Search Results: "garden"

19 November 2017

Louis-Philippe V ronneau: DebConf Videoteam sprint report - day 0

First day of the videoteam autumn sprint! Well, I say first day, but in reality it's more day 0. Even though most of us have arrived in Cambridge already, we are still missing a few people. Last year we decided to sprint in Paris because most of our video gear is stocked there. This year, we instead chose to sprint a few days before the Cambridge Mini-Debconf to help record the conference afterwards. Since some of us arrived very late and the ones who did arrive early are still mostly jet lagged (that includes me), I'll use this post to introduce the space we'll be working from this week and our general plan for the sprint. House Party After some deliberations, we decided to rent a house for a week in Cambridge: finding a work space to accommodate us and all our gear proved difficult and we decided mixing accommodation and work would be a good idea. I've only been here for a few hours, but I have to say I'm pretty impressed by the airbnb we got. Last time I checked (it seems every time I do, some new room magically appears), I counted 5 bedrooms, 6 beds, 5 toilets and 3 shower rooms. Heck, there's even a solarium and a training room with weights and a punching bag on the first floor. Having a whole house to ourselves also means we have access to a functional kitchen. I'd really like to cook at least a few meals during the week. There's also a cat! Picture of a black cat I took from Wikipedia. It was too dark outside to use mine It's not the house's cat per say, but it's been hanging out around the house for most of the day and makes cute faces trying to convince us to let it come inside. Nice try cat. Nice try. Here are some glamour professional photos of what the place looks like on a perfect summer day, just for the kick of it: The view from the garden The Kitchen One of the multiple bedrooms Of course, reality has trouble matching all the post-processing filters. Plan for the week Now on a more serious note; apart from enjoying the beautiful city of Cambridge, here's what the team plans to do this week: tumbleweed Stefano wants to continue refactoring our ansible setup. A lot of things have been added in the last year, but some of it are hacks we should remove and implement correctly. highvoltage Jonathan won't be able to come to Cambridge, but plans to work remotely, mainly on our desktop/xfce session implementation. Another pile of hacks waiting to be cleaned! ivodd Ivo has been working a lot of the pre-ansible part of our installation and plans to continue working on that. At the moment, creating an installation USB key is pretty complicated and he wants to make that simpler. olasd Nicolas completely reimplemented our streaming setup for DC17 and wants to continue working on that. More specifically, he wants to write scripts to automatically setup and teardown - via API calls - the distributed streaming network we now use. Finding a way to push TLS certificates to those mirrors, adding a live stream viewer on video.debconf.org and adding a viewer to our archive are also things he wants to look at. pollo For my part, I plan to catch up with all the commits in our ansible repository I missed since last year's sprint and work on documentation. It would be very nice if we could have a static website describing our work so that others (at mini-debconfs for examples) could replicate it easily. If I have time, I'll also try to document all the ansible roles we have written. Stay tuned for more daily reports!

27 August 2017

Andrew Cater: BBQ Cambridge 2017 - post 4

Room full of people with laptops and an amount of chatting going on. Annoyingly, I can't get the thing I want to work but there's a whole load of other folk deep into dealing with all sorts.

The garden is also full but I'm guessing everyone is under the gazebos - it's now hot and sunny, unusual for a British holiday weekend.

Andrew Cater: BBQ Cambridge 2017 - post 3

One set of gazebos put up: kilos of mushrooms eaten, bacon, mushrooms and all the trimmings barbequed and consumed by the hordes. Now laptops are sprouting in the garden under the gazebos as the temperature is soaring,

Some folk are quiet in the house under fans typing and cooling off.

Masses of washing up is being done - as ever, it's how many people you can fit into a kitchen.

Now it will all go quiet for a bit as everyone lets the breakfast go down :)

Superb hospitality - we're _SO_ lucky to have Steve and Jo do this so readily.

Andrew Cater: BBQ Cambridge 2017 - post 2

We were all up until about 0100 :) House full of folk talking about all sorts, a game of Mao. Garden full of people clustered round the barbeque or sitting chatting - I had a long chat about Debian, what it means and how it's often an easier world to deal with and move in than the world of work, office politics or whatever - being here is being at home.

Arguments in the kitchen over how far coffee "just happens" with the magic bean to cup machine, some folk are in the garden preparing for breakfast at noon.

I missed the significance of this week's date - the 26th anniversary of Linus' original announcement of Linux in 1991 fell on Friday. Probably the first user of Linux who installed it from scratch was Lars Wirzenius - who was here yesterday.

Debian's 24th birthday was just about ten days ago on 16th August, making it the second oldest distribution and I reckon I've been using it for twenty one of those years - I wouldn't change it for the world.

25 August 2017

Steve McIntyre: Let's BBQ again, like we did last summer!

It's that time again! Another year, another OMGWTFBBQ! We're expecting 50 or so Debian folks at our place in Cambridge this weekend, ready to natter, geek, socialise and generally have a good time. Let's hope the weather stays nice, but if not we have gazebo technology... :-) Many thanks to a number of awesome companies and people near and far who are sponsoring the important refreshments for the weekend: I've even been working on the garden this week to improve it ready for the event. If you'd like to come and haven't already told us, please add yourself to the wiki page!

16 August 2017

Simon McVittie: DebConf 17: Flatpak and Debian

The indoor garden at Coll ge de Maisonneuve, the DebConf 17 venue
Decorative photo of the indoor garden
I'm currently at DebConf 17 in Montr al, back at DebConf for the first time in 10 years (last time was DebConf 7 in Edinburgh). It's great to put names to faces and meet more of my co-developers in person! On Monday I gave a talk entitled A Debian maintainer's guide to Flatpak , aiming to introduce Debian developers to Flatpak, and show how Flatpak and Debian (and Debian derivatives like SteamOS) can help each other. It seems to have been quite well received, with people generally positive about the idea of using Flatpak to deliver backports and faster-moving leaf packages (games!) onto the stable base platform that Debian is so good at providing. A video of the talk is available from the Debian Meetings Archive. I've also put up my slides in the DebConf git-annex repository, with some small edits to link to more source code: A Debian maintainer's guide to Flatpak. Source code for the slides is also available from Collabora's git server. The next step is to take my proof-of-concept for building Flatpak runtimes and apps from Debian and SteamOS packages, flatdeb, get it a bit more production-ready, and perhaps start publishing some sample runtimes from a cron job on a Debian or Collabora server. (By the way, if you downloaded that source right after my talk, please update - I've now pushed some late changes that were necessary to fix the 3D drivers for my OpenArena demo.) I don't think Debian will be going quite as far as Endless any time soon: as Cosimo outlined in the talk right before mine, they deploy their Debian derivative as an immutable base OS with libOSTree, with all the user-installable modules above that coming from Flatpak. That model is certainly an interesting thing to think about for Debian derivatives, though: at Collabora we work on a lot of appliance-like embedded Debian derivatives, with a lot of flexibility during development but very limited state on deployed systems, and Endless' approach seems a perfect fit for those situations. [Edited 2017-08-16 to fix the link for the slides, and add links for the video]

