Adiós hermanos...

En las semifinales de España 82, me corregirán los fanáticos, empataban a 2 goles Brasil e Italia en un duro partido. El resultado le daría el paso a la gran final a los suramericanos, de manera que uno de ellos se atrevió a sugerir que se defendieran para clasificar. Somos Brasil- repuso otro, tal vez Sócrates- nosotros no nos defendemos.

Los amarillos, firmes a sus principios, decidieron ir por el partido y en un contraataque Italia marcó un último gol. Un Brasil genial fue eliminado por un equipo en el que pocos creían antes del mundial (incluso sus propios compatriotas).

Uno de mis blogs de cabecera (verán por qué quienes se animen a visitar), brasilero, titula la derrota de Argentina hoy: Adios hermanos: Nao choramos por voces! Y aunque la prensa especializada de Italia, España y Argentina sostenga que los albicelestes jugaron mejor, tampoco yo lloraré porque salgan del mundial.

El equipo tiene potencial, eso no lo duda nadie. Sin embargo, la soberbia les ganó. No la necesitamos- me respondió una argentina cuando le desee suerte ante el partido contra México, y vaya si se equivocó.

En esta copa mundial, Pekerman presentó un equipo sólido y balanceado, cuya máxima virtud (a mi modo de ver, y a diferencia de lo que sostienen muchos) fue la capacidad para reorganizarse ante una pérdida de balón: los argentinos, como toros, permitieron poquísimos contargolpes antes de que su técnico moviera las fichas. Los cambios, sin embargo, en casi la totalidad de los partidos fragmentaron el equipo y entregaron el medio campo. Es cierto que Argentina logró anotar en muchas ocasiones después de hacer cambios, pero casi siempre fue ante un rival completamente entregado por buscar un empate ante un equipo que defendía a muerte el primer gol.

Ante México, Argentina salió a jugar un partido de rutina. Los manitos, a hacer historia, y lo habrían logrado de no haber sido por una bolea magistral. La soberbia de nuestros hermanos les impidió ver el estado real de su selección: ante Costa de Marfil ganaron más por fallas del rival que por virtud (varios tiros en los postes, y oportunidades despilfarradas). Con Serbia y Montenegro afrontaron un rival totalmente desdibujado en el que las peleas internas y los rumores pesaban tanto como en la Colombia que jugaría el mundial del 94. Holanda fue un partido en el que no se quisieron medir, y el de hoy, uno que dieron por ganado desde el minuto 5 del segundo tiempo cuando ya estaban quemando tiempo. No se pueden explicar los cambios que hizo el técnico sino desde un triunfalismo total y absoluto: sacar a Crespo y a Riquelme con el fin de cuidarlos para la semifinal, y Cambiaso, un volante mixto que ayudaría a defender.

Cuidar un 1-0 es peligroso, como lo sabemos los hinchas del América. Al mismo Palomo (escritor de La letra escarlata, y por cuya escritura también profeso devoción) le oí criticar una vez al Real Madrid por salir a perder tiempo en un partido de ida en Barcelona por la Champions. Y aunque es igual de vergonzoso, el club caleño algún argumento podría esgrimir a su favor. Argentina, gran favorita para estar en la final, lo pagó caro. Es cierto que la soberbia de Brasil en el 82 también tuvo un costo aún más alto, y que las dos pueden verse con la lupa de la sabiduría popular (y posmoderna): la historia la escriben los ganadores. Sin embargo, los brasileros del 82 no perdieron su orgullo, y es posible recordarlos con algo de nostalgia. Argentina, se vendió. Por ello me uno con solemnidad al grito( probablemente con algo de envidia, pero sobretodo con el sinsabor que dejó su presentación):

Adiós hermanos:

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Arbitrariedades terapéuticas

Escribe Louis Menand, en su reseña de Acid Redux en The New Yorker, que la psicología fue durante un tiempo lo que hoy es la genética. Si bien hoy encontramos la explicación para cualquier cosa en los genes, hace un tiempo todo estaba en la cabeza.

Crecieron los institutos de psicología como ninguna otra área de estudio en su tiempo, y según la fuente inagotable de datos curiosos (Tomás), la adopción de la práctica portuguesa de la lobotomía en Estados Unidos fue tan desmesurada que se llevaba a cabo en niños hiperactivos (algo así como el Prozac hoy en día).

Y al igual que Cocodrilo Dundee, quien planea hacerse católico al final de su vida "por si acaso va y es cierto" (traducción mía), el asunto es un claro ejemplo de lo arbitrarias que resultan nuestras convicciones. Al igual que para nosotros, colombianos, la discusión es si Uribe es bueno o no para la patria mientras en un espacio legal hay un juez que tiene que elegir entre Popeye y Santofimio, la mayoría de las preocupaciones fundamentales que tiene la Humanidad (y el conocimiento que representa) podrían solucionarse con los dados.

El Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), por ejemplo, sostiene que hay un complot en el que están vinculados científicos y políticos para reducir el consumo de CO2, eso que "ellos llaman polución, pero que nosotros llamamos vida"(he acá unos videos impactantes). Según ellos, el dióxido de carbono es lo que exhalamos los animales y lo que respiran las plantas (fundamentado en la equivocada noción general de que el reino vegetal produce oxígeno del dióxido de carbono, cuando realmente lo acumula mientras crece, al igual que los animales). Según anuncian en comerciales que serán transmitidos en Estados Unidos próximamente, los combustibles hacen andar trenes, iluminan ciudades como Las Vegas, y nos liberan del yugo del trabajo manual (cuando, realmente, son los mejicanos).

Pero, tal vez, las doctrinas otorguen paz mental. Tal vez sentir algo similar a Navidad en el mundial sea algo humano, así Sepp Blatter haya otorgado licencias de transmisión por (literalmente) un dólar, a empresas con las que tenía vínculos en el Caribe. Tal vez Eduardo Arias tenga que demandar espíritu deportivo de Mauro Camoranesi por criticar a Trinidad, cuando el Boca al que tanta devoción le profesa realmente es un ejemplo de soberbia y pelea callejera y el Inter que tanto adora es un pálido reflejo de aquel corrupto y elitista equipo de hace varias décadas. Y tal vez Antonio Caballero tenga que criticar la estructura social de Colombia para después atiborrarse de exquisiteces en haciendas bogotanas. Tal vez Fernando Vallejo tenga que creer que a Colombia la mantienen dineros de "remesas" como las que él manda, y Soho y El Malpensante deban consolidarse como críticas a estereotipos cuando cualquier argumento en ellas parece ser sacado del cajón de la abuelita.

Tal vez, como para Hemingway, no haya autores vivos. Sin embargo, siempre es un placer encontrarle el quiebre a la regla. Desde hoy en los vínculos de Supercontra un humilde tributo a Luis Menand, dulce artesano de la palabra, y una muy cordial dedicatoria a una desconocida que pasa por un mal momento y cuya escritura me sedujo hace unos meses.

Estimada Padawan: también tuve la mala fortuna de pasar por la morfina y la codeína en un ámbito médico, y es cierto que son como tener pesadillas despierto. Sin embargo, no es sino leer a Poncho Rentería para ver que hay cosas peores (imagine, por ejemplo, Being John Malkovich con Julito como protagonista). Servirá de poco, pero con la más profunda admiración le mando un caluroso abrazo.

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Burning Man




Cada año, a finales de agosto, en medio del desierto de Nevada se lleva a cabo lo que es conocido como el proyecto Burning Man. Durante una semana se construye una ciudad en la que no hay dinero, sólo trueque. La filosofía es no dejar rastro, de manera que cada cual se retira lo que lleva. Las personas dejan volar su imaginación en términos de vestimenta, transporte, y localidad. Hay quienes montan algún tipo de servicio, pero no es obligatorio.









