I had recently undertaken a spontaneous trip to Amsterdam, the Netherlands. There were a few strong first-time impressions, which I want to document before they fade.
The strongest first impression is from the check in and check out system in trams (and, likely, other public transportation nets). Tickets are all NFC-based, and you must swipe/touch special verifying devices upon entering and exiting a tram. If your ticket is valid, green light and a sound tone will notify you (and everyone around you) about this. If your ticket is no longer valid, you’ll get red light and a different (louder also? not sure) sound.
These chipcards come in a variety of forms: non-reloadable cards for 1/24/48/etc hours (from the moment of the 1st check in), anonymous reloadable cards, and other card types.
Upon entering a tram with an invalid (train ) ticket, we were greeted by… a woman in a cage! She was selling tickets to those who didn’t have them. It was already late evening, but she was smiling a lot and also tried to figure out if we really need just a 1h ticket, or if a multi-day ticket would be better for us.
I am not entirely sure why checking out is necessary, other than for collecting loads of data on passenger flows (oh, sweet sweet data to analyze!). I also haven’t checked what happens if your ticket runs out while you are in a tram: will it fail to check out, forcing you to buy another one? Most likely not: should still let you out (there are actual tourniquets at tram exit doors). Read the rest of this entry »
There will be 366 days in 2016 (yes, a leap year). 366 steps towards your goal. That’s a lot! With the right goal and persistence, a lot can be done and achieved.
There are lots of good, real, helpful self-development/self-improvement techniques. These can often be practiced non-stop in one’s everyday life. These can often also be practiced in parallel, for a likely synergy.
There are lots of success books and biographies of successful self-made people. Some stories are quite well-known, while some remain hidden gems. Likely enough reading for several months, non-stop!
There are many good books on business, data analysis, engineering, software development, and other fields. Likely many years of reading non-stop!
Some people say that in 5 years one can master a common subject of choice good enough to become an expert. Others point out that many activities (and their co-activities) can be monetized or turned into profitable versions of said activities.
All in all, the only thing required is action.
Which books do you have on your 2016 reading list? What is the field you will be an expert in by 2021, assuming you start in 2016? Information consumption aside, what will you produce in 2016? What will be your actions?
A recent publication in The Guardian references a high-quality conclusive report of Bellingcat proving that in the summer of 2014 Russia used artillery and multiple rocket launch systems (MRLS) from its own territory to strike Ukrainian Army positions, effectively stopping the successful anti-terrorist campaign, and then overtaking long stretches of Ukrainian border (to enable easy supplies of more weapons, tanks, MRLS, and anti-aircraft systems). Shelling was followed by the full-scale Russian ground forces invasion around the 24th of August, which is Independence Day in Ukraine.
: this post was written on the 18th-23rd of May 2014, but was not published at that time. I am publishing it now, after minor edits of tenses used. I think that after Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine on the 24th of August 2014 it is absolutely clear that any prior publications regarding “right extremists” in Ukraine were either paid-for Russian propaganda, or simply insufficient analysis of the situation. It is still worth publishing this short text; consider this a cure for minds with only minor propaganda poisoning.
On Sunday, the 18th of May, the sad 70th anniversary of Crimean Tatars deportation by the Soviet regime, in Saarbrucken journalist Olaf Sundermeyer was giving a lecture titled “Ukraine: Die rechte Freiheit – Nationalismus und Rechtsextremismus” ( http://www.a3wsaar.de/aktuelles/details/d/2014/04/15/ukraine-die-rechte-freiheit-nationalismus-und-rechtsextremismus/ , or as a PDF).
I was unable to attend it, but looking at the abstract I felt the need to analyze and criticize the viewpoint Olaf presented. To do so, I went sentence by sentence through the abstract from the link above, picking items I cannot agree with, and providing my arguments. Read the rest of this entry »