by nospotlight1978 on November 2, 2011
My news of the day is the fire that partly destroyed the building of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo today. A fire from presumed criminal origin.
The journal was about to release an issue in which prophet Mahomet had been invited as a guest chief editor to celebrate the recent victory of islamists in tunisian elections. The name of the magasine today will be changed from “Charlie Hebdo” to “Charia Hebdo”, refering to the Quran-based islamic law.
As an atheist defending the right of speech and right of Press as a cornerstone in our modern civilisation, I am shocked.
Nothing against Islam in particular, everything against religions in general.
I will find this issue and buy it, even though I do not live in France anymore. Even though I usually do not read Charlie Hebdo.
I’ll post new comments soon, when more info will be released.
by nospotlight1978 on October 27, 2011
I just wanted to share a moment I experienced recently .
First, a short feedback about the background. I was invited in that party and many of the guests were not scientists… good for me, as I am a scientist side by side with fellow-scientists all day long. Hence, I like that kind of moments with people talking about other topics than lab tales. And, of course, when my direct interlocutors discovered what I do in life (researcher in biology), the conversation drifted toward “science”. I therefore unwillingly got involved in topics like cosmology (I don’t know anything about that), telepathy (no clue neither), the pharmaceutical industry (getting closer) and evolution…
…I did not really want to jeopardize my credibility, and as I realized I could not escape this conversation, I decided to pick up “evolution” as the main focus of the night…
I spent almost half an hour exposing the wide concepts of Darwinian evolution (even though I’m a molecular neuropathologist…), natural selection, mutations, selective pressure, selection..etc… and I felt the crowd was pretty receptive to my talk. I was quite satisfied.
I especially dwelled on the fact that finality does not exist in Nature, there are only mechanisms and consequences. So “Why?” is a question that does not apply, we should use “How?”… etc…
Everything went ok, and people were interested and interactive until that guy asked me “…ok, that is a nice story, but how can you reconcile your hypothesis with the fact that God created the Universe?”
Lull in my flow.
Mouthfull of wine.
Breathe in, breathe out…
I will not describe the subsequent oratory joust that followed… but believe me, that was great sport…
No dude, I do not need to reconciliate anything… you do!
by nospotlight1978 on October 22, 2011
Today, I came accross a news that puzzled me quite a bit: the existence of the Paris Syndrome. A disorder striking a small (but significant) proportion of tourists, especially Japanese, coming to visit Paris, the renowned capital town of my motherland: France.
By reading the title of this news, I imagined many things ranging from an outburst of some microbe français ingested with uncooked meat, or even an uncanny psychiatric condition characterized by a sudden identification to parisian people, grumbling and moaning while struggling to get in the metro.
I was actually not that far with my psychiatric hypothesis.
This syndrome is characterized by whealth of symptoms including acute delusional states, hallucinations, perceptions of being a victim of hostility from others, anxiety and also dizziness, tachycardia, sweating…so on so forth. It takes place during trips which confront tourists with things they have not anticipated. Things come back to normal uppon returning to the patient familiar environment.
Confrontation to the cultural and communication gap, but mainly the sudden realization that Paris does not correspond to the idealized image given in Japanese media is thought to be causative!
This city is an absolute wonder. Of sure! I would recommend anyone in the World to visit it. Its grands boulevards, la Tour Eiffel, Les Champs Élysée…etc… Not many cities in the world can compare to this one. But we are too old to believe in fairy tales, aren’t we.
Paris and its area hosts around 10 millions inhabitants and Paris inside its defined limits (boulevard périphérique) is a city of 2.5 millions people, which is one of the (if not the) most densely populated capital town in the World. People do not care about their neighbors, have to cope with each other, take this stressing public transportations everyday (14 iside metro lines, 5 suburban train lines, 6 or 7 dozens of bus lines only inside the city without suburbs), trying not to get attacked or mugged by robbers and thugs… Most of these people experience a constant feeling of being underpaid, exploited and doomed to fight not to become a waste of this putain de economical crisis like the countless homeless people you see in the streets.
