lunes, 16 de noviembre de 2015

The ethics of killing innocents / La ética de matar a inocentes

Francis is a lumberjack who, while in the forest, stumbles upon a group of children being attacked by a pack of wolves. Trying to stop the latter, he ends up killing one of the former too. 
Francis has killed an innocent. Is he a murderer? Did he act immorally? 
 Frank is radiotherapist, and irradiates hundreds of patients after surgery to avoid recurrence. Among these, a few dozens would not have had any recurrences independently of having received the radiation, and a few develop leukaemias and die because of it. 
Franklin has killed innocents. Is he a murderer? Did he act immorally? 
 Frankie is a policeman commuting back home when, in the central station stop, he finds an armed man with an explosive-belt coming out of the train's bathroom. Thanks to his training, the individual is shot down before he can detonate the device, but the bullets with which he was killed bounce and kill several of the passengers. 
Frankie has killed innocents. Is he a murderer? Did he act immorally?
 Franklin is a lietunant in the US army who has been charged with taking a nazi concentration camp, which is being quickly "emptied" due to the proximity of the allies. Between his troops and the prisoners sit several Wermacht divisions that have entrenched themselves in an idyllic French town, which is bombed to the ground to free up the way. 
Franklin has killed innocents. Is he a murderer? Did he act immorally? 
 François is the president of a republich the armed forces of which have global power-projection, and is aware of some religious fanatics that enslave and rape thousands of girls and crucify in a systematic-genocidal way all the ethnic-religious minorities they come upon, besides imposing their maedieval "justice" to millions of people under their yoke. He decides to bomb key positions of these terrorists to stop their activities, killing several civilians in the process. 
François has killed innocents. Is he a murderer? Did he act immorally? 

 One last question (a leading one, I admit): 
What is our objective, to clean our hands and feel we are good, or to get them dirty and minimize death and pain? 


 Patxi es leñador, y se encuentra en el bosque con unos críos de excursión que están siendo atacados por una manada de lobos. Intentando parar a éstos últimos, acaba matando también a uno de los primeros. 
Patxi ha matado a un inocente ¿Es un asesino? ¿Actuó de manera inmoral? 
 Francisco es radioterapeuta, e irradia a cientos de pacientes tras ser operados para evitar recidivas. De entre estos, unas docenas no habrían tenido recidivas independientemente de haber recibido la radiación, y unos pocos desarrollan leucemias y mueren a causa de ella. 
Francisco ha matado a inocentes ¿Es un asesino? ¿Actuó de manera inmoral? 
 Paco es policía, y está de vuelta a casa cuando, en la parada de la estación central, se encuentra con que del baño del tren sale un hombre armado y con un cinturón explosivo. Gracias a su entrenamiento, el individuo es abatido antes de que pueda accionar el detonador, pero las balas con las que le han matado rebotan y matan a varios de los pasajeros. 
Paco ha matado a inocentes ¿Es un asesino? ¿Actuó de manera inmoral? 
 Frank es teniente del ejército estadounidense, y le han encargado tomar un campo de concentración nazi, el cual están "vaciando" rápidamente por la proximidad de los aliados. Entre sus tropas y los prisioneros se encuentran varias divisiones de la Wermacht que se han atrincherado en un idílico pueblo francés, el cual es bombardeado hasta los cimientos para dejar pista libre. 
Frank ha matado a inocentes ¿Es un asesino? ¿Actuó de manera inmoral? 
 François es presidente de una república cuyas fuerzas armadas poseen proyección global, y sabe de unos fanáticos religiosos que esclavizan y violan a miles de niñas y crucifican de manera sistematica-genocida a todas las minorías étnico-religiosas con las que entran en contacto, además de imponer su "Justicia" medieval a millones de personas bajo su yugo. Decide bombardear posiciones clave de estos terroristas para frenar sus actividades, matando en el proceso a varios civiles.
 François ha matado a inocentes ¿Es un asesino? ¿Actuó de manera inmoral? 

 Una última pregunta (capciosa, lo admito):
 ¿Cuál es nuestro objetivo, lavarnos las manos y sentir que somos buenos, o ensuciarnoslas y minimizar la muerte y el dolor?

viernes, 31 de julio de 2015

Pedro Ezkurra Areitio R.I.P.

