And I could go on and on, but I would like to pause on one subject in which Americans and Europeans are significantly different, and that is what I would call a likelihood to believe in things not proven. Americans are believers, Europeans are cynics.
The Spanish papers dedicate several pages everyday to the Basque Country debate. The Spanish people are obsessed by the situation in the Basque Country, in part because of terrorism. However, I found out that every year in Spain more people die in car accidents than have died in the entire history of ETA, yet, I don’t see as much ink spilled to cover that story.
There are astronomical reasons for the day to be a day, there are astronomical reasons for the year to be a year, but there are no astronomical reasons for the week to be a week. My father, Carlos Manuel Varsavsky, who was an astronomer, knew this well.
So my father thought of another week. A better week. A week that lasts 6 days. A week in which you work for 4 days and rest two and yet the country’s GDP stays the same.
How? Well stop reading now and see if you get it.
China calling itself Communist is like Latin countries calling themselves Catholic. The Communist Chinese seem to like money as much as the Catholic Latinos like sex and yet both have “ideologies”, whose main principles are based around repression of what those cultures like the most. Maybe it is unsuccessfully trying to fight these “excessive” desires that makes these cultures come up with ideologies that are so far from their own reality of life. You are as unlikely to find a Chinese who believes in sharing his wealth as you are to find a Brazilian who practices abstinence. But there you go.
What many people remember as the atrocity of World War II is the Holocaust, the mass-murder of over 6 million Jews. But what most don’t realize is that Russians suffered more than three times that number of casualties at the hands of the Nazis. Why, then, has neo-Nazism becoming so popular in Russia today?
This morning I read that most Muslims believe that 9/11 was a conspiracy created by the US government to justify the invasion of Iraq. This worried me. How could the majority of Muslims be so wrong?
But then I thought that the US government and that of some EU countries did lie to invade Iraq. It lied about the weapons of mass destruction conspiracy and the connections between Saddam Hussein was and 9/11.
As Israel continues to fight in Gaza, I, a Jew, continue to question the morals and effectiveness of their military campaign. And, just as when I objected to the invasion of Lebanon in 2006, I still hear the same old appeasement song. I hear it again, and again, and again from my Jewish friends: Hitler, Hitler, Hitler. Hezbollah is Hitler. Hamas is Hitler. Iran is Hitler. The Palestinians are Hitler. The Arabs are Hitler. They are all Hitler. They are all for the systematic extermination of the Jewish people. Even when commentators in Europe, the US and other regions disapprove of the methods used by the Israeli government to deal with Hezbollah and Hamas, my Jewish colleagues are quick to dismiss those opinions as those of anti-Semites. In their minds, people who disagree with the foreign policy of Israel are simply waiting for the enemies of the Jewish people to complete the work left undone by the Nazis. For them, the Palestinians are not a people with valid claims about a country, but instead a neo-Nazi group that was created to make sure that Hitler’s final solution gets implemented.