UP-Robots: the birth of useful personal robotics

According to Forbes, robots are going to be the next tech bubble. There's nothing really new going around the net these days, just fights over taking control of the next big thing, which is probably going to be old after a couple of months. Facebook is already going down, with lesser new subscriptions every day.

A bubble is something that, by definition, is supposed to burst, sooner or later. The trick is to ride it while it's still full (of air), and to put your money in it while it's still taking shape. Robots are going to happen, sooner or later. They are going to take over a lot more of tasks around our houses, our places of work, our cities, our fields, our factories, even in our nice little battlefields abroad...

Of course this is already happening, what's new is that it's going to happen right before our noses. Technology is getting cheaper, and something is going to hit big time our supermarket shelves and start a new trend, simplifying something that we do everyday. It's not going to be a gadget. Gadgets are expensive for what they do and boring after a short time. This is something that we are going to buy and hold on to for no less then five years, like a TV set or a laundering machine. Everybody is going to have one. It's going to interact with us and with our houses, it's not going to kill our cat or molest our children and it will talk and walk and do something really cleaver.

During the next 2 to 5 years Auchan is going to start selling it.

If you know what it is, put your money in it.

Quote of the day, from the same Forbes' article:
"Will Microsoft merge with Yahoo! in the same way that a shark merges with a surfer?"

(A deleted scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)



New site here: http://www.veloh.lu/.

Envoyé par weblessentiel dans Evènements sur wat.tv

A new comment about the Marcel Kalmann incident

An update to my previous posts (here, here and here):

"Anonymous said...
Belgian newspaper De Standaard has an article about this story today, basically showing that the story is incorrect, and that the city of Bruges has complained to the newspaper Joods Actueel that launched the story for not checking its sources and publishing an incorrect story. Mr Kalmann is said to have gone to the press in Holland before with invented stories

You can read the De Standaard article here. Besides what's written in the above comment, it also says that the discussion concerned the price asked for one coffee (6.5 euros), and that Professor Kalmann is not an American citizen, nor a professor. After complaining to the police about a supposed anti-Semitic discrimination, he then demanded an English written certification of the complaint (at least that's what I read in my BabelFish translation...). Afterwards, he is said to have expressed himself in perfect Dutch. Back in 2001, Mr. Kalmann was involved in a similar "incident" in the Netherlands (I have tried to confirm this one, but never could reach the post reporting it; I tried again today, and it's now available here, where the whole story was covered very seriously).

If any of my Dutch-speaking readers wants to correct "my" translation of the article, or report another perspective of the incident, please feel free to leave a comment or to e-mail me. I will publish it.


More problems with the bicycle contract in Luxembourg City

The free bicycle system - and the contract with JC Decaux - is still fuelling the political debate in Luxembourg City. Some of the MUPIs (Mobilier Urban pour l'information) were removed, and it seems that others will follow, because their location was said to be dangerous for traffic visibility. A written approval from the Ministry of Culture is also missing, according to the opposition. "This fairy tale comes from people who have no clue about public tenders", says the City Council.

The result of all this is obvious: the City will have to loose a lot of money to honor the contract with JC Decaux, and the opposition will have a very good argument for the coming election, although they don't seem to have any solutions or a positive attitude towards pollution or traffic increase (the bicycles are not to supposed to solve any traffic or pollution problems, they're just a very good way to start changing, to say "we care, we are aware of the problem, we are doing something"). This Friday the City Council will present a preliminary study for a Plan d’aménagement général that will deal with a foreseen increase of residents, jobs and number of cars entering the city everyday. First councillor François Bausch (from the Greens, and best known for putting his money where his mouth is: I'm not the only one to see him cruising trough the city in his bicycle almost everyday) said that by 2020 the Council expects to have tripled the offer of public transportation and doubled the numbers of soft mobility (walking, cycling).

More comments (in French) here and here.