4 July 2017

John Goerzen: Time, Frozen

We re expecting a baby any time now. The last few days have had an odd quality of expectation: any time, our family will grow. It makes time seem to freeze, to stand still. We have Jacob, about to start fifth grade and middle school. But here he is, still a sweet and affectionate kid as ever. He loves to care for cats and seeks them out often. He still keeps an eye out for the stuffed butterfly he s had since he was an infant, and will sometimes carry it and a favorite blanket around the house. He will also many days prepare the Yellow House News on his computer, with headlines about his day and some comics pasted in before disappearing to play with Legos for awhile. And Oliver, who will walk up to Laura and give baby a hug many times throughout the day and sneak up to me, try to touch my arm, and say doink before running off before I can doink him back. It was Oliver that had asked for a baby sister for Christmas before he knew he d be getting one! In the past week, we ve had out the garden hose a couple of times. Both boys will enjoy sending mud down our slide, or getting out the water slide to play with, or just playing in mud. The rings of dirt in the bathtub testify to the fun that they had. One evening, I built a fire, we made brats and hot dogs, and then Laura and I sat visiting and watching their water antics for an hour after, laughter and cackles of delight filling the air, and cats resting on our laps. These moments, or countless others like Oliver s baseball games, flying the boys to a festival in Winfield, or their cuddles at bedtime, warm the heart. I remember their younger days too, with fond memories of taking them camping or building a computer with them. Sometimes a part of me wants to just keep soaking in things just as they are; being a parent means both taking pride in children s accomplishments as they grow up, and sometimes also missing the quiet little voice that can be immensely excited by a caterpillar. And yet, all four of us are so excited and eager to welcome a new life into our home. We are ready. I can t wait to hold the baby, or to lay her to sleep, to see her loving and excited older brothers. We hope for a smooth birth, for mom and baby. Here is the crib, ready, complete with a mobile with a cute bear (and even a plane). I can t wait until there is a little person here to enjoy it.

5 June 2017

John Goerzen: Flying with my brothers

Picture one Sunday morning. Three guys are seemingly-randomly walking into a Mennonite church in rural Nebraska. One with long hair and well-maintained clothes from the 70s. Another dressed well enough to be preaching. And the third simply dressed to be comfortable, with short hair showing evidence of having worn a headset for a couple of hours that morning. This was the scene as we made a spur-of-the-moment visit to that church which resulted in quite some surprise all around, since my brother knew a number of people there. For instance:
Pastor: Peter! What are you doing here? Peter: [jokingly] Is that how you greet visitors here?
And then, of course, Peter would say, Well, we were flying home from South Dakota and figured we d stop in at Beatrice for fuel. And drop in on you. Followed by some surprise that we would stop at their little airport (which is quite a nice one). This all happened because it was windy. This is the fun adventure of aviation. Sometimes you plan to go to Texas, but the weather there is terrible, so you discover a 100-year-old landmark in Indiana instead. Or sometimes, like a couple of weeks ago, we planned to fly straight home but spent a few hours exploring rural Nebraska. The three of us flew to Sioux Falls, SD, in a little Cessna to visit my uncle and aunt up there. On our flight up, we stopped at the little airport in Seward, NE. It was complete with this unique elevated deck. In my imagination, this is used for people to drink beer while watching the planes land. IMG_20170512_113323 In South Dakota, we had a weekend full of card and board games, horseshoes, and Crokinole with my uncle and aunt, who are always fun to visit. We had many memories of visits up there as children and the pleasant enjoyment of the fact that we didn t need an 8-hour drive to get there. We flew back with a huge bag of large rhubarb from their garden (that too is something of a tradition!) It was a fun weekend to spend with my brothers first time we d been able to do this in a long while. And it marked the 11th state I ve flown into, and over 17,000 miles of flying.

28 April 2017

Russ Allbery: Review: Small Gods

Review: Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
Series: Discworld #13
Publisher: Harper
Copyright: February 1994
Printing: March 2008
ISBN: 0-06-109217-7
Format: Mass market
Pages: 357
Small Gods is the thirteenth Discworld novel, but it features new characters and is unrelated to any of the previous books. Some reading order guides show it as following Pyramids in an "ancient civilizations" track, but its only relationship with that book is some minor thematic similarities. You could start here with Discworld if you wanted to. Brutha is a novice in the hierarchy of the church of the Great God Om, and his elders are convinced he'll probably die a novice. He's just not particularly bright, you see. But he is very obedient, and he doesn't mind doing hard work, and there's nothing exactly wrong with him, except that he looks at people with startling intensity when they're talking to him. Almost as if he's listening. All that seems about to change, however, when the Great God Om himself approaches Brutha and starts talking to him. Not that Brutha is at all convinced at first that this is happening, particularly given that Om appears in the form of a small, battered, one-eyed tortoise who was dropped into the church garden by an eagle attempting to break his shell. Small Gods is, as you might have guessed, a parody of religion, at least large, organized religion with fixed hierarchies, organizations called the Quisition that like to torture people, and terrifyingly devout deacons who are certain of themselves in ways that no human ever should be. It's also an interesting bit of Discworld metaphysics: gods gain power from worship (a very old idea in fantasy), and when they don't get enough worship, they end up much diminished and even adrift in the desert. Or trapped in the form of a small tortoise. One might wonder how Om ended up in his present condition given the vast and extremely authoritarian church devoted to his worship, but that's the heart of Pratchett's rather pointed parody: large religious organizations end up being about themselves, rather than about the god they supposedly worship, to such an extent that they don't provide any worship at all. Brutha is not thinking of things like this. Once he's finally convinced that Om is who he claims to be, he provides worship and belief of a very practical but wholehearted and unshakable sort, just as he does everything else in life. That makes him the eighth prophet of Om as prophecy foretold, but it's far from clear how that will be of any practical use. Or how Om will come back into power. And meanwhile, Brutha has come to the attention of Vorbis, the head of the Exquisitors, who does not know about the tortoise (and wouldn't believe if he did), but who has a use for Brutha's other talent: his eidetic memory. In typical Pratchett fashion, the story expands to include a variety of other memorable characters from the neighboring city of Ephebe, a country full of gods and philosophers. Vorbis's aims here are unclear at the start of the book, but Vorbis being who he is, they can't be good. Brutha is drawn along in his wake. Meanwhile, Om is constantly watching for an opportunity to regain his lost power and worshipful following, and also to avoid being eaten. Despite the humorous components, Small Gods is rather serious about religion and about its villain. It's also a touch repetitive; Om's lack of power and constant fretting about it, Brutha's earnest but naive loyalty, and Vorbis's malevolent determination are repeatedly stressed and get a little old. Some bits in Ephebe are quite fun, but the action is a bit disjointed, partly because the protagonist is rarely the motive force in the plot. There are also some extended scenes of trudging through the desert that I thought dragged a bit. But Pratchett hits some powerful notes in his critique of religion, and there are a few bits with Death at the end of the book that I thought were among the better pieces of Discworld philosophy. And when Brutha gets a chance to use his one talent of memory, I greatly enjoyed the resulting scenes. He hits just the right combination of modesty, capability, and earnestness. I know a lot of Pratchett readers really like Small Gods. I'm not one of those; I thought it was about average for the Discworld series (at least among the books I've read so far). But average for Discworld is still pretty good, and its new setting makes it a plausible place to start (or to take a break from the other Discworld plot threads). Followed, in publication order, by Lords and Ladies. I don't believe it has a direct plot sequel. Rating: 7 out of 10