My grandfather did not have an easy life. 
Pedro Ezkurra Areitio was born in 1922, in the "Galarra" farm, the youngest of 9 brothers and sisters, and since his earliest years he had to work with tools closer to the middle ages than today. When he was eight, his father was killed (we know not who, how, or why) and, as if this were not enough, so was his mother when he was fourteen (in this case we do know: The fascists shot her because she was "red"). The farm was completely destroyed during the civil war and the eldest brother (Joxe) had to flee to France, even though he went from one war to another. After taking part in the resistence Joxe could never return, and my grandfather Pedro didn't hear much of him until he received a letter about paying his funeral. 
Faced with all this hardship, showing a force of will I shall never possess, Pedro didn't give up and kept working hard to move forward his whole life: He worked as a servant in another farm until military service, and taking advantage of having learned to drive there, he started transporting scrap metal for the light industry of Elgoibar. After a few years, he started working for one of those factories (the sewing-machine manufacturer SIGMA), and there he met my grandmother Maria Llusia ("Marialui"). They had six children, and these in turn nine grandchildren, among them me. 
Albeit he had no formal education, Pedro always had had a terrific curiosity, and he showed this throughout his life. Due to an accident he suffered at work, he learned a lot about massages and he ended up being the masseuse of many Basque sportsmen (among them, the boxer Urtain). He was very keen on mechanics and technology, and he invented and tried to patent a safety-belt (sadly, he did not manage to do the latter). He also had a great interest in astronomy and space, and when I was little he taught me what he knew (e.g. that Phobos and Deimos are the moons of Mars), so that some years latter I'd gladly answer his always interesting questions (e.g. How does a missile propel itself in space if that's a vacuum?). 
When my grandfather was born Pluto was unknown (it was discovered in 1930); two days before he died, I showed him the first photos of it and Charon. If I wanted, I could give some poetic significance or something to that event, given the role of the eponymous two mythological characters, but, as you might have guessed, my grandfather was quite a clever man, and he didn't believe in gods and such. Therefore, I will say this: 
Thanks to millions of people like my grandfather, millions of people like me live better than ever, not having to suffer any of the war, famine, or illness they had. 
No, my grandfather did not have an easy life, but there is nothing that is worth it that is. 



Nire aitonak ez zuen bizitza erraz bat eduki. 
Pedro Ezkurra Areitio 1992an jaio zen, "Galarra" baserrian, 9 anai-arreba artean gazteena, eta txiki-txikitatik lan egin behar izan zuen erdi arotik gaur egunetik baino hurbilago zeuden tresnekin. Zortzi urte zituela, bere aita hil zuten (ez dakigu nork, nola, edo zergatik) eta, hau nahikoa ez balitz, hamalau urterekin bere ama ere (kasu honetan badakigu: Faxistak, tiroka, eta "gorria" izategatik). Gerra zibilean baserria guztiz suntsiturik geratu zen eta anaia nagusiak (Joxe) Frantziara ihes egin behar izan zuen, nahiz eta horrela guda batetik bestera igaro. Erresistentzian parte hartu ondoren Joxe ezin izan zen inoiz itzuli, eta nire aitona Pedrok ez zuen beraz ezer asko jakin bere hileta ordaintzeko gutun bat iritsi zitzaion arte. 
Zoritxar guzti honen aurrean, nik sekula edukiko ez dudan kemena erakutsiz, Pedrok ez zuen etsi eta aurrera egiteko gogor lan egiten jarraitu zuen bere bizitza osoan: Beste baserri batean morroi bezala aritu zen soldaduska arte, eta bertan gidatzen ikasi zuela aprobetxatuz, Elgoibarreko industria arinarentzat txatarra garraiatzen hasi zen. Urte batzuen ondoren, industria horietako batean (SIGMA josteko-makina ekoizlea) lan egiten hasi zen, eta bertan ezagutu zuen nire amona Maria Luisa ("Marialui"). Sei seme-alaba eduki zituzten, eta hauek bederatzi biloba, ni barne. 
Nahiz eta ikasketa formalik burutu ezin izan, Pedrok beti izan zuen egundoko jakinmina, eta hau bere bizitza osoan zehar erakutsi zuen. Lanean jasan zuen istripu bat zela eta, masajeei buruz asko ikasi zuen eta euskal kirolari askoren masajista izaten amaitu zuen (Urtain boxeolaria barne). Mekanika eta teknologia oso gustuko zituen, eta segurtasun-uhal bat asmatu eta patentatzen saiatu zen (tamalez, ez zuen azken hau lortu). Astronomian eta espazioan ere interes handia zeukan, eta txikia nintzenean berak ikasitakoa erakutsi zidan (adibidez, Martitzeko ilargiak Phobos eta Deimos direla), handik urte batzuetara nik bere galdera beti interesgarriak (nola propulsatzen da misil bat espazioan hau hutsik badago?) gustura erantzutea lortuz. 
Nire aitona jaio zenean Pluton ez zen ezaguna (1930ean izan zen aurkitua); hil baino bi egun lehenago, honen eta Karonteren lehen argazkiak erakutsi nizkion. Nahiko banu, esanahi poetikoa edo eman ahalko nioke gertakari horri, bi pertsonai mitologiko eponimoen zeregina dela eta, baina, susmatuko zenuketen bezala, nire aitona nahiko pertsona argia zen, eta ez zuen jainko eta halakoetan sinesten. Beraz, zera esango dut:Nire aitona bezalako milioika pertsonen ahaleginari esker ni bezalako milioika pertsona inoiz baina hobeto bizi gara, beraiek jasan beharreko guda, gosete, edo gaixotasunik gabe. 
Ez, nire aitonak ez zuen bizitza erraz bat eduki, baina ez dago pena merezi duen horrela den ezer.