Sarkozy's video update

The video was gone... Here it is again. (I guess Le Parisien is trying to get back all the traffic from YouTube)

Nicolas Sarkozy: "Piss off, you prick"

There is an interesting little discussion going on here over the best English translation of Sarkozy's very polite words. It was not my intention to take part in it, but I have to admit that "fuck you" is not the best match for "casse-toi". It's closer to "sod off" or "piss off". About "pauvre con", I keep my original translation: "you prick". Very nice, any how.


Nicolas Sarkozy: Casse toi pauvre con!

Nicolas Sarkozy, the Frech president, at the opening of the annual Salon de l'agriculture, in Paris, this Saturday: "Fuck you, you prick" (or any other possible translation). The guy was refusing to shake his hand. (check the update: Piss off, you prick)

"The right way to make mayonnaise, cheese soufflé and foie gras is to receive protection from the United Nations if the latest ploy from President Sarkozy wins approval from the international body. Mr Sarkozy announced that he wants la cuisine française to be listed by Unesco, the UN agency, as part of the world's cultural heritage. " (TimesOnline)

"France is back in Europe," said French President Nicolas Sarkozy following the adoption of a law that allows him to ratify the Lisbon Treaty. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Swapping Kosovo for a pair of sneakers

A video of two young women looting during the riots in Belgrade has become a hit on YouTube.

"A persistent amateur cameraman followed the women as they loaded up with chocolates at a corner shop, came out giggling, then went after designer bags, shoes and clothes at Belgrade's swankiest stores in its vandalized main shopping street." (in reuters.com)


Vlaams Belang: simple actions for simple minds

Following a judiciary leak, the independentist flemish party Vlaams Belang has created an internet site with a top-20 recidivist criminals list, stressing the fact that most of them are youngsters of foreign origin. That's a fact, not a hidden secret. And that's a problem. Albert Einstein once said that "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it". Simple minds are dangerous.

The new bus lane in route d'Esch

Some facts about the new most discussed bus lane in route d'Esch:
1. When you have two lanes of traffic and you decide that one of them is going to be used only by buses (and by bicycles, it seems), you can not expect that all the drivers that were previously using that lane will leave their car at home and jump into the next bus. You can expect bigger traffic jams in the only lane now open for private cars.
2. We have a diesel pollution problem (in Luxembourg, high levels of nitrogen dioxide, in Brussels, fine particles: that's the geography of money - new diesel cars with particle filters here, old diesel cars without particle filters in Belgium - both very polluting and bad for your lungs, although "environmental-friendly" and government-supported because of the lower levels of CO2).
3. When you have a pollution problem, you can not expected the average citizen to decide on his own to park his new flashy just-bought-in-the-AutoFestival-diesel-burning bagnole and take the bus or the train, because he wants to show it to all his workmates and neighbours, and taking the bus or the train is soooo working class (and we are not working class, nor immigrants, we are transfrontaliers, and expatriates).
4. You can only rely on the City Council to take the good decision of imposing bus lanes, and forcing a lot of us to use public transportation. That's what they were elected for: to implement their decisions and their political program.

(Feel free to use this banner on your own blog)


More news on the Marcel Kalmann incident

From Deborah Lipstadt’s Blog:

