ia: Benvenite! In mi blog io scribe in interlingua, italiano e anglese.

it: Benvenuti! Nel mio blog scrivo in interlingua, italiano e inglese.

en: Welcome! In my blog I write in Interlingua, Italian and English.

On Richard Stallman and people who cannot read

We live in strange times. People are so filled with hatred and prejudices that their brain becomes unable to parse the simplest sentences. I take this issue to heart, because it could happen to anyone — it has happened to me before (luckily, only in private online conversations), where an acquaintance of mine accused me of saying things I never said. And it happens to famous people all the time. Guys, just because you hate person X, you should not skip over parts of their speech or suppress context in order to make it look like they said something terrible or stupid, when they didn't.

Now it happend to Richard Stallman, with a whole wave of hateful people accusing him of saying something that he didn't say. Let's start with the VICE article, titled "Famed Computer Scientist Richard Stallman Described Epstein Victims As 'Entirely Willing'", which insists in quoting only two words out of Stallman's sentence:

Early in the thread, Stallman insists that the “most plausible scenario” is that Epstein’s underage victims were “entirely willing” while being trafficked.

Except that he didn't say that. Why not quote the whole sentence? It's not such a long sentence, really! Just follow the link to the source, which provides a complete excerpt of Stallman's words:

We can imagine many scenarios, but the most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him as entirely willing. Assuming she was being coerced by Epstein, he would have had every reason to tell her to conceal that from most of his associates.

Now, English is not my native language, but I read it well enough to understand that “to present oneself as” and “to be” are different expressions having very different meanings (and, in most context, actually opposite ones!). You don't need to be Shakespeare to understand that. You only need to either stop hating or, if you really cannot help it, at least stop projecting your prejudices onto the people you hate. Hate makes you blind.

It's sad to see otherwise intelligent people take stupid decisions because of such misunderstandings.

I for one, stand in solidarity with Richard Stallman and with the English language.

(please note that this is not an endorsement of everything Stallman might have said in the past; I don't follow him that closely, and it may be that he also happened to say terrible things in this very thread. I'm only commenting this very specific issue, and I know that in this very specific issue he's being wrongly accused)

Principles and privileges

I intended to write a reply to Jos Poortvliet's blog post “Principles”, and I swear I did enter it as a comment to his Google-powered blog, but something went wrong and when I tried to publish it I lost all what I'd written. So I decided to let some hours pass, ponder a bit more over the subject, and write a more exhaustive answer on my own blog.

“A morte il fascio” — death to fascism.

Before going into the core of the topic, I want to point out that when I start thinking over the questions posed by Jos my thought can't help jumping to the Marxist concept of classes: the very fact that you are considering the possibility of refusing a business because of principles means that you can afford doing that, while most people just can't. The same applies to similar questions, such as declining a well paying job because of ethical reasons, or boycotting some products, eating healthy food, crossing the ocean on a clean yacht instead of polluting the air by plane, etc.: being able to make these choices already imply that you are in a privileged position (in some cases, extremely privileged!).

Why am I saying that? Certainly not to diminish the value of your ethical choices! By all means, please continue to do your best to change things! However, while you can proudly look at yourself in the mirror, please don't look down on people who don't seem to be as responsible as you: they might simply not have the choice, or not be able to afford it. Or maybe — that's also possible — they are not aware that they can make this choice.

So, besides being excellent yourself, one thing you could do in order to have a much bigger impact is to help other people get into a condition such that they would also be able to afford to take the brave choices you go proud of.

That was a long premise indeed, but it might help to understand the rest of my answer.