A primera vista parece una fiesta loca, un espacio para desquiciarse. Sin embargo, algunas personas asisten en familia, y los niños hacen parte tanto como los adultos. Los organizadores sostienen que no hay manera de explicarle a alguien lo que es, que para entender deben asistir.

Tiene connotaciones artísticas, sociales y lúdicas que saltan a la vista, para que cada cual se haga su propia idea. A mí me parece una especie de mezcla entre Mad Max y los Cariñositos.


Yo espero poder asistir. Todos están cordialmente invitados.

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Vegetal and mineral memory: The future of books

Por: Umberto Eco
Publicado en: Al-Ahram, 20 - 26 November 2003, Issue No. 665

The city of Alexandria played host on 1 November to the renowned Italian novelist and scholar Umberto Eco, who gave a lecture in English, on varieties of literary and geographic memory, at the newly opened Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Al-Ahram Weekly publishes the complete text of the lecture


WE HAVE THREE TYPES OF MEMORY. The first one is organic, which is the memory made of flesh and blood and the one administrated by our brain. The second is mineral, and in this sense mankind has known two kinds of mineral memory: millennia ago, this was the memory represented by clay tablets and obelisks, pretty well known in this country, on which people carved their texts. However, this second type is also the electronic memory of today's computers, based upon silicon. We have also known another kind of memory, the vegetal one, the one represented by the first papyruses, again well known in this country, and then on books, made of paper. Let me disregard the fact that at a certain moment the vellum of the first codices were of an organic origin, and the fact that the first paper was made with rugs and not with wood. Let me speak for the sake of simplicity of vegetal memory in order to designate books.

This place has been in the past and will be in the future devoted to the conservation of books; thus, it is and will be a temple of vegetal memory. Libraries, over the centuries, have been the most important way of keeping our collective wisdom. They were and still are a sort of universal brain where we can retrieve what we have forgotten and what we still do not know. If you will allow me to use such a metaphor, a library is the best possible imitation, by human beings, of a divine mind, where the whole universe is viewed and understood at the same time. A person able to store in his or her mind the information provided by a great library would emulate in some way the mind of God. In other words, we have invented libraries because we know that we do not have divine powers, but we try to do our best to imitate them.

To build, or better to rebuild, today one of the greatest libraries of the world might sound like a challenge, or a provocation. It happens frequently that in newspaper articles or academic papers some authors, facing the new computer and internet era, speak of the possible "death of books". However, if books are to disappear, as did the obelisks or the clay tablets of ancient civilisations, this would not be a good reason to abolish libraries. On the contrary, they should survive as museums conserving the finds of the past, in the same way as we conserve the Rosetta Stone in a museum because we are no longer accustomed to carving our documents on mineral surfaces.

Yet, my praise for libraries will be a little more optimistic. I belong to the people who still believe that printed books have a future and that all fears à propos of their disappearance are only the last example of other fears, or of milleniaristic terrors about the end of something, the world included.

In the course of many interviews I have been obliged to answer questions of this sort: "Will the new electronic media make books obsolete? Will the Web make literature obsolete? Will the new hypertextual civilisation eliminate the very idea of authorship?" As you can see, if you have a well-balanced normal mind, these are different questions and, considering the apprehensive mode in which they are asked, one might think that the interviewer would feel reassured when your answer is, "No, keep cool, everything is OK". Mistake. If you tell such people that books, literature, authorship will not disappear, they look desperate. Where, then, is the scoop? To publish the news that a given Nobel Prize winner has died is a piece of news; to say that he is alive and well does not interest anybody -- except him, I presume.

WHAT I WANT TO DO TODAY is to try to unravel a skein of intertwined apprehensions about different problems. To clarify our ideas about these different problems can also help us to understand better what we usually mean by book, text, literature, interpretation, and so on. Thus you will see how from a silly question many wise answers can be produced, and such is probably the cultural function of naive interviews.

Let us start with an Egyptian story, even though one told by a Greek. According to Plato in Phaedrus when Hermes, or Theut, the alleged inventor of writing, presented his invention to the Pharaoh Thamus, the Pharaoh praised such an unheard of technique supposed to allow human beings to remember what they would otherwise forget. But Thamus was not completely happy. "My skillful Theut," he said, "memory is a great gift that ought to be kept alive by continuous training. With your invention people will no longer be obliged to train their memory. They will remember things not because of an internal effort, but by mere virtue of an external device."

We can understand the preoccupation of Thamus. Writing, like any other new technological invention, would have made torpid the human power which it pretended to substitute and reinforce. Writing was dangerous because it decreased the powers of mind by offering human beings a petrified soul, a caricature of mind, a mineral memory.

Plato's text is ironical, naturally. Plato was writing down his argument against writing. But he was also pretending that his discourse was told by Socrates, who did not write (since he did not publish, he perished in the course of the academic fight.) Nowadays, nobody shares Thamus's preoccupations for two very simple reasons. First of all, we know that books are not ways of making somebody else think in our place; on the contrary, they are machines that provoke further thoughts. Only after the invention of writing was it possible to write such a masterpiece of spontaneous memory as Proust's A la Recherche du Temps Perdu. Secondly, if once upon a time people needed to train their memories in order to remember things, after the invention of writing they had also to train their memories in order to remember books. Books challenge and improve memory; they do not narcotise it. However, the Pharaoh was instantiating an eternal fear: the fear that a new technological achievement could kill something that we consider precious and fruitful.

I used the verb to kill on purpose because more or less 14 centuries later Victor Hugo, in his Notre Dame de Paris, narrated the story of a priest, Claude Frollo, looking in sadness at the towers of his cathedral. The story of Notre Dame de Paris takes places in the XVth century after the invention of printing. Before that, manuscripts were reserved to a restricted elite of literate persons, and the only thing to teach the masses about the stories of the Bible, the life of Christ and of the Saints, the moral principles, even the deeds of national history or the most elementary notions of geography and natural sciences (the nature of unknown peoples and the virtues of herbs or stones), was provided by the images of a cathedral. A mediaeval cathedral was a sort of permanent and unchangeable TV programme that was supposed to tell people everything indispensable for their everyday life, as well as for their eternal salvation.

Now, however, Frollo has on his table a printed book, and he whispers "ceci tuera cela": this will kill that, or, in other words, the book will kill the cathedral, the alphabet will kill images. The book will distract people from their most important values, encouraging unnecessary information, free interpretation of the Scriptures, insane curiosity.

During the sixties, Marshall McLuhan wrote his book The Gutenberg Galaxy, where he announced that the linear way of thinking supported by the invention of printing was on the verge of being substituted by a more global way of perceiving and understanding through TV images or other kinds of electronic devices. If not McLuhan, then certainly many of his readers pointed their finger first at a TV screen and then to a printed book, saying "this will kill that". Were McLuhan still among us, today he would have been the first to write something like "Gutenberg strikes back". Certainly, a computer is an instrument by means of which one can produce and edit images, certainly instructions are provided by means of icons; but it is equally certainly that the computer has become first of all an alphabetic instrument. On its screen there run words and lines, and in order to use a computer you must be able to write and to read.

Are there differences between the first Gutenberg Galaxy and the second one? Many. First of all, only the archaeological word processors of the early eighties provided a sort of linear written communication. Today, computers are no longer linear in so far as they display a hypertextual structure. Curiously enough, the computer was born as a Turing machine, able to make a single step at a time, and in fact, in the depths of the machine, language still works in this way, by a binary logic, of zero-one, zero-one. However, the machine's output is no longer linear: it is an explosion of semiotic fireworks. Its model is not so much a straight line as a real galaxy where everybody can draw unexpected connections between different stars to form new celestial images at any new navigation point.


