Celebrating Towel Day by forgetting a towel

Today, fans of the late Douglas Adams celebrate the Towel Day in his memory.
I managed to celebrate it by forgetting, for 1st time since I started to exercise in that particular gym, to bring my obligatory towel to the gym today.
Fortunately, a paper towel was available.

Computerized elections in Israel – the threat is still there

Time has passed since the Nov. 2007 council elections (with no publicity to the results of the pilot of computerized elections), and since the Dec. 2008 Taldor fiasco.

And it turns out that in their infinite wisdom, the Israeli government decided to continue to cater to the impatient, “want to know the results right NOW!!!” segment of the electorate in future elections.  Having learned from the experience of other countries, a system based upon near-field RFID tags was chosen for development and deployment.

However, according to http://www.eng.tau.ac.il/%7Eyash/evoting-relay-rfid2010.pdf, the chosen system suffers from serious vulnerabilities.

It seems that the real agenda of the politicians here, like everywhere, is still to get the populace to accept ballot systems, which allow the elections to be rigged.

Rachel Corrie died fighting for a world of fenced-in parks

As a trial, launched by Rachel Corrie’s parents, has been scheduled to start at March 10th, I’d like to remind exactly what big goal did Rachel pursue when she was killed by an IDF bulldozer.

In the photo, you can see a fenced park.  The park had to be fenced in order to ensure that everyone who enters it gets searched for explosives, as a measure against entry of suicide bombers.Fenced park in Petah Tikva

Rachel Corrie gave her life in an attempt to prevent the destruction of homes of Palestinian terrorists in Gaza Strip. As you can see from the photo, one can say that she won the effort to force Israelis to forsake open parks if they want to defend themselves against suicide bombers.

Legal outlet for one’s desires

In the wake of the Rav Moti Alon scandal, I reach the conclusion that homosexual Jewish rabbis and Moslem religious leaders are in the same risk category as Catholic priests.  The common difficulty, which all of them encounter is the lack of a legal (from their religion’s perspective) means to satisfy their desires.

How to respond to anti-Israel comments about aid to Haiti

In today’s world, no act of legitimate self-defense or good deed by Israel goes unpunished. The story of the woman from Gaza, who tried to smuggle a bomb in her person when entering Israel for medical treatment, is known. Israel is accused of committing war crimes during the Cast Iron operation, nevermind the years of war crimes committed by the other side – the Palestinians in Gaza especially after the Israeli pull out from the Gaza Strip at 2005.

The most recent twist is the accusations that Israel utilizes the medical aid to Haiti as a pretext to steal organs for transplanting.

The best response to this accusation and others related to Israeli aid to Haiti, which I saw so far, is in  http://www.rantrave.com/Rave/Israeli-Aid-to-Haiti.aspx. The writer challenges the accusers to compete with Israel and overshadow its aid efforts by efforts of their own.

Very Annoying Spam

This particular spam E-mail is very annoying to me. It is annoying because it appears to have come from a political party, which I otherwise would have considered voting for in the coming 10 February 2009 elections in Israel. And now I cannot consider voting for them, due to my policy of zero tolerance of spam.

It is an appeal to vote for the party of the people with disabilities (מפלגת הנכים) in those elections.

The first time I got the E-mail, I thought it was sent to me because I am in some mailing list of people with disabilities. The second time, it was sent to an E-mail address which is not publicly known and which I never use for subscribing to mailing lists.

It was also sent from a gmail account, rather than from the party’s own domain.

I sent spam complaint E-mails to both my E-mail provider and the real party’s E-mail address, as publicized in their Web site.

Double-charging of bank charges in Bank Discount

Today I went to Bank Discount, where I have a checking account, to pay my municipal tax (“arnona”) bill. In the far past, such transactions bore no bank charges, as the municipality in question reimbursed the bank for its transaction expenses.

Today I found that this year, payments to the municipality are not exempt from bank charges.

I further found that, contrary to past practice, I was charged twice. Once for the bill payment itself. Once for the act of withdrawing money from my bank account.

The municipal tax bill was not that small, so the total bank charges amounted to about 0.3% – not worth fighting over in the form of letter writing, making an appointment with the branch manager for a calm (but prolonged) argument, etc.

This is like one of the Soddom stories – how they screwed a brickmaker by having each Soddomite take just one brick from his workshop. Too small for a lawsuit, but nevertheless he got bankrupted, without any reasonable legal recourse.

Not having the time or justification to pursue the matter via the proper channels, I balanced things out by shouting at the branch manager for about 5 seconds in the presence of other people.

Thank you, Taldor LTD., for tarnishing the reputation of computerized elections in Israel

Yesterday, the primaries election of the Labor party in Israel was aborted and postponed to a later date due to serious malfunctioning of the voting machines deployed for this purpose.

The provider of those machines was Taldor LTD.

Sources (in Hebrew):

I wrote previously about computerized elections.

What is the most important thing in administering a Linux (or any other) system?

Ken Hess listed 5 Things Every Good Linux Administrator Knows and left out the most important thing. It is more important than uptime. It is more important than controlling the network services. It is more important than making users happy. It is more important than documentation.


UPDATE (2008 Nov 07):
A day after I wrote the above, Ken Hess added 3 More Things Every Good Linux Adminstrator Knows, the first of which is regular backups.