cover photo


Channel About Photos Files Calendar Cards Articles Wikis Gallery Directory Help Language Random Channel Report Bug Search

  last edited: Fri, 21 Jan 2022 08:54:54 +0200   
The main story today was the news that according to a report in Calcalist, the Israeli police is using NSO's Pegasus spyware against Israeli citizens. Apparently it takes advantage of a very large loophole in the legal system: while there are very strict regulations regarding "wire-tapping" there is no specific law that makes it illegal to break into a citizen's phone to harvest information or, at least, the Israeli police made their own interpretation of the laws in determining what was permitted. In the case that a surveilled person was charged, the information they gathered through Pegasus was not used directly as evidence. Etc. According to the article, Pegasus is being used in a very similar way to that discovered in many non-democratic regimes around the world. Haaretz, in its own analysis, concludes that NSO is an arm of the state.

חברת NSO בשירות משטרת ישראל: פריצות לטלפון של אזרחים ללא פיקוח או בקרה | כלכליסט

Israel's COVID count seemed to be a bit optimistic during the last couple of days - thirty-some thousand per day - but it turned out that its computer system had simply collapsed under the flood of testing results and the actual number is at least double that appearing on the health ministry's website. Not the 465,000 cases that France reported today, but still the highest ever total for this country.

  last edited: Fri, 14 Jan 2022 02:03:38 +0200   

I haven't been inspired to do any writing or blogging. Writing or not writing are both habits that we get into. When we are doing it, there is a purpose to it, and invest meaning in it; when we are not doing it, we understand that there is no purpose to it, and that it has no inherent meaning. Writing can be helpful in processing experience though, and deepening experience, or making the experience more memorable by thinking over it again. With the obvious constraint that when we are going through a busy period, during which many experiences accrue, there often isn't time for writing or reflection, unfortunately.

But that hasn't been the case for me lately, either. We went to the Tel Aviv Museum exhibition a week or so ago; that was interesting. Yoyai Kusama. Her work has something for everyone. Even the young grandchildren were entertained, as if they were in an amusement park. She is 92 years old, but still took a very active role in determining what went into the exhibition - and some of the installations were specifically designed for it.


Also at the museum was another exhibition, called Dissensus. That was, in a way, even better than the other exhibition, but needs several hours to take it in. Through an array of excellent videos, it shows the legal and legislative battle over land, which, coincidentally is currently at a boiling point now in the Negev. Despite this being a small country with a huge avarice for additional land over the Green Line, in the O.P.T., it's amazing to see that only 7% of the land is currently built upon, while 44% is controlled by the military and used for firing zones. The exhibition brings many voices from those whose land is being expropriated, such as residents of Al Araqeeb, a Bedouin village which has been demolished 184 times and counting.

Meanwhile, here, we currently have our own difficulties with a Bedouin family who are squatting on a part of the land that was given to the village by the abbey. I think that they too originally came north due after being pushed out of their traditional lands by the state.

I found the other day that Nina Paley is on the fediverse and followed her. Her

This Land Is Mine by Nina Paley
by solielj on YouTube
on the history of this region in a nutshell is wonderful. She's currently finishing up an animated version of the Book of Revelation, but Sita Sings the Blues is her masterpiece.


Today I finished watching Ascension, a film about China. The Guardian reviewed it. It held my interest. All things about China are interesting, basically. They had better be.



Watching Don’t Look Up made me see my whole life of campaigning flash before me | George Monbiot | The Guardian
So, as we race towards Earth system collapse, trying to raise the alarm feels like being trapped behind a thick plate of glass. People can see our mouths opening and closing, but they struggle to hear what we are saying. As we frantically bang the glass, we look ever crazier. And feel it. The situation is genuinely maddening. I’ve been working on these issues since I was 22, and full of confidence and hope. I’m about to turn 59, and the confidence is turning to cold fear, the hope to horror. As manufactured indifference ensures that we remain unheard, it becomes ever harder to know how to hold it together. I cry most days now.

The UK is in danger of becoming a police state cosplaying as a democracy | Owen Jones | The Guardian
Make the world safe for our siesta.

The risk of a coup in the next US election is greater now than it ever was under Trump | Laurence H Tribe | The Guardian
If I were an American I'd be worried right now (but actually I'm worried anyway).

