On why a multiethnic Europe is nowhere near. Microsoft does Warsaw

So this is what Microsoft Poland (or they advertisers) considered a bit too much for their consumer base:


Lacking a better word, doesn’t it look glorious?

At least, they were tactful enough to do a poor Photoshop job… but come on, couldn’t mighty Microsoft Europe spare a few thousand euros to do a Poland-rated version of the ad?

But see, I learnt something today (it was worth waking up this morning then). First, Poland is as much a racist country as any other country in the world. Nothing bad with it (we are talking civilised racism here, not Hitler or Apartheid style racism discrimination as the UN chart calls it), but they are realistic about their market.

Second, apparently in Poland, if you are going to be different, you can be Asian, but not black (something to do with Polish builders, plumbers, electricians and other tradesmen moving to Western Europe and being replaced by Chinese I have heard…)

See, I am as racist as the next, and I do have a network of global friends. Asian, Caucasian, Latino, black, and the like. I’ve got good German, Dutch, Afrikaans, Black and Coloured South African friends (yes, they come in even more versions.) Also Moroccan, Nigerian, Japanese, Filipino, French and some other flavours but we talk of races as what they are, points of anatomical and anthropological difference, not something to stigmatise or never speak about. We are all open about it, and we all agree that being tolerant is the key, reality can never be superseded by good intentions, affirmative actions or bill of rights.

No, it is not representative of the sports fun base to have women sports presenters in the UK. Just go see a game.

No, it is not representative of the estate agent crowd to have a black presenter in Location Location.

No, no matter what you say, Jennifer Lopez doesn’t speak Spanish or represents the Mexican-Americans (but epitomised the American dream).

No, call it what you want but a 45 year old black South African cannot have a degree in engineering because under the Apartheid regime they couldn’t go to uni (as much as I despise it, it is true.)

No, no matter how fast you run, if your family tree has been based in Beijing or Dublin for the last ten generations, you will not overrun a black athlete on the 100m.

No, you can try to bake yourself as much as you want and you will still look like a lobster if your name is Andrew McCain and you like the tanned colour of a Thai man.

And, I have never been to Poland, but I would bet my hat that chances are, one out of three Poles is not black or Asian.

When will we all accept reality as what it is real?



On Transformers: Revenge of the Ignorant and the future of knowledge

It is well known that movies are not reality. However, I never understood the “need” to historically, timely or geographically deviate reality.

Sad too say, I am pretty sure that I have missed millions of things myself. From downtown Manhattan aka Vancouver or Liverpool (Inside Man/Alfie) to a running of the bulls/fallas mix up in Mission Impossible 3. But the other day I wasted 2h30 and £8.90 watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen . To be honest, I didn’t waste 2h30. I am into real-life graphs, comics and I even had a small Optimus Prime when a child. Flesh is weak, and Megan Fox makes it all more palatable (until you get bored and drift away to other non-core related issues on the film like Megan’s thumb nails, as sexy as a Playmate with 3 boobs.)

Anyway, actresses weird anatomy is not what this post is about. I guess this post is related to the No Zero Policy I wrote a couple of days back. Some people claim that children do what they learn on TV. Therefore, if we follow that logic, they also learn what they see in movies. And for all that matters, adults too.

Now, it is human nature to be able to differentiate reality from fantasy. Some times it’s obvious (blue and red lycra doesn’t make you fly, stop bullets or climb walls), but some other times, producers/directors get a bit carried away. In the case of the Transformers, running around the world in 30min seems the norm. Thanks to Thomas Friedman, we all know by now that the world is flat but that doesn’t turn Earth from a DIN-A0 (1 m2) to a thumbnail-sized (hey Megan!)  post-it.

Some movie-goers might get any USA city, Jordan and Cairo are just parts of the same neighbourhood. But then, I always thought that, if there is no air in open space, there is no way sound can travel, so all the space explosions we heard in the movies are, well, bogus.