"Before the invention of computers, poets and narrators dreamt of a totally open text that readers could infinitely re-compose in different ways. Such was the idea of Le Livre, as extolled by Mallarmé. Raymond Queneau also invented a combinatorial algorithm by virtue of which it was possible to compose, from a finite set of lines, millions of poems. In the early sixties, Max Saporta wrote and published a novel whose pages could be displaced to compose different stories, and Nanni Balestrini gave a computer a disconnected list of verses that the machine combined in different ways to compose different poems"


YET IT IS EXACTLY AT THIS POINT that our unravelling activity must start because by hypertextual structure we usually mean two very different phenomena. First, there is the textual hypertext. In a traditional book one must read from left to right (or right to left, or up to down, according to different cultures) in a linear way. One can obviously skip through the pages, one -- once arrived at page 300 -- can go back to check or re- read something at page 10 -- but this implies physical labour. In contrast to this, a hypertextual text is a multidimensional network or a maze in which every point or node can be potentially connected with any other node. Second, there is the systemic hypertext. The WWW is the Great Mother of All Hypertexts, a world-wide library where you can, or you will in short time, pick up all the books you wish. The Web is the general system of all existing hypertexts.

Such a difference between text and system is enormously important, and we shall come back to it. For the moment, let me liquidate the most naive among the frequently asked questions, in which this difference is not yet so clear. But it will be in answering this first question that we will be able to clarify our further point. The naive question is: "Will hypertextual diskettes, the internet, or multimedia systems make books obsolete?" With this question we have arrived at the final chapter in our this-will-kill-that story. But even this question is a confused one, since it can be formulated in two different ways: (a) will books disappear as physical objects, and (b) will books disappear as virtual objects?

Let me first answer the first question. Even after the invention of printing, books were never the only instrument for acquiring information. There were also paintings, popular printed images, oral teaching, and so on. Simply, books have proved to be the most suitable instrument for transmitting information. There are two sorts of book: those to be read and those to be consulted. As far as books-to-be-read are concerned, the normal way of reading them is the one that I would call the "detective story way". You start from page one, where the author tells you that a crime has been committed, you follow every path of the detection process until the end, and finally you discover that the guilty one was the butler. End of the book and end of your reading experience. Notice that the same thing happens even if you read, let us say, a philosophical treatise. The author wants you to open the book at its first page, to follow the series of questions he proposes, and to see how he reaches certain final conclusions. Certainly, scholars can re-read such a book by jumping from one page to another, trying to isolate a possible link between a statement in the first chapter and one in the last. They can also decide to isolate, let us say, every occurrence of the word "idea" in a given work, thus skipping hundreds of pages in order to focus their attention only on passages dealing with that notion. However, these are ways of reading that the layman would consider as unnatural.

Then they are books to be consulted, like handbooks and encyclopaedias. Encyclopaedias are conceived in order to be consulted and never read from the first to the last page. A person reading the Encyclopaedia Britannica every night before sleeping, from the first to the last page, would be a comic character. Usually, one picks up a given volume of an encyclopaedia in order to know or to remember when Napoleon died, or what is the chemical formula for sulphuric acid. Scholars use encyclopaedias in a more sophisticated way. For instance, if I want to know whether it was possible or not that Napoleon met Kant, I have to pick up the volume K and the volume N of my encyclopaedia: I discover that Napoleon was born in 1769 and died in 1821, Kant was born in 1724 and died in 1804, when Napoleon was already emperor. It is therefore not impossible that the two met. In order to confirm this I would probably need to consult a biography of Kant, or of Napoleon, but in a short biography of Napoleon, who met so many persons in his life, a possible meeting with Kant can be disregarded, while in a biography of Kant a meeting with Napoleon would be recorded. In brief, I must leaf through many books on many shelves of my library; I must take notes in order to compare later all the data I have collected. All this will cost me painful physical labour.

Yet, with hypertext instead I can navigate through the whole net-cyclopaedia. I can connect an event registered at the beginning with a series of similar events disseminated throughout the text; I can compare the beginning with the end; I can ask for a list of all words beginning by A; I can ask for all the cases in which the name of Napoleon is linked with the one of Kant; I can compare the dates of their births and deaths -- in short, I can do my job in a few seconds or a few minutes.

Hypertexts will certainly render encyclopaedias and handbooks obsolete. Yesterday, it was possible to have a whole encyclopaedia on a CD-ROM; today, it is possible to have it on line with the advantage that this permits cross references and the non-linear retrieval of information. All the compact disks, plus the computer, will occupy one fifth of the space occupied by a printed encyclopaedia. A printed encyclopaedia cannot be easily transported as a CD-ROM can, and a printed encyclopaedia cannot be easily updated. The shelves today occupied at my home as well as in public libraries by metres and metres of encyclopaedias could be eliminated in the near future, and there will be no reason to complain at their disappearance. Let us remember that for a lot of people a multivolume encyclopaedia is an impossible dream, not, or not only, because of the cost of the volumes, but because of the cost of the wall where the volumes are shelved. Personally, having started my scholarly activity as a medievalist I would like to have at home the 221 volumes of Migne's Patrologia Latina. This is very expensive, but I could afford it. What I cannot afford is a new apartment in which to store 221 huge books without being obliged to eliminate at least 500 other normal tomes.

Yet, can a hypertextual disk or the WWW replace books to be read? Once again we have to decide whether the question concerns books as physical or as virtual objects. Once again let us consider the physical problem first.

Good news: books will remain indispensable, not only for literature but for any circumstances in which one needs to read carefully, not only in order to receive information but also to speculate and to reflect about it. To read a computer screen is not the same as to read a book. Think about the process of learning a new computer programme. Usually, the programme is able to display on the screen all the instructions you need. But usually users who want to learn the programme either print the instructions and read them as if they were in book form, or they buy a printed manual. It is possible to conceive of a visual programme that explains very well how to print and bind a book, but in order to get instructions on how to write, or how to use, a computer programme, we need a printed handbook.

After having spent 12 hours at a computer console, my eyes are like two tennis balls, and I feel the need of sitting down comfortably in an armchair and reading a newspaper, or maybe a good poem. Therefore, I think that computers are diffusing a new form of literacy, but they are incapable of satisfying all the intellectual needs they are stimulating. Please remember that both the Hebrew and the early Arab civilisations were based upon a book and this is not independent of the fact that they were both nomadic civilisations. The Ancient Egyptians could carve their records on stone obelisks: Moses and Muhammad could not. If you want to cross the Red Sea, or to go from the Arabian peninsula to Spain, a scroll is a more practical instrument for recording and transporting the Bible or the Koran than is an obelisk. This is why these two civilisations based upon a book privileged writing over images. But books also have another advantage in respect to computers. Even if printed on modern acid paper, which lasts only 70 years or so, they are more durable than magnetic supports. Moreover, they do not suffer from power shortages and black-outs, and they are more resistant to shocks.

Up to now, books still represent the most economical, flexible, wash-and-wear way to transport information at a very low cost. Computer communication travels ahead of you; books travel with you and at your speed. If you are shipwrecked on a desert island, where you don't have the option of plugging in a computer, a book is still a valuable instrument. Even if your computer has solar batteries, you cannot easily read it while lying in a hammock. Books are still the best companions for a shipwreck, or for the day after the night before. Books belong to those kinds of instruments that, once invented, have not been further improved because they are already alright, such as the hammer, the knife, spoon or scissors.