"dan said...
Deborah,I am trying to find Professor K. He is known as Marc Kalmann in Sharpsburg, Georgia, his name is listed in phone books online as Marc not Marcel, but I assume his given name is Marcel. I cannot find what he is a professor of and where he was a professor, since at 64 he is prob retired now. I do want to contact him just to get his side of the story, in a gentle way. Maybe he was not the one who made the story so big, maybe the reporter or editor at Jewish Currents made the story bigger by qyoting the prof out of context and writing the headline they he did. But that story sure had legs on the Internet, with many headlines such as "Man kicked out of Belgian cafe for being Jewish" and "Professor kicked out of cafe for wearing yarmulke" and things like that. Which was NOT the case. He was kicked out for causing a scene, but it does seem one of the waiters targeted the kippa after the argument was dying down and the professor remembered that detail. So there ARE two sides to the story, but the main thing is that he was NOT kicked out for being Jewish or wearing a kippa. but the blogosphere is already saturated with this news. Google "Marcel Kalmann" under the google blogs news area, and you will see. The story got blogged to high heaven. SIGH. and it was not even a true. A lesson learned....PS: I also think the JTA should issue a correction, and I have asked editor Ami Eden to do so. But he does not reply my emails. I guess JTA doesn't care about little details like this. danny"
"Deborah Lipstadt said...
Dan:I admire your wanting to find him and hear what he had to say. Why don't you wait until you do or until JTA or Haaretz do and then reach a decision about what actually happened.As your digging indicates, the story has two sides and seems a bit more complicated than what was originally posted on JTA.However, let's not immediately assume, as you seem to now be doing, that the professor is a charlatan who completely made this up. Let's hear how he responds to the cafe's side of the story.Deborahp.s. I recall that when i was at a wedding in Brussels a few years ago a group of us planned to walk back and forth from the synagogue over Shabbat [it was close to our hotel]. The family, very sober folks, provided security for us. I said: is this really necessary. They said: it may be a bit over the top but there are a lot of people here who would have no compunction about bothering a group of Jews. So it is entirely possible that some antisemitic things were said.Maybe yes.... maybe no.
February 19, 2008 2:55 AM
dan said...
Deborah,I agree, let's wait and see what JTA or Haaretz do in their corrections, if they ever issue one. Point well taken.But when you say: *"However, let's not immediately assume, as you seem to now be doing, that the professor is a charlatan who completely made this up."*Please tell me where in my posts I said he is a charlatan who completely made this up? I never said that and you know that. Why put words in my pen I never wrote?I am surprised at you doing this!All I said is that the story might not have happened the way the good professor said it did. As the letter from the cafe seems to say as well. In others, yes, he was Jewish, he was wearing a kippa under his hat at first before he took his hat off, and yes, he was kicked out of the cafe. But it appears he was not kicked out because he was Jewish or wearing a kippa. It does appear he was ushered out of the cafe because he had caused a scene over money, over the bill, over the ridiculous tourist trap prices which were three times the normal price! So yes, he was angry. I don't blame him. But to say I said he was a charlatan, where did I say that? Please tell me....I also never said he made the story up. When a person is angry and wants to get even, they often remember details that are important to them, such as the waiter telling him after seeing his kippa, "We don't serve Jews here!" Yes, the waiter said that. But Professor K was not kicked out because he was Jewish or wearing a kippa. That is is his paranoi.How am I saying he made it all up. I just said he gave his own reasons for being kicked out, reasons that made sense to him. Sure, that's understandable.Oi.I'm outta here. You deal with this... mesguggah!
February 19, 2008 4:37 AM
dan said...
Daniel Kalmann, the man's brother, has posted this at Deborah's blog. More light:"Let me quickly shed some light on Marc Kalmann, my brother. He was born in 1948 in Amsterdam and not in Auschwitz in 1945. He lives in the Netherlands and is fluent in Dutch. He lived in the USA for 22 years and was sometimes employed as a teacher of languages at community colleges. He liked the title professor and has used it since. He tends to believe his own fantasies. I love him but I am concerned that his fantasies take over his world. And through the magic of the Internet it is taking the world by storm. I wanted to set some part of the record straight. I have no knowledge of what did or did not happen at the restaurant in Bruges."
February 20, 2008 6:40 AM "

MY conclusions:
1. The Panier d'Or in Bruges is a tourist trap.
2. Marcel Kalmann didn't like it.
3. In the heat of the discussion some idiot used the word "jew".
4. The professor made the right use of this part of the incident (again, that's my opinion).
5. The police didn't handle the incident in the best way.
6. The internet is BIG, and news travel and multiply at the speed of light (or DSL).

