Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

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Sveinbjörn Þórðarson skrifar...


Faster disk image mounting with FastDMG

24.5.2018 kl. 11:12 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

I've been using this little tool for years and finally decided to spruce it up and make a proper release: FastDMG. The source is on GitHub.

It's deeply unclear to me how an afternoon or two of coding and testing can produce a solution in every way superior to Apple's DiskImageMounter. Their software is really going to the dogs these days.

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Made many promises but kept only one

12.5.2018 kl. 12:39 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

This remarkable animated GIF map shows the speed with which the newly-founded United States exterminated the Native Americans and seized their land. The founding history of that benighted country is drenched in blood but contemporary Americans seem blissfully callous about their forefathers' long litany of bad faith, betrayal, genocide, treaty-breaking and forced removal. As if the Eurasian diseases they brought weren't bad enough.

As Chief Red Cloud put it: "[The white men] made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised to take our land, and they took it."

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Þetta bændalið er alveg vonlaust

4.5.2018 kl. 12:57 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

Ég andvarpaði og ranghvolfdi augunum eftir að hafa skrifað eftirfarandi grein í vinnunni í dag:

Lower tariffs on hundreds of EU products as trade agreement comes into effect

Tariffs on hundreds of food products from the European Union were significantly reduced or abolished on Tuesday when Iceland’s bilateral trade preference agreement with the EU came into effect.

Iceland and the EU reached an agreement concerning trade in agricultural products in September 2015, with government spokesmen declaring that the abolition of tariffs would benefit Icelandic consumers by increasing product diversity and pushing prices down.

According to the agreement, Iceland abolishes tariffs on 340 tariff numbers and lowers tariffs on another twenty. The EU correspondingly lowers or abolishes its tariffs. All tariffs on processed agricultural products except yoghurt are abolished, including those on chocolate, pizzas, pasta, baking goods and various other products, while tariffs on unprocessed agricultural commodities such as french fries and outdoor-grown vegetables are reduced.

The agreement also stipulates that both parties significantly increase their tariff-free import quotas for various meat products and cheese. Iceland receives greatly increased tariff-free quotas for agricultural exports such as skyr, butter and mutton.

The agreement was harshly criticised by Sindri Sigurgeirsson, chairman of the Association of Icelandic Farmers, who claims the agreement puts domestic producers in a difficult position. Icelandic farmers are particularly unhappy with the fact that the size of the respective markets is not taken into account.

“In our view, [the agreement] is deeply unfavourable to us here in Iceland while the European Union gets proportionally greater access to our domestic market," Mr Sigurgeirsson said. "Of course, people sought this agreement at the time to secure better access for [Icelandic] skyr and mutton in the European market. That’s the origin of this agreement. But it’s unfavourable and … people didn’t expect this monstrosity of a deal, which makes competition in meat and cheese very difficult for domestic producers.”

Centre Party MPs echoed Mr Sigurgeirsson’s criticism in parliament on Thursday, saying Icelandic authorities made a mistake when they pushed the deal through without consulting interested parties, and without introducing countermeasures to aid farmers.

The agreement was signed by the government of then-Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíd Gunnlaugsson. Mr Gunnlaugsson is now chairman of the Centre Party.

Ríkisstjórn Simma og Framsóknarflokks skrifar undir viðskiptasamning við Evrópusambandið árið 2015, lofar neytendum gulli og grænum skógum, klappar sér á bakið.

Þremur árum síðar eru Simmi og átrúendur hans í Miðflokknum öskureiðir -- yfir samningi sem foringinn sjálfur gaf græna ljósið á! Þetta lið er gjörsamlega óforskammað.

Og af hverju eru bændur skyndilega brjálaðir yfir þessum samningi? Þetta hefur legið fyrir í að verða þrjú ár, samningurinn aðgengilegur öllum á netinu. Ekki eins og þetta hafi verið eitthvað ríkisleyndarmál, en nú skyndilega kemur þetta bændum eins og þruma úr heiðskíru lofti. Kannski þeir kunni ekki á netið. Eða að lesa.

Menn voru að sækja þetta á sínum tíma fyrir aðgang fyrir skyr og lambakjöt á Evrópumarkað. Þannig er uppruni þessa samnings. En hann er óhagstæður og okkur finnst að menn hafi samið af sér.[heimild]

Héldu þeir virkilega að þeir fengju aðgang að landbúnaðarmarkaði ESB án þess að gefa eitthvað í staðinn? Hvers konar aulaskapur er þetta eiginlega?

Ísland: Þar sem tvískinnungur og viðvaningsháttur er löngu hættur að koma á óvart.

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Prokofiev's perfect piece for the Dark Continent

2.5.2018 kl. 11:49 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

A brilliant fusion of modernism and romanticism. With its strong horns, stirring bass, and doom-infused strings, it perfectly captures Europe's early twentieth century and all its horrors.

