The “diesel war” waggery

Under pretence of a concern–clearly unsincere–for the somewhat harmful NOx emissions (nitric oxides), we’re now told in Spain that the European Union promotes a fight against fuel-oil that our Government will be seconding by — guess how? Yes: increasing the taxes and other hinders. A fight, though, whose main beneficiaries won’t be neither the atmosphere nor the citizens’ health, but the automobile industry and, of course, the Internal Revenue. Why? First, because fuel-oil being more polluting than petrol is anything except a definitely settled debate. Petrol egines emit more COx (responsible for greenhouse effect) and fuel-oil ones more NOx (potentially damaging health), but emissions from cars complying with the latest Euro 6 standard are quite similar for both oil derivatives. Hence, were health and environment the issue, Governments would rather take steps in order to renew the fleet and get rid of the dated, more NOx/COx emitting units out there, instead of overtaxing fuel-oil, a step equally impacing older and newer diesel cars, despite the latter being up to five times less polluting than the former and, ironically enough, also a lot less polluting than older petrol cars. Second, because by badgering with taxes and hindrances all diesel cars undiscriminatelly, then all their owners will be pushed to trade them for petrol or hybrid ones, which all throughout Europe means over one hundred million cars ready to be replaced, rather sooner than later, by less penalized vehicle types. This is a spectacular figure, too enticing for manufacturers to not place them under suspicion.

And funniest of all, it’s our present socialist government the most eager to apply a tax raise that–mind you–will impact more severely the less well-off, who–as statistics show–are the ones who bought diesel cars to economize. Wealthier people usually prefer petrol. Therefore our PSOE will be penalizing their own voters. All of which strongly suggests that Continue »

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Paradox of Spanish health cards

It seems incredible that a Spanish citizen’s health card only takes full effects in his autonomous community, and that he can’t receive medical care in the rest of the country without having previously formalized an absurd paper: the relocation slip, whose real purpose is no other than to put up domestic borders and hamper our constitutional right to freedom of movement.

I meant: it would seem incredible, conditional. It would seem incredible if it weren’t because even the worst blunder is possible in this split, self-apostate Spain; in this mutant country of made-up cunning regionalisms. But since anything can happen here, such is the situation. Both the kinglets of the autonomous taifas and the central government, in the height of their political ineptitude and autonomistic blindness, have proved totally unable of agreeing on a coordinated and unlimber health system. On one hand, because those kinglets are only too eager to label as recentralization –and thus anatemize– any unifying policy a government might undertake, due to their semantic confusion –out of ignorance or demagogy– between centralize and unify. (Pity they didn’t study harder their own language.) Interestingly, by the way, they don’t mind to give away their personal data to Facebook so that Mark Zuckerberg can centralize the information in his servers, but they do mind the different autonomous comunities in Spain to coordinate and unify databases and medical services so as to remove setbacks on behalf of the citizens. And, on the other hand, because the central goverment is always afraid of being called terrible names like centralizer dictators, and therefore, not giving a dime for their people, they dodge the issue for not confronting the kinglets.

But the last straw in all this nonsense is Continue »

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De manadas, jaurías y la presunción de inocencia

Sorry, this entry is only available in Spanish.

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Im-migrants

inmigrantesIf there’s something characterising the contemporary social speech -leadered by journalists and politicians of every kind, imbued in turn by the global pensée unique– that’s, rather than its populism and lack of character, the sweetened language in which its ideas come wrapped: I’m talking about that softened vocabulary of euphemisms and slynesses that shuns, at all costs, calling things by their name, lest reality makes sore the thin skin of our mealymouthedness.

Among the uncoutable, almost infinite examples, these days stands out-for its sudden spreading-the word ‘migrants’, with which we must call the immigrants from now on-as the factories where the communication engineering is hatched have decided. Migrants, how harmless it sounds! The term seems to wash off, like baptismal water, their illegal condition, seems to endorse their pureness, to belie their resolve of settling down in Europe and, in short, to divest the migration process of any detrimental or burdensome aspect for our own wellfare. And, granted, our exquisite sensitivity – actually a guilt complex of which we can’t, or even don’t want to heal – has swallowed the switch in one go, without batting an eyelid, and thus, in the record time of one day – just one day, reader! – the word immigrant has already been eradicated – not to say censored – from our vocabulary.

As usual, the semantic magic has worked; and that’s because in this trained Europe, whose true critical spirits are endangered species, we can’t realize how we’re being sneaked the goals, nor how with every new of these goals they’re shaping -not to say manipulating- our opinion, taking us one step further away from anything resembling a free thinking.

