We are 83rd!

Venezuela is number 83rd in technological prowess... I think I am responsible for a couple of those spots icon_razz

Theft and electricity

About the only thing that could make my site go completely dark now is a several hour blackout in the building where it's at (undisclosed location). Theoretically this shouldn't be but for a few hours (minus the 45 minutes that my UPS currently lasts). In theory, I would be without electric light and, hence, in a bigger problem than just a site blackout. Well, the difference between theory and practice is that in theory there is no difference... Yesterday someone stole the ground cable of one of the phases of the building, the electric company took hours to repair it (almost 12). In the meantime my UPS went dead about an hour and a half after the theft, placing it at 11:30am and my server went, gracefully out at that time. since UPS would recharge my server may have come back for short periods later on. At any rate, since the electric company belongs to the government, I can officially say that my site went out by (in)action of the Venezuelan government...

The latest Bolivar phrase

"The Government that censors the Internet, shall have no Google and no Yahoo, such a government can only be called a tyranny"
- Simón Bolívar

(Yes, he was really ahead of his time)

Ignorance is not a sin, the persistence of ignorance is.

Pick a Number, Any Number (Registration required, use Bug Me Not )
"No person would confess at a dinner party to having never heard of Shakespeare. No one boasts of being unable to write a paragraph. When the subject is mathematics, however, discretion flies out the window. I have listened to public intellectuals and university faculty members unapologetically announce that they cannot manage elementary arithmetic computations and are happily ignorant of algebra and geometry."

Chavez is Gay!

He says so himself right here.

A moment of enlightment

I was listening to a podcast by Cory Doctorow today and he said something like: "The people sent to a Gulag in the former Soviet Union, weren't there for things they said, they were there because they were black marketeers. Of course, there was no way to survive in the former Soviet Union if you weren't a black marketeer." I had to think about it for a while, what he meant is that in the official papers and accusations it never said "Political Prisoner" it said something "Violation of code such and such against black market activities." This made me understand the barrage of laws that the Chavez Government has enacted in the last few years, of course, they are created in order to make a criminal of every single citizen. In most cases they won't be prosecuted. But if someone, anyone, does something that the government doesn't like, they only have to turn the magnifying glass on them, find out a law violation and throw them in jail! That's why it's so difficult to show that there is censorship and there are political prisoners in a given state... It never said that! If everybody is illegal, you can put anyone in jail.

How can we get some aid here?

While Chavez is competing with the US to see who can aid Bolivia more, I wonder if we could get some kind of competition here in Venezuela. The "aid to Venezuela" field is empty. Whatever the government deems essential it disappears, according to the government because of hoarders. Whatever the government dislikes is declared illegal so it disappears too! We have seen this movie before, will we ever learn? Some people seem to be learning. Will we?

Today I saw...

A tow truck towing a tow truck towing a van... I thought "Is that legal?" and then I thought "Is that safe?"..

Chavez can do whatever he wants... Again!

"Winning" the recall was not enough, having 100% control of the assembly is not enough, winning a relection was not enough, Chavez needed an enabling law in order to legislate without the pesky legislators from his own party. Now, perhaps, after 8 years he can actually start doing something different from the previous governments...

Chavez demands to take his rightful place met with skepticism

Chavez Demands Membership in Axis of Evil. Craves Slot Vacated By Saddam

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, riding high after being re-elected to a six-year term in office, set his sights on an even higher goal today as he demanded membership in the Axis of Evil.

Mr. Chavez, who made headlines at the U.N. last year by comparing President George W. Bush to Satan, has made no secret of the fact that he would like to join the exclusive club of the world’s most infamous evildoers, including North Korean president Kim Jong-Il and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

But when the Venezuelan president recently received the news that former Axis of Evil member Saddam Hussein had been hanged, “he realized that this was his time,” an aide to the Venezuelan madman said.

“I want Saddam’s slot,” Mr. Chavez said at a press conference in Caracas today. “I’ve earned it.”

But “not so fast,” says Kim Jong-Il, who heard of Mr. Chavez’ demand while appearing at an Axis of Evil charity golf tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona.

While the North Korean president said that he is “a big fan of Hugo’s work,” he has reservations about granting the Venezuelan dictator membership in the Axis of Evil: “I think there’s a big difference between being evil and just being crazy, and I think Hugo falls under crazy.”

But when asked who he would like to see take Saddam’s place in the Axis of Evil, Kim did not miss a beat: Rosie O’Donnell.

“Anyone who can make enemies of both Donald Trump and Barbara Walters deserves a seat at the table,” Kim said.

Elsewhere, Vice President Dick Cheney defended the government’s right to obtain everyone’s financial records “except mine.”

A sad day today

We just got word that Misha Cotlar, my wife's Ph.D. Thesis adviser and the greatest mathematician who has ever worked in Venezuela, died in Argentina today. He left Argentina running of dictators and left Venezuela for the same reason. He described himself as a "student of mathematics" even though he was a teacher to all of us. I wrote a "Featured Review" with him for Mathematical Reviews and I consider that the high point of my career. He wasn't properly honored in Venezuela, though his students organized a conference for him and published a book in his honor. I'm glad to have had a minor participation in both endeavors. Donald Sarason said on the death of my first adviser, Allen Shields, that there were heroes up there and there were heroes down here. Like Allen, Misha Cotlar was a hero down here. He will be greatly missed, always.

Chavez demands a return to the 4th republic

If anyone in Venezuela or abroad thought Chavez was different from any of our previous presidents, his latest tirade should convince them otherwise. What he is asking for is a return to the 40 years of democracy he criticizes. They had control of all the companies and you couldn't make a single phone call. That's what he wants, no socialism, no benefits for the poor, just a powerful government as long as he is in charge...

Weird names...

I wanted to bestow on all my descendants the first name "Doctor", so they would be treated with respect from the start. My wife wouldn't let me for some reason or another. Looking at this article it looks like I should have...
(thanks Miguel)

Correction to the Article: Most Venezuelans hate Richard Clayderman and his alleged music.


Not all elections are created equal

"Do you agree with the reunification of Austria with the German Empire that was enacted on 13 March 1938, and do you vote for the party of our leader Adolf Hitler?," the large circle is labelled "Yes," the smaller "No."

May the best of last year

... be the worst of the new year...

Smartmatic bails out of investigation

Smartmatic has decided to put Sequoia up for sale in an attempt to avoid scrutiny from an ongoing investigation. Will they succeed?

I'm Time's Person of the year 2006!

They just announced, I'm very proud. they found out I control the information age. I beat Chavez! Take that Hugo!

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