“EU funds money is cruel money”

One of the most renown “small” observatories in the world with the education centre attached – the one in Višnjan in Istria – is going to keep existing, although it was a close call. After a few years of shutting programmes one after another due to lack of funding, local counties came to their senses and realised the tourist potential of the whole educational centre. More information should be published soon; in the meantime, the Croatian version of the text is here, but what is sticking out of the whole case are a few sentences spoken by the observatory and educational centre’s founder and manager, Korado Korlević, where he addressed a wider issue: EU funds being handed out to scientific, cultural and other NGO projects.

“We have seen that this is a very cruel money, that, in the end, it boils down to violence of administratively stronger inflicted upon the weaker. We have also witnessed that the government services in Croatia, instead of helping out, just wait for you to make a mistake and then issue a fine and ask of you to return the money you received. You write projects, you struggle, you wait for the funds for two years, and then someone demands that you return 10 percent because you didn’t do everything according to the 600-page manual. We decided it was best if Europe and the state keep their money. I can’t ask of the girls who work here to go through this administrative violence, to be on edge and unable to sleep throughout the week when they are writing projects and reports. No country should do this to their citizens.”

Death of the internet middle class

There have been fears, there have been warnings, but now that the soft brown substance has finally hit the ventilator, let’s take a step back and take a look at the bigger picture. The bigger picture – actually, the biggest one – is that one of the best ideas in the history of humankind – if not THE best – is in danger of dying from strangulation by bureaucracy.

There are dozens, probably hundreds, possibly even thousands of texts on the internet supplying reliable data[1] so I’ll just continue with my summary and assessment.

As of January 1, 2015 any internet business is obliged to calculate and pay VAT to the buyer’s country, in the amount dictated by that country,  even if said business isn’t located in the EU.
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Breaking the Kyklos, part 2

Dynamic systems are a bitch. They are, well, dynamic, consisting of many parts and are, very often, unpredictable. For example, one of the things that falls into this category is called “society”. Sometimes we want to predict how a society will behave under certain conditions. We know that guessing it accurately is impossible. However, sometimes a discussion about the dynamics can be helpful, especially if we want to obtain a certain result. For example, a stable and advancing society.

I have already pinpointed some inherent problems with the system called Democracy. I also noted that replacing it with something else is not the preferable solution. So let’s see what else we may have at our disposal.
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Breaking the Kyklos, part 1

People who are past a certain age tend to see everything around them more critically, leading to the (in)famous old age adage “This is not the way things were done in my time”, usually dismissed by claiming people are most likely to be defining any “Golden Age” when they actually reach  “the age in which they need to get golden teeth”.

However, looking at the society we live in, there are more and more indications that, after a few decades – or even centuries – of constant technical and material progress, things on the part of our planet we like to call “civilized” have been stagnating. Some places have even started to slip backwards.
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Hello world!

So, howdy y’all. This is the place where I will be publishing my ramblings urbi & orbi, whether at the delight or the horror of my faithful audience. A topic spectrum may be wide, but I have a tingling feeling it may converge to a particular area of human endeavours, but let’s not jump to conclusions just yet.

So, what will be discussed (or, more accurately, preached) here, in a very roughly, but not completely particular order:

Science Fiction. As a semi-professional writer (meaning, I occasionally get some money, but would need to investigate if the amount covers the bill for the electricity I used while typing) OF COURSE there is going to be science fiction here. But even more, as a fan, SF is a significant part of my thought life; at one local convention (or, rather, after it) I have been proclaimed the King of Geeks (not my doing, it was spontaneous, well, ok, no crowd involved, but it was sincere). So, expect the unexpected.

Education. Not only because I’m professionally a physics teacher, but also because I’m an education fundamentalist. Education is the most important thing in the world and all world problems can be solved by education. (And if a particular problem can’t, the only remaining solution is usually repression, so choose freely, but wisely.) I’m an active member of a small, but active teacher NGO with reputation. (Do you want to know more?)

Politics. Hell, yeah, baby! If you’re gonna run away from it, it will chase you down, rip you up, tear you apart, happily wave to the audience and make you ask for more. So may as well stop running and show it your ugly side, you know you have it. Hiding will only make it worse.

For the record, politics is not only elections, candidates, parties, corrupt politicians (although those can also be fun sometimes; hell, you’re paying them, may at least have fun with them…) As someone at the Loncon said (maybe even Ken McLeod, don’t remember), politics is when you want a speedbump installed in your street, but you want it in front of your neighbour’s house, not yours.

Games. We all like to play games. Only, some play them with people where victory points are usually laughs or tears, while some are more adult and like cardboard or computers as intermediaries. Well, I prefer the latter two. Strategy and role-playing are the preferred kind, but you never know, the night is still young. Also, as someone said, it usually turns out that the people who say that there is time for work and time for play, usually never have time for play (while people who oppose them usually need to get a life, me included, but there you have it…)

Music. Rock, classics, rock classics, classic rock. Maybe some New Age, ethno or other stuff, if I like it.

Cats. As a friend said, the purpose of humans on this planet is to serve, cuddle and feed our feline overlords. If I’m not too lazy, may share some photos from my household.

To be continued.