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Athen plans to ban SUVs from the city //at 00:41 //by abe

from the Shit-Utility-Vehicle dept.

According to this Spiegel Online article Athen plans to “ban offroaders” from the centre of the city with the beginning of September 2006. Since the Greek governments argues about the traffic space these cars need, their drivers “only being posers” that have “nothing to do than driving around all the day”, I suspect, they mean SUVs and not offroaders. At least here in Germany, you usually don’t see offroaders in the cities, but a lot of Sport Utiliy Vehicles which usually just pretend to be an offroader (Wired, Guardian) but are perfect for parking with one or two tires on the sidewalk.

As outrageous as this sounds — it may have a real and reasonable reason: SUVs are usually bigger than other cars (especially in Europe), they need more parking space and have bad turning circles. They often have to back just to turn left or right in Athen’s narrow alleyways. Because of this, they are accused to cause most of the traffic jams in the centre of Athen

I’m still not sure, if I should believe this news, although SUVs are some kind of enemy concept for me. Why only SUVs? Why (AFAIK) also small offroaders like the Suzuki LJ or SJ? Why not being consequent and taking the Paris of ’50s (or ’60s? Can’t remember and Google and Wikipedia didn’t help…) as an example and creating a Zone Bleue (“Blue Zone”), in which only cars may enter, which have appropriate dimensions.

“Zone Bleue”? Back in the decades after WWII, Paris had problems with big lorries in the city, so Paris’ introduced the Zone Bleue (AFAIR) in the inner city, which was restricted to vehicles with a floor space less than 5m² or 6m² or so, so even some French car makers started build special “Zone Bleue” versions of their delivery vans with bumpers closer to the van body, tunneled rear lights and rolling shutter instead of outside lying sliding doors. And often high roofs for raising their capacity. (The only “Zone Bleue” van I found pictures of on the net was this Citroën HY Zone Bleue Pickup. You can best see the unusual rear bumper and the tunneled rear lights on the lower left picture.)

But back to Athen: Another reason which makes me sceptical about that news is that neither the Englisch Google News nor the the German Google News (also tried several other search terms…) finds any other news about this except the above mentioned Spiegel article.

Found via Ignoranz.ch.


Seems as if I really should visit Ireland once //at 15:44 //by abe

from the Guinness dept.

When I loaded Planet Debian today, the first story was «Pardon my French…ness?» by Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho. There seems to be a new meme going on, trying to find out «Who’s Your Inner European?» Antti-Juhani’s Inner European is French: «Smart and sophisticated. You have the best of everything - at least, *you* think so.» Well, since I’m quite francophile in many ways (cars, food, laissez-faire, etc.), I expected to get a similar result, but it was quite different:

Your Inner European is Irish!

Sprited and boisterous! You drink everyone under the table.

Who’s Your Inner European?

Well, I like what I read or saw of the Irish countryside in books or on tv, but drinking? Alcohol? Sorry, that’s just plain wrong. Doesn’t choosing the cute classic Citroën (They wrote it without diaeresis! Philistines!) suffice?

Well, maybe I shouldn’t have chosen «Those damn British - they really get under your skin», but the newest idea of the British government to sponsor voyeurs with access to public surveillance cameras to enforce their Respect Action Plan (German written Telepolis article about — BTW: Has Telepolis no more english translations?) really really goes under my skin. (Although stories about implanted RFID chips even go deeper under my skin…) One annotator of the Symlink article (German, too) about that British government programme associated their ideas with the concept of the Blockwart (“block warden” or “wonk” in English according to the dict.leo.org forum, Wikipedia also mentions “block leader” and “block attendant”) during the Nazi régime in Germany: They were the lowest officials in the NSDAP and the local contact persons to SS and Gestapo. I wouldn’t wonder if the British government gets a Big Brother Award for giving this “respect” to privacy and human rights.

But back to the quiz: Well, let’s see with which of the questions I wasn’t sure what to answer. If I change Tiramisu (yeah, I know, that there is alcohol in it, and I only like it with nearly no alcohol in) to Apple pie, nothing changed. Same after switching Pasta to Seafood and vegetables. Hmmm, well let’s try one of the obvious but not really wrong answers: Mousse au chocolat instead of Tiramisu. Et voilá! La France! :-)

Oh, and yes, the ideas of the French government to make open source software, the web and other cultural achievements illegal aren’t my French favourites either…

Update, 21:03: Christian Perrier suggested that the quiz could also be used to find out, which Inner European you’re definitely not. Well, somehow I hoped, it would tell me, I’m not German (I also marked Mercedes in that round ;-), but it told me, I’m not Russian, which is also fine since the quiz seems to focus the prejudices about Russians on alcohol consumption.

Now playing: Europe — The Final Countdown


German voting statistics viewed from a Debian System //at 01:54 //by abe

from the screenshot dept.

The last years I always sticked to the voting statistics of the ARD Tagesschau, since the only acceptable other news source in German television, ZDF heute corporated with MSNBC.

But this year, also the Tagesschau showed the Microsoft logo in some statistic on TV, which the German Linux association LIVE tried to get removed by stating that this an illegal advertisment in a political TV show.

Well, they weren’t successful, but at least the statistics on the web don’t show an M$ logo. But they have another problem:

My desktop system, a Pentium II with 400 MHz and 578 MB of RAM, is still running Woody, because I yet can’t live without Galeon 1.2.x, which was replaced on Sarge by Galeon 1.3.x — a complete rewrite which lacks most features I liked in Galeon 1.2.x. Galeon 1.2.x doesn’t show the above mentioned website that good, so I tried some browsers from Sarge. But none of them showed that page correctly:

Galeon 1.2.5 based on Mozilla 1.4.2 from Debian 3.0 Woody

Firefox 1.0.4 from Debian 3.1 Sarge

Konqueror 3.3.2 from Debian 3.1 Sarge

Dillo 0.8.3 from Debian 3.1 Sarge

So interestingly, the page is best readable in Konqueror and Dillo while only Firefox doesn’t show all of the main content of the page.

Somehow I fear, the pages have been “optimised” for MSIE, while the ZDF voting statistics page just don’t work at all: It needs JavaShit and Flash. *plonk*

Regarding the published extrapolations: I’m at least happy that CDU (black, right conservative) and FDP (yellow, business liberal / free market) probably won’t have a majority. But what this will result in is still unknown. There are too many options open for our politicians to do any prediction. I would probably prefer Red-Red-Green or Red-Green as we have it at them moment. Worst case for me would be Black-Yellow.

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Hackergotchi of Axel Beckert


This is the blog or weblog of Axel Stefan Beckert (aka abe or XTaran) who thought, he would never start blogging... (He also once thought, that there is no reason to switch to this new ugly Netscape thing because Mosaïc works fine. That was about 1996.) Well, times change...

He was born 1975 at Villingen-Schwenningen, made his Abitur at Schwäbisch Hall, studied Computer Science with minor Biology at University of Saarland at Saarbrücken (Germany) and now lives in Zürich (Switzerland), working at the Network Security Group (NSG) of the Central IT Services (Informatikdienste) at ETH Zurich.

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