17 April 2017

Norbert Preining: Systemd again (or how to obliterate your system)

Ok, I have been silent about systemd and its being forced onto us in Debian like force-feeding Foie gras gooses. I have complained about systemd a few times (here and here), but what I read today really made me loose my last drips of trust I had in this monster-piece of software. If you are up for some really surprising read about the main figure behind systemd, enjoy this github issue. It s about a bug that simply does the equivalent of rm -rf / in some cases. The OP gave clear indications, the bug was fixes immediately, but then a comment from the God Poettering himself appeared that made the case drip over:
I am not sure I d consider this much of a problem. Yeah, it s a UNIX pitfall, but rm -rf /foo/.* will work the exact same way, no?Lennart Poettering, systemd issue 5644
Well, no, a total of 1min would have shown him that this is not the case. But we trust this guy the whole management of the init process, servers, logs (and soon our toilet and fridge management, X, DNS, whatever you ask for). There are two issues here: One is that such a bug is lurking in systemd since probably years. The reason is simple we pay with these kinds of bugs for the incredible complexity increase of the init process which takes over too much services. Referring back to the Turing Award lecture given by Hoare, we see that systemd took the later path:
I conclude that there are two ways of constructing a software design: One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies. Antony Hoare, Turing Award Lecture 1980
The other issue is how systemd developers deal with bug reports. I have reported several cases here, this is just another one: Close the issue for comments, shut up, put it under the carpet. (Image credit: The musings of an Indian Faust)

7 April 2017

Norbert Preining: Stella Stejskal Im Mezzanin

A book about being woman, mother in a modern but still traditional society. About happiness and fulfillment, love and sex, responsibility and dependency, about life: Stella Stejskal s Im Mezzanin (in German).
Written by a friend back from my old times in Vienna, Stella Stejskal, like me an emigrant, I saw parts of this book during writing, and I was happy to see the final product and read it. The first novel of Stella turns around Anna, the protagonist, a wife, mother, and woman, trying to find her balance between the house, family, kids, work, and her incredible power and thrive to live, live to the fullest.
Dein Leben in der Vorstadt, im Einfamilienhaus mit dem Garten, macht Dich nicht gl cklich. Vordergr ndig hast Du alles, was eine Frau sich w nscht und doch fehlt Dir etwas Wesentliches: Verlangen und Leidenschaft.
(Your life in the suburb, in the one-family home with garden, it doesn t make you happy. On the surface you do have everything what a woman could wish for, but you are missing something essential: desire and passion) The author does not shy away from explicit language without ever dropping into the Vernacolo, the banalities. She manages to convey the incredible tension many of those being stretched out between the necessities of daily life and the need for a more personal life. Last but not least, I loved this book for quoting one of my most favorite lines from a song:
Konstantin Weckers Was passiert in den Jahren, drangen leise durch den Raum. Komm, wir gehen mit der Flut und verwandeln mit den Wellen unsere Angst in neuen Mut , sang ich mit und dachte an den Sommer
For those capable of German, very recommendable.