(read one more update here)


Metro subway in Luxembourg

The ADR (Alternative Democratic Reform Party*) thinks that the best solution for the future of public transportation in Luxembourg would be a metro, not the tramway. The building of a subway tunnel in only three years in Leipzig is cited has an example. Leipzig has 500 000 habitants, five times more than Luxembourg (surrounding comunes included). The city tunnel was built to complete the suburban train system, and it's not a metropolitan subway. A similar project in Luxembourg would mean extending the train lines from the Gare up to Kirchberg, with an additional central station in the Centre-Ville. By the way, Leipzig's suburban tunnel is a seven years project, with the following anounced benefits: "More than 320,000 car km per day will be avoided. This will considerably increase the City’s share in short-distance public transport. Shorter travelling time between medium level centres and the city centre of Leipzig. Better connection and development of the airport, New Fair Ground, the media centre and the city centre. Better connections of the south west region of Saxony to Greater Leipzig and the city centre. Additional axis for high-speed long distance traffic from Berlin via Leipzig, Nuremberg to Munich. Positive influence on employment situation (directly and indirectly) by creating up to 1,500 jobs during the construction phase."
(in http://www.citytunnelleipzig.de/english/english_information.html)

Let's get real?

Leipzig's Central Station is one of the largest terminus train stations in Europe. A few years ago sections of the Station were altered to house a state-of-the-art shopping and service centre.

More posts about the tramway here.


The Marcel Kalmann incident: updated news

I've received new comments about the Marcel Kalmann incident in Bruges. It's only fair to publish them. Check them out in the above link.
(read one more update here)


The Battle of Kosovo

The Battle of Gazimestan or Amselfeld was fought in 1389, Northwest from Priština, between the Serbs (or a Balkan coalition: see comment below; and Wikipedia, under "Army composition", footnote 6) and the Ottoman Empire. A memorial marks the site of Serbia’s greatest national shrine, Kosovo Polje, the Field of Blackbirds. The battle is celebrated on St Vitus' Day, June 28. Four months from now.


A picture of Che Guevara hangs in Barack Obama’s Houston office

Someone has hung a Cuban flag with a picture of Che Guevara on it in Obama’s Houston campaign office. America (and the blogosphere) is going crazy about it.

Living in Luxembourg

"In order to involve citizens in the discussion and decision making processes concerning the development of the city, the council of aldermen and the mayor cordially invites you to participate in an information session, during which the progress made in the implementation of the coalition agreements between the Democratic Party and the Green Party during 2007 will be presented."

For the first time (that I know), English and French translations will be provided. Is this city getting nicer or what?

Hacker's war against Scientology has begun

Guerrilla action has so far included the temporary disabling of its international website and "Google bombing", a manipulation of the search engine which has resulted in the website being the first result returned by Google when users type "dangerous cult".

Luxembourg has not recognized Scientology as a religion.

More information here: http://www.partyvan.info/index.php/Project_Chanology


"Hello, Scientology. We are Anonymous.
Over the years, we have been watching you. Your campaigns of misinformation; suppression of dissent; your litigious nature, all of these things have caught our eye. With the leakage of your latest propaganda video into mainstream circulation, the extent of your malign influence over those who trust you, who call you leader, has been made clear to us. Anonymous has therefore decided that your organization should be destroyed. For the good of your followers, for the good of mankind--for the laughs--we shall expel you from the Internet and systematically dismantle the Church of Scientology in its present form. We acknowledge you as a serious opponent, and we are prepared for a long, long campaign. You will not prevail forever against the angry masses of the body politic. Your methods, hypocrisy, and the artlessness of your organization have sounded its death knell.
You cannot hide; we are everywhere.
We cannot die; we are forever. We're getting bigger every day--and solely by the force of our ideas, malicious and hostile as they often are. If you want another name for your opponent, then call us Legion, for we are many.
Yet for all that we are not as monstrous as you are; still our methods are a parallel to your own. Doubtless you will use the Anon's actions as an example of the persecution you have so long warned your followers would come; this is acceptable. In fact, it is encouraged. We are your SPs.
Gradually as we merge our pulse with that of your "Church", the suppression of your followers will become increasingly difficult to maintain. Believers will wake, and see that salvation has no price. They will know that the stress, the frustration that they feel is not something that may be blamed upon Anonymous. No--they will see that it stems from a source far closer to each. Yes, we are SPs. But the sum of suppression we could ever muster is eclipsed by that of the RTC.
Knowledge is free.
We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
Expect us. "


