Tankface, it's a tank with a face. Tankface.
Tankface, it’s a tank with a face. Tankface.

A few weeks ago, in October, I was discharged from my mandatory military service in the Greek Army. When it was still lying ahead in the future, it was a period I had since forever been quite nervous about: how would I react to being ordered around? Would I be able to do the things asked of me? Was it really okay to support such a violent system with my consent and voluntary submission?

These thoughts troubled me enough that I was postponing the moment I would take the plunge. I was making excuses on the way and calling it indecisiveness, not to mention I was devising ways to avoid serving altogether. Nonetheless, I remained trapped somewhere between being a conscientious objector and indeed believing that even serving in the army could turn out to be a net positive, enriching experience. Sure, friends and people in my environment would often say things like “going to prison might be an enriching experience in some way too, but that’s no reason to go” and I would agree. But then I would think that if going to prison was obligatory for all men over 18 and not just convicts, if one got to see new places and it was only for 9 months, it wouldn’t be prison anymore.

What exactly did it turn out to be though?

This won’t be your typical post-service post. I won’t be writing down too many of my more fun or surreal army stories – people who’ve been through the same ordeal have heaps of their own and for everybody else it just isn’t all that interesting – nor will I list all the reasons the Greek Army is evil/inefficient/irrational/fascist and shouldn’t exist – you could fill in the gaps yourself and be spot-on without any of my help. No, this will be a post about the whole “net positive, enriching experience” part, and how in the end aiming to do something I would never normally do – something I predicted would help me grow – worked just as intended.

These, then, are the ways I grew.


Taking a step outside the Bubble

Spending a part of my life in the army was an experience I now share with many other Greek men and it will always serve as an emergency source of small-talk material. Keeping that in mind, it’s no accident that in the army itself all you talk about with most people is the service itself.

Out in the real world, you more or less get to pick the people you spend time with. The criteria by which you choose those people are mostly hidden away in the depths of your psyche, but you can count on the fact that the people you voluntarily allow closer to you aren’t that different from you. Over time, this might lull you into believing that people in general aren’t that different when it comes to opinions, tastes, political and religious beliefs, etc.

Bubbles and related shapes

This familiar environment is your bubble (link goes to a TedSummary page of a relevant talk on how we should “beware of ‘filter bubbles’“) Your bubble does a great job at sheltering you from what’s out there, but it also does a great job at sheltering you from what’s out there. Since us humans typically tend to normalize our experience and often fail to, or carefully avoid, taking into account all the unfathomable richness that exists just outside of it, pretty soon we lose perspective, forget about how our experience is completely subjective and far from shared, and we inevitably end up focusing on the (small) anomalies and deviations that exist inside our own environment/bubble and magnifying them to look much much more important than they really are.

Now, the army forces you to spend time with people in bubbles of all sorts of colours: green, brown, khaki, red, black, blue, white, red-and-black, blue-and-white, rainbow, and so on. These are people with whom under ordinary circumstances, out there, you would never ever have any meaningful interaction. They would never penetrate your bubble; it would filter them out of your experience or, in worst case scenario, make sure they are removed if they somehow end up too close.


Meeting, talking to, working with and receiving feedback, compliments or criticism through bubbles different from your own make you realize where the people who watch MAD Greekz all day, people who talk about football any chance they get or whose contribution to most political discussions is “all we need is another good dictatorship” have been hiding. They haven’t been hiding, and it wasn’t that you weren’t paying attention, either: the bubble was just doing its job rendering them invisible to you.

Laid out in these terms, you might ask if the bubble isn’t the greatest thing ever. To be sure, blocking out the majority of what’s going on out there has its benefits. It can help you focus. It can help you stay sane. Still, waking up every once in a while to the fact that there are so many different kinds of experiences, priorities, worldviews, so many bubbles to which you are invisible, can help you, give you the impression at least, that you understand the world just a bit better.

To illustrate, it can be a great and soothing feeling looking at your environment and believing that e.g. vegetarianism or feminism are catching on and are starting to become influential (which is of course true in a way) but definitely not to the degree one might be led to believe if one hangs out, online or off, with people who care about these issues enough  they can create an online echo chamber.

Having your bubble burst – yep, I just went there – can bring about a reality check, a harsh reminder of what you really have to come against ( or work with) as well as something which is sorely missing in the lives of most of us: perspective.

(starts at 9:37) “A great wet blanket for smothering the fire of self-conscious anxieties is perspective. Consider the famous advice of Eleanor Roosevelt. “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”As much as you obsess over yourself, you’re not the first thing on everyone else’s minds. They’re worried about themselves, what you think about them, and more importantly, what they think about themselves. You are not the center of their world.

Confirmation bias and its benefits

This next part goes against everything I just wrote about how bursting your bubble is a good thing. But bare with me: paradox is the garnish of life.

In contemporary social psychology, confirmation bias – the tendency to look out for people and ideas compatible with your own existing beliefs, use them to confirm what’s already there inside of you, and somehow miss those who don’t exactly agree with you, i.e. a variation of living inside your bubble – is perceived to be a fallacy to look out for if you want to consider yourself a person of high intelligence. In other words, listening to opposing opinions actively and questioning one’s positions and assumptions builds a stronger mind. So far so good.