domingo, 11 de mayo de 2014

A speculative idea for the treatment of extreme physical trauma.

The surgery exam is coming up, and reading about recent developments in artificial blood and nanotechnology/material sciences, I’ve had an idea, which is certainly flawed, but might, once the defects I haven’t thought about have been properly addressed, be marginally useful in the future for the treatment of some cases of extreme physical trauma which today almost invariably end up with the death of the patient.
        Imagine if you will, that a few decades from now artificial blood is plentiful and artificial “plastic” capillaries can be made, such as that said artificial blood can be oxygenated in an artificial lung by making it go through said capillaries. Also, in imagine the less pleasant scene of a person suffering from major trauma, such as losing both legs in a flying GoogleCar accident, massive 3rd degree burns from a failed space-tourism landing or being shot several times in a robot uprising (remember, this is the fuuuture).
        Now, if we assume that major industrialized nations continue with their mixed model economies, with ever-growing market economies and ever-better funded public healthcare systems, the vast majority of the population, who lives in major urban centers, could receive very quick (a matter of minutes) emergency medical attention thanks to medicalized helicopters and smartphones/intelligent clothing that allow for immediate reporting of emergencies. Said helicopters (or, in the worst case, ambulances) would have an “Ezkurra Box for Extreme Trauma” (so named because I can), which would consist of a simple set of hydraulic pumps which would mimic the heart, with catheters connecting them with the capillaries of the fake lung and a supply of artificial blood, all enclosed in an aseptic box (see scheme for visualization with the most extreme survivable form of trauma I could imagine – decapitation.
  Futurama head-in-a-jar, anyone?
        Of course, this contraption is limited to ensuring that all organs that are physically there after the traumatic experience keep receiving properly oxygenated and pressurized blood until the hospital is reached and the situation is stabilized (say, all cuts are properly sealed). If, unfortunately, the heart or lungs were crushed, the patient would have to live attached to the Ezkurra Box (Hmm, sounds more narcissistic than I thought) or have one inside his thorax a la Dick Cheney (although the former VPOTUS has just a fake heart, no fake lungs exist yet), with the ensuing infectious and autoimmune complications. Likewise, the patient would have to undergo dialysis until a kidney was donated (or cloned from the patient in the fuuuture) and would have numerous nutritional/metabolic problems depending on what parts of his digestive tract were affected (e.g. diabetes and general food malabsorption would result from the destruction of the pancreas). Finally, in the extreme case of decapitation, even if the rest of the body were connected to the box, kept alive and then reattached to the head in the hospital, the patient would end up quadriplegic unless a whole spine section were regenerated/ substituted with metal (as has been experimentally done with rats), a procedure which will quite probably take more years for medical science to develop than artificial blood/capillaries, although the patient could maybe regain movement with an exoskeleton or remote controlled limbs, which seem more feasible.
         In any case, there are certainly many minor flaws with this scheme, but I think that in a few decades a variation of it might be used to avoid hypovolemic shocks, which kills quickly and often in trauma. Let us all hope so.

domingo, 20 de abril de 2014

Chocochristies III: Easter eggs, flour and yeast

I continue celebrating Easter by cooking a crucified-Jesus-cake for the 3rd year in a row. All in defense of blasphemy (although, to be frank, eating Jesus is kind of a big point of Christianity...)