JCDecaux in Luxembourg and the bicycle contract

The bicycle agreement with JCDecaux has started a political discussion in Luxembourg City. The ten-year contract for the self-service bicycles signed by the City government is being questioned by the biggest opposition party (CSV). In exchange for the 250 self-service bicycles and 25 docking stations, the French company sold the city 80 new advertising panels (or MUPI, Mobilier Urbain Pour l’Information). A previous contract had already granted JC Decaux the instalation of 200 bus shelters. This deal is said to be economically disadvantageous for the City, and the number of MUPI too high and visually polluting, even dangerous for traffic visibility in some places. "Mir wölle bleiwen wat mir sin" or "We want to remain what we are." A suivre.


"Spiritual oasis" in Poland: exorcism center to open in Poczernin

Andrzej Trojanowski, a polish priest, plans to open an exorcism center close to the German border, in Poczernin, 30km to the east of the Baltic city of Szczeczins. Supported by the local archbishop and by the Vatican, Rev. Trojanowsk is hopping to help a growing number of Polish possessed by evil forces or the devil. There are currently 50 exorcists operating in Poland.
I would rather see them dealing with Mr Jaruzelski...


There's no way like the American way

"Nobody's safe. That's the warning from the first large-scale study of medical bankruptcy.
Health insurance? That didn't protect 1 million Americans who were financially ruined by illness or medical bills last year.
A comfortable middle-class lifestyle? Good education? Decent job? No safeguards there. Most of the medically bankrupt were middle-class homeowners who had been to college and had responsible jobs -- until illness struck.
As part of a research study at Harvard University, our researchers interviewed 1,771 Americans in bankruptcy courts across the country. To our surprise, half said that illness or medical bills drove them to bankruptcy. So each year, 2 million Americans -- those who file and their dependents -- face the double disaster of illness and bankruptcy." (in washingtonpost.com)

And now a little joke:
"The 15,000 dead that Michael Moore forgot about

In 2003 France experienced a heat wave and the result was almost 15,000 deaths. USA Today reported that most the victims “died during the height of the heat wave, which brought suffocating temperatures of up to 104 degrees.”Not long ago I spent half a year in Phoenix. And Phoenix is a very hot city. That region of the world has been hot long before we started blaming everything on CO2. Just outside Phoenix is a retirement community known as Sun City. It is a town of around 33,000 elderly people. The median age in Sun City is just over 72 years of age. And the average high temperature in Sun City is 106 degrees summer after summer.

So 33,000 elderly people thrive in temperatures higher than those that hit France where 15,000 people died. And according to USA Today many of the victims in France were elderly. What are some of the reasons that elderly people in America flock to a climate that routinely exceeds the temperatures of France’s heat wave without the dire consequences that France experienced?Like most issues there are numerous causes involved. One is that the elderly in Sun City know that the temperatures will go above 100 degrees every day during the summer. Knowing this means they are prepared.

For instance every home and business in the Phoenix area will have air conditioning. Very few homes and business in Europe have this sort of decadent luxury. On a hot day shopping in Europe is often a horrid experience since the shops are stuffy and temperatures inside often are warmer than outside.The reality is that Europeans have a much lower standard of living. They don’t like to admit it but it’s true. They have regulated and taxed themselves to such an extent that they live much less comfortably than do their counterparts in the United States. Average income in Europe is below average income in the United States. Then the welfare states in Europe gobble up vast amounts of the income that is earned. So the average European not just earns less but pays more in taxes. And then costs for virtually everything is much higher. I suspect something in Europe has to be cheaper than in the US but I don’t know what it is.