Nevertheless, there is one element –  a side-effect if you will – of surrendering to confirmation bias that can work well for you if you, like me, are open to considering views very far from your own and as a result sometimes find that weighing too many different opinions equally can get a bit confusing. It is called the backfire effect. Contrary to popular belief, confronting others with hard facts and arguments and proving them wrong doesn’t automatically make them switch over to your side. They might appear to consider your points, but more often than not, opposing opinions will trigger automatic, subconscious defense mechanisms and make people stick to their views and stand their ground with renewed fervour against what they perceive to be an attack against their very person.

It turns out that the army experience had precisely this redoubling effect on my convictions. I used to be willing to listen to completely faulty reasoning or arguments filled with hate and other toxic elements and say nothing because I was half-playing-kind/half-actually-considering the points made. You see, it’s always been easy for me to see why people feel the way they do even if I don’t like or agree with them. When confronted with arguments that made my stomach turn, I would explain away the malevolence through this empathy of mine. It is well-meaning, good for communication and all, but I would sometimes end up questioning my own values as a result: “maybe they’re right. Perhaps being ready for war is the best way to preserve peace”.

Being ready for war.

I’m known for my relative cool-headedness during discussions, and I do believe about myself that I weigh arguments as fairly as I can. However, the amount of absolute bullshit I was exposed to over the past months at some point made me stop and consider what role I truly wished to have in such discussions. They strengthened my resolve to protect what matters to me the most, i.e. freedom of movement and opportunity, animal rights, compassion, egalitarianism, to name just a few ideas which every day prove to be much less than self-explanatory. I still come to discussions bringing empathy into the picture, but I no longer feel as if a well-spoken argument can leave me stunned, nor that lashing out can solve things, precisely because confirmation bias works the way it does. From an idealistic perspective, I have an easier time recognising what it is I truly have a desire to fight for, or that in some cases fighting is a waste of energy – which by the way is what most online comment wars boil down to.

People end up liking you and remembering you for completely different reasons from what you think

If there was one piece of advice I would hear a lot before enlisting, it was to avoid attracting attention. “You don’t want people to remember who you are, what your name is, or what you do. You want to be a shadow – obedient enough to never raise an eyebrow, yet never to a degree which would make you stand out.”

It wasn’t long before I found out that it was impossible for me not to attract attention, or at the very least have people be somewhat aware of my presence – or absence.

One aspect of this I had been dreading ever since I was still in school, was the unusual sound of my surname – Hall – to Greek ears. I got my fair share of teasing for it when I was a child and for years I wouldn’t be comfortable with the attention I was getting purely because of it. As an adult man ready to enlist, the fear that I would have to fend off teases about my name was still there, like a childhood bite dictates a life-long fear of dogs or some weird aversion to a particular non-threatening food item. What I hadn’t considered was that, even though the army was in many ways like going back to school, a key difference would be that I wouldn’t have to be surrounded by kids anymore. OK, excluding all the 18-year-olds.

No matter where I went, everyone knew who I was: I was the Australian dude. People would greet me or try to engage with me (sometimes in English – just in case I didn’t understand Greek!) and sometimes I would have no recollection of ever talking to them before – they were the successful shadows, come to think of it. Of course I had to repeat the story of where the name comes from an inordinate amount of times, but I realized that the attention I got for my name wasn’t negative – it was my past reactions to it that had made me sort of weary of the whole thing. A few people commented that “Hall” sounded like that of a writer or actor or something like that – possibly because of how similar it is to “Dimitris Horn” – and moved on. All this was a wake-up call for something I should have seen much earlier: my name is a gift. I should use it to my advantage, wear it proudly on my sleeve and not hide behind nicknames invented to protect me from childhood anxieties.

What – you mean that there are others in the army who’re in the same position as you and can relate?!

Even more interestingly, people seemed to like me for no reason other than because I was doing what I do and being who I am – kind, considerate, stoic in my duties, accepting, not lacking in curiosity but mostly minding my own business. In an environment like the army’s where people say that you have to fight to survive and that you should not, cannot let anyone take advantage of you without at least busting everyone’s balls in the process first, I didn’t have to do anything to at least get along peacefully with almost everyone. In the end, I stood out not by bringing attention to myself, but by being a sort of a positive, strong silent type figure amidst the chaos, who also happened to have a memorable name. I didn’t have to pretend that I was anything; for all the cringe this line might produce in you, it has to be said: all I had to do in order to get by in one piece was to be myself.

Standing out can be a curse if you lack the belief in yourself that you may deserve or have earned the attention, but the army helped me reverse this in my head. Now I’m happy to say I feel that standing out because I’m actually doing something right, not just because my background is unique, is something to cherish and enjoy.

Boredom can be amazing for creativity

The darkest hours, the quietest times and the most boring shifts were the brightest, loudest and most exciting for my creative drive. I always had my little notebook with me, jotting down the events of the day or the ideas that kept coming to me in those fairly infrequent breaks where I could just stand there, alone, mind silent. Whenever people did see me writing down they’d tease me, asking me if I was writing poetry. I’d just smile knowingly, say nothing and keep writing. At the beginning I would just observe, and while it wasn’t interesting exactly, I felt more alive than I had in some time. There was nothing to distract me, no “shiny more interesting thing” to compete for my attention like a lightbulb attracts the butterflies of the night.