PS: Cake Jesus needs more yeast to properly rise again



domingo, 26 de enero de 2014

¿Es buena Euskadi para España?


Desde el punto de vista del nacionalismo vasco, que es mayoritario en el País Ídem y por lo tanto tiende a dar forma al discurso general de la sociedad vasca, se da por sentado, como quien dice que la tierra es redonda o que los quarks nunca van solos, que España o el “estado español*”, respectivamente, es malo o nefasto para Euskadi o Euskal Herria, respectivamente una vez más. La perversa influencia de Mordor española es omnímoda, perjudicando la economía, la política, la sociedad, la cultura y el medio ambiente vascos, y aunque normalmente me gusta sacar a relucir que gracias al concierto vasco la CAPV recibe más dinero del gobierno central que el que da a éste por el cupo o que la evidencia no está precisamente a favor de que la izquierda abertzale sea una mejor garante de una democracia liberal que los partidos españoles, me gustaría aprovechar este post para explorar la afirmación opuesta ¿Es Euskadi buena para España?
El tiempo también es culpa de Madril, os lo juro por Sabino

Me centraré primero en el tema económico antes de moverme al político:

Por el lado positivo, la economía de la CAPV está sustancialmente más desarrollada que la Española, siendo su PIB per cápita de30.000€, ligeramente inferior al de Francia, de 31.100€, bastante superior al español, de 22.300€, sin Euskadi 21.900€ calculando grosso modo, ligeramente superior al de Chipre, de  20.700€ (He usado sólopaíses de la eurozona para evitar el problema de la paridad de poderadquisitivo, ya que me ha costado encontrar datos de PIB PPP para CCAA, aunqueadmito que la metodología es subóptima). Además, la economía vasca también es más competitiva en el mercado internacional, con un saldo comercial positivo la mayoría del tiempo incluso desde que el euro impide jugar con los tipos de cambio (desde 1992 sólo se dan saldos negativos en 2005 y 2006, aunque soyincapaz de encontrar datos como %PIB), mientras España ha mantenido un saldo comercial negativo desde 1986 (aunque todo indica que tendrá uno este año si nolo tuvo ya en 2013). Por último, la economía vasca se puede considerar “más social”, debido a sus niveles de paro casi normales (para una recesión enorme, los datos españoles es que son delirantes se mire como se mire) y su gini más reducido (en esto último lamentablemente no he podido encontrar mi fuente original y sólo he encontrado esto de 1980 – agradecería una fuente más reciente).

Por el negativo, la crisis demográfica vasca es aún peor que la española [inserte aquí su chiste favorito sobre la hiposexualidad vasca], lo cual probablemente convertirá a Euskadi en un lastre para las pensiones, aunque esto estaría mitigado por los elevados sueldos y el bajo paro. Además, al igual que España, Euskadi carece de recursos naturales (la hipotética explotación del gas natural de patatalandia capitolina Álava es hoy por hoy políticamente inviable)
No hay beneficio económico posible que pueda compensar esto


¿Cómo beneficia esto a los Españoles? Generalmente una balanza comercial positiva beneficiaría a toda la unión monetaria, pero este efecto se reduce mucho siendo miembros de la eurozona en vez de la pesetazona. Por otro lado, el acceso a un mercado de trabajo y de bienes y servicios más desarrollados en igualdad de condiciones es ventajoso, pero una vez más la Comunidad Económica Europea ya provee este beneficio. Además, una región rica sirve para redistribuir recursos y mejorar el bienestar agregado de la población, pero el concierto económico impide esto en gran parte. En suma, se podría decir que Euskadi es económicamente beneficiosa para España, pero la mayoría de beneficios se conseguirían igual estando simplemente en la eurozona y el resto son marginales.