With lower levels of income the average home is much smaller in Europe.
People don’t drive as much but walk, ride bicycles or take public transit. Cars are discouraged by the Green fanatics. Of course when heat waves hit that means old people are trying to bicycle to the store. Actually I should say stores. In the US an older person heads to one grocery market and picks up everything they need. Such large stores go against the European mentality. So there are mostly smaller stores with minimal selections. So this means going from store to store. When it is hot out this extra exertion doesn’t help the elderly.If the elderly in Sun City had to walk from store to store to store to buy their groceries and ride their bicycles in the 106 degree temperatures, instead of driving, they would probably be dropping dead in massive numbers as well. Luckily for them they don’t live in a town that is as “eco-friendly”.

Germany has a sales tax of about 20%. And energy is especially expensive so they can meet their Kyoto requirements. Of course they don’t meet their Kyoto requirements but they do heavily tax energy. With energy being expensive the result is that people can’t afford to air condition. It’s the same across Europe.When the heat wave hit France people died because the cost of air conditioning is above what most people can afford. The welfare state reduces living standards and people can’t afford “luxuries” like air conditioning.

So what happened what that socialized health care? Docufraud producer Michael Moore is harping on about the benefits of the French socialized health system. He says: “The French system is the best in the world.” So why the 15,000 deaths there? How did the French system respond?Much of it didn’t react at all. France has long mandated holiday periods for workers. The French brag about them. They pride themselves as to how little work they do, which is one reason they have chronic high unemployment. And August is the big holiday month when many French workers take the entire month off. That includes physicians, nurses, etc.

Again the news report stated: “The heat wave hit during the August vacation period, when doctors, hospital staff and many others take leave.” Of course France has a union for physicians, since every special interest group must have a union or they get screwed by the other union groups. And the National General Practitioners Union denies that vacations had anything to do with it since only 20% of all physicians were off on holiday. Only 20%! That’s one out of five physicians being gone for an entire month.

Apparently it wasn’t just the physicians and their extended holidays that were the problem. “...[T]he French Parliament released a harshly worded report blaming the deaths on a complex health system, widespread failure among agencies and health services to co-ordinate efforts, and chronically insufficient care for the elderly.” So the health system in France is complex and has “chronically insufficient care for the elderly.”But this is one of the systems that Moore drools over when he advocates a socialist system for the United States.It was this excellent health care that explained why 15,000 French old people died from temperatures that in Sun City would be just average. It is the excellent health care that caused the French Parliament to report that their own health system provides “chronically insufficient care for the elderly.” I suspect Mr. Moore will never mention that parliamentary report." (in http://freestudents.blogspot.com/2007/06/15000-dead-that-michale-moore-forgot.html)

1990: Nelson Mandela freed

February 11, 1990: Leading anti-apartheid campaigner Nelson Mandela has been freed from prison in South Africa after 27 years.
His release follows the relaxation of apartheid laws - including lifting the ban on leading black rights party the African National Congress (ANC) - by South African President FW de Klerk.

Johnny Clegg : Asimbonanga


One of the faces of Flemish regionalism (or just a tourist trap)?

"Marcel Kalmann is 64 years old. Born January 1st, 1944 in Auschwitz-Birkenau, he is the youngest person to have survived Auschwitz. After the war he lived in shelters, where he was also abused. As a young man he emigrated to America and is now a professor.

About two weeks ago Kalmann visited the city of Bruges. On the last day of his stay he entered a famous restaurant: Le Panier d'Or and asked for a cup of coffee. He was the only client at the time, and besides him there were a barman and two waiters. When one of the waiters noticed his yarmulke he turned to him and barked out: "We don't serve Jews here, out!" The professor was completely confused and left the cafe as quickly as possible, the waiter yet screaming after him: 'out, OUT!'

