Death comes after death

When you loose someone, you don’t realize at once that they are dead. You see a body lying there, but you can’t believe it’s actually them. That what is lying there is after all cold and pale, while your loved one continues to be the warm and vivid person in your memory. When my grandpa died I could make jokes sitting next to his coffin. I had the feeling this was something symbolic, it could not be really himself. The burial seemed a chilly ceremony and everyone was in a hurry to finish it as quickly as possible (it was damn freezing and it was almost New year).

Deep inside, you believe this is just a game, and once you are back home you’ll find the dead person sitting the same place, alife.

Days later you start missing the person intensely. Then you realize that they won’t come back to home and it is then when you really feel the pain of losing them. Death comes after death.

Infinite odd numbers

It is really interesting to read this and compare with my earlier speculation about infinity.

In that infinite universe, Paddy Murphy Night not only occurs once, or several times, but an infinite number of times. (However, non-Paddy Murphy Night also occurs an infinite number of times. This illustrates Cantor’s principle that if you remove an infinite set from an infinite set, another infinite set remains…)1

1 For example, the set of whole numbers continues to infinity, but so does the set of even numbers. If you subtract the even numbers from the whole numbers, you still have an infinite set of odd numbers.

The notion that odd numbers can continue infinitely and still never repeat or never become even numbers, seems however to challenge the idea that infinite time and space will inevitably create recurring patterns.

The quote is from Robert Anton Wilson’s Quantum psychology (p. 67).

When disappointed

I have noticed that whenever someone disappoints me or whenever I get disappointed in humanity, I think and I think, and eventually I conclude that I am actually disappointed in myself.

At the end, I curse myself, I reconcile with myself. End of story.

I’m not sure, but I think all introverts act like this.

 

Arguing about Infinity

― Just imagine what it means when you say the Universe is infinite! If time and space are really infinite, then eventually somewhere, at some point it will create recurring patterns and it will start repeating itself. One part of the Universe will be truly identical to an other part. Any detail of it, up to the number of protons in any single atom…

A universe like this will ultimately create a person that is completely identical to me or to you. Just think of it: somewhere, someone has exactly same thoughts that go through your head right now. And it wont stop there, because the infinite universe will create an infinite number of exactly the same person ― those who slightly differ not counted.

So, while we are sitting here and arguing with me, there are an infinite number of us, the same two guys having the same conversation. And later, when you sit and write this in your blog, there are an infinite number of you who are writing exactly the same post. Having said that: there will be also an infinite number of people reading it! Crazy isn’t it, Imandes?

― No. I think you are wrong. You are not talking about an Infinite Universe, you are talking about a finite universe in fact. Because if one part of the universe doesn’t differ from an other one, then these two are identical. If you travel through the universe and find someone who is totally like myself, who has the same body, the same parents, the same future, who’s living on the same planet, in the same solar system, then there should be no doubt that it’s myself and nobody else!

If the universe is repeating itself, then it’s not infinite, it’s a closed circle. An infinite universe will never repeat itself. It will evolve and evolve and evolve and every-time and always and everywhere it will be unique, not a single atom will be the same as another one. Just like numbers.

Eurasian union? No way!

I really expect this will be nevertheless undone. The incumbent president and his party have lost any popularity in the past years and especially after the last elections. I think you can hardly find anyone in Armenia who’d believe those election were democratic.

The only thing that somehow backed up the “winning” president and his party were the statements of EU and OSCE observers saying the elections were not very bad at all (so angry local observers and activists that they even interrupted OSCE/ODHR press conference).

European counterparts will probably no longer backup Sargsyan, he has 0 popularity in his country, he hasn’t done anything successfully to improve the economy of Armenia, and there are thousands of people emigrating every week. I think soon after he gets back home he will see no other choice than resign.

Or he must start using harsh force to repress protest waves (indeed this seems very likely. Recently Armenian police was arresting teenager activists like there were terrorists; these activists were, by the way. protesting against “smaller” things, like transport fares hike or distortion of a national monument.

Even if Sargsyan won’t resign or call back his statement, “Russian empire” will face a intensive resistance in Armenia, every day, every hour. The overwhelming majority does not want to be part of the EurasianUnion or Tax Union. There is a generation which can’t accept the idea of a renewed USSR.

Update from Yerevan

A month after  the successful protest actions against public transport fare hike, there are still ongoing demonstrations in Yerevan and the situation seems to escalate the last couple of days.

Firstly, there is a sit-in strike in front of the Municipality Hall demanding dismission of two officials: Henrik Navasardyan (the Head of Yerevan Municipality Transport Department) and Misak Hambardzumyan (the Director of Yerevantrans CJSC). Then, lately these activists (most of them are youngsters) also joined the residents of Komitas Street 5, who protest against the construction of a new “elite” flat building.

Yesterday protesters managed to block the street for a while. What happened after that is difficult to describe. The police arrested 26 activists. One of them was severely beaten in the police car on its way to the police station.

A couple of hours later, another 16 activists were arrested, this time in front of the Municipality Hall. This rather small group of activists intended to perform a  play called “Story of a Public transportation fare hike” (where they would mock on Taron Marhargan, Henrik Navasardyan and Misak Hambardzumyan).