Which is: yes, I would (to a question like “Would you work with a company that builds rockets and bombs to earn money for Nextcloud development?”). Which might surprise many, especially those of you who know that I'm a hardcore pacifist. In reality, my answer would be much more faceted, depending on who you are and on the weight of your possible refusal. For example, if I were a superstar with a million followers, then I'd definitely refuse: such a decision, made public, would have a strong propagandistic effect. But when you are an ordinary software developer, with a dozen friends (or even a few hundreds) and no direct channel to the media, what would be the outcome of your refusal? It might impress a handful of people, maybe, but the evil company would easily find someone else to replace you and you'd lose a well paying job (which could help you to afford making more ethical choices). But more important than that, you would have cut out a communication channel to the people who might benefit the most from your presence — and from your message.

I would answer “yes” because I'd like to take a chance to know what people on the other side of the fence think. What are their reasons? Are they aware of the issues that bother me? It's possible that I'm overestimating myself, but even if there was a tiny, microscopic chance of instilling a doubt, of delivering a message or providing a good example, I would leave no stone unturned to grasp this chance. Of course, I'm not thinking of “converting” the management of a corporation; but some of my peers inside that company might start questioning things. And then, of course, you can always leave, when enough is enough; but joining and then leaving a deal has a higher impact than no joining at all. Or, if you like metaphores, in order to clean something, you first have to get your hands dirty.

Before reading Jos's post, I've been considering another question, which is vaguely related. Suppose that you were the owner of a bakery, and that you knew that one of your customer is a nazi. Would you still sell bread to him? Suppose that he's the only nazi in town: here you don't even need to worry about your business, because even if you lost that customer, it wouldn't have but a very minor impact on you.

My answer here is along a similar line as the previous one: yes, I would still sell my bread to him. One reason is that this risks being another rabbit hole: a nazi might hold the most disgusting opinions and views, but then — if you think about it — many people do. Maybe they don't hate Jews, but Roms, Muslims, lawyers, or the French; maybe they don't want to colonize Africa, but Greece; maybe they don't physically torture dissidents, but keep them rotting in a jail without charges (or with made-up charges). Even without going to these extremes, there's simply the fact that we are all imperfect: both in our opinions and in our actions. Would you refuse selling bread to a guy holding nazi views, but otherwise honest and well-behaving, while selling it to someone having well-balances opinions, but who evades millions in taxes?

But the main reason why I'd sell my bread to a nazi is that, really, I'd like to get to know him. I would like to learn why he holds those views, because I think that understanding is the first step towards correction. This is probably matter for a future post, but I'm convinced that all this censorship in the social networks (yes, especially on the federated ones!) is detrimental to the fight against fascism: if we won't even know where and who the fascists are, how can we have any hopes of winning the fight?

So, let's build bridges, let's talk, let's try to understand each other's points of view, and find exactly why we see things differently. And this is much more effective when done at a personal level, one to one, rather than with public big proclaims — which, more often than not, have the only effect of polarizing the field even more.

In short — and I guess this is my answer to Jos — try to make a difference with those who are closer to you. Accept the deal with the evil corporation, and let everyone of your friends and colleagues know how much you are suffering because of that. Let your peers in that company know you for what you are worth, but don't hide your feelings. Maybe, who knows, the day you leave the deal, they will also decide that it's time to make a big choice in their life?

Migrating to a new Mastodon instance

The wonders of improvised Mastodon instances: one node disappears after an outage caused by a summer heatwave, leaving its users no way to migrate their data or to notify their followers.

After about one month of waiting for the node to come up or give some signals of life, I've decided to create a new account on another instance. If you use Mastodon and you were following me, please forgive me for the annoyance and follow me again here.

Why you shouldn't fly with Aeroflot

I'm writing this while sitting in the Moscow airport, in a state which is a mix of tiredness, anger and astonishment. At this time I should be already at home, in Saint Petersburg, but something went very wrong and I feel the need to vent my frustration here. Please bear with me :-)

The story goes like this: we booked a flight from Venice to Saint Petersburg, with a change in Moscow. The time between flights was 1 hour and 20 minutes — that's not plenty of time, but it's still much longer than other changes I've had in the past in other airports. And I should stress that this flight combination was suggested to me by the Aeroflot company's website, so this time should be enough for the transfer. At least, this was my assumption.