TWO NEW INVENTIONS, however, are on the verge of being industrially exploited. One is printing on demand: after scanning the catalogues of many libraries or publishing houses a reader can select the book he needs, and the operator will push a button, and the machine will print and bind a single copy using the font the reader likes. This will certainly change the whole publishing market. It will probably eliminate bookstores, but it will not eliminate books, and it will not eliminate libraries, the only places where books can be found in order to scan and reprint them. Simply put: every book will be tailored according to the desires of the buyer, as happened with old manuscripts.

The second invention is the e-book where by inserting a micro- cassette in the book's spine or by connecting it to the internet one can have a book printed out in front of us. Even in this case, however, we shall still have a book, though as different from our current ones as ours are different from old manuscripts on parchment, and as the first Shakespeare folio of 1623 is different from the last Penguin edition. Yet, up to now e-books have not proved to be commercially successful as their inventors hoped. I have been told that some hackers, grown up on computers and unused to browsing books, have finally read great literary masterpieces on e-books, but I think that the phenomenon remains very limited. In general, people seem to prefer the traditional way of reading a poem or a novel on printed paper. E-books will probably prove to be useful for consulting information, as happens with dictionaries or special documents. They will probably help students obliged to bring with them ten or more books when they go to school, but they will not substitute for other kinds of books that we love to read in bed before sleep, for example.

Indeed, there are a lot of new technological devices that have not made previous ones obsolete. Cars run faster than bicycles, but they have not rendered bicycles obsolete, and no new technological improvements can make a bicycle better than it was before. The idea that a new technology abolishes a previous one is frequently too simplistic. Though after the invention of photography painters did not feel obliged to serve any longer as craftsmen reproducing reality, this did not mean that Daguerre's invention only encouraged abstract painting. There is a whole tradition in modern painting that could not have existed without photographic models: think, for instance, of hyper-realism. Here, reality is seen by the painter's eye through the photographic eye. This means that in the history of culture it has never been the case that something has simply killed something else. Rather, a new invention has always profoundly changed an older one.

To conclude on this theme of the inconsistency of the idea of the physical disappearance of books, let us say that sometimes this fear does not only concern books but also printed material in general. Alas, if by chance one hoped that computers, and especially word processors, would contribute to saving trees, then that was wishful thinking. Instead, computers encourage the production of printed material. The computer creates new modes of production and diffusion of printed documents. In order to re- read a text, and to correct it properly, if it is not simply a short letter, one needs to print it, then to re-read it, then to correct it at the computer and to reprint it again. I do not think that one would be able to write a text of hundreds of pages and to correct it properly without reprinting it many times.

Today there are new hypertextual poetics according to which even a book-to-read, even a poem, can be transformed to hypertext. At this point we are shifting to question two, since the problem is no longer, or not only, a physical one, but rather one that concerns the very nature of creative activity, of the reading process, and in order to unravel this skein of questions we have first of all to decide what we mean by a hypertextual link.

Notice that if the question concerned the possibility of infinite, or indefinite, interpretations on the part of the reader, it would have very little to do with the problem under discussion. Rather, that would have to do with the poetics of a Joyce, for example, who thought of his book Finnegans Wake as a text that could be read by an ideal reader affected by an ideal insomnia. This question concerns the limits of interpretation, of deconstructive reading and of over-interpretation, to which I have devoted other writings. No: what are presently under consideration are cases in which the infinity, or at least the indefinite abundance of interpretations, are due not only to the initiative of the reader, but also to the physical mobility of the text itself, which is produced just in order to be re-written. In order to understand how texts of this genre can work we should decide whether the textual universe we are discussing is limited and finite, limited but virtually infinite, infinite but limited, or unlimited and infinite.

First of all, we should make a distinction between systems and texts. A system, for instance a linguistic system, is the whole of the possibilities displayed by a given natural language. A finite set of grammatical rules allows the speaker to produce an infinite number of sentences, and every linguistic item can be interpreted in terms of other linguistic or other semiotic items -- a word by a definition, an event by an example, an animal or a flower by an image, and so on and so forth.

Take an encyclopaedic dictionary, for example. This might define a dog as a mammal, and then you have to go to the entry mammal, and if there mammals are defined as animals you must look for the entry animal, and so on. At the same time, the properties of dogs can be exemplified by images of dogs of different kinds; if it is said that a certain kind of dog lives in Lapland you must then go to the entry on Lapland to know where it is, and so on. The system is finite, an encyclopaedia being physically limited, but virtually unlimited in the sense you can circumnavigate it in a spiral-like movement, ad infinitum. In this sense, certainly all conceivable books are comprised by and within a good dictionary and a good grammar. If you are able to use an English dictionary well you could write Hamlet, and it is by mere chance that somebody did it before you. Give the same textual system to Shakespeare and to a schoolboy, and they have the same odds of producing Romeo and Juliet.

Grammars, dictionaries and encyclopaedias are systems: by using them you can produce all the texts you like. But a text itself is not a linguistic or an encyclopaedic system. A given text reduces the infinite or indefinite possibilities of a system to make up a closed universe. If I utter the sentence, "This morning I had for breakfast...", for example, the dictionary allows me to list many possible items, provided they are all organic. But if I definitely produce my text and utter, "This morning I had for breakfast bread and butter", then I have excluded cheese, caviar, pastrami and apples. A text castrates the infinite possibilities of a system. The Arabian Nights can be interpreted in many, many ways, but the story takes place in the Middle East and not in Italy, and it tells, let us say, of the deeds of Ali Baba or of Scheherazade and does not concern a captain determined to capture a white whale or a Tuscan poet visiting Hell, Purgatory and Paradise.

Take a fairy tale, like Little Red Riding Hood. The text starts from a given set of characters and situations -- a little girl, a mother, a grandmother, a wolf, a wood -- and through a series of finite steps arrives at a solution. Certainly, you can read the fairy tale as an allegory and attribute different moral meanings to the events and to the actions of the characters, but you cannot transform Little Red Riding Hood into Cinderella. Finnegans Wake is certainly open to many interpretations, but it is certain that it will never provide you with a demonstration of Fermat's last theorem, or with the complete bibliography of Woody Allen. This seems trivial, but the radical mistake of many deconstructionists was to believe that you can do anything you want with a text. This is blatantly false.

Now suppose that a finite and limited text is organised hypertextually by many links connecting given words with other words. In a dictionary or an encyclopaedia the word wolf is potentially connected to every other word that makes up part of its possible definition or description (wolf is connected to animal, to mammal to ferocious, to legs, to fur, to eyes, to woods, to the names of the countries in which wolves exist, etc.). In Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf can be connected only with the textual sections in which it shows up or in which it is explicitly evoked. The series of possible links is finite and limited. How can hypertextual strategies be used to "open" up a finite and limited text?

The first possibility is to make the text physically unlimited, in the sense that a story can be enriched by the successive contributions of different authors and in a double sense, let us say either two-dimensionally or three-dimensionally. By this I mean that given, for instance, Little Red Riding Hood, the first author proposes a starting situation (the girl enters the wood) and different contributors can then develop the story one after the other, for example, by having the girl meet not the wolf but Ali Baba, by having both enter an enchanted castle, having a confrontation with a magic crocodile, and so on, so that the story can continue for years. But the text can also be infinite in the sense that at every narrative disjunction, for instance, when the girl enters the wood, many authors can make many different choices. For one author, the girl may meet Pinocchio, for another she may be transformed into a swan, or enter the Pyramids and discover the treasury of the son of Tutankhamen.

This is today possible, and you can find on the Net some interesting examples of such literary games.