Emma Watson pro-Palestinian post sparks antisemitism row | Israel | The Guardian
She expressed solidarity for Palestinians and is immediately castigated by Israeli officials as an anti-Semite. People aren't daft; these officials aren't helping to diminish anti-Semitism and they aren't winning any new friends for Israel.

Corey Doctorow is awaiting his hip replacement, but still managed to create a couple of great posts - one about the meaning of Public Domain Day, another about the backstory behind the Luddites, among other things.

I was reading about alternative networks and came across some interesting articles about sneakernets including Cuba's version, El Paquete Semanal
El Paquete Semanal ("The Weekly Package") or El Paquete is a one terabyte collection of digital material distributed since around 2008[1] on the underground market in Cuba as a substitute for broadband Internet.[2] Since 2015, it has been the primary source of entertainment for millions of Cubans,[1] as Internet in Cuba has been suppressed for many years with only about a 38.8% Internet penetration rate as of 2018.

Five of world’s most powerful nations pledge to avoid nuclear war | Nuclear weapons | The Guardian

'We can't vaccinate the planet every six months,' says Oxford vaccine scientist - CNN
D had her 4th shot today, however.

  last edited: Sun, 02 Jan 2022 23:13:28 +0200   


I think the ultimate solution to getting my organisation's news feed on the fediverse is the eventual conversion of its website to WordPress, then making it a fediverse instance in itself. That will avoid the need to establish a separate fediverse instance. It will also save time to use the Twitter api to automatically federate it to Twitter, for example.


A 3-line "manifesto" by Aral Balkan advocates for a non-corporate decentralized web. I didn't sign it, because I don't sign petitions usually, though of course I agree. Looking at the websites of some of the signatories was educative and I subscribed to a couple of their news feeds.

Extreme weather could be as expensive as investing in cutting carbon ASAP | Ars Technica

On light pollution: How “stars” are helping the French keep the night sky dark | Ars Technica
“A recent study has shown that artificial light is triggering a decrease in the population of nocturnal pollinating insects. This directly impacts the plants as the pollination is not correctly achieved. As the plant species decrease, the daytime active insects that rely on these plants are also decreasing, as they don’t get enough food to survive. It affects insects at night, plants and has a rebound effect on insects during the daytime too.”
According to Falcón, artificial light is impacting mammals too. “All the species are interlinked. When one element of the system gets impacted, the whole system starts feeling the effect. So even if the entire system doesn’t totally collapse instantly, studies show that this is likely to be the issue on a long term basis.”

Twitter to RSS

- Nitter Converts Twitter timelines to RSS news feeds.
- Twitter app
Years ago, Twitter used to have its own RSS feed, but nowadays a third-party service is needed in order to subscribe to someone's Twitter feed. This eliminates the need to establish a Twitter account, unless one wants to actively use Twitter. (I haven't yet checked the viability of either of these services.)

874 cars were torched in France on New Year's Eve -- fewer than in previous years - CNN
I wasn't aware of this tradition - I guess because it isn't "news", so is under-reported. I hope at least that petrol fueled cars are more popular, because these would be more combustible, and that these will be replaced by newer, more environmentally friendly models.

India needs to protect its farmers against neocolonial agendas | cached

Mahmoud opened the door to find Israeli troops pointing guns at him. Then the violence escalated - Twilight Zone - | cached

‘There is no money left’: Covid crisis leaves Sri Lanka on brink of bankruptcy | Sri Lanka | The Guardian

Your attention didn’t collapse. It was stolen | Psychology | The Guardian

  last edited: Sun, 02 Jan 2022 12:14:00 +0200   


There's a convincing article about creating web pages that will withstand the test of time: This Page is Designed to Last: A Manifesto for Preserving Content on the Web. He lays out a set of principles, the first of which is:
Return to vanilla HTML/CSS – I think we've reached the point where html/css is more powerful, and nicer to use than ever before. Instead of starting with a giant template filled with .js includes, it's now okay to just write plain HTML from scratch again. CSS Flexbox and Grid, canvas, Selectors, box-shadow, the video element, filter, etc. eliminate a lot of the need for JavaScript libraries. We can avoid jquery and bootstrap when they're not needed. The more libraries incorporated into the website, the more fragile it becomes. Skip the polyfills and CSS prefixes, and stick with the CSS attributes that work across all browsers. And frequently validate your HTML; it could save you a headache in the future when you encounter a bug.