Having this in Greek and the rest of the post in English. Why do I keep making it hard for my imaginary readers?

In a similar vein, I remember having quite a zen experience one of my first days in boot camp. It was a January Saturday in Mesologgi. Half my platoon was out on leave and I wasn’t on duty, so it was quiet and half as crowded as usual, so I had some free time to relax. It was cold, crisp but clear. The sun had just gone down and I was standing inside looking out at the beautiful twilight, a cup of hot instant coffee in my hands. I only had a dumbphone on me. I realised that, then and there, in my army uniform and enjoying the moment, none of my past experiences, good or bad, really mattered. They mattered only in the sense that together they had brought me to that moment in time, but all that joy and pain was part of the past. The important thing was that I was where I was, simply enjoying being alive and conscious. I was moved deeply by something so profound that had come to me out of nowhere and while at boot camp of all places.

The general lack of stimulus did its wonders on me, at least in the beginning; the first few months I was super aware in my everyday life, and that was something I had been looking forward to before going in. At some point, maybe after the fourth or fifth month, I started using more and more of my time to play video games and tune out from the creeping sensation that I was wasting my time, and from that point on the creativity slowly faded away and was replaced by sluggishness and numbness.

The hardships of military life: playing Steins;Gate and enjoying the third freddo of the day.
The hardships of military life: playing Steins;Gate and enjoying the third freddo of the day.

A few days before I started writing this post, I came across the following quote by Neil Gaiman that helps illustrate what kind of experience I had and what energy I’m aiming to bring more of into my life:

According to Neil Gaiman, we should pursue boredom.


“I think it’s about where ideas come from, they come from day dreaming, from drifting, that moment when you’re just sitting there… The trouble with these days is that it’s really hard to get bored. I have 2.4 million people on Twitter who will entertain me at any moment… it’s really hard to get bored. I’m much better at putting my phone away, going for boring walks, actually trying to find the space to get bored in. That’s what I’ve started saying to people who say ‘I want to be a writer,” I say ‘great, get bored.’”

Lack of sleep can alter you consciousness in interesting ways

The biggest downer in the army by far is the chronic lack of sleep. Especially in Samothraki, there would be some extra busy weeks where I’d seldom sleep more than 3-4 hours per day, sometimes less than that. Having to wake up for guard or patrol duty at 23:30, go back to sleep at 2:30 and then have to wake back up at 05:30, apart from all the blunting it brought to my mental acuity, messed with my head in strange and interesting ways.

I recall I would wake up and wear my uniform in a semi-conscious state, neglecting to wear parts of gear or sometimes even take my rifle with me, and then having all kinds of random memories and songs pop up. Once, this song came back to me along with all the lyrics. I hadn’t listened to it for close to 10 years, yet I remembered it almost perfectly. My switched-off state allowed it to come through piece by piece, unobstructed. It’s a testament to the power of music for language learning and the power of burried memories in general. Hypnotism must work in similar ways.

Respectively, getting used to waking up 4:30am every day as I did closer to the end of my service, when I was in Athens and serving as a driver for a general whom I had to pick up from his place and take him to the army HQ and back, helped me realize the power of going to sleep and waking up very early. Being awake for four hours already before the day breaks fills you with an eerie energy, and I’m saying that as a night owl that loves working at night.

View from Koryfi Outpost, Samothraki.
View from Koryfi Outpost, Samothraki, early morning.

Enough. I’ve become another guy who goes on and on about their time in the army – but don’t they say most men can’t avoid feeling at least a bit nostalgic about that period eventually? Memory does work in strange ways, beautifying monstrosities, nostalgifying bittersweet nothings and erasing raw beauty as it does. That said, if you’re dreading having to do a certain something in the future, maybe even joining the army, here’s my distilled perspective, and make of it what you will:

The memory is worth it.


PS: Army post collection in reverse chronological order (they’re in Greek. If that’s a big problem, use Google Translate, at least you’re sure to get plenty of laughs):


192 ΚΑΙ ΣΗΜΕΡΑ (9/4)


ΝΗΣΤΕΙΑ (14/3)



Most of my writing in the army in the end was about Earworms and book reviews. I can’t be bothered linking to them, there’s way too many of dem posts. I have to admit that sitting here now though, I’m impressed at myself that I had the dedication to review books on leave.



Brave New World Revisited Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You can read the book for free on Huxley.net but I recommend you read it either off-screen or not on a web page.

It’s been demonstrated time and time again that people who can come up with incredible, fictional worlds that have something tangible to say about our own, have the ability to do so exactly because they understand this Earth and universe so well. Huxley was no exception, and his addendum to Brave New World is a beautifully lucid account of where his original work, written 25 years previously, had failed to anticipate the great emerging forces that were threatening freedom as Huxley perceived them at the time. This list of the book’s chapters might give you some idea of what those threats were:

I Over-Population
II Quantity, Quality, Morality
III Over-Organization
IV Propaganda in a Democratic Society
V Propaganda Under a Dictatorship
VI The Arts of Selling
VII Brainwashing
VIII Chemical Persuasion
IX Subconscious Persuasion
X Hypnopaedia
XI Education for Freedom
XII What Can Be Done?