20 March 2017

Shirish Agarwal: Tale of two countries, India and Canada

Apologies the first blog post got sent out by mistake. Weather comparisons between the two countries Last year, I had come to know that this year s debconf is happening in Canada, a cold country. Hence, few weeks/month back, I started trying to find information online when I stumbled across few discussion boards where people were discussing about Innerwear and Outerwear and I couldn t understand what that was all about. Then somehow stumbled across this Video, which is of a game called the Long Dark and just seeing couple of episodes it became pretty clear to me why the people there were obsessing with getting the right clothes and everything about it. Couple of Debconf people were talking about the weather in Montreal, and surprise, surprise it was snowing there, in fact supposed to be near the storm of the century. Was amazed to see that they have a website to track how much snow has been lifted. If we compare that to Pune, India weather-wise we are polar opposites. There used to be a time, when I was very young, maybe 5 yrs. old that once the weather went above 30 degree celsius, rains would fall, but now its gonna touch 40 degrees soon. And April and May, the two hottest months are yet to come. China Gate Before I venture further, I was gifted the book China Gate written by an author named William Arnold. When I read the cover and the back cover, it seemed the story was set between China and Taiwan, later when I started reading it, it shares history of Taiwan going back 200 or so odd years. This became relevant as next year s Debconf, Debconf 2018 will be in Taiwan, yes in Asia very much near to India. I am ashamed to say that except for the Tiananmen Square Massacre and the Chinese High-Speed Rail there wasn t much that I knew. According to the book, and I m paraphrasing here the gist I got was that for a long time, the Americans promised Taiwan it will be an Independent country forever, but due to budgetary and other political constraints, the United States took the same stand as China from 1979. Interestingly, now it seems Mr. Trump wants to again recognize Taiwan as a separate entity from China itself but as is with Mr. Trump you can t be sure of why he does, what he does. Is it just a manoeuvrer designed to out-smart the chinese and have a trade war or something else, only time will tell. One thing which hasn t been shared in the book but came to know via web is that Taiwan calls itself Republic of China . If Taiwan wants to be independent then why the name Republic of China ? Doesn t that strengthen China s claim that Taiwan is an integral part of China. I don t understand it. The book does seduce you into thinking that the events are happening in real-time, as in happening now. That s enough OT for now. null Population Density As well in the game and whatever I could find on the web, Canada seems to be on the lower side as far as population is concerned. IIRC, few years back, Canadians invited Indian farmers and gave them large land-holdings for over 100 years on some small pittance. While the link I have shared is from 2006, I read it online and in newspapers even as late as in 2013/2014. The point being there seems to be lot of open spaces in Canada, whereas in India we fight for even one inch literally, due to overpopulation. This sharing reminded me of Mark of Gideon . While I was young, I didn t understand the political meaning of it and still struggle to understand about whom the show was talking about. Was it India, Africa or some other continent they were talking about ? This also becomes obvious when you figure out the surface area of the two countries. When I had started to learn about Canada, I had no idea, nor a clue that Canada is three times the size of India. And this is when I know India is a large country. but seeing that Canada is thrice larger just boggled my mind. As a typical urbanite, would probably become mad if in a rural area in Canada. Montreal, however seems to be something like Gwalior or Bangalore before IT stormed in, seems to be a place where people can work, play and have quite a few gardens as well. Rail This is one thing that is similar in both the great countries. India has Indian Railways and while the Canadians have their own mountain railway called viarail. India chugs on its 68k kilometre network, Canada is at fourth position with 52k network. With thrice the land size, it should have been somewhere where Russia is or even better than them. It would be interesting if a Canadian/s comment about their railway network and why it is so bad in terms of reach. As far as food is concerned, somebody shared this Also, have no idea if Canadian trains are as entertaining as Indian ones, in terms of diverse group of people as well as variety of food to eat as also shared a bit in the video. I am not aware whether Via Rail is the only network operator and there are other network operators unlike Indian Railways which has monopoly on most of the operations. Countries which have first past the post system - Wikipedia Business houses, Political Families This is again something that is similar in both the countries, it seems (from afar) that its only few business houses and more importantly political families which have governed for years. From what little I could understand, both India and Canada have first past the post system which as shared by its critics is unfair to new and small parties. It would be interesting to see if Canada does a re-think. For India, it would need a massive public education outreach policy and implementation. We just had elections in 5 states of India with U.P. (with respect to area-size and population density) and from the last several years, the EVM s (Electronic Voting Machines) tries to make sure that nobody could know which area which party got the most votes. This is to make sure the winning party is not able to take revenge on people or areas which did not vote for them. Instead you have general region counting of votes with probably even the Election Commission not knowing which EVM went to what area and what results are there in sort of double-blind methodology. As far as Business houses are concerned, I am guessing it s the same world-over, only certain people hold the wealth while majority of us are in hard-working, non-wealthy status. Northern Lights - Aurora Borealis Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis Apart from all the social activities that Montreal is famous for, somebody told/shared with me that it is possible to see the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis can be seen in Canada. I dunno how true or not it is, while probably in Montreal it isn t possible to see due to light pollution, but maybe around 40-50 kms. from the city ? Can people see it from Canada ? IF yes, how far would you have to go ? Are there any companies or people who take people to see the Northern Lights. While I still have to apply for bursary, and if that gets ok, then try getting the visa, but if that goes through, apart from debconf and social activities happening in and around Montreal, Museums, Music etc. , this would be something I would like to experience if it s possible. While I certainly would have to be prepared for the cold that would be, if it s possible, no offence to debconf or anybody else but it probably would be the highlight of the entire trip if its possible. This should be called/labelled as the greatest show on earth TM.
Filed under: Miscellenous Tagged: # Population Density, #Area size, #Aurora Borealis, #Canada, #Trains, DebConf, India, politics

Shirish Agarwal: Canada and India, similarities and differences.

Weather comparisons between the two countries Few days/weeks back, I had come to know that Canada, where this year s debconf is happening is cold country. I started trying to find information online when I stumbled across few boards where people were discussing about innerwear and outerwear and I couldn t understand what that was all about. Then somehow stumbled across this game, it s called the Long Dark and just seeing couple of episodes it became pretty clear to me why the people there were obsessing with getting the right clothes and everything about it. Couple of Debconf people were talking about weather in Montreal, and surprise, surprise it was snowing there, in fact supposed to be near the storm of the century. Was amazed to see that they have a website to track how much snow has been lifted. If we compare that to Pune, India weather-wise we are polar opposites. There used to be a time, when I was very young, maybe 5 yrs. old that once the weather went above 30 degree celcius, rains would fall, but now its gonna touch 40 degrees soon. And April and May, the two hottest months are yet to come. China Gate Before I venture further, I was gifted the book China Gate written by an author named William Arnold. When I read the cover and the backcover, it seemed the story was set between China and Taiwan, later when I started reading it, it shares history of Taiwan going back 200 or so odd years. This became relevant as next year s Debconf, Debconf 2018 will be in Taiwan, yes in Asia very much near to India. I am ashamed to say that except for the Tiananmen Square Massacre and the Chinese High-Speed Rail there wasn t much that I knew. According to the book, and I m paraphrasing here the gist I got was that for a long time, the Americans promised Taiwan it will be an Independent country forever, but due to budgetary and other political constraints, the United States took the same stand as China from 1979 and now it seems Mr. Trump wants to again recognize Taiwan as a separate entity from China itself. One thing which hasn t been shared in the book but came to know via web is that Taiwan calls itself Republic of China . If Taiwan wants to be independent then why the name Republic of China ? Doesn t that strengthen China s claim that Taiwan is an integral part of China. I don t understand it. The book does seduce you into thinking that the events are happening in real-time, as in happening now. That s enough OT for now. null Population Density As well in the game and whatever I could find on the web, Canada seems to be on the lower side as far as population is concerned. IIRC, few years back, Canadians invited Indian farmers and gave them large land-holdings for over 100 years on some small pittance. While the link I have shared is from 2006, I read it online and in newspapers even as late as in 2013/2014. The point being there seems to be lot of open spaces in Canada, whereas in India we fight for even one inch literally, due to overpopulation. This sharing reminded me of Mark of Gideon . While I was young, I didn t understand the political meaning of it and still struggle to understand about whom the show was talking about. Was it India, Africa or some other continent they were talking about ? This also becomes obvious when you figure out the surface area of the two countries. When I had started to learn about Canada, I had no idea, nor a clue that Canada is three times the size of India. And this is when I know India is a large country. but seeing that Canada is thrice larger just boggled my mind. As a typical urbanite, would probably become mad if in a rural area in Canada. Montreal, however seems to be something like Gwalior or Bangalore before IT stormed in, seems to be a place where people can work, play and have quite a few gardens as well. Rail This is one thing that is similar in both the great countries. India has Indian Railways and while the Canadians have their own mountain railway called viarail. India chugs on its 68k kilometre network, Canada is at fourth position with 52k network. With thrice the land size, it should have been somewhere where Russia is or even better than them. It would be interesting if Canadians comment about their railway network and why it is so bad in terms of reach. Business houses, Political Families This is again something that is similar in both the countries, it seems (from afar) that its only few business houses and more importantly political families which have governed for years.
Filed under: Miscellenous