For Christmas this year I asked for a kalimba. For a short while we previously had one of these but gave it away as a gift. I felt like playing with one again. I'm not great with musical instruments. It's just a game for me. But yesterday evening I managed to learn the basics. The first thing that I needed to do was to tune it. On F-Droid I found an application called Tuner, which does the job.

This is a simple 10 tongue kalimba tuned to C, which is supposed to be easy for children or beginners. There are many variations on this instrument - the more professional one currently in use seems to have 17.


Alibaba may stop shipping to PA, which won't deliver packages with 'Israel' on them | The Times of Israel

Palestine denies restrictions on packages from Chinese e-commerce giant

Bambi: cute, lovable, vulnerable ... or a dark parable of antisemitic terror?
the original tale of Bambi, adapted by Disney in 1942, has much darker beginnings as an existential novel about persecution and antisemitism in 1920s Austria.

Jamal Khashoggi killers living in luxury villas in Riyadh, say witnesses
 web  diary

  last edited: Thu, 30 Dec 2021 21:36:54 +0200   


I have the house to myself since Wednesday as D is at a vipassana retreat. My son and family are in the other part of the house; they are just finishing up their new house, and plan to move out of here and in to theirs in about another 3 weeks.


A couple of products I ordered from Ali-Express just arrived today. Metal clothes pegs: I am tired of the plastic ones - which quickly break, and the wooden ones, which either grow rotten or snap apart, so I thought I would try metal ones, though maybe they will rust? Actually the last batch that I bought in the local store aren't bad either - they're bamboo. Also from China.
The other product is a Faraday pouch for my phone. I'd been reading Attack Surface and thought that one of these might be useful at some time. (I hope not). It cost all of $3.30. I saw them selling on Amazon for many times the price, so I was just curious if a cheap one would work as well. It works fine - I have tested it. The only trouble is that only a single phone fits in the pouch that I've bought, whereas it is likely that in a situation where you might want one (conspiring with a friend to overthrow the government ;-) ), you'd probably want to insulate at least two phones.

I was looking again at Barry Kauler's "Shell CMS" again. What I like about it is its simplicity. So easy to use and can be moved wherever you want. Also, all the files remain on one's own computer, so there are no worries about backups. It's possible to maintain a nested website that would contain a blog and different categories of documentation. For an editor, he recommends SeaMonkey, and that makes sense too.


Sometimes I feel like abandoning all content management systems and just creating web pages in Seamonkey. Like we used to do. I've traveled through these ideas before; I tend to go in circles throughout the years.


Don't Look Up

The critics hate it; environmentalists love it; as for me, I didn't love it, but it held my attention - somehow I thought it was going to be a series, but after an hour had past, I realised it must be a movie. It's actually quite a long one. The characters were good. I felt the same frustration as they did when the astronomers failed to get people interested in their message. The talk show hosts and politicians very much reminded me of the reality that exasperated me on every visit to the US. The satire isn't so far from the reality; maybe that's why the critics feel that the jokes fall flat.


How to Defend Yourself Against the Powerful New NSO Spyware Attacks Discovered Around the World This is an article from several months ago, but I just read it now. Well-written.

  last edited: Sun, 19 Dec 2021 17:26:36 +0200   


Just discovered that I can make tasty almond milk by blending a dollop of almond paste with some water and honey. I made enough for a small jug and it even came out nice and frothy. That should eliminate buying all those imported Tetrapacks of expensive rice milk from the health food store. Besides the economic saving, it's also better for the environment.


It's funny that, contrary to what you might imagine, elinks, the terminal browser, can read all kinds of websites that are unavailable to mainstream browsers, due to paywalls. If I can't read a story, I just paste the link into elinks and there it is.


‘We are family’: the Israelis sharing life and hope with Palestinians | Palestinian territories | The Guardian
"Participants in a West Bank immersive language project tell of the strong bonds being forged that counter the rise in settler violence"
Maya grew up here in Wahat al-Salam - Neve Shalom

Dogs and Rats:

New York has a huge rat problem. These vigilantes with dogs think they can fix it | New York | The Guardian

Forget Dogs: These Rats Could Be the Future of Search and Rescue - Slashdot