I’m incredibly curious what Huxley would have to say about our 21st century society and where his hopes would lie today – whether he’d still think that

“meanwhile there is still some freedom left in the world. Many young people, it is true, do not seem to value freedom. But some of us still believe that, with­out freedom, human beings cannot become fully hu­man and that freedom is therefore supremely valuable. Perhaps the forces that now menace freedom are too strong to be resisted for very long. It is still our duty to do whatever we can to resist them. “

View all my reviews


This here thingie had been sitting inert in my browser’s tabs for months, reloading, closing, waiting. Waiting for what? Waiting for now.



This excellent article (don’t let the title fool you—it’s not just about America) came back to mind while I was talking to some people in Samothraki just as the coup in Turkey was hitting social media and the Web. By the way, being in the army sitting on a frontier island when a neighboring country does such a thing is not a fun place to be at all.

While discussing with those guys, I mentioned that some people had been tweeting that the coup might have been an inside job orchestrated by Erdogan to eradicate his opposition. My conversation partners dismissed the possibility out of hand as a “conspiracy theory” and that was that. No more had to be said or discussed. The mere utterance of this magic couple of words is enough to settle any argument that challenges the motives and means of powerful people.

Colour me skeptical. Waaay skeptical.

See also my review of Conspiracy Theories: The Pocket Essential Guide.

While I was writing the above sentence, I couldn’t help but smirk at myself and the accidental Liakopoulos vibe it does exude.


Fast Food Nation: Φάκελος: Τι ΤρώμεFast Food Nation: Φάκελος: Τι Τρώμε by Eric Schlosser
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Η ιστορια του εικοστού αιώνα χαρακτηρίζεται από την πάλη ενάντια σε απολυταρχικά συστήματα κρατικής δύναμης. Δίχως άλλο, ο εικοστός πρώτος αιώνας θα χαρακτηριστεί από την πάλη για τον περιορισμό της υπερβολικής δυναμης των εταιρειών. Σημερα, η μεγαλη πρόκληση στις χώρες όλου του κόσμου είναι να βρουν την ισορροπία ανάμεσα στην αποτελεσματικοτητα και τον αμοραλισμο της αγοράς. Τα τελευταία είκοσι χρόνια οι Ηνωμενες Πολιτειες κινήθηκαν μονόπλευρα, αποδυναμωνοντας τους κανονισμους που προστατευουν τους εργαζόμενους, τους καταναλωτές και το περιβάλλον. Οικονομικα συστήματα που υπόσχονται ελευθερία, οδηγησαν τελικά στη στέρηση της, καθώς οι στενές επιταγές της αγοράς παίρνουν προτεραιότητα έναντι πιο σημαντικών δημοκρατικών αξιών.

Η σημερινή βιομηχανία φαστ φουντ αποτελεί την κορωνίδα αυτών των ευρύτερων κοινωνικών και οικονομικών τάσεων. Η χαμηλή τιμή ενός χάμπουργκερ σε φαστ φουντ, δεν αντικατοπτριζει -όπως θα έπρεπε- το πραγματικό του κόστος. Για να αποκομίσουν τα τεραστια κέρδη τους οι αλυσίδες φαστ φουντ, υπέστη απώλειες -και όχι βέβαια εθελοντικά- η υπόλοιπη κοινωνία. Το ετήσιο κόστος της παχυσαρκιας και μόνο, ειναι σημερα διπλάσιο απο τα συνολικά έσοδα του συνόλου της βιομηχανίας φαστ φουντ. Το περιβαλλοντικο κίνημα υποχρέωσε εταιρείες να περιορίσουν τη ρύπανση που προκαλούν, και μια παρόμοια εκστρατεία πρέπει να αναγκάσει τις αλυσίδες φαστ φουντ να αναλαβουν τις ευθύνες για τις επιχειρηματικες πρακτικές τους και να ελαχιστοποιησουν τις επιβλαβείς επιδράσεις τους.

Ταδε γράφτηκαν το 2001, 15 χρόνια πριν, στον επιλογο του Fast Food Nation, ενα βιβλίο-προπομπο για το κάθε μέρα μεγαλύτερο κίνημα κατά των McDonald’s και με λιγα λογια ο,τι αυτα πρεσβεύουν.

Πράγματι, το βιβλιο τελικα δεν ειναι μονο μια τεκμηριωμένη έρευνα σχετικά με το τι περιέχει το φαγητό των Μακντοναλντς, αλλα και για ολα τα άπλυτα της βιομηχανία του fast food: τις διεφθαρμενες σχέσεις με τα κράτη· τις φριχτες, αλλα σε απόλυτη αρμονία με το κλίμα της εποχης, εργασιακές σχέσεις· την πληρη έλλειψη σεβασμού σε τοπικές κοινότητες, οικονομίες και κουλτούρες· τις τεχνικές που χρησιμοποιεί και εχει χρησιμοποιησει για να κατακτήσει τις καρδιές δισεκατομμυριων ανθρώπων, δινοντας έμφαση στα παιδια -οπως διολου τυχαία, οπως δειχνει το βιβλιο, και η Disney- με προϊόντα που πολυ απλά αφαιρούν απο την ποιοτητα ζωής τους· την περιφρόνηση νομων και κανονισμων που υπάρχουν για να προστατεύουν την ευημερία των ασθενέστερων — και μιας και μιλάμε για ασθενεστερους, την συστηματική, εγκληματική εκμεταλλευση ζωής, ζώων και γης.

Πολύ απλά, τα McDonald’s είναι το τέλειο παράδειγμα της πολυεθνικής που κυριολεκτικά πατάει επι πτωματων και εκμεταλλευεται τον κοσμο για να κάνει αυτο που βασικα φτιάχτηκε να κανει, δηλαδη να παράγει οσο το δυνατον περισσοτερο κέρδος χωρις κανεναν οργανικο, νομικο ή ηθικό περιορισμο· το άκρον αωτον της «ελεύθερης αγοράς», η επιτομή του αρρωστημενου καπιταλισμού που ψυχρά καταναλώνει τα πάντα για να κανει τους πάντες καταναλωτές, υπέρτατος εκφραστής ενός οικοδομηματος που η ιδια του η πολιτισμικη επιρροη, η αναγνωρισιμοτητα του, του επιτρεπει να μην τηρει ουτε τα οποια προσχηματα. Να ειναι -επιτρεπω στον εαυτο μου την εκφραση- αντιθετο απο οτιδήποτε ειναι καλο στον ανθρωπινο και μη κοσμο.

Λοιπόν, το βιβλίο δεν ειναι απλα για τη διατροφή. Και ο λογος που του βάζω 3 αστεράκια ειναι γιατι διάβασα την ελληνική έκδοση, που έχει υπότιτλο «φακελος: διατροφή», και η Διοπτρα οταν το εξέδωσε το κατετασσε στα βιβλία διατροφής και υγείας.

Ναι μεν εχει κεφάλαια σχετικα με την προελευση του κρέατος, την απιστευτα φρικτή ύπαρξη ζώων και ανθρώπων στα σφαγεία, την ιστορια της τηγανητης πατάτας, το πώς πίσω απο καθε γεύση στην βιομηχανία τροφίμων και κατω απο την μυτη μας κρύβεται η βιομηχανία αρωματικών υλών γεματη με χημικους ιδιους Γκρενουιγ απο Το Άρωμα -πολύ ενδιαφερον κεφάλαιο σχετικα με το τι αποτελεί «φυσικό άρωμα» και οχι μόνο… Ομως βασικα με αυτο το πλασαρισμα στο κοινο που ειναι πολυ συνειδητοποιημενο για θεματα υγειας πιστευω στοχευθηκαν οι λαθος αναγνωστες.

Επισης, η μεταφραση στα ελληνικα ηταν μετρια στην καλύτερη. Τρανταχτο παραδειγμα: σιχαθηκα να βλεπω το McDonald’s γραμμένο «Μακντοναλντ’ς». Μα να πεις οτι αναφεροταν στο βιβλιο μονο μια φορα…! Τετοιες συχνες αγαρμπιες σε αποδοση, εκφραση και συντακτικο μου εβδαζαν λιγο το ματι. Τουλαχιστον το διασκεδαζω να βρισκω τετοια λαθη και να τα περιεργαζομαι στο μυαλο μου, οπως και το να βρισκω μεταφρασεις πραγματικα διαμαντια. Να τα λεμε αυτα, γιατι καθε αλλο παρα αυτονοητα ειναι.

Αυτο το αρθρο ειναι του Schlosser γραμμενο 10 χρονια μετα την εκδοση του βιβλιου που τον εκανε διασημο και σε νεες εκδοσεις του βιβλιου στα αγγλικα ειναι ο επιλογος. Τα πραγματα αλλαζουν ωρε κοσμε. Το οτι εσεις που διαβαζετε αυτες τις αραδες τωρα κατα πασα πιθανοτητα δεν πολυπατε τα Μακ και δεν τα θεωρειτε αυτοματα προοδο και ευημερια οπως γινοταν πριν 20 χρονια, ειναι ενα πολυ σημαντικο σημαδι.

Ο αυτοκρατορας ειναι γυμνος, ο Σιντιους ρομπα ξεκουμπωτη. Δεν χρειαζεται να επαναστατησουμε: ο αυτοκρατορας μπορει να συνεχισει να απολαμβανει τα δικα του αορατα ρουχα παρεα με αυτους που γουσταρουν αυτοκρατοριες. Εμεις οι υπολοιποι απλα μπορουμε να παμε σπιτια μας και να φτιαξουμε ενα φαΐ της προκοπης και ο,τι περισσεψει να κανουμε ενα τεραστιο πικνικ/auberge español/potluck. Πώς λεγεται αυτο στα ελληνικα;;

Αυτο το κειμενακι το εγραψα στην οθονη αφης του κινητου μου, εξου και τα οποια λαθη, τυπογραφικα ή ελλειψεις τονων κτλ. Το παλευα μια βδομαδα ηδη, φτανει!

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Two vids and two talks, all broadly on cryptography, freedom of information and mass surveillance, all excellent—and I don’t usually even like rap.

Especially the talks though, they’re on a different level completely, truly ground-breaking stuff. Haunted By Data you can either read or watch on Youtube, What Happens Next Will Amaze You is only in transcript form.

