Richard Stallman at SIGEF on Free Software vs Proprietary Software

To get into Halloween’s spirit… well it certainly looks like it :) Credit for the picture goes to my colleague as I was too busy interpreting!

Richard Stallman SIGEF

Just to follow up on my experience at the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum, here is a picture of Mr Richard Stallman whom I am sure you’re familiar with if any of my readers are into the free software movement and GNU project.

It was my pleasure to interpret Mr Stallmann at SIGEF in Geneva and learn a bit more about free software vs. logiciel propriétaire (proprietary) and the need of today’s society to control the software it uses and not let itself controlled by private unknown owners.

Control of software equates ownership of freedom, and it was in the spirit of freedom that Mr Stallman delivered two great powerful speeches about user autonomy – hence independence, State surveillance, Snowden (of course) and free software.

Well, as the story goes, I did not only interpret him, but also got to share the bus to Champel: to my great dismay! Mr Stallman appears to be just a human keen on being free, and keen on raising awareness about the dangers deriving from lack of independence especially in an interconnected world such as ours.

To conclude with, control the code and you’ll control your world!

Posted in International Affairs, International Organizations, Media | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Accident de Personne(s) à Morges

Many things can be said about Switzerland. Well, the country or the confederation itself is a brand. The excellent railroad system makes no exception here.

So there I was last week in the ICN from Basel heading to Geneva on Tuesday morning. Rush hour was way past my train schedule, so there were not too many people that morning: some old lady who mistook the train for another one, and some young men already late for work.

And me heading for the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum (SIGEF 2014) where I was due to interpret the event on behalf of ICVolunteers and Horyou Foundation. And by the by, the event was a hit: social innovation, global ethics, and community projects. What could go wrong when you speak about social good and ethics?

Still, my train was on time and I had plenty of space to revise my papers. As we got closer to Vaud Canton, the train stopped and we are issued an apology in French, German and English. And I quote the basics: Due to an “accident de personne(s)” (translates as “accident”) near Morges, the train will have to stop until further notice.

Mind you, trains that stop in the middle of nowhere in Switzerland??? Well, that is extraordinary! To say the least! So, I did suspect the unsuspected and someone did clarify it some days afterwards that “accident de personne(s)” in French does mean that someone did commit suicide, and the train had to stop and clear you know what.

25 minutes – that’s all it took them to clear the railroad, and then we made our way into Geneva like nothing happened.

 

Posted in Culture | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Autumn

autumn leaves

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
  Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
  With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, 
  And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 
    To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells 
  With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
Until they think warm days will never cease,
    For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

John Keats, To Autumn
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Euro Counterfeiters in Oradea: All that Glitters Is Not Gold Nor Garbage

Should you happen to visit Western Romania, do stop in Oradea for a walk. This is a city worth visiting simply because it has so many hidden treasures. Forget multiculturalism and architecture. Take garbage for instance: you’ll soon find out that in this city, garbage is simply a stinky metaphor.

Oradea

Born in Oradea. Read André Gide’s The Counterfeiters in Cluj. And still, last week my hometown pretty much made the headlines in global news with the fabulous fake Euro factory from Oradea producing millions of Euros for the Italian mob.

The Romanian police seized as much as 13 million fake Euros from a factory on the outskirts of Oradea and about 55,000 euros which were previously dumped by the mobsters in the city’s garbage heap. They also helped the Italian police seize about 19 million Euros heading for Italy the same day.

Now the thing is: when mobsters heard that they had been tracked, they started to burn the fake bills and dump it in the garbage. The media covered the big news early in the morning and throughout the day which easily stirred the imagination of some citizens and also of the garbage workmen.

The fake and filthy Euro bills were not only dumped in one place, they were probably scattered across a wide perimeter. And there were plenty of folks who – on hearing the news – headed straight to the garbage dump and found their fortune…

This week there is already evidence that fake Euros did enter Oradea and probably went further into the EU. I always thought Oradea had a head start when it comes to European affairs.

Posted in European Union | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum (SIGEF) 2014

The first edition of the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum (SIGEF 2014) will take place in Geneva, Switzerland from October 22nd to October 24th, 2014 at the International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG). This event aims to gather a diverse and universal audience of international Organizations (NGOs, Foundations, and Associations) and Personalities that promote and support solidarity, humanism, constructive technologies, as well as ethics in all disciplines and fields. along with a large number of socially involved corporations, students, and individuals. The goal is to explore, define, and share new ideas that simultaneously meet social needs more effectively and create social collaborations. It feels like an interesting and exciting networking opportunity, plus the list of speakers is appealing. Let’s see…

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Low Carbon Economy Depends on 2 Degrees of Separation

Between ambition and reality. This is what the latest PwC Low Carbon Economy report is talking about: current trends indicate a 40 C global economy warming while key actors talk about 20 C.

Source: PwC

Source: PwC

According to the report, the global average temperature will hit an increase of 3.4 to 4.8 degrees Celsius by the end of the century unless carbon emissions are cut five times faster… than they are right now. Is it doable?

That’s what the 2015 Climate Change conference (COP15) will be all about: negotiating the negotiated.

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Europe Dependency on Russian Energy

And who has more reasons to fear Russian energy bans.

Gazprom has just reduced its energy exports to Romania as of today. The figure pretty much explains Western silence or slow motion in dealing with what we may call the Eastern European crisis since this goes well beyond Ukraine.

europe dependency on russian energy

Source: Eurostat as published by Global Trade Information Services

Posted in European Union, International Affairs | Tagged , | 2 Comments