Cosmos on DVD

TV

"To make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe."
-- Carl Sagan

22 years ago, 13 hours of television changed my life. I was just 10 years old when I saw Cosmos for the first time. Carl Sagan's explanation of the "Billions and Billions" of stars in our universe was often heckled, but I always related to the wonder of the magnitude that he was trying to relate. Vangelis was responsible for the soundtrack (the same guy behind the music from Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner), and thinking back at it today, I feel the stirrings of emotion that brought me running to Science at an early age.

If you're looking for a gift for a child in your life this holiday season, I suggest the DVD Compilation. Make sure to buy it from the carlsagan.com site, as 10% of the proceeds go to the Carl Sagan Foundation.
I recently bought the DVD compilation from carlsagan.com, and I must say that I'm not dissapointed : great show, great music.

Dexia NetBanking for Mac OS X

Apple

For some days I'm busy porting Dexia's NetBanking to Mac OSX, the all-singing-all-dancing Unix-with-a-GUI. Today I finally managed to get the core of NetBanking working. It took only some days of twiddling with the code, just hindered by the fact that there's no VisualAge for Java available for Mac OSX. But this thing just shows how rock solid the whole NetBanking architecture is built.


And gosh, do I like this Java2 stuff in Apple. No more MRJ crap, just plain Sun Java. Internet Explorer and Mozilla working in one strike, God, this is the way how Java was meant to be.

For all you Macheads, Dexia's NetBanking will be available in December 2002 on your Mac OSX. No fscking module anymore, just a simple applet in your browser !

Barcodes

Computers

After reading a post about making your own Albert Heyn bonus cards, I search a bit around, and quickly discovered barcode (duh), a Unix command line program, which makes barcodes of an excellent quality (in PostScript).

Most barcodes on items here in Europe, are in EAN-13 code, which you find explained here. The first 2 or 3 characters are used for country codes. For example, Belgian manufactured goods are labelled with a barcode beginning with 54.

Back yard safari

Environment

The dog brought a bug inside the house, which I now can identify as a Green Shield Bug, thanks to Hania's and Hans' pages on the garden animals (also available in Dutch). The nicely illustrated site gives an amazing overview of what little monsters are living in the Western European back yards.

Our new resource crisis

Environment

Imagine that we are beyond the energy crisis, in that we are used to paying double or triple prices for what in the previous century was a small part of the family budget. Now we are faced with a new shortage that taps another precious resource : water only comes through the tap fours hours a day and we are forced to pay ten to hundred times what we paid in the 90s.

Welcome to the world of privatized water, where fresh water is treated like a commodity, traded and sold in the international market to the highest bidder. No longer can you assume a God-given right to drink from a mountain spring. Instead you will have to pay a toll to drink from Enron Springs, Monsanto Wells or receive tap water from Bechtel Water Works.

I encountered the Monsanto name in Mr McDougall's rant about America. Most people already know about the enormous powers some chemical multinationals have, and how it may well be that they are the real institutions who rule world politics.

Global consumption of water is doubling every 20 years, more than twice the rate of human population growth. According to the United Nations, more than one billion people already lack access to fresh drinking water. If current trends persist, by 2025 the demand for fresh water is expected to rise by 56 percent more than the amount of water that is currently available. Multinational corporations recognize these trends and are trying to monopolize water supplies around the world. Monsanto, Bechtel, and other global multinationals are seeking control of world water systems and supplies.

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