Juice Media vids

Talks by Maciej Cegłowski

Haunted By Data

Strata+Hadoop World, New York City, October 2015. [video] (20 mins)

Re-imagining data as radioactive waste we don’t know how to safely store. Nixon in your data center. Eroom’s Law as an example of how data-driven thinking can make things worse for an entire industry. A plea to stop gratuitously collecting data and start treating it as the trade-off it is.

What Happens Next Will Amaze You

FREMTIDENS INTERNET, Copenhagen, Denmark, September 2015.

A talk about the corporate side of our culture of total surveillance. The odd story of how advertisers destoyed our online privacy and then found themselves swindled by robots. Six fixes that I think could restore Internet privacy. Capitalists who act like central planners, and an industry that insists on changing the world without even being able to change San Francisco.





The Atlas of the Real World: Mapping the Way We LiveThe Atlas of the Real World: Mapping the Way We Live by Daniel Dorling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book originally lent to me by Orestis from uni. In fact, if I recall correctly, he’d borrowed it from someone else first. In a weird twist of fate, I have become that shadowy person responsible for lent books gone AWOL. The person everybody loves to hate.

It’s not hard to get what this book is all about: it’s 366 maps that are much more infographics about human life on Earth than they are maps.

Greece doesn’t rank high in almost any of these expected or unexpected lists and their respective cartographic representations, apart from the follwing two, which stuck out for me—links are to the book’s source website, Worldmapper, which contains all 366 maps included in the publication for your viewing pleasure).

Mopeds and Motorcycles

“The Asian regions (Southern Asia, Eastern Asia, Asia Pacific and Japan) are where 65% of mopeds and motorbikes are driven. Mopeds are less powerful than motorbikes, having slower maximum speeds because of their smaller engines. Some mopeds can also be pedalled. This form of transport has an advantage over cars in that motorised bikes can be taken on narrow roads and paths. On the other hand the rider is more vulnerable to injury.

Malaysia and Greece have more than one motorbike / moped for every five people. Considering that some people will be too young to drive, this could be one bike per three people in the relevant age group.

Total Elderly

Greece’s percentage of people over 65 (wow, that includes my dad!) is ranked fourth in the world, after Japan, Germany and Italy. Doesn’t this suddenly make the whole pension crisis seem way hopeless? Also see: why Europe’s aging population means that the EU need to welcome 20 million immigrants by 2030 to replenish diminishing workforce.

If this book could have always up-to-date info, and not stuck in 2008 at best, it would earn its 5 stars. But I’m sorry review, I’m afraid I can’t do that.

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Πέντε πολιτικά κείμενα πάνω στο ζήτημα των ζώωνΠέντε πολιτικά κείμενα πάνω στο ζήτημα των ζώων by Collective Work
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Μετάφραση του άρθρου Beasts of Burden, μιας απάντησης, της απάντησης στην απάντηση, μιας δεύτερης απάντησης και μιας δεύτερης απάντησης στην απάντηση.

Βασικά, λένε ότι τα ζώα καταπιέζονται από τον καπιταλισμό όπως ακριβώς και οι άνθρωποι καταπιέζονται από τον καπιταλισμό. Οι μεν λένε ότι το ένα ήρθε πρώτο και έφερε το άλλο, οι δε το ανάποδο, κι έκει έγκειται μεγάλο μέρος της διαφωνίας και των ερωταπαντήσεων. Απο ‘κεί και πέρα, το πράγμα δεν μπορούσα να το παρακολουθήσω με ενδιαφέρον. Δεν είναι ότι διαφωνώ με το γεγονός ότι η επιλογή μιας χορτοφαγικής διατροφής είναι κι αυτή μια συστημική πράξη, αλλά η εναλλακτική που παρουσιαζόταν φαινόταν να είναι μόνο μία: η επανάσταση! Διαβάζοντας αυτό το βιβλιαράκι ήταν σαν να άκουω αναρχικούς να διαφωνούν μεταξύ τους ενώ συμφωνούν και ξέρουν ότι συμφωνούν απλώς είχαν όρεξη να μοστράρουν τους πνευματικούς τους μύες. Η φίλη μου η Άννα η ισπανίδα με έλεγε mental masturbator όταν το έκανα αυτό.

Εν πάσει περιπτώσει, γράφτηκαν όλα αυτά σε μια άλλη εποχή, όπου το αναρχοαυτόνομο κίνημα σνόμπαρε σε μεγάλο βαθμό το υπέρ της απελευθέρωσης των ζώων επειδή το δεύτερο δεν είχε απαραίτητα αναρχοαυτόνομες ή ανοιχτά επαναστατικές τάσεις. Το χάσμα συνεχίζει να υπάρχει, όπως έχω διαπιστώσει από πρώτο χέρι ως κάτι-σαν-χορτοφάγος/κάτι-σαν-επίδοξος-vegan, όμως σήμερα υπάρχει και μεγάλο κίνημα το οποίο έχει ξεφυτρώσει ακριβώς πάνω στο χάσμα, προσπαθώντας να γεφυρώσει τις διαφορές και να δημιουργήσει κάτι νέο.

Αυτό το κίνημα εγώ θα το αναγνώριζα ως το κίνημα υπέρ της τροφικής και ενεργειακής αυτονομίας, το οποίο δεν κοιτάζει βέβαια το θέμα της απελευθέρωσης των ζώων από την βεγκανική ηθική πλευρά του, παρα το βλέπει πιο πρακτικά. Είναι μια προσέγγιση με την οποία πάνω-κάτω συμφωνώ: σφάξε το ζώο αν θέλεις, φά’ το, άρμεξε το, βάλ’ το να σου κάνει τις δουλειές, αρκεί να μπορείς να το κάνεις εσύ για τον εαυτό σου, όχι να το αναθέτεις σε κάποια τρίτη πολυεθνική να το κάνει για σένα. Βάψε τα δικά σου χέρια με αίμα αν είσαι μάγκας, κι αν είσαι μάγκας, απόλαυσε την λεία σου και κανένα πρόβλημα. Ακολουθώντας την αρχή του «φάε κρέας το οποίο θα μπορούσες να σκοτώνεις με τα ίδια σου τα χέρια ή ήδη σκοτώνεις με τα ίδια σου τα χέρια» νομίζω θα κάναμε το πρώτο βήμα στο να επαναθεωρήσουμε τη σχέση μας με τους πλανητικούς συγκατοίκους μας.

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The Transatlantic Trade and Investment PartnershipThe Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership by John Hilary
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another of my “cheat” books to complete my 2015 Reading Challenge. That said, I wish all cheats and tricks the world over were this beneficial and had this positive a net value as the existence of this little book and me taking the (little) time required to read it in order to complete my Goodreads challenge.

I did so in physical form but you can easily get this booklet in.pdf in various languages, including Greek, from this page. And here’s another quick summary from the Stop TTIP website of what the problem actually is.

What I have to say about TTIP and all agreements similar to it (CETA, TPP, whatever) is that in all the wickedness of the masterminds behind it, they envision a future that’s so unsustainable, so unnatural, so anti-everything that’s good, just or progressive in this world, that my hope is that these abominations, even in the event they come to pass—which, in one form or another, they probably will—will collapse under the weight of their own profound and inexcusable arbitrariness.

Good thing the mega-corporations, the only ones who will benefit from these deals and have lobbied sufficiently to have infiltrated various administrative and legislative national and international bodies, such as the European Commission itself (one wonders if that really did need any lobbying at all), are becoming more and more blatant with all this; unbeknownst(?) to them, they are giving us a blessing in disguise: in these times of widespread uncertainty, passivity and double-think, having a deal such as this where there are zero benefits for the common people, for Europe, for democracy, all those things we’ve come to think are sacrosanct (no matter if they really are), having a deal which pulls the curtains like this in the name of profit, control and inequality… it all leaves very little room for doubt and alternative readings: TTIP is corporate greed in paper form, no questions asked. It really is that simple.

It is precisely for that reason it looks like it’s serving as a call for action to people of all kinds of political beliefs. It’s working similar to how “We are the 99%” could have worked and is absolutely in the same spirit of mass participation. One look at the Stop TTIP petition, which gathered more than 3.3 million signatures, should convince you. Us. Them. Everybody.

Is that a record, Ben? It must be a record.

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Απο το άρθρο του Luben.tv Πολύνεκρη βομβιστική επίθεση και στη Βηρυτό του Λιβάνου με ευθύνη του Ισλαμικού Κράτους (ΡΗΟΤΟ)

«Παρότι η φρικαλέα τετραπλή επίθεση που ανέλαβε το Ισλαμικό Κράτος στο Παρίσι τράβηξε τα φώτα της δημοσιότητας στην Ευρώπη, το ΙΚ ανέλαβε και την ευθύνη για την εξαιρετικά αιματηρή διπλή βομβιστική επίθεση στη Βηρυτό την Πέμπτη 12 Νοεμβρίου που μας πέρασε.


Το χειρότερο κομμάτι της επίθεσης ήταν στο σιιτικό προάστιο Burj el-Barajneh που βρίσκεται στα νότια της πρωτεύουσας που χτυπήθηκε από δύο βομβιστές αυτοκτονίας πάνω σε μηχανάκια, που ανατινάχτηκαν μέσα σε πλήθος κόσμου.


Ο φόρος αίματος ήταν εξαιρετικά βαρύς καθώς η επίθεση έγινε σε ώρα υψηλής κυκλοφορίας δίπλα σε μια αγορά γεμάτη κόσμο. Η μία βόμβα μάλιστα πυροδοτήθηκε δίπλα σε σχολείο. Ο αριθμός των θυμάτων μέχρι στιγμής ανέρχεται σε 44 νεκρούς και 200 τραυματίες.


Στη χώρα κηρύχθηκε πένθος και ο πρωθυπουργός του Λιβάνου συγκάλεσε εσπευσμένα έκτακτο κυβερνητικό συμβούλιο.»

Και μετά σκάει τοπ σχόλιο:


Ισχύει και για μένα και για τους περισσότερους.



Είδα αυτό το άρθρο και αντιπροσώπευε τόσο εύγλωττα και απλά τις δικές μου σκέψεις που αποφάσισα να το μεταφράσω.