As I was there and have seen the scene, I think the police acted quit fiercely (they immediately started to arrest the activists after some of them tried to get on the stairs in front of the doorway of the Municipality Hall). A girl was arrested only because she played on her drum.

Later that night 2 of the activists were beaten by a group of strangers.

The very same day the police released a  statement warning that they are going to use “special measures” against activists who “disturb public order”.

Meanwhile activists have called the arrests a “mass repression”. Several activists call to prepare against the “special measures” of the police.

Riseup.net: Surveillance programs an existential threat to democracy, Encryption technology our hope for the future

Riseup.net makes a strong statement about state surveillance and says democracy, free speech & our future depend on open-source encryption. They are going to develop new encrypted email & chat services, and they need our support. Quoted from a recent newsletter:

It is a mistake to frame the recent US and European massive surveillance revelations in terms of the privacy of individuals. What is at stake is not privacy at all, but the power of the state over its citizenry.

What surveillance really is, at its root, is a highly effective form of social control. The knowledge of always being watched changes our behavior and stifles dissent. The inability to associate secretly means there is no longer any possibility for free association. The inability to whisper means there is no longer any speech that is truly free of coercion, real or implied. Most profoundly, pervasive surveillance threatens to eliminate the most vital element of both democracy and social movements: the mental space for people to form dissenting and unpopular views.

Many commentators, and Edward Snowden himself, have noted that these surveillance programs represent an existential threat to democracy. This understates the problem. The universal surveillance programs in place now are not simply a potential threat, they are certain to destroy democracy if left unchecked. Democracy, even the shadow of democracy we currently practice, rests on the bedrock foundation of free association, free speech, and dissent. The consequence of the coercive power of surveillance is to subvert this foundation and undermine everything democracy rests on.

Within social movements, there is a temptation to say that nothing is really different. After all, governments have always targeted activist groups with surveillance and disruption, especially the successful ones.

But this new surveillance is different. What the US government and European allies have built is an infrastructure for perfect social control. By automating the process of surveillance, they have created the ability to effortlessly peer into the lives of everyone, all the time, and thus create a system with unprecedented potential for controlling how we behave and think.

True, this infrastructure is not currently used in this way, but it is a technical tool-kit that can easily be used for totalitarian ends.

Those who imagine a government can be trusted to police itself when given the ominous power of precise insight into the inner workings of everyday life are betting the future on the ability of a secretive government to show proper self-restraint in the use of their ever-expanding power. If history has shown us anything, it is that the powerful will always use their full power unless they are forced to stop.

So, how exactly are we planning on stopping them? We support people working through the legal system or applying political pressure, but we feel our best hope of stopping the technology of surveillance is the technology of encryption. Why? Because the forces that have created this brave new world are unlikely to be uprooted before it is too late to halt the advance of surveillance.

Unfortunately, most existing encryption technology is counterproductive. Many people are pushing technology that is proprietary, relies on a central authority, or is hopelessly difficult for the common user. The only technology that has a chance to resist the rise of surveillance will be open source, federated, and incredibly easy to use. In the long run, decentralized peer-to-peer tools might meet this criteria, but for the foreseeable future these tools will not have the features or usability that people have grown accustomed to.

In the coming months, the Riseup birds plan to begin rolling out a series of radically new services, starting with encrypted internet, encrypted email, and encrypted chat. These services will be based on 100% open source and open protocols, will be easy to use, and will protect your data from everyone, even Riseup. This is a massive undertaking, made in concert over the last year with several other organizations, and will only work with your support. We need programmers, particularly those experienced in Python, C, Ruby, and Android development, and sysadmins interested in starting their own secure service providers.

We also need money. Donations from our amazing Riseup users keep us running on our current infrastructure. But in order to be able to graduate to a new generation of truly secure and easy to use communication technology, we are going to need a lot more money than our users are able to donate. If you have deep pockets and an interest in building this new generation of communication, then we need to hear from you. If you have friends or family who care about the future of democracy and who have deep pockets, we need to hear from them, too.

At Riseup, we have felt for the last few years that the window of opportunity to counter the rise of universal surveillance is slowly shrinking. Now is our chance to establish a new reality where mass numbers of people are using encryption on a daily basis.

If you have the skills or the money, now is the time to step up and help make this reality come true. Please contact waxwing@riseup.net.

There is a Loneliness in the World

I loved this so much:

there is a loneliness in this world so great
that you can see it in the slow movement of
the hands of a clock.

people so tired
mutilated
either by love or no love.

people just are not good to each other
one on one.

the rich are not good to the rich
the poor are not good to the poor.

we are afraid.

our educational system tells us
that we can all be

big-ass winners.

it hasn’t told us
about the gutters
or the suicides.

or the terror of one person
aching in one place
alone

untouched
unspoken to

watering a plant.

people are not good to each other.
people are not good to each other.
people are not good to each other.

Charles Bukowski, Love is a Dog from Hell (thanks to Satenik for sharing)

First shots with my Zenit EM

Last weekend I bought a Zenit EM from the flee market of Yerevan (Vernissage). As Norayr told me: it’s the best way to start professional photography if you can’t afford an expensive digital camera.

So here are some of my first shots. Frankly, I haven’t used a photographic film for more than a decade and I never had my own SLR camera before. So don’t be too critical ։-)