30 December 2016

Shirish Agarwal: Mausaji, Samosaji

mausaji

Mausaji, Never born Never died, Always in the heart.

Dear Friends, I have shared a few times that I had a privileged childhood. I never had led a hand-to-mouth existence but more than that I was privileged to have made the acquaintance of Jaipur wale Mausaji while I was very young. I have been called miserly by my cousin sisters whenever they write letters to me and I don t answer simply because whatever I feel for them, words feel inadequate and meaningless. The same thing applies in this as well. I am sharing few bits here as there are too many memories of a golden past which will not let me go till I have shared a few of them. First let me start by sharing the relation I had with him. By relation he was my mother s-sister s husband. In English, he would probably be termed as Maternal Uncle although he was much more than that. My one of the first remembrances of him was during Madhu Didi s Shaadi (marriage). Madhu Didi is uncle s daughter and I would have been a impish 4-5 year old at the time. This was the first time I was gonna be part of The Great North Indian Wedding and I didn t know what was in store for me as I had grown in Pune. I remember finishing my semester tests and mummy taking me to Pune Station. I was just excited that I would be travelling somewhere and had no clue what would be happening. We landed in Agra, took another train and landed in Jaipur in the middle of the night at their home at Sangram Colony. While I had known few of the cousins, I was stumped to see so many cousins jumping out of everywhere. The look on my face was one of stupefaction and surprise . The only thing which would closely resemble that would be Bilbo s 111st Birthday party in Lord of the Rings (Part 1). In fact, by a curious quirk/twist of fate, I came to know of a Naniji or somebody like that who by relation was far elder to me, while she was either my age or below my age. As was customary, had to bow down sheepishly. As a somewhat alone boy, to be thrown in this rambunctious bunch and be the babe in the woods, I was quickly chopped and eaten up but had no complaints. I would get into trouble onto a drop of a hat. While Mausiji would threaten me, Mausaji would almost always defend me. While Mausiji could see through me, the twinkle in Mausaji s eyes used to tell me that while he knew what I was upto, for reasons unknown, he would always defend me. Mausaji s Sangram Colony s house became my cricket ground, football ground and all and any ground to play and be. Mausaji and his brothers used to live near each other and the lane they had, had hardly any vehicles on it, so all the cousins could play all they want with me being the longest, perhaps unconsciously trying either to make for lost time or knowing/unknowing this was too good to last. Today s Pokemon generation might not be able to get it but that s alright. They also had a beautiful garden where Mausiji used to grow vegetables. While playing, we sometimes used to hurt her veggies (unconsciously) or just have shower with the garden hose. Mausaji used to enjoy seeing our antics. One of the relatives even had a dog who used to join in the fun sometimes. When mummy and Mausiji expressed concern about the dog biting, Mausaji would gently brush it aside. One of the other things in Didi s marriage is we got a whole lot of sweets. While Mausiji tried to keep us in check with sweets, both Manish Bhaiya and Mausaji used to secrete sweets from time to time. When I was hungry and used to steal food (can t wait till the appointed time) either Bhaiya or Mausaji would help me with the condition I would have to take the blame if and when we got caught as we invariably did. Mausaji s house had a basement where all the secreted sweets and food used to get in. Both me and Manish Bhaiya would be there and we would have a riot in ourselves. We would enjoy the adrenaline when we were stealing the food. As I was pretty young, I was crazy about the Tom and Jerry cartoons that used to come on Television that time. I and Bhaiya used to act like Jerry and/or his cronies while Mausiji would invariably be the Tom with Mausaji all-knowing about it but acting as a mere bystander. I remember him egging me for many of the antics I would do and get in trouble in but as shared would also be defended by him. The basement was also when I was becoming a teenager where Manish Bhaiya showed me his collection and we had a heart-to-heart about birds and bees. While whatever little I had known till that time was from school-friends and my peers at school and I didn t know what was right or wrong. Bhaiya clarified lot of things, concepts which I was either clueless or confused about. When I look back now, it is possible that Mausaji might have instructed Bhaiya to be my tutor as I used to be somewhat angry and lash out by the confusing times. As we used to go there for part of holidays, I remember doing all sorts of antics to make sure I would get an extra day, an extra hour to be there. I never used to understand why we had to go to meet the other relatives when all the fun I could have was right there only, couldn t Mummy know/see that I used to enjoy the most here. Mausaji was a clothier as we understand the term today and a gentleman to the core. He was the co-owner of Rajputana Cloth Store in Jaipur. Many VIP s as well as regular people used to visit him for getting clothes designed and stitched under his watchful eyes. I never saw him raise his voice against any of the personnel working under him and used to be a thorough gentleman to one and all. Later, as I grew up I came to know and see that people would phone up and just ask him to do the needful. He would get the right cloth, stitch it right and people used to trust him for that. He was such an expert on cloth and type of clothes, that by mere touch he could talk/share about what sort of cloth it is. One of his passions was driving and from the money he had saved, he had got an Ambassador Car. Every day or every other day or whenever he felt like it, he used to take either the gang or me with mummy or me with anybody else. Each ride used to be an adventure in itself, with a start beginning and an end. I always used to watch out for the car-rides as I knew we would get sweets or something as well as he would regale us with stories about a place here and there. There was a childlike curiosity and interest in him which was infectious to one and all. The only weakness that he had was he liked to drink wine once in a while. When I was a kid, I was never able to give him company, only few years back, for the first time I was able to share wine with him which was also a memory I treasure. Those who know him closely knew the many up and downs that he went through, but as a gentleman he never let on the hurts he had or didn t curse his fate or anything else that we do when things go bad from our perspective. While there is much to write about him, it will not accomplish anything that is not known about him. I ll add with the private joke that was between him and me. When I was little, I used to call him Mausaji, Samosaji for a) I liked Samosa and b) Samosa has a bit thick skin outside and underneath it s all gravy. In reality though, he was butter all the way. I miss you Mausaji and wish I could turn the clock back and come with Mummy to visit both Mausiji and you. I hope your new journey takes you to even further heights than this life. Savouring the memories mummy and I, hope we meet you again in some new Avataar
Filed under: Miscellenous Tagged: #antics, #growing up, #holidays, #Manish Bhiaya, #Mausaji, #Sangram Colony