And it was wrong: in spite of the flight from Venice to Moscow landing in time, in spite of us not losing a minute and performing all the passport and security checks without delays (we didn't even let the kids visit the toilet!), in spite of us running along the corridors as soon as we realized that we might be late, we arrived at the gate just in time to see it closing in front of us. And no, rules are rules, so they wouldn't let us board.

The guy at the gate comforted us by saying that planes from Moscow from Saint Petersburg fly every hour, so we could just take the next one, for free. We tried to protest, but to no avail; we went to the Aeroflot ticket desk, explained the situation, and they told us that we could take the flight 6 hours later. And no, it didn't matter that we had kids; the employee at the desk told us that we should be grateful to them, that we could fly for free, as they were making an exception for us.

Yes, you've read it correctly: they asked us to fly 6 hours later, and instead of giving us any compensation (as I once got from Finnair, for example, when their flight was late), we had to be grateful for not having to buy the tickets again!

And I want to make one thing clear: there was no announcement about the transfer time being tight, nor in the plane nor at the airport; no one came forward asking for passengers transferring to St. Petersburg and inviting us to skip the lines for the various controls, nothing. Our names were not called, ever. All that is the norm in all other similar situations I've experienced. If that does not happens, it means — but maybe I'm being too naive — that the second plane is waiting (or that there's still plenty of time to board it).

Luckily they found that an earlier flight, which was only three hours late than our initial expected departure had three available seats, so my wife and kids are boarding that place right now while I'm writing this. I'll take the other flight in three hours, hoping that there won't be any more surprises.

Lesson of the day: always fly from Finland (if you live in Saint Petersburg, like me, that's close), and in any case avoid Aeroflot.

Rifugio Carducci

Le promenada del pais de Auronzo al refugio Carducci, que nos completava heri, esseva un del plus belle excursiones que io rememora. E certemente anque un del plus difficile e emotionante, sia per le grande disnivello (plus que 1300 metros — le refugio se trova a 2297 metros de altitude) sia pro alicun tractos del percurso multo exponite (on dice que le percurso es “exponite” quando sub de illo il ha un precipio). Ma permitte me de initiar del principio.

Le tabula al initio del percurso.

Le excursion initia in le localitate “Pian de la Velma”, proxime a Auronzo, a circa 960 metros de altitude. Post alicun metros de cammino, nos incontrava le tabula photographate hic in alto, que informava que continuar le percurso (marcate per le numero 103) esseva prohibite a causa de alicun grande lapsos de terreno que occurreva in le 2015. Ma post que le personal de nostre hotel nos consiliava iste excursion, sin mentionar iste blocco, nos assumeva que iste tabula non debeva esser prendite troppo seriosemente, e decideva continuar.

Post un decena de minutas nos esseva superate de un altere excursionista, qui nos confirmava que le percurso habeva essite aperite justo un septimana retro, e que nos poteva ignorar le aviso del tabula, que essera tosto removite.

Le ponte que colliga le nove percurso con le vetule.

De facto, nos jam habeva trovate le puncto ubi le sentiero 103 originari esseva bloccate per alicun ramos, e il habeva un deviation per un altere sentiero, que pareva un de ille sentieros traciate per le cercatores de fungos. Iste sentiero ascendeva plus ripidemente al monte, e a un certe puncto le multe radices que emergeva del terreno revelava como iste sentiero habeva essite scavate multo recentemente. Anque quando le sentiero entrava in le bosco, il esseva evidente que non multe personas lo habeva percurrite, perque le terreno esseva un poco instabile. In un par de occasiones le bosce se aperiva, e le sentiero passava trans precipitios petrose, que nos transversava con un poco de paura (reguarda le video infra a 29 secundas).

Un tracto del nove sentiero 103. On pote notar le ramos recentemente taliate pro permitter le passage.