En el campo de la política la influencia de Euskadi ha sido, me temo, bastante negativa:

Por el lado positivo, vemos que Euskadi vota generalmente a la izquierda, tanto que hasta su partido de centro-derecha (PNV) votó a favor del matrimonio igualitario en 2005 y de la liberalización del aborto en 2010, y es casi ya un partido liberal europeo (son, de hecho, miembros de los liberales europeos). Además, el PP apenas obtiene votos en el País Vasco. El lector podría ser de la opinión de que la izquierda no es beneficiosa para España y votar al PP sí, pero… sin comentarios.
¿Un partido liberal? ¿¡LIBERAL!?

                En el lado negativo hay que mencionar al elefante en la habitación: ETA. Además de matar a novecientas personas, ETA es responsable, directa o indirectamente, de que muchas partes de la democracia española no se hayan desarrollado hasta niveles occidentales durante la transición y hasta hoy en día. Así a botepronto: Nadie se ha tomado en serio las denuncias a las FFSS por torturas y abusos (porque habría sido hacerle el juego a ETA), hay restricciones para identificar policías como tomar fotos y muchas veces no enseñan las placas (para evitar el acoso de ETA y su entorno), el derecho a manifestarse está coartado (El muy elocuente intercambio de tuits entre el Juez Pedraz e Iñaki Oyarzabal es un ejemplo de lo anómalo de la situación española) al igual que la libertad de expresión (El enaltecimiento del terrorismo no debería ser delito, y no hace falta citar a Montesquieu o Stuart-Mill para ver por qué, o al menos se podría ser consistente y encarcelar a los “¡Viva Franco!/Bandera de Pollo”. Por cierto, he mencionado que SE CERRÓ UN PERIÓDICO y años más tarde todos los acusados fueron declarados inocentes), se han ignorado principios básicos del derecho penal (véase la anulación de la doctrina Parot) y se han ilegalizado partidos (una medida necesaria y con una base sólida en este caso, pero sin duda extrema) llevando al poder a una coalición con un mandato de las urnas totalmente manipulado (esto lo digo yo, que simpatizo con el PSE, y lo dice Miguel Sanz, ese proetarra tan notable).

    Como guinda, el eje centro-periferia (aquí Euskadi se une a Cataluña) desfigura el conflicto izquierda-derecha y roba la escasa atención del electorado hacía temas absurdos como, por ejemplo, que esté prohibido hablar en euskera en el congreso, que la bandera española debe ondear en todos los ayuntamientos o el boicot al cava catalán, mientras que, y perdonen el populismo, el paro sigue en tasa estratosféricas y los cerebros se fugan como si de un cráneo de feto que es imposible abortar se tratase.

        En mi opinión, la solución óptima a largo plazo sería la secesión, formando polities homogéneas que permitan un espacio político menos crispado y más eficiente, todo en el marco de una europa unida que asegure la igualdad de todas las personas en derechos y su libertad de movimiento, al igual que la ídem de bienes y capitales y las transferencias intraterritoriales.
           Por supuesto, se que tanto pedir una Europa unida como una separación (descuartizamiento, lo llamarán aquellos que se empeñan en compara a las naciones con seres vivos) amistosa y legal de España es como pedir que lluevan tartas de chocolate sin calorías, ya que el nacionalismo es algo visceral, tanto en lo que respecta a separarse como a unirse.

En todo caso, quería dejar claro que se puede ser razonable, separatista moderado, europeísta convencido y real al mismo tiempo.

