Repaying debt: RIM and Germany

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Two positive news items today, that are at least metaphorically related.

First, and no surprise here, but RIM VP Confirms PlayBook QNX OS Will Replace BlackBerry OS.  To my mind, RIM’s aging BlackBerry OS is their biggest hurdle.  I want to root for RIM, but I just can’t stomach using their devices knowing there are much better platforms out there.  RIM is finally beginning to repay their Technical Debt, built up from years of thinking they could keep up with everyone else by just reskinning their old code.

Then, onto real debt, who knew Germany was still paying reparations for WW1?  Germany ends World War One reparations after 92 years with £59m final payment

New Germany-Britain high-speed rail link makes me jealous

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Auf Wiedersehen jet: London to Frankfurt by train

Interesting tidbit from this article:

“Eurostar, the Paris and Brussels service that operates from St Pancras, has been a success since its 1994 debut, now carrying more than 9 million passengers and taking three-quarters of the air and rail market between London and the French and Belgian capitals.”

Wow, 75%.  I wish we could see how much of that Eurostar traffic was specifically replacing air travel.  But, before the chunnel (and hence the Eurostar?) there was no rail traffic possible, right?  People seem to prefer rail when there isn’t a huge time difference.

Personally, since I have to go there periodically, I wish there was a high-speed rail link between Toronto and New York.  It seems to me that rail can definitely be competitive on time within say a 1,000 km range, and probably more.  It’s the 5,000+ km distances coast-to-coast that aren’t feasible.

Who won the Qur’an burning media war?

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It’s hard to say, but setting aside the obvious bigotry of the Florida pastor, it feels like he lost, at least here in North America.  I say that because the stunt seems to have stirred up an overdue debate that almost universally ended up on the side of acceptance of other peoples beliefs.  While “tolerance” of Muslims is running low in the West right now, when faced with such a clear case of intolerance, it’s pretty hard to be on that side.

However, I suspect the impression many people in the rest of the world were left with would be closer to “Americans are burning Qur’ans” without all the nuanced debate seen here on call-in shows, etc, that showed how the average person felt.  In that sense, I think the pastor may have won, given his goal seems to be to fan the flames of tension that exist right now.

The need to condemn bombings

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Why does the US feel the need to condemn bombings in other countries?

US condemns ‘reprehensible’ Pakistan bombings

Let’s forget for a minute the hypocrisy of them bombing other countries too. Is there a bombing by someone else that the US wouldn’t condemn?

Suzuki: private automobiles are unsustainable

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Good article by David Suzuki: David Suzuki: Our obsession with private automobiles is unsustainable.

I completely agree, but unfortunately it seems most North American urban areas are designed on the assumption that you drive, so it’s difficult to live car-free unless you’re really committed and willing to make some sacrifices.  That’s not to say there aren’t benefits, though.

For example, when I lived in Austin, Texas, there are entire new areas of town up north being built without even sidewalks, let alone bike lanes.  It doesn’t take many large SUVs speeding by, inches from your shoulder as you try to walk beside the road, to make you think twice about walking there.

Biking is somewhat more feasible there, but as another example, there was only one way to get to where I worked, along a very busy highway.  Hardcore bikers would go on it, but I would have preferred streets to do it, myself.  There were zero buses going to that part of town, too.

Where I live now is not so bad, but to really reduce our dependence on a car we’d have to move somewhere closer to everything.