AT THIS POINT one can raise a question about the survival of the very notion of authorship and of the work of art, as an organic whole. And I want simply to inform my audience that this has already happened in the past without disturbing either authorship or organic wholes. The first example is that of the Italian Commedia dell'arte, in which upon a canovaccio, that is, a summary of the basic story, every performance, depending on the mood and fantasy of the actors, was different from every other so that we cannot identify any single work by a single author called Arlecchino servo di due padroni and can only record an uninterrupted series of performances, most of them definitely lost and all certainly different one from another.

Another example would be a jazz jam session. We may believe that there was once a privileged performance of Basin Street Blues while only a later recorded session has survived, but we know that this is untrue. There were as many Basin Street Blues as there were performances of it, and there will be in future a lot of them that we do not know as yet, as soon as two or more performers meet again and try out their personal and inventive version of the original theme. What I want to say is that we are already accustomed to the idea of the absence of authorship in popular collective art in which every participant adds something, with experiences of jazz-like unending stories.

Such ways of implementing free creativity are welcome and make up part of the cultural tissue of society.

Yet, there is a difference between implementing the activity of producing infinite and unlimited texts and the existence of already produced texts, which can perhaps be interpreted in infinite ways but are physically limited. In our same contemporary culture we accept and evaluate, according to different standards, both a new performance of Beethoven's Fifth and a new Jam Session on the Basin Street theme. In this sense, I do not see how the fascinating game of producing collective, infinite stories through the Net can deprive us of authorial literature and art in general. Rather, we are marching towards a more liberated society in which free creativity will coexist with the interpretation of already written texts. I like this. But we cannot say that we have substituted an old thing with a new one. We have both.

TV zapping is another kind of activity that has nothing to do with watching a movie in the traditional sense. A hypertextual device, it allows us to invent new texts that have nothing to do with our ability to interpret pre-existing texts. I have tried desperately to find an instance of unlimited and finite textual situations, but I have been unable to do so. In fact, if you have an infinite number of elements to play with why limit yourself to the production of a finite universe? It's a theological matter, a sort of cosmic sport, in which one, or The One, could implement every possible performance but prescribes itself a rule, that is, limits, and generates a very small and simple universe. Let me, however, consider another possibility that at first glance promises an infinite number of possibilities with a finite number of elements, like a semiotic system, but in reality only offers an illusion of freedom and creativity.

A hypertext can give the illusion of opening up even a closed text: a detective story can be structured in such a way that its readers can select their own solution, deciding at the end if the guilty one should be the butler, the bishop, the detective, the narrator, the author or the reader. They can thus build up their own personal story. Such an idea is not a new one. Before the invention of computers, poets and narrators dreamt of a totally open text that readers could infinitely re-compose in different ways. Such was the idea of Le Livre, as extolled by Mallarmé. Raymond Queneau also invented a combinatorial algorithm by virtue of which it was possible to compose, from a finite set of lines, millions of poems. In the early sixties, Max Saporta wrote and published a novel whose pages could be displaced to compose different stories, and Nanni Balestrini gave a computer a disconnected list of verses that the machine combined in different ways to compose different poems. Many contemporary musicians have produced musical scores by manipulating which one can compose different musical performances.

All these physically moveable texts give an impression of absolute freedom on the part of the reader, but this is only an impression, an illusion of freedom. The machinery that allows one to produce an infinite text with a finite number of elements has existed for millennia, and this is the alphabet. Using an alphabet with a limited number of letters one can produce billions of texts, and this is exactly what has been done from Homer to the present days. In contrast, a stimulus-text that provides us not with letters, or words, but with pre-established sequences of words, or of pages, does not set us free to invent anything we want. We are only free to move pre-established textual chunks in a reasonably high number of ways. A Calder mobile is fascinating not because it produces an infinite number of possible movements but because we admire in it the iron-like rule imposed by the artist because the mobile moves only in the ways Calder wanted it to move.

At the last borderline of free textuality there can be a text that starts as a closed one, let us say, Little Red Riding Hood or The Arabian Nights, and that I, the reader, can modify according to my inclinations, thus elaborating a second text, which is no longer the same as the original one, whose author is myself, even though the affirmation of my authorship is a weapon against the concept of definite authorship. The Net is open to such experiments, and most of them can be beautiful and rewarding. Nothing forbids one writing a story where Little Red Riding Hood devours the wolf. Nothing forbids us from putting together different stories in a sort of narrative patchwork. But this has nothing to do with the real function and with the profound charms of books.

A BOOK OFFERS US A TEXT which, while being open to multiple interpretations, tells us something that cannot be modified. Suppose you are reading Tolstoy's War and Peace: you desperately wish that Natasha will not accept the courtship of that miserable scoundrel Anatolij; you desperately wish that the marvellous person who is Prince Andrej will not die, and that he and Natasha will live together forever. If you had War and Peace on a hypertextual and interactive CD-ROM, you could rewrite your own story according to your desires; you could invent innumerable "War and Peaces", where Pierre Besuchov succeeds in killing Napoleon, or, according to your penchants, Napoleon definitely defeats General Kutusov. What freedom, what excitement! Every Bouvard or Pécuchet could become a Flaubert!

Alas, with an already written book, whose fate is determined by repressive, authorial decision, we cannot do this. We are obliged to accept fate and to realise that we are unable to change destiny. A hypertextual and interactive novel allows us to practice freedom and creativity, and I hope that such inventive activity will be implemented in the schools of the future. But the already and definitely written novel War and Peace does not confront us with the unlimited possibilities of our imagination, but with the severe laws governing life and death.

Similarly, in Les Misérables Victor Hugo provides us with a beautiful description of the battle of Waterloo. Hugo's Waterloo is the opposite of Stendhal's. Stendhal, in La Charteuse de Parme, sees the battle through the eyes of his hero, who looks from inside the event and does not understand its complexity. On the contrary, Hugo describes the battle from the point of view of God, and follows it in every detail, dominating with his narrative perspective the whole scene. Hugo not only knows what happened but also what could have happened and did not in fact happen. He knows that if Napoleon had known that beyond the top of mount Saint Jean there was a cliff the cuirassiers of General Milhaud would not have collapsed at the feet of the English army, but his information in the event was vague or missing. Hugo knows that if the shepherd who had guided General von Bulow had suggested a different itinerary, then the Prussian army would have not arrived on time to cause the French defeat.

Indeed, in a role-play game one could rewrite Waterloo such that Grouchy arrived with his men to rescue Napoleon. But the tragic beauty of Hugo's Waterloo is that the readers feel that things happen independently of their wishes. The charm of tragic literature is that we feel that its heroes could have escaped their fate but they do not succeed because of their weakness, their pride, or their blindness. Besides, Hugo tells us, "Such a vertigo, such an error, such a ruin, such a fall that astonished the whole of history, is it something without a cause? No... the disappearance of that great man was necessary for the coming of the new century. Someone, to whom none can object, took care of the event... God passed over there, Dieu a passé."

That is what every great book tells us, that God passed there, and He passed for the believer as well as for the sceptic. There are books that we cannot re-write because their function is to teach us about necessity, and only if they are respected such as they are can they provide us with such wisdom. Their repressive lesson is indispensable for reaching a higher state of intellectual and moral freedom.

I hope and I wish that the Bibliotheca Alexandrina will continue to store this kind of books, in order to provide new readers with the irreplaceable experience of reading them. Long life to this temple of vegetal memory.

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Adobe to bundle Google toolbar

By Reuters
Published: June 21, 2006, 3:51 PM PDT

Design software maker Adobe Systems said on Wednesday that it signed a multiyear agreement with Google to distribute the Google Toolbar with various Adobe products.