24 December 2016

Shirish Agarwal: Trains, Planes and the future

Swacch Bharat - Indian Railways Copyright: Indian Express

Swacch Bharat Indian Railways Copyright: Indian Express

Some of the content may be NSFW. viewer discretion advised. I have had a life-long fascination with trains. One of my first memories was that of 5-7 year old, clutching my mother or grandmother s hand seeing the steam engine lumbering down whistling and smoking at the same time. I was both afraid and strangely drawn to the iron beast and the first time I knew and then slowly understood that if we come with luggage and the steam-engine comes, it means we are going to travel. I have travelled some, but there are lots to explore still and I do hope that I cover some more of it during my lifetime. The reason I am writing about trains is an article which caught my eye couple of days. Besides seeing the changing geography, the variety of food one can get on train and in stations is one of the primary reasons that Indians love to travel by trains. It is one place where you could have incredible conversations over cup of tea or favourite food and unlike air travel and the famed IFE (In-flight entertainment) people are actually pretty social even with all the gadgets. For those who are wondering, the author was travelling between Jamshedpur, Gujarat to Kolkatta, a train ride which has now gone on my bucket list for the delectable items the author has described To add to the above, it is still cheaper than air travel, although that is changing a bit as Indian Railways seeks to modernize Railways and make it into world-class bullet trains. Indian Railways has a long, rich culture and some of the most interesting nuggets you learn over time adds to the fascination of the Railways. For instance I m sharing this letter which I read first in book and then saw in the New Delhi Railway Museum. The letter I am sharing below was written by a certain Shri Okhil Chandra Sen to the Sahibganj Railway Office in year 1909, almost 38 years before India became independent. I am arrive by passenger train Ahmedpur station and my belly is too much swelling with jackfruit. I am therefore went to privy. Just I doing the nuisance that guard making whistle blow for train to go off and I am running with lotah in one hand and dhoti in the next when I am fall over and expose all my shocking to man and female women on plateform. I am got leaved at Ahmedpur station. This too much bad, if passenger go to make dung that dam guard not wait train five minutes for him. I am therefore pray your honour to make big fine on that guard for public sake. Otherwise I am making big report! to papers. If it were not for Mr. Okhil Chandra Sen we would still be running with water bottle (improvement) and jeans/shorts/whatever (again improvement) while the possibility of falling over would always be omnipresent in a hurry. Now we do have toilets and some of the better trains even have Bio-toilets which should make things better as well.(/NSFW) For the plane bit, most of my flights have been domestic flying. Some of my most memorable flights is when flying from Mumbai on a clear sky overlooking the Queen s necklace, loving it and landing in Bangalore during mist or rain or both. Delhi is also good as airports go but nothing much adventurous about it. It was only with the experience of my first international flight, I realized the same feeling again, nervousness and sense of adventure as you meet new people. Nowadays every week I do try and broaden my horizon by seeking and learning a bit about International Travel.
Copyright: National Geographic Magazine

Copyright: National Geographic Magazine

In this I came across an article on National Geographic site which also evoked similar feelings. While I can t go back to the past and even if I did (in distant past before I was born), I wouldn t want to improve my financial situation at all (as otherwise I would hit the Grandfather Paradox or/and the Butterfly effect (essentially saying there s no free lunch), it still makes you wonder about a time when people had lot more adventure and lot more moving parts. I do wish they had a much bigger snapshot of that plane so I could really see how people sat in the old aircraft. The low-resolution picture doesn t do justice to the poster and the idea of that time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Sound_of_Thunder for an implementation of Butterfly effect. The Grandfather Paradox has been seen plenty of times in fantasy movies like the Back to the Future, Planet of the Apes and many others so will not go there. For the average joe today, s/he has to navigate security,check bags, get her/imself processed through passport control, get boarding pass, get to the gate on-time, get to the aircraft via bridge or bus, get to the seat, somehow make it through the ascent and use your IFE and get snacks and meals till it s time to touch-down and re-do the whole drill again as many times you are connecting. I really admire Gunnar Wolf for the tenacity he showed for the x number of connections he made both ways.
The world's 10 best airports Copyright: Changi International Airport

Photo Courtesy Changi International Airport, Singapore

While leafing through the interweb today, came across an article . While you can slice and dice the report anyway you want, for me if ever I get a chance again for an International Travel, I would try to see I get a layover at these three airports in order of preference (this is on the basis that none of these airports need a transit visa for the activities shared) a. Changi International Airport It is supposed to have shower amenities, has a movie theatre (+1), free tour of the city (+1) and of course as many Indians do go to Singapore as a destination in itself would have multiple vegetarian options (+2) so would be nice if I need to layover. b. Zurich Airport (ZRH) For passengers with an extended layover, Zurich Airport offers bicycle and inline-skate rentals and excursions to the Swiss Museum of Transport Lucerne. From business-insider.com. While I m not much of a bicycle and inline-skating freak, if the Swiss Museum of Transport Lucerne is anything to the scale of Isiko Museum which I shared in a blog post sometime before, it would be worth by itself. I haven t tried to find the site but can imagine, for e.g. if it has a full-scale model of a submarine or train engine, either steam-engines or ones like SNCF or any of the other bullet-trains and early aircraft, it would just blow my mind. When you are talking about transport, there is so much science, business, logistics etc. that I m sure I ll overload with information, photos and any trinkets they have to buy. c. Central Japan International Airport (NGO) It has a 1,000-foot-long sky deck where passengers can watch ships sail into Nagoya Port. There s also a traditional Japanese bathhouse where you can have a relaxing soak while watching the sunset over the bay. BusinessInsider.com Not a bad place to be if you need a layover. Just sink yourself in the bathhouse and see the bay and ships coming in. Luxury indeed. Honourable mention d. Munich Airport (MUC) A nearby visitors park features mini golf and a display of historic aircraft. Business-Insider.com . Now this would have made my list but I guess one would need a Schengen visa to access the visitors park but then if you have that, then why just stay in the Airport itself, could travel through Europe itself and have a longish stop-over. So all in all, it s indeed a fascinating time to be alive, dreaming and just being. Till later. Update I had forgotten to share one more reason why I was writing this article. Although somewhat of a cynic, am hopeful that Pune metro happens. Also, if I had just waited a day, would have been able to add couple of wonderful articles that would make people wanderlust more
Filed under: Miscellenous Tagged: #Best Airports, #Central Japan International Airport, #Changi International Airport, #Food, #Loo, #Nostalgia, #NSFW, #Planes, #Steam Engine, #Trains, #Zurich Airport, Indian Railways, memories

20 December 2016

Petter Reinholdtsen: Isenkram updated with a lot more hardware-package mappings

The Isenkram system I wrote two years ago to make it easier in Debian to find and install packages to get your hardware dongles to work, is still going strong. It is a system to look up the hardware present on or connected to the current system, and map the hardware to Debian packages. It can either be done using the tools in isenkram-cli or using the user space daemon in the isenkram package. The latter will notify you, when inserting new hardware, about what packages to install to get the dongle working. It will even provide a button to click on to ask packagekit to install the packages. Here is an command line example from my Thinkpad laptop:
% isenkram-lookup  
bluez
cheese
ethtool
fprintd
fprintd-demo
gkrellm-thinkbat
hdapsd
libpam-fprintd
pidgin-blinklight
thinkfan
tlp
tp-smapi-dkms
tp-smapi-source
tpb
%
It can also list the firware package providing firmware requested by the load kernel modules, which in my case is an empty list because I have all the firmware my machine need:
% /usr/sbin/isenkram-autoinstall-firmware -l
info: did not find any firmware files requested by loaded kernel modules.  exiting
%
The last few days I had a look at several of the around 250 packages in Debian with udev rules. These seem like good candidates to install when a given hardware dongle is inserted, and I found several that should be proposed by isenkram. I have not had time to check all of them, but am happy to report that now there are 97 packages packages mapped to hardware by Isenkram. 11 of these packages provide hardware mapping using AppStream, while the rest are listed in the modaliases file provided in isenkram. These are the packages with hardware mappings at the moment. The marked packages are also announcing their hardware support using AppStream, for everyone to use: air-quality-sensor, alsa-firmware-loaders, argyll, array-info, avarice, avrdude, b43-fwcutter, bit-babbler, bluez, bluez-firmware, brltty, broadcom-sta-dkms, calibre, cgminer, cheese, colord, colorhug-client, dahdi-firmware-nonfree, dahdi-linux, dfu-util, dolphin-emu, ekeyd, ethtool, firmware-ipw2x00, fprintd, fprintd-demo, galileo, gkrellm-thinkbat, gphoto2, gpsbabel, gpsbabel-gui, gpsman, gpstrans, gqrx-sdr, gr-fcdproplus, gr-osmosdr, gtkpod, hackrf, hdapsd, hdmi2usb-udev, hpijs-ppds, hplip, ipw3945-source, ipw3945d, kde-config-tablet, kinect-audio-setup, libnxt, libpam-fprintd, lomoco, madwimax, minidisc-utils, mkgmap, msi-keyboard, mtkbabel, nbc, nqc, nut-hal-drivers, ola, open-vm-toolbox, open-vm-tools, openambit, pcgminer, pcmciautils, pcscd, pidgin-blinklight, printer-driver-splix, pymissile, python-nxt, qlandkartegt, qlandkartegt-garmin, rosegarden, rt2x00-source, sispmctl, soapysdr-module-hackrf, solaar, squeak-plugins-scratch, sunxi-tools, t2n, thinkfan, thinkfinger-tools, tlp, tp-smapi-dkms, tp-smapi-source, tpb, tucnak, uhd-host, usbmuxd, viking, virtualbox-ose-guest-x11, w1retap, xawtv, xserver-xorg-input-vmmouse, xserver-xorg-input-wacom, xserver-xorg-video-qxl, xserver-xorg-video-vmware, yubikey-personalization and zd1211-firmware If you know of other packages, please let me know with a wishlist bug report against the isenkram-cli package, and ask the package maintainer to add AppStream metadata according to the guidelines to provide the information for everyone. In time, I hope to get rid of the isenkram specific hardware mapping and depend exclusively on AppStream. Note, the AppStream metadata for broadcom-sta-dkms is matching too much hardware, and suggest that the package with with any ethernet card. See bug #838735 for the details. I hope the maintainer find time to address it soon. In the mean time I provide an override in isenkram.