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Americans and their "ah-due"

24.4.2018 kl. 15:27 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

What is it with Americans and their butchery of basic English semantics and pronunciation?

It's "I couldn't care less", not "I could care less." Think about it logically for a second or two and you'll find that the latter makes no sense at all.

Also, don't say "Without further a-due". It's "ado", people. Ah-doo, not a-due! Ever seen that Shakespeare play?

And while we're on the subject:

Coup de grâce is pronounced "Coo-duh-grass", not "Coo-duh-grah." French may sometimes be confusing in terms of pronunciation, but -ce endings are never silent. Vide e.g. fem. name Alice.

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Brilliant alliteration

20.4.2018 kl. 11:05 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

Alliteration, such an important technique in Icelandic poetry, is strangely absent in most English verse. All the more respect to Nick Cave for his brilliant and beautiful alliteration in the final verse of the Song of Joy:

Outside the vultures wheel,
the wolves howl, the serpents hiss.
And to extend this small favour, friend,
would be the sum of earthly bliss.


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Horrible man, sublime music

18.4.2018 kl. 12:03 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

Wagner may have been a horrible human being, but his music is truly sublime.

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A cloud of willful unknowing

16.4.2018 kl. 13:02 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

Mark Lilla's great analysis of our current politico-philosophical malaise (from The Reckless Mind):

One of the less remarked consequences of the cold war's end has been the vacuum of understanding it left behind. If nothing else, the old ideologies focused the mind. With lineages that could be traced back two centuries, they presented clear, opposing portrayals of political reality, however distorted, and programs for acting within it. And they were not arbitrary constructs. They had roots in philosophical and religious traditions with radically different understandings of human nature and history that ran back much further. When the modern ideologies were jettisoned, so was a living connection with those traditions.

Now we are free of the old illusions. So one would expect to find our situation easier to understand and grapple with. In fact, just the opposite seems true. Never since the end of World War II, and perhaps since the Russian Revolution, has political thinking in the West seemed so shallow, so clueless. We all sense that ominous changes are taking place in Western societies, and in other societies whose destinies will very much shape our own. Yet we lack adequate concepts and even vocabulary for describing the world we now find ourselves in. More worrisome still, we lack awareness that we lack them. A cloud of willful unknowing seems to have settled on our intellectual life.

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Enlightenment and religion at the roots of tyranny

16.4.2018 kl. 12:56 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

Which of these two stories will our historian choose to tell? If he is like most historians that may well depend on which intellectual and political aspects of modern tyranny he feels deserve our attention. If he is trying to understand exclusively the brutality of Soviet "planning," the Nazis' chillingly efficient program to exterminate the Jews, the methodical self-destruction of Cambodia, the programs of ideological indoctrination, the paranoid webs of informers and secret police--if he wants to explain how these tyrannical practices were conceived and defended, he might be tempted to blame a heartless intellectual rationalism that crushed all in its path. If, on the other hand, he is struck by the role in modern tyranny played by the idolization of blood and soil, the hysterical obsession with racial categories, the glorification of reviolutionary violence as a purifying force, the cults of personality, and the orgiastic mass rallies, he will be tempted to say that reason collapsed before irrational passions that had migrated from religion to politics. And if our historian is more ambitious still, and wants to explain both classes of phenomena? At that point he will have to abandon the history of ideas.

Mark Lilla, "The Reckless Mind"

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Heidegger the Fox

12.4.2018 kl. 13:22 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

Hannah Arendt's scathing takedown of her erstwhile mentor and lover, Old Nazi Heidegger:

Once upon a time there was a fox who was so lacking in slyness that he not only kept getting caught in traps but couldn’t even tell the difference between a trap and a non-trap. … After he had spent his entire youth prowling around the traps of people … this fox decided to withdraw from the fox world altogether and to set about making himself a burrow. In his shocking ignorance of the difference between traps and non-traps, despite his incredibly extensive experience with traps, he hit on an idea completely new and unheard of among foxes: He built a trap as his burrow. He set himself inside it, passed it off as a normal burrow (not out of cunning, but because he had always thought others’ traps were their burrows). … Alas, no one would go into his trap, because he was sitting inside it himself. And so it occurred to our fox to decorate his trap beautifully and to hang up unequivocal signs everywhere on it that quite clearly said: “Come here, everyone; this is a trap, the most beautiful trap in the world.” From this point on … many came. Everyone except our fox could, of course, step out of it again. It was cut, literally, to his own measurement. But the fox who lived in the trap said proudly: “So many are visiting me in my trap that I have become the best of all foxes.” And there is some truth in that, too: Nobody knows the nature of traps better than one who sits in a trap his whole life long.

Subtle and devastating, but not nearly as much fun as Schopenhauer on Hegel.

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