jueves, 5 de septiembre de 2013

The Curse of the Crusader Kings



(I really wanted to put screenshots but somehow nothing seemed to work).
With summer vacations about to end, and being one of those “slow day” with nothing to do, I decided to download a game (yes, I’m a terrible person) about which I had heard a lot, Crusader Kings II.
I buy most of my games, and I say most because I hate demos and ever since I’ve had the option to test a game before buying it I’ve done so, so I downloaded it plus the Sword of Islam, Republics and Character Creator DLCs.
And by the one-in-three true God it was a good game.
It was around 2PM on the 2nd of September when I made a character loosely resembling me (but with some other good traits like strong or attractive, which I had to compensate with some other bad ones in a rather “gamey” way) and made him king of Navarre. 
The first thing I did was marry the daughter of the King of (Alto) Aragon, thus ensuring an alliance with the only Christian kingdom not big enough to absorb me. It didn’t go well, for one of my bad traits was lustful, which meant that I couldn’t say no when given the option to have a lover (my initial idea to behave more or less morally in the game would fail completely, as will be seen in the rest of the text). Anyway, lustful also meant that I was more fertile, and as long as kids kept coming the marriage “worked” (very historically accurate).
With the alliance with (Alto) Aragon unharmed by my affair, I decided to make amends with god by invading the infidels of Saraqusta (Zaragoza). I almost got crushed by its stronger Muslim allies, and had to wait until Galicia, León and Castile started wars with them to invade the rest of one-county-only Muslim independent realms. After that I usurped the Duchy of Aragon, making me a respectable King (of Navarre) with two duchies (the aforementioned Aragon, which is part of a kingdom of the same name, and Navarre, which is also a duchy of the same name), which allowed me to betroth one of my daughters to the son of the King of Galicia and my son and heir to the first daughter of the King of Leon (trouble would come from here later), allying myself with two of the other three Christian kingdoms of the peninsula (not counting Alto Aragon).
The remaining kingdom was Castile, and as only the huge XXXXXX emirate was left of the infidels, I decided it was time to press my ducal claims on Biscay (as it belonged to the duchy of Navarre) and declared war on my Christian brothers in the West; I also took advantage of a rebellion by the Count of Asturias-de-Santillana (now known as Cantabria) to take over that county too and then I married my other daughter to the prince of Castile, because fuck you, Castile.
By then the Moors in the South were divided in one of those occasional and inevitable civil wars that afflict feudal realms, and I took the chance to usurp the duchy of Toledo and its three counties and give them to my son, the one married to the heir of the Kingdom of Leon… but then I saw: The former queen of Leon had died at the ripe of age of 40 (assassinated? Natural reasons? Both very likely) and the 44-year-old King had taken a new 16-year-old wife (yep, 16) who had borne him a new daughter and a son. A son. A male heir who’d steal the Kingdom of Leon from my future grandson!
Man, this game makes you a total asshole; I had the baby assassinated (ex post facto rationalization: I had to kill him to avoid a civil war between him and my grandson). I tried to kill the paedophile king, but he was just too-well protected, so I had to kill his new son, and another one, and another one (and two daughters I spared, because I’m not *that* much of a dick) until the old bastard died of natural causes at 55 and the unification of Navarre & Leon was secured.
And then I realized it was 5AM. I won’t get a lot of sleep anyway, so let’s keep playing.
Everything was looking pretty good, except for the fact that my heir was crap. He wasn’t inbred or imbecile, just hadn’t inherited any of my good traits, nor had any of my six children (earlier in the game, when I was more idealistic, I had changed my succession laws to elective full cognatic, meaning I could choose between any of my sons and daughters. As a side note, Basques are the only ones who can have full cognatic succession, the rest are limited to agnatic or agnatic-cognatic), but then luck smiled on me: The Pope called a crusade, and I *promised* to participate in it, which made the Pope like me enough to grant me a divorce from my oooooold wife (almost 40!), who had refused to submit to me after invaded her father’s realm pressing a ducal claim that was technically hers and became an independent queen (bitch…).
Anyway, I got myself a 20 year old Egyptian miaphisite (what could go wrong with marrying a non-white non-catholic person in a medieval Iberian realm?) who was strong, a heritable trait that makes you fertile, which meant I soon had a bunch of heirs who had inherited my genius trait. I also used the Crusade to invade Valencia, because if we can’t distinguish Iran, Iraq, Lybia and Syria, I guess 1oth century peasants couldn’t distinguish Jerusalem and Valencia.
Finally, after I annexed some realms to the east (Duchy of Barcelona) and the West (the remaining Kingdom of Castile, once the daughter I had married there died) and eliminated all opposition to a black woman running the country (Obama and Hillary? Bunch of whiners), I insured that my dynasty would inherit Leon by having my first ordinary son’s first son marry my genius daughter from my second wife, basically forcing my two wives’ descendants to inbreed (that was an awkward Christmas dinner) and then died at 76 (ancient!).
Now that I had a relatively non-sexist and democratic kingdom ruled by an African-Navarrese person of gender spanning two-thirds of the 11th century Iberian peninsula, I was full of ideas: Form the Empire of Hispania, maybe invade Britannia or Scandinavia, marry my heirs to the HRE or Byzantium…
Oh, fuck. It’s 7PM. I’ve been playing for over 30 hours straight. I’ve forgotten to have lunch, dinner, breakfast and lunch again and have passed out from lack of sleep several times.
I saved and quit the game, grabbed the first thing I could to eat and went to sleep, only to wake up at 4PM (4th of sept.), 18 hours later. I took care of some chores for the reast of the day and went to bed at a reasonable time, and today I’ve cut and pasted the game into a pendrive and given it to a friend for safekeeping until Christmas or next summer, when I’ll buy the game and hopefully binge on it a little bit more responsibly.
Anyway, if you have more free time and self-control than me, get the game. It’s really good, like, heroin good.