Shocked by the attack, Kalmann walked into a nearby restaurant. "That man came in here with tears in his eyes." says waiter Dean Stalpaert to Joods Actueel. "We apologized to him for the attack, though we had nothing to do with the affair. We felt dreadfully bad that something like this could happen in our city. We immediately called the police."

They didn't want to come along and required the man himself to the come to the police office (3 km further). What happened then is too crazy for words. The young police officer made it clear that she didn't believe his story and she didn't let him give his statement in English although Kalmann explicitly and many times asked to report the facts in this language. Another policeman who was called in (probably a superior) got involved with the case and began to scream and rage against the man that he must give his statement in Dutch. The professor asked to lodge a complaint for antisemitism to which he was told that "this doesn't exist in Belgium".

The police questioned the man and ignored the explicit request of the man to lodge a complaint. Somewhat later Marcel Kalmann left the police office frustrated and angry, without having lodged a complaint and with an interrogation sheet that included things he had never said.

Several days later Kalmann contacted Joods Actueel to follow up on the case. He intends to lodge complaints against the police and the waiter involved.

According to Joods Actueel, the waiter was not interrogated by the police. Joods Actueel contacted him and he didn't deny that he kicked out the man, but said he did so because the man acted peculiarly. Realizing that there might be consequences the waiter said that he was willing to apologize to the professor if he would so wish.

The tourist department of Bruges will open up a complaint file on this issue. Restaurant owners in the area were shocked to hear that the professor was charged 6.5 euro (three times the going rate) for his coffee and concerned about how such treatment could reflect on their city, but according to Joods Actueel were less concerned about the fact that a man was kicked out due to his religion."

(in Islam in Europe)

Apart from the rest (please check the comments), now we know that we better speak dutch to file a complaint in the flemish touristic (and beautiful) city of Bruges. I'm sure that had Mr. Kalmann tried to file the complain in Frech, he would had been arrested.

(more news on the Marcel Kalmann incident here and here) (read one more update here)


New Ecowhat?! Fiat Bravo 1.6 Diesel Multijet

As you might recall from one of my previous posts, I have serious doubts about the so-called environment-friendly diesel cars. For example, Fiat is launching a new 1.6 diesel engine for the Bravo range, in 103 or 118bhp variants, both Euro 5 compliant, thanks to a new particle filter. AND a third “Eco” model, with the same motor, 103bhp and CO2 emissions of just 119g/km, which is not Euro 5 compliant because removing the particle filter was the only trick Fiat could find to keep CO2 emissions bellow the 120 g/km threshold. The dirty trick will not work in Luxembourg, because the 750 euros reduction from the governmental scheme for cleaner cars can only be granted for a diesel car equipped with a particle filter: “Pour les voitures équipées d’un moteur à carburant diesel, l’aide financière [750 euros] n’est accordée que si les émissions de particules fines sont inférieures ou égales à 5 mg/km, un filtre à particules est dès lors indispensable" (in car-e.lu) .

Shopping in Luxembourg

Today I've found:

  • this blog about shopping in Luxembourg: Good Idea;
  • this very nice customer-friendly swedish shop: Good Ikea;
  • and this nice video to enlighten those of you who are not familiar with this BBC series (or the movie) and don't know what the heck am I talking about:

This is a local shop for local people
(click on the image to see the video in YouTube)


Honeymoon at Gandrange

French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested Monday the government could come to the rescue of steel workers at an ArcelorMittal plant facing layoffs.
"We're going to fight, you're not alone," the president said to 600 workers gathered for his speech at the company's plant in Gandrange in northeast France.

"After the speeches, about 50,000 people set off for the Pentagon. It took them about an hour and a half to walk two miles across the Memorial Bridge and down a service road to the north parking lot where a second rally was scheduled.
At the other end a group of hippies was trying to exorcize the Pentagon. The brainchild of Abbie Hoffman [the guy in the photo], the plan was for people to sing and chant until it levitated and turned orange, driving out the evil spirits and ending the war in Viet Nam. The Pentagon didn’t move."