Με αρχή την επίθεση στο Παρίσι την περασμένη Παρασκευή, το Facebook προώθησε ένα προαιρετικό φίλτρο σε όλους τους χρήστες του δικτύου. Το φίλτρο προορίζεται ως ένδειξη αλληλεγγύης με τα θύματα της επίθεσης, αλλάζοντας τη φωτογραφία προφίλ με μία η οποία βάζει ως φόντο στην πρωτότυπη φωτογραφία τα χρώματα της γαλλικής σημαίας. Φυσικά οι χρήστες άρχισαν αμέσως να χρησιμοποιούν το εργαλείο αυτό, επηρεασμένοι από το συναισθηματικό σοκ που τους προκάλεσαν οι επιθέσεις στην γαλλική πρωτεύουσα. Είναι προφανές (αν και δεν νομίζω ότι είναι επιθυμητό) ότι στον κόσμο υπάρχουν νεκροί Α’ κατηγορίας και νεκροί Β’ κατηγορίας, ακόμα και Γ’ ή Δ’ κατηγορίας. Είναι μέχρι ένα σημείο ευνόητο ότι έναν Ευρωπαίο πολίτη τον αγγίζει περισσότερο μια επίθεση στο Παρίσι παρά μια στην Βυρητό. Για την ακρίβεια, αν λάβουμε υπ’ όψη μας την κάλυψη των ΜΜΕ που έλαβαν η μία και η άλλη, θα ήταν περίεργο αν έναν πολίτη του Ισπανικού κράτους, για παράδειγμα, τον επηρεάζε περισσότερο μια επίθεση στον Λίβανο απ’ ότι μία στη Γαλλία.

Η συλλογική χειραγώγηση απ’ τα μεγάλα μέσα επικοινωνίας είναι προφανής. Η σιωπή που κυριαρχεί ή η ψυχρότητα κατα την προβολή του αριθμού των νεκρών όταν πρόκειται για μια επίθεση η οποία έχει λάβει μέρος στον γνωστό ως Αραβικό Κόσμο, έρχεται σε αντίθεση με την δραματική παρουσίαση όταν πρόκειται για μια επίθεση σε ευρωπαϊκό ή βορειοαμερικανικό έδαφος. Και αν και αυτή η επικοινωνιακή στρατηγική είναι ένα πετυχημένο μοντέλο δημιουργίας πολιτών Α’ και Β’ κατηγορίας, συνεχώς αυξάνονται οι Ευρωπαίοι που αντιλαμβάνονται ότι είναι θύματα χειραγώγησης και προσπαθούν να ξεφύγουν από την επιρροή των μεγάλων ΜΜΕ, τα οποία με τις πράξεις ή την απραξία τους χτίζουν τείχη μεταξύ κοινωνίων τα οποία μοιάζουν απροσπέλαστα. Ωστόσο, με την καινοτομία του, το φίλτρο στο Facebook συνεπάγεται έναν κίνδυνο που πιάνει την πλειοψηφία των κυβερνοναυτών με τις άμυνες τους ιδιαίτερα χαμηλές.

Η χρήση του φίλτρου του Facebook ως ένδειξη αλληλεγγύης με τα θύματα της επίθεσης στο Παρίσι είναι η στήριξη ενός οράματος του κόσμου στον οποίο μόνο οι θάνατοι των πολιτών απ’τη Δύση έχουν σημασία. Μέσω αυτής της μικρής κίνησης χτίζεται άλλο ένα τείχος σ’ αυτο το φρούριο του 21ου αιώνα που είναι η Ευρώπη, γεμάτη υπηκόους που πεθαίνουν απ’ το φόβο και χαρίζουν την κριτική τους ικανότητα σε εταιρίες και δημόσια σώματα ως αντάλλαγμα για μια μικρή αίσθηση ασφάλειας. Στον Λίβανο και στο Ιράκ, στο Ιράν και σε οποιοδήποτε άλλο μέρος του κόσμου, όταν σκάει μια βόμβα ή πέφτει ένας πύραυλος, υπάρχουν αδέρφια που υποφέρουν, πατεράδες και μανάδες που λιποθυμούν σαν μαθαίνουν τα νέα, φίλοι που ψάχνουν απεγνωσμένα τα ίχνη των συναδέρφων τους απ’ το πανεπιστήμιο ή απ’ τη δουλειά. Είναι ευνόητο (αν και δεν νομίζω ότι είναι  επιθυμητό) ότι έναν Ευρωπαίο πολίτη τον πονάει περισσότερο μια επίθεση στο Παρίσι απ’ ότι στην Βηρυτό. Πολλοί από εμάς έχουμε φίλους στο Παρίσι ή το έχουμε επισκεφθεί μία ή περισσότερες φορές. Το Facebook όμως είναι μια παγκόσμια εταιρία και με τέτοιες κινήσεις το μόνο που κάνει είναι να εγκαθιστά μια ηγεμονική δομή προτεραιοτήτων σύμφωνα με την οποία οι νεκροί Δυτικοί δημιουργούν ανησυχία και κινητοποίηση και τα θύματα, για παράδειγμα, της επίθεσης στην Βηρυτό πριν από δυο μέρες, πολύ απλά δεν μετράνε. Ή μήπως μας δώσανε την επιλογή φίλτρου με τη σημαία του Λιβάνου; Η επικύρωση αυτού του οραμάτος του κόσμου μου φαίνεται εξαιρετικά επικίνδυνη. Περισσότερο όταν το κάνουμε χωρίς ούτε καν να το καταλαβαίνουμε.

Èric Lluent, δημοσιογράφος (Βαρκελώνη, 1986)