If you add the appaling, deplorable habbit of Parisian people of being unsmily and unfriendly with anyone (including tourists), I perfectly understand the baffling experience of Japanese visitors coming to Paris with pictures from movies like Amélie, the idea of lovers on the banks of the river Seine, the romantic sunset at the tarasse of a bistrot…blabla…
Bienvenue au club!
Yes I understand. Just because I feel like having experienced this Paris Syndrome all my life in this nevertheless wonderful city.
Dear affected Japanese, you are just overwhelmed by your mutation: you reversibly became a Parisian in one day. At least, for you it is reversible.
I am happy I used to live there, but I am pretty convinced I will not come back.
by nospotlight1978 on October 21, 2011
Of course the news of yesterday (and today) is the capture and death of Mouammar Kadhafi (Gaddafi, Gadhafi). It would have been difficult to find anything upstaging this one, both considering the importance of the News but also its graphical nature.
For as long as I can remember, I have grown with Kadhafi in the News, ruling Lybia, supporting terrorism, and excentrically defying the Western world. As a remote spectator, I have only recently realized the brutality of this reign, listening to the commentaries of TV analysts, with the uprisings of Arab Spring. I am not Lybian, not from Arab world and not a geopolitical specialist. With respect to these revolutions, I am just a lay person, watching and reading the News.
What I saw yesterday reminded me other pictures and videos of course. When Saddam Hussein was captured in 2003, we have all seen these pictures of a simple man, with a unkempt beard and dazed look who was hiding in a hole.
Not that long ago, of sure, the death of Osama Bin Laden, in his house was followed by the release of videos and screenshots, showing him sitting on the floor, under a blanket, watching TV.
By watching these images, it is baffling to be the witness of the fall of these men, not only the end of their reign, tyranny or threat toward us… but also what I would call their reincarnation as human beings. For years or even decades, they changed into icons, concepts or even symbols, practically losing their enveloppe of flesh for the one of a leading voice to follow or a threating icon to fight. These pictures make their images coming back to Earth. It also make us coming back to Earth.
We are all just human beings in the end.
by nospotlight1978 on October 18, 2011
Even corrupted by financial stakes and individual egos, it seems that sports provide some relief at least.
A place where people (even countries) can oppose, with strict rules with no bellicose spirit, but with respect for the opponent.
That cheers me up…
…a bit, and give me a little confidence to Mankind.
by nospotlight1978 on October 18, 2011
This morning, I was in a relative good mood, something pretty unusual these days.
Hence, I wanted to start by finding an optimistic news today, starting by CNN… “Optimistic news” turned quickly as an oxymoron.
Of course I could find that the release of an Israeli soldier after 5 years of captivity is a good news. Perhaps could I consider a worldwide uprising against our pitiful economic world and financial system as a positive sign. Finally I might even have considered the CNN “freedom project” as an inspiring light in this dark landscape.
Maybe could I have even decided to pay attention to the People news, considering the touch of glamour, dream and substitute-living it gives to many.
So on, so forth…
I could. But I did not…
The only info these news tell is that a good news seems to belong only two categories: A reaction to a bad news, or a empty and useless event.
I am not surprised, a posteriori, but my nacent good mood of today vanished before maturation.
So, this morning I just came back to my morning activities. After shutting down the CNN web page.
by nospotlight1978 on October 18, 2011
Dear all, and even though I do not know if there will be many of you reading this.
I thought this was a appropriate time to start this blog. A blog to share opinions about the world I see, surely through the prism of my own experience.
Some extent of egocentrism is probably a significant component of writing a blog…
However, my narcissism is definitely not inflated enough for me to expose my name here. This relative anonymity will allow me to share visons of the world a little beyond what people around me might expect. Starting from a neutral nameless territory will make the reading more objective.
Enjoy the reading