lunes, 22 de julio de 2013

Marcopolicing

Random notes and photos about my trip to China. Might be interesting.



We arrived at 4:00AM, and hours latter we had breakfast when our digestive systems begged for dinner. Wary to lose a day, we visited the Lama's temple near noon. Implacable sun. Lack of sleep. Buddhist rituals with incense. I think I'm hallucinating because I can't believe this temple wasn't destroyed during the cultural revolution and NAZI BUDDHAS 

Actually, this was in Xi'an next to the great pagoda.
After that, "Transfer in Huixinxijienankou station in the Songjiazhuang direction"; not what one wants to hear when one's boiled brain is barely able to talk.

The next day, The Red Square and The Forbidden City, where we learned that ancient Chinese emperors could have hundreds of concubines. Of course, modern democracies  are superior to hereditary autocratic rule even in this aspect, as Italy's Berlusconi shows.

Ezkurra (aka annoying westerner aka Nixon) in China
Near such tourist-traps, a reminder of why one should never wear something (in cloth or tatoo/skin) in a language/alphabet that is unknown: I saw a Chinese guy wearing a "I'm supreme bitch" t-shirt. Also, the aforementioned topic plus some engrish: Beijing is shortened "BJ", resulting in this:

Quite a desperate way to get a date, if you ask me...
And on the 3rd day there was smog; luckily, we headed for the great wall, but due to Beijing's brobdidnagian proportions that meant I had to deal with grey skies for hours, resulting in a sore throat, irritated eyes & a surprisingly acute pain in the nasal septum.
In the wall my observations allowed me to conduct a little "natural experiment": Where tourist buses parked, there were several thousand Chinese and about a thousand Westerners (the midday sun made the temperature climb past 40ºC); most Chinese stop at the 1st watchtower, and there are none (!) after the 4th. By the last (7th) watchtower, the count of sweat-machines has dwindled to barely a score, evenly divided among Europeans and Americans, most of the latter being African-americans and Asian-americans (but, I repeat, no actual Chinese!). Caucasians are mostly German and, funnily enough, Basques (no Spaniards of our group of 11 made it  past the 5th watchtower). Of course, this "experiment" has very serious methodological flaws and is therefore almost useless, but interesting still.
Ahivalaostia, Patxi, I don't see where this "great" wall name comes from!
The 4th & 5th days we spent in Xi'an, where I felt a sense of déjà vu with the ancient monuments, for I had "built" them when I played "Emperor: Rise of the middle kingdom" in my computer a decade ago.

Terracota warriors: An autocrat unified China 22 centuries ago and all we got is this lousy pottery
The aforementioned Great Pagoda of the NAZI BUDDHISTS
The next two days we spent in Hangzhou, where the weather was unbearably hot and I acquired immunity against an east-asian pathogen, which had the nice effect of making me able to stand the 39ºC at night temperatures by causing me a similarly warm fever.

The last three days we spent in Shanghai!

Reason reified reaching upward and idiot doing whatever
Heavenly human hive and same idiot in more arrogant pose
I love skyscrapers, and these three are between 400 and 625m each. I came
Who cares about housing bubbles if they get you this?
Anyway, I also got the quintessentially esteriotypical Chinese farmer-hat & red book, and made this photo that should have never been made and never ever MSPaint'd
Long live the world embarrasing tourism revolution!