Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

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"Tryllti skríllinn" 1949

21.10.2017 kl. 21:26 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

Þessi "tryllti skríll" sem Morgunblaðið sagði hafa ráðist á Alþingi við NATO mótmælin 1949 var nú ekki trylltari en svo að enginn vildi brjóta regluna að standa ekki á grasinu. Eiginlega stórmerkilegt. Þetta myndi aldrei gerast við mótmæli í dag. Nú er allt traðkað í svað.

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The new Blade Runner film

11.10.2017 kl. 19:17 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

New Blade Runner 2049 film visually stunning but plodding, pretentious and badly written. Lots of good ideas underdeveloped and left unexplored. Botched screenplay and pacing. I was genuinely bored for the last half hour.

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Crassus the libertarian

23.9.2017 kl. 17:08 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

Something tells me Crassus was a libertarian.

One of the most successful politicians of the first century before the Christian era was Marcus Licinius Crassus, who was reputedly not only the richest man in Rome but also, by one accounting, the eighth-richest man who has ever lived. His fortune was pegged (by Pliny the Elder) at upward of two hundred million sesterces. Most of those millions were in real estate, some of it acquired in a manner strikingly like the operations of health-insurance companies a couple of millennia later. Crassus had his own private fire department, and if your house caught fire his representatives would offer to buy it on the spot, at a one-time-only, fire-sale price that would fall rapidly as the flames climbed. If you said yes, you’d get a few sesterces, after which Crassus’ firefighters would do their thing. If you said no, you’d end up with a pile of ashes. (No public option being available, few owners were in a position to quibble.)

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Self-preservation

18.9.2017 kl. 17:13 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

We automatically mounted the machine gun for action. Then like animals we burrowed into the earth as if trying to find protection deep in its bosom. Something struck my back where I carried my gas mask, but I did not pay attention to it. A steel splinter broke the handle of my spade and another knocked the remains out of my hand. I kept digging with my bare hands, ducking my head every time a shell exploded nearby. A boy to my side was hit in the arm and cried out for help. I crawled over to him, ripped the sleeves of his coat and shirt open and started to bind the bleeding part. The gas was so thick now I could hardly discern what I was doing. My eyes began to water and I felt as if I would choke. I reached for my gas mask, pulled it out of its container – then noticed to my horror that a splinter had gone through it leaving a large hole. I had seen death thousands of times, stared it in the face, but never experienced the fear I felt then. Immediately I reverted to the primitive. I felt like an animal cornered by hunters. With the instinct of self-preservation uppermost, my eyes fell on the boy whose arm I had bandaged. Somehow he had managed to put the gas mask on his face with his one good arm. I leapt at him and in the next moment had ripped the gas mask from his face. With a feeble gesture he tried to wrench it from my grasp; then fell back exhausted. The last thing I saw before putting on the mask were his pleading eyes.

Corporal Frederick Meisel,
371 Infantry Regiment, 43rd Ersatz Brigade, 10th Ersatz Division, German Army

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Vefsíða í 20 ár

26.8.2017 kl. 18:41 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

Ég var að fatta að ég hef haldið úti vefsíðu á netinu í 20 ár! Fyrsta vefsíðan mín fór í loftið árið 1997, skömmu áður en ég byrjaði í menntaskóla. Hún var með rotating GIF hauskúpur sitt hvoru megin við hausinn efst og hýst á slóð sem innihélt tildu (~), eins og tíðkaðist þá.

Fyrstu árin hoppaði vefsíðan milli hýsingaraðila og undirléna, en að lokum keypti ég mitt eigið lén, sveinbjorn.org, árið 2005. Vefurinn hefur keyrt á heimasmíðaða vefumsjónarkerfinu mínu, Mentat, frá 2003. Það er enn langbesta vefumsjónarkerfið, enda sérsniðið að mínum þörfum (Fokk jú, Wordpress).

Heimavefþjónninn arakkis fór í loftið árið 2005. Hann var um tíma ofan í skúffu hjá foreldrum Magga vinar míns og hýsti sveinbjorn.org allt þar til vélin gaf upp öndina 2015. Þá var nýr þjónn, lítill Intel NUC, keyptur til þess að halda fjörinu gangandi. Sá þjónn heitir caladan, og nýtist sem Tor relay node og VPN fyrir mig.

Á gullárum bloggsins, 2002-2008, áður en Facebook tók yfir allt, var athugasemdakerfið á sveinbjorn.org lifandi vettvangur þar sem ég og vinir mínir og aðrir rifumst um pólitík og skiptumst á bröndurum.

Síðasta haust tók ég mig til og færði vefinn loksins í nýtt og betra form sem virkar vel á snjalltækjum. Í footernum stendur nú © 1997-2017 Sveinbjörn Þórðarson. Mitt elsta sköpunarverk sem enn lifir.

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Berlin through Bavarian eyes

26.8.2017 kl. 18:03 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

From The Cheery, Ordinary World of Fascism:

Nazism was a very different and distinctly Bavarian ideology -- a bizarrely aesthetic, art-heavy mutation of fascism.

What you see in the pages of Signal is Bavarian culture, with their deep love of food, sex, and drink combined with a dangerously intense feeling that this Germany is the Germany, and that Germany is the proper template for the world. I deal constantly with Bavarians, and they never tire of telling me, as an Italian in need of clarification, that Bavaria is the true Germany. They consider Northern Germans grim philistines, lacking all aesthetic sense, and as for Berlin—well, as they explain, it's nothing but commies, Jews and homosexuals.

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A sign of dystopian things to come

9.8.2017 kl. 12:47 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

A sign of dystopian things to come.

Soon enough, we'll have big-data-trained, machine-learning neural networks constantly analysing our credit rating, evaluating our work performance, ranking us in job and school applications, determining if we're fit to have children, and so on.

Ironically, the engineers devising these algorithms will have no real understanding of how they work, only that they meet some abstract performance criteria.

Mark my words: There's going to be lots and lots of incomprehensible and ridiculous "Computer Says No" in coming decades, when the Excel spreadsheet people "optimise" by offloading all bureaucracy and service jobs on to opaque, "authoritative" AIs.

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The Imperial Reflex

3.8.2017 kl. 17:06 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

Spot on:

Some British politicians suffer from an imperial reflex, however. For them, Britain lies at the centre of the world. We only have to state our aims and other countries will be generous enough to help us achieve them.

The British have never really accepted the fact that their Empire is gone and that they are now just another European nation, neither particularly rich nor powerful when compared to France and Germany.

True, Britain does outperform its Western European neighbours on several fronts: it is a uniquely miserable, unjust and unequal place thanks to the radical neoliberal experiment of the past 40 years. A corrupt, undemocratic financial centre in the Eurozone, burdened with an impoverished, unhappy, overtaxed and unneeded surplus population. And now it's leaving the Eurozone.

There's only one glimmer of light I can see in this whole Brexit business: The consequences are likely to be so bad that it may effect some kind of political change for the better in the long run.

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The eccentrics have been drummed out

12.7.2017 kl. 13:03 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson

What do we live for?

Academia was, [Graeber] muses, once a haven for oddballs – it was one of the reasons he went into it. “It was a place of refuge. Not any more. Now, if you can’t act a little like a professional executive, you can kiss goodbye to the idea of an academic career.”

Why is that so terrible?

“It means we’re taking a very large percentage of the greatest creative talent in our society and telling them to go to hell … The eccentrics have been drummed out of all institutions.”

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Excellent palindrome

10.7.2017 kl. 13:01 - Sveinbjörn Þórðarson
A man, a plan, a canal - Panama

What an excellent palindrome.

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