Le sentiero se developpa longo al valle Giralba, e in plure punctos incrocia le torrente Giralba, que da le nomine al valle (o vice versa?). Le ruito del torrente esseva ben audibile pro le quasi totalitate del percurso, e in alicun punctos il habeva le possibilitate de biber e de facer refornimento de aqua.

Le torrente que scava le valle.

Un belle e alte cascata, que scendeva longo le parete petrose del montanias, esseva anque visibile. Ma nos non plus lo incontrava durante nostre percurso, e non poteva vider lo plus de vicin; forsan il esserea possibile attinger al cascata per alicun altere percurso, ma nos non voleva riscar de facer deviationes — nostre destination esseva ancora distante.

Le torrente e, in alto in le montanias, le cascata.

A 1335 metros de altitude (si le GPS de mi photocamera es correcte) se trova un ponte de ligno que transversa le torrente, e post alicun metros on se reconjunge con le vetule sentiero 103 originari, que nos sequera desde iste momento.

Le differentia inter le terreno del nove e del vetule sentiero esseva evidente: le terreno del vetule sentiero esseva plus dur e dava le impression de esser plus stabile (benque, io debe dicer, le nove tractos del sentiero numquam se rumpeva sub nostre passos). Ma in alicun punctos anque iste parte del sentiero semblava haber esser colpate per lapsos de petras.

Un puncto partialmente obstruite per un lapso de petras.

Un loco particularmente agradabile esseva un rivulo de aqua, immerse in le verde. Illo se trova a 1823 metros de altitude e es indicate per un parve tabula que porta le inscription “acqua”. Iste loco semblava prendite de un fabula o de un pictura de fantasia, tanto illo esseva verde e circumdate per milles de parve flores. Vos pote vider lo a 2:28 minutas in le video infra.

Le vista deveniva sempre plus belle, a man a man que nos ascendeva.

Con le augmentar del altitude, le aspecto del sentiero cambiava: le pinos deveniva sempre plus rar, e anque le arbustos de pino mugo al fin lassava le spatio a pratos verde e plen de flores. Il es curiose, como non mesmo le herba pote crescer plus alte que 15-20 centimetros, a certe altitudes.

A 2000 e plus metros de altitude, il habeva multissime de iste flores con petalos «lanose». Io non sape le nomine de iste flores — suggestiones es benvenite in le commentos.

Nos jam poteva vider le refugio, benque illo esseva ancora 300 metros plus in alto. Isto nos comfortava, ma al mesme tempore nos tosto observava como le vicinantia esseva solmente apparente: ben que nos fatigava e ascendeva, le refugio semblava sempre mantener le mesme distantia de nos.

Iste flores jalne anque esseva multo commun (e anque de iste flores io ignora le nomine).

In le parte final del sentiero le pratos cedeva sovente lor placia a mantellos de petras de varie dimentiones. Iste petras infortunatemente es instabile (especialmente excursionistas qui descende rapidemente face rotolar multe petras sub lor passos), e le forma del sentiero pote cambiar un poco. De facto, le refugio es tanto proxime que il ha plure percursos possibile pro attinger lo; le problema es que non totes es equalmente facile, alora on debe esser attente a seliger le via le plus apte a proprie capacitates.

2120 metros. Le refugio es ben visibile (aggrandi le photographia pro vider lo!). De iste altitude, le sentiero deveniva plus petrose e instabile.

Finalmente nos attingeva le refugio. Nos prendeva un cappuccino e un chocolate calide, accompaniate per duo partes de tortas. Post iste effortio (qui durava quatro horas e medie, includente multe pausas per photographias), isto esseva un premio ben meritate!

Nostre destination.

Io ha assemblate un breve video con varie registrationes prendite durante le ascension al refugio. Isto pote dar vos un idea plus clar super lo que vos expecta, si vos decide probar le mesme excursion: