Fighting obesity?

[:en]I’ve been six hours packing at home, struggling with my stuff to make the suitcase comply with the airlines’ weight allowance: 20 kg. You can’t easily do with less than 20 kg of luggage for a one month holiday, and it’s time-consuming to select the most necessary things, all the essentials and nothing but the essentials, and still leave some margin for the gifts you’ll bring back home.
Now I’m waiting at the boarding gate, and I see this massive guy, probably no less than 120 kg fat, sitting in front of me. And I think: that man has paid for his ticket the I paid! Now, how fair is that? Airlines are only too ready (and happy!) to charge you a forfeit if your luggage exceeds the limit in just one kilo, but then they don’t penalize that colossus, even though he’s worth much more than me and my suitcase together. Actually I could carry two more pieces of luggage and still I’d be lighter than him, with the added advantage, in my favour, that in case of an emergency my baggage could be thrown overboard to drop ballast, whereas a person couldn’t. So, to be fair, I should be entitled to 50 full extra kg of staff, then offered a discount for ‘disposability’.
That’s why I believe that governments don’t really want to fight obesity. Politicians talk and talk about healthy eating and responsible feeding our kids, but that’s only drivel: if they truly wanted to end with obesity, it would be as simple as passing a bill to allow–or even force airlines to tariff per kilo of total weight; say, for instance, passenger plus baggage limit: 100 kg; anything above that, pays forfait. Then you’d see a sensible percentage of obese people start exercising and eating healthier: if only they had to pay extra in the airplanes!
But of course governments won’t do that, even if only because the food industry is so powerful and gluttons keep the market wheel spinning round, injecting money into the system with all the food they buy, which creates jobs and makes companies richer and more powerful. Monsanto probably loves fat people, and of course governments love Monsanto, needless to say why. So, unlike me, obese can’t be spared. I’m almost worthless for the system, perfectly expendable. But them? They’re the fuel of these greedy economies.
Meanwhile, here I am, sparing clothes for a 20 kg allowance. How fair is that?[:]

Shame on Spain

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With the help of media, grudge and nescience can grow really powerful. And now, in Spain, they’re achieving their goal: presently, the main national and international news about the Pope’s visit to Madrid is not the event itself, nor Benedict XVI himself, but the protests against.
 
Demonstrations against papal visit to Madrid

 
Indeed, hordes of misinformed unoccupieds or opinionated progresists, alleged atheists or presumed egalitarians, and a fistful of sciolists, have come to complain about the Spanish government’s favoritism towards Catholics and the Pope (with respect to other religions and visitors), and about the expenses that, in spite of the crisis, the privileges granted to the «piligrims» (subsidized transport, food and shelter) mean for the country. By giving a special treatment to this visit and their followers, the government -they say- is discriminating against another religions (Spain being «officially» a secular country), events or personages, while at the same time incurring in costs that will not pay off.
But is this true?
Certainly, one of the articles in our Constitution says that «no creed will be official», but then it goes on: «the religious beliefs of Spanish society will be taken into account by authorities, and the consequent cooperation with Catholic Church and the rest of creeds will be kept». However, these crusaders of our democracy (who probably get married by church and then baptise their children, both things under some feeble excuse) seem to only be aware of the first part of that article, but not the second: they either ignore it, or think that the explicit mention to Catholicism is a mere ornament, like an example in a textbook. They clutch the «we’re a secular country» idea, stick to it as if it was a life ring, and forget (or chose to obliterate) an essential part of our history, disregarding by the way the fact that a good portion of Spain’s revenues comes thanks to Christendom (though this is surely more arguable).
 
Some criticism device smart puns

 
Another thing that these complaining philistines forget is the undisguised hostility that our governing socialist party -in special Zapatero, that unfortunate and shameful prime minister- has opposed to the Catholic Church during the long eight years of his two terms (hopefully close to expire). How can anyone, having some wits and a little awareness, believe that this country is favoring anything that comes from the Vatican? Not at all; the political crew ruling Spain these days can’t care less about the Pope and the pilgrims; but, having had the -possibly- worst economical management since our democracy, they do care about one thing now: money! And this brings us to the perhaps most important side of this controversy: is the visit of Benedict XVI going to mean an economical burden to our nation?
Definitely not. Though there are -as usual- many different flavours of the estimate expenses (quantifiable or not) concerning this visit, from 50 to 100 million euros, we only need to use the most fundamental maths to realize that, even under the worst of scenarios, more than one million pilgrims bring to Spain considerably more money than than those expenses. The volunteers (organizers) have free shelter and transport, but: the salaries of the transport workers has to be paid all the same, and without the Pope’s visit those tourists wouldn’t come; so, there is no money loss on this side. On the other hand, the sheltered offered to these volunteers is poor: they sleep on the floor; no money loss here either. They’re also subsidized food, but that’s basically what they paid for when volunteering (yes, they had to pay a fee). Therefore, no much expenses on the part of the Administration here either… And let’s be honest: everything in this capitalistic world is about money. If the visit of the Pope would not mean business, it would not take place.
 
Placards shown by some demonstrators.

 
So, let’s not be hypocrites: these demonstrations and criticisms are not about favoritism, nor about laicism, nor about money: they are about resentment, animosity and even hatred; and those who dissent and disapprove — those who protest against the expenses and against the simplicity of the believers, those are the benighted and narrow-minded; those are the real bigots in this society.
Shame on Spain.
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En esta España nuestra parece que siempre ha de haber alguien salvando a alguien. Durante siglos, se adjudicaron esta función la iglesia católica y sus fieles: devotos laicos y aplicados religiosos se han afanado durante décadas sin fin, aquí y allende los mares, por convertirnos a la fe o regresarnos a ella, siempre para guardarnos de las trampas del Maligno, alejarnos del pecado y salvarnos de la condenación eterna, amén.

Pero en estos albores del siglo veintiuno corren malos tiempos para los evangelios: la ciencia ha acorralado a la fe -si bien en menor medida de lo que se piensa- y, dejándonos desamparados frente al absurdo, le ha abierto de par en par las puertas al consumismo, ese nuevo opio que los tahúres de la mercadotecnia se han apresurado a explotar. Cuando ya no podemos creer en Dios, ni en la otra vida, tenemos que buscarle un nuevo sentido a esta.
Sin embargo, curiosamente, no nos hemos quedado huérfanos de salvadores; nuestro quijotesco carácter siempre empuja a algunos al histrionismo. Y ahora, proliferando como lo hacen, ante la presencia de un herbicida que elimine las especies dominantes, las plantas que han estado sometidas por ellas, ha venido a aparecer en nuestra sociedad una iluminada casta de salvadores: son los ociosos descreídos y los filisteos, los resentidos y los envidiosos, los que se dicen ateos y se erigen en paladines de la igualdad (sin saber que sólo aclaman al igualitarismo), en cruzados de una dudosa Constitución y una paupérrima democracia, quienes ahora han venido a salvarnos… ¡de la Fe!
 
Un hábil fotógrafo ha logrado reunir en una instantánea a varios manifestantes adultos.

 
Estos son los nuevos mesías. Bien los hemos visto con ocasión de la visita a Madrid del Papa Benedicto XVI, protestando y manifestándose, tras la tísica disculpa de un gasto desmesurado o una discriminación frente a otros credos, contra una mayoría aún religiosa y católica. Ahí estaban estos salvadores en plena función, elevando sus gritos y alzando sus pancartas hacia todos aquellos que aún tiene la bendita fortuna de poder creer en Algo.
 
¿Se trataba de derogar la ley del aborto?

 
Pero esta atolondrada oposición no buscaba, en realidad, salvaguardar nuestra economía en crisis, ya que sólo un necio puede pensar que el balance económico de la visita papal vaya a ser negativo para el país; ni buscaba tampoco defender (dando la espalda a la verdadera realidad de nuestra sociedad) el supuesto -y muy controvertido- laicismo oficial español, ya que estos mismos títeres que se manifiestan contra la acogida gubernamental para Benedicto XVI no se habrían atrevido a levantar una voz, a proferir un susurro, si el visitante hubiera sido el caudillo de cualquier otra religión; antes al contrario, habrían sido los primeros en declararse a favor y, de paso, colgarse las medallas de la tolerancia y de la pluralidad.
 