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Towards the twilight

After having met someone, somewhere (pity I can’t remember who, nor where!: it was an important part of the story, but now it won’t ever be recovered), I was going back home, for which I aimed the tube.

In Madrid subway stations (supposing that this was Madrid, that is) there aren’t counters anymore, but this entrance in my dream had two old-fashioned booths: at ground level, before the flight of stairs (up instead of down) that lead to the platforms, like some stations in Kiev underground. One of the booths had no queue, and I first headed there; but above the window hung an absurd LEDs lamp (switched off), like a motorcycle’s tail light, under which the clerck frowned at me in an unfriendly way, as if saying: “don’t come over here”; whose stare made me think that, were I to disobey her eyes’ silent order, I’d end up waiting longer than if I chose the other, busier booth; same as it usually happens to me at the cashiers in the supermarkets. So, I chose this second one, which lacked the strange LEDs pilot and whose clerck had a friendlier look.

After queuing for a short while, I was sold a ticket that, for those whims of the dreams, rather resembled a cinema’s than a subway’s: not an elongated piece of cardboard, but two detachable paper halves. And, indeed, past the booths and before the turnstiles there was a ticket collector, also alike the theathres; more precisely, a “collectress”: a young woman who, upon seeing me, smiled as if she knew me and said: “hurry up, lest you miss the train entering right now”.

Caught up in the hush of the metropolis, swept along by the other passengers, I barely had time to nod her thankyou and, unfamiliar with those particular turnstiles, I couldn’t even validate my ticket, both whose halves, untorn in my hand, I stared at in puzzlement while being dragged up the stairs by the human stream.

But I did then something quite unusual; Continue »

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Facebook’s unsatiable hunger for data

hungryfacebookSome of my friends tell me I’m too far fetched. Maybe they’re right. But when it comes to huge corporations, governments and the like, I’m afraid that no degree of suspiciousness is far fetched enough.

Because – you know – I was thinking: how do I disable this annoying automatic translation of my contacts’ posts in my Facebook newsfeed? I don’t want them to be translated. I’ll do it when I feel the need to.

So I went there – you know – to the Settings–>Language thing, and ooops! there was no straight setting for turning off translations altogether. Not at all. How come?, thinks I. Continue »

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Is Finnair violating EU legislation on tax refunds?

finnairlogocrossDespite its unjustified prestige (or did I just imagined it?), derived mainly–rather solely–from the country whose flagship airline they are–or were, Finnair actually belongs in the bottom grop of low-cost, cheap-it & cheat-it airlines that we find all over out there. It ain’t a tiny bit better than other much more discredited ones like Wizz, Ryan or Vueling, just to name a few. I’m now alluding to their illegal and abusive “50 € refund handling fee” applied to their customers whenever there is a refund to be made–if the ever make it.

In the first place, it’s not possible to contact Finnair’s Customer Service (CS) by e-mail. Their CS staff’s e-mail addresses are among the best kept secrets on the Internet. It took me a long while of web search to find this one: info@finnair.com, but it turns out it’s not working. Therefore, the customer who wants to claim a refund needs to either fill in and submit a web form (which will be answered from a no-reply address that doesn’t allow for any kind of follow-up discussion), or try to place place costly, ineffective and time-consuming phonecalls to Finnair’s CS phone numbers. Continue »

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Close encounters of the second kind

I liked him at first sight. He was a tall and somewhat ungraceful man of crude and unusual features–as if his face had been left unfinished by the sculptor–suggestive of a sound yet silent character. We had met at a restaurant; actually he was the cook; and though sparing in words, we had stroken up a slow yet heartfelt conversation out of don’t remember what. To judge for the short time we had the chance to talk, I gathered he was, above all, a decent human being, such a rare specimen.

He mustn’t have had much work at that time, because, once I finished my meal and paid the check, he told me to go out for a moment and continue our chat while he had a smoke. Right on the doorsteps to the street, for a brief moment I thought I’d lost sight of hime, as if he’d vanished into thin air; but no: a second later there he was, barely minding his cigarette, staring at the street’s damp grey cobblestones, wet by the recent rain, or looking at the unmistakable indigo of the northern sky above the neighbouring houses’ low roofs. Though we hardly spoke anything, I felt his as a close and pleasurable company; a company I could’ve enjoyed more had it not been for that noise, that fastidious and demanding noise that seemed to gush from within my head with growing strength…

It was the alarm clock. I opened my eyes to an unfamiliar hotel room, Continue »

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