Thursday, February 24, 2011

More good news from Egypt

Women have been suffering under the Egyptian regime.  It's no secret that women and children suffer more under dictators and other totalitarian regimes.

CNN is reporting that women in Egypt are feeling more free to express themselves, and feel more optimistic about their prospects for better treatment.  In one example, a lady was recently verbally sexually harassed by an army officer.  She slapped him and drove away.  She would never have gotten away with that a month ago.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Inception in C

I loved the movie Inception.  Someone loved it more than I did.

This person wrote a program that mimics the movie and implants the idea into Fischer.  I wish I could read C code.

Some people have action figures.  Some people have posters.  The Inception crew is now the first movie cast to be recreated as C code.

Friday, February 18, 2011

My life's work

I'm unemployed right now.  I've been unemployed for a while now.  I've been trying to figure out what I'm good for and what I want to do.

I have some experience and some skills in the software industry.  Unfortunately, those skills are not in demand right now, and there are very many people with the same skills out looking.  Software companies like to hire people who have computer science degrees or MBAs, and I don't.  That puts me near the bottom of the pile for any job that comes up.

I've done some coding.  There are a ton of openings for software developers right now.  I could probably take a few coding classes and reinvent myself as a coder.  With my non-CS degree I would probably only get a junior position.  But there are so many positions that I think I could eventually land one.  And I wouldn't be miserable writing code all day.

But that's not what I want to do.

I want to redesign democracy.  Or maybe I should say that I want to design a new form of democracy.

There are many problems with the forms of democracy that we have today.  There are many new features that I want to install in my new form of democracy.  (I'm not going to detail all of that here, but you can find much of it elsewhere on my blog.)

My problem is that I can't figure out how to get there from here.  How do I go back and get a PhD in political science at this point?  Or is there some other path?

My new hero: Dr. Gene Sharp

Gene Sharp is a retired college professor.  He is an introvert, thinker, and writer.  His field of study is the non-violent overthrow of dictators and establishment of democratic governments.

His seminal work is called 'From Dictatorship to Democracy'.  It is available as a PDF for free.

The New York Times has a nice article describing his life and writings, and explaining how his writings ended up in the hands of the protesters in Egypt.  (I can't link it here because they have hidden it behind their paywall.)

Dr. Sharp's writings are primarily focused on the first half of the struggle--toppling the dictator.  My interest is in the second half of the struggle--building a democracy.

If I ever achieve my life's goal, it will only be because I was able to stand on this man's shoulders.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Told you so

The Independent is reporting that Mubarak ordered in the tanks and the army refused; and that this confrontation was the moment that the army decided Mubarak would have to go:
"But the critical moment came on the evening of 30 January when, it is now clear, Mubarak ordered the Egyptian Third Army to crush the demonstrators in Tahrir Square with their tanks after flying F-16 fighter bombers at low level over the protesters."

This is what I wrote on Monday the 31st, before that story broke:
"If I were a gambling man then I would place my money on the military reporting that they received the order to massacre, refusing the order, arresting Mubarak, and then seizing control.  This gives the military control and a large measure of goodwill.  Notice that they don't have to actually get the order to massacre, they just have to say they got it.  There will be no way for Mubarak to prove otherwise once he is in jail."
At this point I haven't heard enough promises from the military for democratic elections.  I would not wager on how long it will be before that happens.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More on Egypt and the revolutions in the Middle East

Of course there are a ton of articles floating by about Egypt and the Middle East.  Here are the four biggest, in my opinion:

1. 20 reasons why the world is burning
This article is required reading to understand why this is happening now.

2. The Muslim Brotherhood is saying it will not run a candidate in democratic elections in Egypt
I can't decide if this is genuine good news, or if the Muslim Brotherhood is simply biding their time.  On it's face, though, this is fantastic news.  If democratic elections happen in Egypt, and if the Muslim Brotherhood keeps this promise, then the next government of Egypt will almost certainly be secular (read: not radical Islamic jihadist.)

3. Saudi King Saud pressured Obama to support Mubarak
I predicted this one.  It is vitally important to Saud for Mubarak to not fall.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The real story in Egypt

I found a fascinating article by a western-educated Egyptian.  Click, read, and cry for all that they have lost.