O cómo confundir la velocidad con el tocino.

 
No, nada de esto. Se ha tratado de algo mucho más tragicómico; mucho más carpetovetónico: estas protestas, reflejo de nuestra patria ignorancia, de nuestra secular intransigencia, en realidad no buscaban nada grande ni elevado, nada noble, sino que han brotado al son y al Sol del Madrid estival, abonadas por una varia casuística: muchos, para dar salida al resentimiento incubado durante generaciones; otros, por la envidia que siente el agnóstico del creyente; muchos, para desahogar frustraciones personales; quién, para alcanzar el dudoso crédito de «haber luchado contra el sistema», pero sin discriminar objetivos; no pocos, para amenizar el caluroso ocio de las noches veraniegas, o por simple esnobismo; algunos, por último, porque cualquier excusa les vale para reivindicar su homosexualidad o enseñarnos las tetas. En cualquier caso, la mayoría de estos confundidos progresistas, de estos eruditos a la violeta, se han cultivado en el caldo de la desinformación, el dogmatismo o el rencor.
 
¡Quién fuera bicicleta!

 
Pero son ellos, estos nuevos mesías que quieren salvarnos del catolicismo, los verdaderos intolerantes de esta incorregible España nuestra.
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Programmed obsolescency

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La obsolescencia programada es una de las más flagrantes manifestaciones de la hipocresía de las naciones capitalistas.
El hecho de que la industria fabrique productos diseñados para fallar, estropearse u obsolescer en uno u otro sentido al cabo de determinado período de tiempo -nunca demasiado largo-, y que lo haga con todas las bendiciones de la ley (o, en el mejor de los casos, con su mudo beneplácito), pone en evidencia la indefensión a que los ciudadanos están expuestos como consumidores, eliminando además de raíz no ya la eficacia, sino el sentido mismo de todo el aparato de defensa del consumidor, con sus oficinas, sus funcionarios y todas las leyes pertinentes; aparato que, para colmo, costea el propio consumidor con sus impuestos. Es decir, que no sólo pagamos por productos legalizados para estropearse, sino que además soportamos los costes de un servicio falsamente destinado a protegernos de dicha obsolescencia. La defensa del consumidor, ¿no debería empezar por una normativa de calidad mínima? ¿y, en todo caso, no debería ser sufragada con los impuestos procedentes de quienes se lucran con el comercio?
La obsolescencia programada pone igualmente en evidencia el engaño al que estamos sometidos como miembros y participantes de una sociedad que se dice a sí misma popular, que se declara consagrada al individuo en cuerpo y alma, pero que no titubea en incurrir en la contradicción que supone, por un lado, declarar al ciudadano como último interés supremo y, por otro, permitir que constantemente se le vendan a éste productos deliberadamente perecederos.
Pero, por último, lo más sangrante de este fenómeno es la escandalosa hipocresía que supone la existencia de una cadena de producción que esquilma y derrocha desalmadamente los escasos recursos del planeta, al tiempo que se promulga toda una pomposa política de ecología, energías renovables y reciclaje de basuras. ¡Qué soberana tomadura de pelo! Por cada tonelada de basura que llega al ciudadano, susceptible de ser reciclada, hay diez toneladas (es un decir) de materiales que se le extraen sin piedad al planeta. La ecología bien entendida empieza por minimizar el consumo, y no por fomentarlo para, luego, pedirnos que reciclemos las migajas. Pero, claro, esto último no complacería al gran dinero; a esas empresas que, al fin y al cabo, son las que mantienen el “crecimiento”, ese monumental error. Quizá algún día entre en nuestras cabezas la idea de que es imposible crecer infinitamente en un mundo finito. Pero, entonces, será ya demasiado tarde.
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Programmed obsolescency is one of the most glaring exhibits of capitalistic nations’ hypocrisy.
The fact that the industry produces stuff designed to fail, break down or become obsolet after some time -never too long-, and the fact of this happening with all the blessings of the law (or at least with its silent acquiescence), evidences the citizens’ defencelessness as consumers, not only rendering uneffective the consumer protection system, but also depriving it of any possible sense, with its offices, its staff and all the pertinent regulations. I. e.: we not only pay for legally “self-breakable” (excuse my bad English) products, but also for a service untruly assigned to protect us from that. Consumer protection, shouldn’t it start with a mandatory minimal quality of the staff?, or at least, shouldn’t it be financed mainly with the taxes of those who most profit from the commerce?
Likewise, programmed obsolescency evidences how deceived we are as members of a society which claims to be for the people and devoted to the individual, but which doesn’t hesitate in falling into the blatant incongruity of stating -on one hand- the supreme importance of the citizen, and -on the other- letting these to be constantly offered purposedly perishable products.
And last but not least — actually the grossest indecency of this question, is the alarming deceit involved in simultaneously a) maintaining a production chain which mercilessly exhausts and wastes the scarce resources of our planet, and b) enunciating shamelessly an ostentatious policy about ecology, renewable energies and waste recycling. What a gross mockery! For every ton of waste the citizens can recycle, there’s ten times more stuff ruthlessly extracted from Earth. Well understood ecology starts with minimizing consumption, not with encouraging it and, then, asking us to recycle the crumbs. But, of course, this wouldn’t please the “big money”, those businesses which, at the end of the day, are supporting the “growth” – that colossal mistake. Perhaps some day we’ll understand that it is impossible to grow indefintely in a finite world. But then, of course, it will be too late.
If you want to know more about this topic, please take a look here: http://thestoryofstuff.com
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Facebook and government