I must be a geek, as I enjoy realistic science (or as real as possible, taking into account that 20m-high/30ton robots would shake waves on the ground when falling, and imagine the static accumulated! Closing my car doors on a dry day is already a challenge!).

I guess this is just a cry for help. We all absorb information from films, so a bit of homework (I can only reason that they must be lazy to the bone or consider reality  “unimportant” for the story) will allow us to learn something when sitting for two ours watching a film,

What I am trying to say is, if you are not good enough at making movies, don’t purely rely on 3D animation, be faithful to reality and I might enjoy the film due to some hidden personal reason instead of having mental blocks trying to figure out if someone else realised that the Pyramids are located right in Cairo like Richmond Park is part of London.


On the age of media overstatement and living in fear of everything

Today it’s the turn of swine flu (a strain of Influenza A virus subtype H1N1, whatever that means). From 2004 to 2007, it was avian influenza (H5N1, for those who worry enough to care). 2003 brought us the Michael Jackson look thanks to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, a nasty type of pneumonia). Post-9/11 anthrax scare anyone? And we have to go back to 1999, for the Y2K problem.

Of course, I am not talking of pandemics, which is an epidemic of infectious diseases that spreads through populations across a large, region, country, continent… or planet. Nope. What I refer to is the exaggeration and overstatement by public bodies like the World Health Organisation and governments about potential global catastrophes.

Of course, they’ll tell you that they’d rather be safe than sorry. FT reports that Margaret Chan, the head of the WHO is trying to “hit back at critics who have accused [WHO] of over-reaction” (FT.com).

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On a life with no news, day 63

Hobbes, the news that get to my ears through word of mouth are:

– Swain flu from Mexico and the popular use of the word “pandemic”
– Spanish and Irish unemployment counting for 2/3 of all EU unemployment increase
– Chelsea 0 – Barcelona 0
– “London seems empty these days” commentaries

PS. I couldn’t resist it any more and I am reading the cover of the FT on my mobile several times a day… I guess that doesn’t count, as I fully read only one article a day at the most, so I am learning to be more demanding.

On a life with no news, day 40: Smelling the future

40 days and 40 nights trying to avoid the news. I almost got my hands badly burnt gambling on oil CFDs, but the G20 meeting saved my neck and taught me a good lesson I read the other day: Nothing sedates rationality like a large doses of effortless money (Warren Buffett).

Easy went, easy came, but overall, almost 2k down the drain.

I guess I learn the hard way, but scars remain, and as a parking fine in an intelligible parking spot makes reminds me forever to look three times and don’t give anything for granted, a couple of months meddling with CFDs taught me a bit of self-control under panic situations and when to admit defeat and take loses before making matters worse (I wish I had learnt the lesson before getting stuck with RBS stock). Continue reading

On a life with no news, day 25

OK, I must confess, I am experiencing withdrawal symptoms and I started peering over shoulders to read some news and staring at covers of magazines and papers at news agents.

A short while ago I started trading on oil CFDs, so it sounds sensible to keep a bit of track on what’s exactly going on in this world of ours.

I think that I have finally cracked it, my problem is that I am not strong enough to build my own opinions, so I borrow from others. The problem being that, if you really read or listen to the news, analysts and pundits go back and forth as they get paid for air time, not common sense or solid rational ideas with a covenant for error.

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On a life with no news, day 21

Hobbes, it is day 21 of my newsless life. It is proving a big mission and, personally, I don’t think I am going to make it. I have been thinking, and the 4-5h per day I don’t know what to do with, might have better use reading the papers. After all, I might be an homo novus.

Only a few pieces have percolated to my little paradise, something about someone who had a family with her own daughter (apparently it’s been on for months now, so I guess I wasn’t interested then, or now), some shoot out in a German school, inflation drums coming from the States and Jade’s cancer show. The rest seem pre-cooked infantile opinions that people take as their own. Was I just doing the same thing? Just throw up what I read without further analysis or personal judgement?

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