The companies said the Google Toolbar was immediately available to consumers who download Adobe's Macromedia Shockwave Player via Internet Explorer.

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BOGOTAZO HIP HOP


EL CENTRO CULTURAL MEDIA TORTA

PRESENTA:

BOGOTAZO HIP HOP

CON LAS AGRUPACIONES:

JAURÍA RIMAS, GOLPE TRAS GOLPE, MARACROUS CREW,
COLMILLO, DJ CRIMINAL, CALLE SUR, MASAI VAN GO, WILLIAM REPOLLO,
SUPREME CREW, KBN, DJ MIK, YACHAY MAYO &
MC RODRÍGUEZ

ORGANIZA:

Fundación Escuela de Concientización y Capacitación en pro de la cultura

R.A.P Construcción y Nudo

SÁBADO 24 DE JUNIO DE 2006
12 MERIDIANO
MEDIA TORTA
ENTRADA LIBRE

Calle 18 No. 1 – 05 Este
Teléfonos: 281 7704 / 318 2460
www.mediatorta.gov.co

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Panini extendido

Por allá en los ochentas, en esa época de la que con tanta gracia habla Andrés López, uno subía a los aviones que iban a Miami y se preguntaba por qué diablos buscaban sin éxito a los narcotraficantes si estaban ahí mismo, delante de todos. Y no sólo en los aviones, también en los colegios (en todo colegio colombiano que se respete hay un mafioso), y en la cuadra, y el vecino de la finca, y el tipo raro que viene a visitar esa señora que aparentemente no se dedica a nada pero tiene una casa en la que hay tanto fiestas como peleas memorables.

Y tal vez, pensaría uno, algo similar está en las mentes de nuestros amigos italianos de Panini al no incluir como laminitas del mundial a los presidentes de las federaciones locales, pues seguro tienen orden de arresto por todo el planeta.

Prometo completar la lista, y acepto colaboraciones. Por ahora, algunas perlas de los dirigentes del deporte que más se ha asociado a las corrientes políticas de su tiempo y su espacio. La pregunta es: si todos son corruptos, miserables y abyectos, ¿por qué no clasifica Colombia que cumple tan bien los requisitos?


CAF Executive members(2000-2004)





Ismail Bhamjee, Botswana, quien aceptó recientemente haber vendido boletas al triple del precio.



Slim Aloulou, Tunez, no encontré nada.




Mawade Wade, Mali, quien parece tener un pasado limpio a pesar de mi escepticismo. No puede ser tan buen tipo como parece en la foto.

Conmebol




Nicolás Leoz, presidente Conmebol, sin palabras.



Romer Osuna, Treasurer of CONMEBOL, Walter Castedo, president of the FBF and the Mayor of Santa Cruz, Percy Fernandez.





Nabí Abí Chedid, Brazil, a quien le bastó decir que no estaba vinculado con el escándalo del árbitro Edilson Pereira de Carvalho, para que todos le creamos. También es acusado de favorecer equipos particulares. Probablemente una de las federaciones que más espectáculo brinda a nivel internacional. Jogo bonito al mejor estilo nike.



Luis "lucho" Chiriboga, de Ecuador. Peligrosamente parecido a Ernesto Samper. Sobre la Federación Ecuatoriana encontré lo siguiente (aunque puede ser a sus espaldas):


En 1999, cuado la Selección Sub 17 se preparaba participar en sudamericano de esa categoría en Uruguay. Dentro del grupo se detectó que tres jugadores falsificaron sus identidades para poder participar en el torneo.
Moisés Cuero tenía 20 años y se hizo pasar por su hermano menor de 17 años , Segundo Cuero.
El Servicio de Rentas Internas (SRI) inició el año anterior el reclamo a la Federación Ecuatoriana de Fútbol (FEF) por el pago de USD 1 142 309,17 por multas tributarias del año 2000, y por diferencias en retenciones del Impuesto al Valor Agregado del 2000, 2001 y 2002.

A estos problemas se suman la detención del ex coordinador de la selecciones, Vinicio Luna y del ex médico, Patricio Maldonado.

Luna y Maldonado son parte de un proceso indagatorio sobre un presunto tráfico ilegal de personas. Según varias declaraciones de supuestos viajantes Luna les ofreció viajar a Estados Unidos haciéndose pasar por jugadores de la Selección y dirigentes.

El relacionador público de la FEF, Luis Castro también está involucrado en las investigaciones, Hasta el momento su paradero es desconocido.








HALID Nurdin, de Indonesia, uno de mis favoritos, recientemente quedó libre por un veredicto sin precedentes. Se le acusa tanto de asuntos de dinero, como de violación a los derechos humanos.




Getkaew Vijit, Thailandia, vinculado a algunos casos de inscribir jugadores de edad avanzada en los torneos juveniles.

Y por supuesto, cómo podían faltar dos joyas de particular interés para nosotros:



Álvaro Fina, ejemplar de fina estampa que deja en todo el mundo lo más selecto de nuestra cultura colombiana, porque como dice el Palomo, acá en Colombia la gente quiere creer que el América es el único equipo con vínculos oscuros, y que el problema del fútbol nacional es elegir un técnico.


Don Garber, director de un amplio grupo de personas, en un organigrama que nos explica por qué algún día será inevitable ver la aberracion que supone un campeón mundial de fútbol estadounidense.

Commissioner’s Office
Commissioner: Don Garber
Deputy Commissioner: Ivan Gazidis
Chief operating officer: Mark Abbott
Senior vice president, business and legal affairs: JoAnn Laurentino
Assistant to the commissioner: Nelson Rodriguez
Executive assistant: Claudine Schubert
Administrative assistant: Stacey Abraham

Finance & Administration
Vice president, finance and administration: John Giraldo
Senior director, finance: Michael Whitehead
Director, payroll and tax: Walter Konopka
Manager, financial reporting: Sean Prendergast
Accounting manager: John Loder
Senior accountant, internal auditor: Christopher Naughton
Accounts payable coordinator: Camille Carrillo
Accounts payable coordinator: Gladys Rodriguez
Finance and administration assistant: Lauren Paul
Office administrative assistant: Georgia Crosby
Receptionist: Sharon Classen
Legal
General counsel: John Ertmann
Legal counsel: Michael Gold
Contract coordinator, legal assistant: Irvine Smalls Jr.
Executive legal assistant: Jasmin Rivera
Players & Soccer Development
Senior vice president, player personnel: Todd Durbin
Senior vice president, player relations : Bill Ordower
Manager, international players: Marcia Guerrero
Senior coordinator, player operations: Sharon Utter
Game Operations
Vice President, game operations: Joe Machnik
Senior Director, operations: Brad Pursel
Manager, operations: Evan Dabby
Coordinator, operations: Jef Thiffault
Consultant, operations: Diane Johnson
Human Resources
Director: Kristina Linker
Human resources coordinator: Yanick Sohan
Marketing and Fan Development
Executive vice president, marketing and fan development: Mark Noonan
Director, fan development: Stephen Hamilton
Manager, fan development: David Wright
Manager, fan development: Sean Buckley
Executive assistant: Clara Rodriguez
Special Events and Promotions
Vice president, special events and promotions: Diane McCaffrey
Manager, special events: Geoffrey Hayes
Manager, special events & promotions: Shelly Smarra
Coordinator, special events & promotions: Ed Acampado
Communications
Director, communications: Trey Fitz-Gerald
Director, hispanic communications: Carlos Giron
Senior coordinator, communications: Alan Plum
Coordinator, communications: Simon Borg
Webmaster, MLSNET.com: David Richardson
Content coordinator, MLSNET.com: Anthony Guido
Creative Services
Director, creative services: Rich Levy
Broadcasting
Director, broadcasting: Jim Ivie
Associate producer, broadcasting: Larry Tiscornia
Broadcasting consultant: Michael Cohen
Corporate Partnerships and Club Services
Vice president, corporate partnerships: Tom Haidinger
Director, corporate partnerships : John Lane
Manager, corporate partnerships: Rob Ross
Manager, corporate partnerships: Tim Wasemiller
Director, corporate partnerships services: Beth Conroy
Manager, corporate partnerships services: Jen Taylor
Manager, corporate partnerships services: Kim Faust
Manager, hispanic partnership programs: Laina De Lima
Senior coordinator, corporate partnerships: Michael Petruzzi
Club Services
Vice president, special projects: Paul Mott
Director, club services: Benson Ross
Manager, club services: Penny Walters
Consumer Products
Vice president, consumer products: Stuart Crystal
Director, consumer products: Peter Sparaco
Coordinator, licensing: Stacey Saccardo
Technology
Director, technology: Tony Palazzolo
Systems administrator: Joseph D'Alessio

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La ciudad de la eterna soltería

Las primeras evidencias sobre el tema fueron vagas, y bajo ningún punto de vista habrían permitido prever lo que sucedería. Sin embargo, las tendencias cada vez fueron más claras. Primero, ráfagas de noviazgos acabando súbitamente. Los documentos más antiguos, naturalmente, corresponden a revistas de adolescentes en las que se daban algunas pautas para tratar el problema. Rupturas masivas generaban depresiones generalizadas, ausencias de cursos enteros a la escuela, y disparaban algunos casos de esquizofrenia. El fenómeno, posteriormente, se extendió a las relaciones matrimoniales, asunto que ya despertó el interés de varios sectores sociales. La Iglesia, por un lado, utilizó el pánico general para consolidarse y ganar adeptos, cosa que logró por un tiempo pero que no pudo evitar el posterior colapso absoluto. El pánico y la anarquía reinaron, mientras los noticieros de todo el mundo reportaban al público desconcertado. En las principales ciudades del mundo reinaba el desespero y la falta de esperanza. Hong-Kong, París, Nueva York, San Francisco, y de ahí en adelante. Hasta el Tíbet fue presa de la epidemia.

Cuando la ciencia decidió abordar el problema, ya fue demasiado tarde. Los primeros estudios estructurados demoraron un par de años, y no pudieron hacer más que explicarlo todo con una nueva teoría: la resonancia social. Sostenían que al igual que la materia, las redes sociales eran compuestas por energía. De alguna manera, al pasar el equivalente a una masa crítica las redes sociales desaparecían espontáneamente. Internet, las telecomunicaciones, la saturación de conexiones en el mundo había traído consigo la hiperconectividad, algo parecido a la superinflación. La gente se comunicaba y se entendía, pero aparentemente era totalmente incapaz de comunicar emociones. Sicólogos, físicos, antropólogos y astrólogos, todos formularon teorías. Algunos llegaron a llamarlo un segundo renacimiento. Otros, la adolescencia de la Humanidad, porque pensaron que ya estaba bastante madura como para seguir quitándole años.

Fue probablemente en el Medio Oriente donde empezaron las prácticas de aislar los casos nuevos para prevenir las dispersiones. Su efectividad fue evidente. Los resultados, elocuentes. Rápidamente los países cambiaron sus cartas magnas. Las Naciones Unidas declararon emergencia internacional, y abrieron canales de ayuda para los países en desarrollo. Los despechados eran tratados como amenazas sociales y eran enviados a pueblos particulares. Por el mundo entero se reservaron, primero municipios, y después ciudades enteras para recluir a quienes padecían mal de amores. Algunos fueron invadidos por las drogas y la prostitución, y otros por los últimos núcleos de las religiones que sobrevivieron en las que convivían líderes religiosos de todas las formas de espiritualidad. Hubo tregua entre musulmanes y judíos, y prosperaron tan rápidamente que decidieron invadir el mundo. Estados Unidos, presa del pánico, no supo qué hacer, y por medio de un plebiscito decidió entregarle el control al nuevo imperio árabe-judío.

Accidentalmente, en una temporada de tormentas del Caribe, un crucero imperial en el que iba el último premio Nobel de literatura fue desviado a Colombia. Algunos de los tripulantes viajaron a Bogotá, y el mundo entero puso sus ojos sobre la ciudad desde entonces. El despecho, por algún motivo, permanecía estable en la ciudad, que parecía ser un hoyo negro en medio de la epidemia. Toda la gente padecía algún mal, pero por algún motivo la condición jamás empeoraba. Llegaron a ella poetas de todo el mundo y la llamaron La ciudad de la eterna soltería. Hubo una fascinación general por la cultura local y su simpleza. Se abrieron los museos más grandes del mundo, y se hicieron películas y videojuegos al respecto. Intelectuales y científicos se dedicaron a estudiarla, y sin embargo jamás logró esclarecerse el gran enigma: ¿qué cosas eran diferentes específicamente de la ciudad y su cultura como para que fuera un punto muerto de la epidemia?

Finalmente todo se estabilizó, y tanto Bogotá como Colombia volvieron a su rutina diaria. La época anterior al fenómeno es conocida como la Era Plateada de la ciudad, y desde entonces se le conoce como La Ciudad de la Eterna Soltería. Algunos insisten en fingir que son felices en sus relaciones conyugales. Otros, realmente lo piensan. Algunos, desde que se reportó el fenómeno, viven más tranquilos sin pareja, y unos pocos mal informados siguen intentando conocer a alguien.

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Data-thieving worm targets Orkut users

By Joris Evers
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Published: June 16, 2006, 2:18 PM PDT

A new worm that attempts to steal online banking credentials is propagating on Google's social-networking Web site, a security company warned Friday.
The worm, dubbed MW.Orc, primarily targets Brazilian users of Google's Orkut Web site. It uses a message in Portuguese to entice users to click on a file that is disguised as a JPEG image, experts with FaceTime Security Labs said in a statement.
The initial file, called "minhasfotos.exe," creates two additional files on a user's system, "winlogon_.jpg" and "wzip32.exe," FaceTime said. When the user, after the initial compromise, clicks on the "My Computer" icon in Windows XP, an e-mail with their personal data is sent to the anonymous attacker, FaceTime said.
Additionally, the compromised computer may be added to a network of hijacked PCs in a botnet, FaceTime said. The pest also tries to propagate by placing a malicious link on the profiles of people in the Orkut user's network, FaceTime said.
Google confirmed the worm. "We are aware of this issue and will have a temporary fix in place within the hour," a company representative said in an e-mailed statement. "We are working on a more permanent solution for users to guard against these malicious efforts."
For their protection, Orkut users, just as users of all online services and applications, should always be careful when opening or clicking on anything suspicious, the Google representative said. Earlier this week, a worm hit Yahoo's popular online e-mail service.
Brazilian users make up about 70 percent of Orkut's entire user base, according to Google data. The Orkut worm targets Brazilian users and attempts to steal credentials for Brazilian banks.

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Episodios estanfordinos fortuitos y una reflexión inútil al respecto

Uno de los primeros recuerdos que tengo de Estados Unidos es, en una cabina telefónica y junto a mi padre, contándole a mi madre que eran las 8 de la noche y aún era de día. El verano, claro, pero cuando uno es nativo del trópico, el asunto lo sorprende.

Mucho tiempo después, como buen profesional de ciencias sociales, tuve la oportunidad (y necesidad, naturalmente) de aplicar a un trabajo como profesor de colegio, justamente con niños de la edad que yo tenía cuando me sorprendió el sol de las 8 de la noche. Tuve que dar una clase piloto para que las directivas pudieran ver cómo me desempeñaba. Me dijeron que para esas edades generalmente contrataban mujeres mayores, que tuvieran experiencia con niños tan jóvenes. Yo, decidido, contesté que me encantaban los niños, y que tenía como mil ahijados (lo cual es cierto, pero también un pésimo argumento).

Sobra decir, por supuesto, que la clase fue un total desastre. El ejemplo que sugería el libro para introducir el tema (contar de diez en diez, de cien en cien), era hacer una lista para una fiesta.

- Y, ¿para quién es la fiesta?- preguntó uno de mis alumnos.
- Para cualquiera, no importa- respondí yo con propiedad.
- ¡Para mí!- gritó rápidamente el más despierto y avispado. Lo siguieron otros mil que también reclamaron para ellos la fiesta, y hasta ahí llegó el ejemplo.

Ver el mundial en ése Estados Unidos que me sorprendió a los pocos años, me ha permitido ver cómo los narradores de fútbol son una especie odiada en cualquier país del mundo. Tanto los de Univisión, como los de ESPN no hacen más que decir barrabasadas, chistes tontos, y sobre todo, ajustar alguna forma de sabiduría popular para el análisis. Los nuestros, si atacan mucho y no hacen goles, "el que no los hace los ve hacer". Si atacan mucho y finalmente consiguen un tanto, "tanto va el cántaro a la fuente". Los narradores deportivos son como una casta inferior que todo el mundo desprecia, porque son una encarnación de la inutilidad que representa la sabiduría popular. Tal como dice Habermas sobre Nietzsche, sirven para argumentar cualquier cosa.

En los pasados dos días me enteré que se casan, por lo menos, dos exnovias. De las otras ya no puedo estar seguro. Tomás dice que seguro es una señal del destino, y que debo ir donde algún especialista esotérico para saber el significado que puede tener tal coincidencia. Celebro la noticia con un Single Malt 12 años de Yamazaki, la destilería más vieja de Japón, y una de las más reconocidas en el mundo, y que quería probar desde que Laura me regaló un catálogo de whiskys en el que me enteré que había grandes destilerías en Japón y la India, además de Norteamérica y el Reino Unido.

Mientras tanto, en un lugar de Colombia, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme, un campesino decidió empezar a criar osos de anteojos para vender su carne. Uno de los mismos campesinos que los mataba para que no se comieran sus animales y que los tenía en peligro de extinción, y uno de los mismos osos que no han podido reproducir en cautiverio ni siquiera en la fundación C.R.E.S., en el Zoológico de San Diego. En la corporación regional han intentado explicarle al emprendedor visionario que eso es casi como si alguien decidiera criar chimpancés para vender su carne en África, pero dado que el hombre nunca ha ido allá, no entiende el ejemplo.

Con el tiempo, yo crecí y me distancié considerablemente de mi padre. Tuve una relación dolorosa con él durante mi adolescencia. Justo antes de graduarme, me vio interesado en la primatología, y finalmente nos reconciliamos. Sin abrazos, discursos conmovedores, o trompetas, como dicta el cine. Sólo dejamos de pelear un buen día. A hablar, y a discutir las diferencias, acaloradamente, claro, pero con comunicación. Otro buen día, se murió, y cambió mi vida.

Y entonces, llega el momento del análisis (al igual que los partidos, los textos debían tener dos narradores: el de acontecimientos, y el analítico): En primer lugar, cualquier proceso de formación, es en últimas una manera de coartar la libertad de sorpresa que naturalmente tienen los niños. Educar es, en cierto modo, enseñar a formular preguntas adecuadas, que nos conducen a saberes generales y relativamente inútiles como los proverbios y los comentaristas deportivos, pero también sobre la manera como debe vivirse la vida y como se debe relacionar uno con la gente. Que no importa de quién sea la fiesta de un ejemplo, que no se pueden criar osos de anteojos para consumir su carne, que las maltas buenas son de Escocia, y que existe una interpretación sabia de cualquier partido de fútbol.

Ahora yo tengo la edad que tenía mi padre aquel día de la cabina telefónica, tal vez él era menor entonces. No tengo manera para expresar lo inútil que me siento para hacer familia y criar un hijo, y la admiración profunda que siento por el titánico esfuerzo que hicieron ese par de ingenuas criaturas que me dieron vida. Por culparse de los errores que yo cometiera, y por pensar que alguien diferente a mí podría ser responsable de mi vida.

Mis frases de la semana:

Que algo sea inútil define justamente su funcionalidad en la sociedad.

Probablemente no haya ningún tipo de conocimiento diferente a la experiencia para afrontar la vida, pero no nos queda más remedio que morir en el intento de buscarlo.

A mi padre le debo el gusto por el whisky. A las mujeres, las ganas de tomarlo.

¡Que vengan novias y matrimonios de exnovias! Ya encontraré yo a mi desafortunada.

He dicho.

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Sociología para principiantes

- Damián, ¿por qué lee la gente a Bourdieu?- pregunta el boricua.
- Habitus.

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cocina de emergencia

Muchachos gracias al exito de musica de emergencia se extiende la propuesta.
Algunos cocinan y saben hacerlo, otros no.
Algunos guardan sus recetas, otros las memorizan. Muchos las olvidamos, las refundimos, o las hechamos a perdere a la hora de prepararlas.

Por ejemplo; yo ya no sé hacer chapatis.

el correo es cocina.de.emergencia@gmail.com
la clave es: chocoramo

Pongan recetas mandando un mail con la receta.
y tomen las que quieran, mejorenlas, califiquenlas, lo que se les de la gana.

Cocinen e inviten a cocinar.

Que coman rico!!!

pd. Tunji, mari, alex, ponganse los chapatis del rey tunjipan.
--
Juan Pablo Calderón
http://dumpa.tk/
Estudiante Doctoral
Facultad de Ingeniería
Universidad de los Andes

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U.K. journalists call for Yahoo boycott

By Reuters
Published: June 2, 2006, 11:20 AM PDT
TalkBackE-mailPrint
The union representing journalists in the U.K. and Ireland called on its 40,000 members to boycott all Yahoo products and services to protest the Internet company's reported actions in China.

The National Union of Journalists said it sent a letter on Friday to Dominique Vidal, Yahoo Europe's vice president, denouncing the company for allegedly providing information to Chinese authorities about journalists. The union also said it would stop using all Yahoo-operated services.

Yahoo has been cited in court decisions as supplying China's government with information to help it identify, prosecute and jail writers advocating democracy.

"The NUJ regards Yahoo's actions as a completely unacceptable endorsement of the Chinese authorities," Jemima Kiss, chairman of the NUJ new media council, wrote in the letter to Vidal.

A Yahoo representative in San Francisco could not immediately be reached.

Yahoo Chairman and Chief Executive Terry Semel said last month the company had no choice but to comply with local laws and did not have the power to change Chinese policy. He added that he was seeking help from the U.S. government to urge China to allow more media freedom.

The company has been accused by the NUJ and other journalism groups of providing records that led to an eight-year prison term for Li Zhi for discussing pro-democracy issues in a Web forum and of helping identify Shi Tao, who was sentenced to prison for 10 years for forwarding a government e-mail to the foreign press.

Kiss said the NUJ was advising all members, who include reporters, editors, photographers and illustrators, to boycott Yahoo until the company "changes its irresponsible and unethical policy."

Other Internet companies also have come under fire lately for some actions in China, including Google for saying it would block politically sensitive terms on its Web site in the country and Microsoft's MSN for shutting down a blog under Chinese government orders.

Story Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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