Finally I’ve decided on writing a brief note about this interesting topic, as a continuation of my recent wall post.
Sure, the “controlled Facebook” idea hadn’t crossed my mind before my friend -too fond of conspiracy theories- suggested it (well, actually he didn’t suggest, but affirmed): “Facebook belongs to the CIA”, he told me. My inmediate thought, for the first few seconds, was that of “Oh, my God!, people are so crazy about these fantasies of global conspiracies for controlling the planet, and such”. But somehow, a moment later, the idea struck me as a very plausible, reasonable and even logical one.
But before further writing, let me make clear that the words in which my friend put it are, for me, an oversimplification. It’s not necessarily that “Facebook belongs to the CIA”. Theoretically, it belongs to Facebook, Inc, but this one may in turn “belong” to any other corporation, private or governmental, civil or military, USAn or Israeli or NATOish… It may have started with the private initiative of its supposed founder (and Zuckerberg, isn’t that a jewish surname?), but… was he independent? And even if he was, once the project took off, can’t it have been taken over by some much more powerful corporation?
However it all begun, now Facebook exists, and who can categorically affirm, who can be totally sure, that it’s not used and/or even controlled by one (or several) of the suggested organisms? Only think of it for a moment: a database with more than 400 million people’s profiles, constantly, personally and willingly updated by ourselves, our most recent pictures, complete albums, where have we been, where we are, where are we going, who are we connected to, our phone numbers, email addresses, IM users, home address, school, college, opinions, family, thoughts, the letters we write… all that information, present and past (who guarantees that whenever we “delete” something from FB, it gets really deleted from the database?), is probably as vast as any country’s police/military/intelligence/governmental classified files, and surely more accurate and trustworthy. Which agency would resist the temptation of taking it under control?
More yet: wouldn’t it be, from the point of view of the responsible ones, the “people up there”, the big bosses, Uncle Sam, call it however you like, wouldn’t it be an unforgivable (and punishable) negligence NOT TO control Facebook? Well, if I were one of those allmighty ones, I think I’d crucify a bunch of subordinates if they couldn’t put in my hands the reins of such power, the keys of that treasure…
As a side argument, it has all the time struck me, since I joined Facebook, how little publicity there is in this website. Where do the “owners” get the money from for this huge project?
Of course, all this is but a reflection. I’d love to hear of any sensible argument pro or against this ideas of mine…