June 21, 2013

Life at INRIA Sophia-Antipolis: Wild boars and memories of the baby fox

Days are good when emails like this bring back sweet memories of the time as a student.


Following the repeated presence of wild boar(s) on the site, an
administrative hunt will be held on Sunday morning.
To avoid accidents, the center will be closed from midnight until
noon on Sunday, June 23rd.
Please do not come to the site during this period (not even by
coming through the Campus).
Thank you and have a nice weekend.

A la suite de la présence répétée de sanglier(s) sur le site, une battue administrative sera organisée dimanche matin.
Pour éviter tout accident, le centre sera fermé de 0 H à midi dimanche 23 juin.
Merci de ne pas venir sur le site pendant cette période (y compris par l'accès Campus).

I have never come face-to-face with a boar on campus, though I have heard twigs and dried leaves being stomped upon in the bushes near the campus.
My only face-to-face encounter with a wild animal was in late 2009 or early 2010 with a baby fox. The fox was apparently scarred of me and my clumsy feud with my umbrella -- fluttering wildly with the noisy wind --  while I was scarred despite being amazed by the hypnotic sight of its magnificent furry tail and the shiny worried eyes. I believe it was crying on being lost as it jumped to hide under the trees and give a timid stare at the student soaked in the rain, a student who could not decide if he should run without the umbrella or keep it in case the mother decided to come out and protect her child.

On the walk back home I only wished that the fox survived the night the rest of the rainy winter at Sophia-Antipolis.

June 1, 2013

Imperialism and America

Some nice take aways from this talk
1) Expansion as a strategy to ensure security.
2) Salt water fallacy.
3) Wilsonian idealism:  McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonald's (Douglas).
4)  George Kennan Pps 23. Maintain a disparity such that 6% of population controls half the worlds wealth and 6%of population and must maintain this disparity. Despite such statements Kennan removed as soft hearted!
5) Cold war as War of us against third world. Use other power as pretext to quel nationalism in each ones backyard.
6) Nationalism is a virus -- Kissinger. Small weak countries to be crushed as an example.
7) End of cold war:  Change from weapon rich target to target rich region.
8) Two principles of rule (bullying): i). We own the world, and  ii). Everything we do is done with the best of intentions
9) Oil sanctions made directors of oil for food program resign because they considered sanctions to be genocidal.

I really liked the way in which he ends the talk. Despite all the crazy facts the talk ends with a positive and optimistic note,  "On issue after issue the major problems happen to be right here, which is a very optimistic conclusion, because it means we can do something about it. It is here where we can have an influence, not elsewhere."

The calm manner with which he handled the first question is breathtaking -- worthy of the applause he receives.