11 December 2016

Colin Watson: The sad tale of CVE-2015-1336

Today I released man-db 2.7.6 (announcement, NEWS, git log), and uploaded it to Debian unstable. The major change in this release was a set of fixes for two security vulnerabilities, one of which affected all man-db installations since 2.3.12 (or 2.3.10-66 in Debian), and the other of which was specific to Debian and its derivatives. It s probably obvious from the dates here that this has not been my finest hour in terms of responding to security issues in a timely fashion, and I apologise for that. Some of this is just the usual life reasons, which I shan t bore you by reciting, but some of it has been that fixing this properly in man-db was genuinely rather complicated and delicate. Since I ve previously advocated man-db over some of its competitors on the basis of a better security posture, I think it behooves me to write up a longer description. I took over maintaining man-db over fifteen years ago in slightly unexpected circumstances (I got annoyed with its bug list and made a couple of non-maintainer uploads, and then the previous maintainer died, so I ended up taking over both in Debian and upstream). I was a fairly new developer at the time, and there weren t a lot of people I could ask questions of, but I did my best to recover as much of the history as I could and learn from it. One thing that became clear very quickly, both from my own inspection and from the bug list, was that most of the code had been written in a rather more innocent time. It was absolutely riddled with dangerous uses of the shell, poor temporary file handling, buffer overruns, and various common-or-garden deficiencies of that kind. I spent several years reworking large swathes of the codebase to be more robust against those kinds of bugs by design, and for example libpipeline came out of that effort. The most subtle and risky set of problems came from the fact that the man and mandb programs were installed set-user-id to the man user. Part of this was so that man could maintain preformatted cat pages , and part of it was so that users could run mandb if the system databases were out of date (this is now much less useful since most package managers, including dpkg, support some kind of trigger mechanism that can run mandb whenever new system-level manual pages are installed). One of the first things I did was to make this optional, and this has been a disabled-by-default debconf option in Debian for a long time now. But it s still a supported option and is enabled by default upstream, and when running setuid man and mandb need to take care to drop privileges when dealing with user-controlled data and to write files with the appropriate ownership and permissions. My predecessor had problems related to this such as Debian #26002, and one of the ways they dealt with them was to make /var/cache/man/ set-group-id root, in order that files written to that directory would have consistent group ownership. This always struck me as rather strange and I meant to do something about it at some point, but until the first vulnerability report above I regarded it as mainly a curiosity, since nothing in there was group-writeable anyway. As a result, with the more immediate aim of making the system behave consistently and dealing with bug reports, various bits of code had accreted that assumed that /var/cache/man/ would be man:root 2755, and not all of it was immediately obvious. This interacted with the second vulnerability report in two ways. Firstly, at some level it caused it because I was dealing with the day-to-day problems rather than thinking at a higher level: a series of bugs led me down the path of whacking problems over the head with a recursive chown of /var/cache/man/ from cron, rather than working out why things got that way in the first place. Secondly, once I d done that, I couldn t remove the chown without a much more extensive excursion into all the code that dealt with cache files, for fear of reintroducing those bugs. So although the fix for the second vulnerability is very simple in itself, I couldn t get there without dealing with the first vulnerability. In some ways, of course, cat pages are a bit of an anachronism. Most modern systems can format pages quickly enough that it s not much of an issue. However, I m loath to drop the feature entirely: I m generally wary of assuming that just because I have a fast system that everyone does. So, instead, I did what I should have done years ago: make man and mandb set-group-id man as well as set-user-id man, at which point we can simply make all the cache files and directories be owned by man:man and drop the setgid bit on cache directories. This should be simpler and less prone to difficult-to-understand problems. I expect that my next substantial upstream release will switch to --disable-setuid by default to reduce exposure, though, and distributions can start thinking about whether they want to follow that (Fedora already does, for example). If this becomes widely disabled without complaints then that would be good evidence that it s reasonable to drop the feature entirely. I m not in a rush, but if you do need cat pages then now is a good time to write to me and tell me why. This is the fiddliest set of vulnerabilities I ve dealt with in man-db for quite some time, so I hope that if there are more then I can get back to my previous quick response time.

8 November 2016

Jonathan Carter: A few impressions of DebConf 16 in Cape Town

DebConf16 Group Photo

DebConf16 Group Photo by Jurie Senekal.

DebConf16 Firstly, thanks to everyone who came out and added their own uniqueness and expertise to the pool. The feedback received so far has been very positive and I feel that the few problems we did experience was dealt with very efficiently. Having a DebConf in your hometown is a great experience, consider a bid for hosting a DebConf in your city! DebConf16 Open Festival (5 August) The Open Festival (usually Debian Open Day) turned out pretty good. It was a collection of talks, a job fair, and some demos of what can be done with Debian. I particularly liked Hetzner s stand. I got to show off some 20 year old+ Super Mario skills and they had some fun brain teasers as well. It s really great to see a job stand that s so interactive and I think many companies can learn from them. The demo that probably drew the most attention was from my friend Georg who demoed some LulzBot Mini 3D Printers. They really seem to love Debian which is great! DebConf (6 August to 12 August) If I try to write up all my thoughts and feeling about DC16, I ll never get this post finished. Instead, here as some tweets from DebConf that other have written:


Day Trip We had 3 day trips: Brought to you by
orga

DebConf16 Orga Team.

See you in Montr al! DebConf17 dates: The DC17 sponsorship brochure contains a good deal of information, please share it with anyone who might be interested in sponsoring DebConf! Media

9 September 2016

Steve McIntyre: Time flies

Slightly belated... Another year, another OMGWTFBBQ. By my count, we had 49 people (and a dog) in my house and garden at the peak on Saturday evening. It was excellent to see people from all over coming together again, old friends and new. This year we had some weather issues, but due to the delights of gazebo technology most people stayed mostly dry. :-) Also: thanks to a number of companies near and far who sponsored the important refreshments for the weekend: As far as I could tell, everybody enjoyed themselves; I know I definitely did!

6 September 2016

Norbert Preining: Yukio Mishima: Patriotism ( )

A masterpiece by Yukio Mishima Patriotism the story of love and dead. A short story about the double suicide of a Lieutenant and his wife following the Ni Ni Roku Incident where some parts of the military tried to overthrow government and military leaders. Although Lieutenant Takeyama wasn t involved into the coup, because his friends wanted to safeguard him and his new wife, he found himself facing a fight and execution of his friends. Not being able to cope with this situation he commits suicide, followed by his wife.
mishima-patriotism Written in 1960 by one of the most interesting writers of Japanese modern history, Yukio Mishima, this book and the movie made by Mishima himself, are very disturbing images of the relation between human and state. Although the English title says Patriotism, the Japanese one is (Yukoku) which is closer to Concern for one s own country. This concern, and the feeling of devotion to the Imperial system and the country that leads the two into their deed. We are guided through the whole book and movie by a large scroll with (shisei, devotion) written on it. But indeed, Patriotism is a good title I think one of the most dangerous concepts mankind has brought forth. If Patriotism would be only the love for one s own country, all would be fine. But reality shows that patriotism unfailingly brings along xenophobia and the feeling of superiority. For someone coming from a small and unimportant country, I never had even the slightest allure to be patriotic in the bad sense. And looking at the world and people around me, I often have the feeling that mainly big countries produce the biggest and worst style of patriotism. This is obvious in countries like China, but having recently learned that all US pupils have to recite (obviously without understanding) the Pledge of Allegiance, the shock of how bad patriotism can start washing the brains of even the smallest kids in a seemingly free country is still present. But back to the book: Here the patriotism is exhibited by the presence of the Imperial images and shrine in the entrance, in front of which the two pray the last time before executing themselves. patriotism1 Not only the book is a masterpiece by itself, also the movie is a special piece of art: Filmed in silent movie style with text inserts, the whole story takes place on a Noh stage. This is in particular interesting as Mishima was one of the few, if not the only, modern Noh play writer. He has written several Noh plays. Another very impressive scene for me was when, after her husbands suicide, Reiko returns from putting up her final make-up into the central room. Her kimono is already blood soaked and the trailing kimono leaves traces on the Noh stage resembling the strokes of a calligraphy, as if her movement is guided, too, by . The final scene of the movie shows the two of them in a Zen stone garden, forming the stone, the unreachable island of happiness. patriotism2 Very impressive, both the book as well as the movie.

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