Pure cynicism in human form

March 24th, 2014

The sexual abuse of children, including by their parents and other “guardians” is unfortunately a fact of life, has always been and will always be. I believe that most parents want the best for their children and will go through fire for them.

Most will, but then there are the others.

This Australian documentary tells the story of Peter Truong and Mark Newton and how they bought a boy in Russia for $ 8000 to abuse him sexually, under the pretence of adoption. They wanted, as they boldly stated on the radio in Australia, to be “gay dads”. Not only that, but they also made the child available for abuse by friends of them in their “boylover” network all over the world. Normal looking men, men with families, jobs and hobbies – just like the ones that live where you and I live.

The documentary runs 45 minutes, but I strongly recommend that you spend that time to see the full story. There is a positive aspect here, the “dads” and several others got arrested after an investigation that crossed continents and time zones – and they are now serving decades of prison time in the US.

Kudos to the cops that made this possible :)

In the disclaimer of the program, they state: “This program contain content that may disturb some viewers”. Bloody hell, this program contains content that should disturb ALL viewers!

Music will set you free!

August 31st, 2013

Well, perhaps not – but undoubtedly music is something that improves our lives, whether you use it to set the mood, shorten drives or really listen to it. I used to be a hi-fi freak and spent ridiculous amounts of money on cables, speakers and electronics, before I had to spend all my money on family and more mundane things, like food and rent. I still think music is an important part of my life, and I try to really listen to it from time to time.

Prior I linked to some friends of mine that went to Ghana in Africa to help out an orphanage, and two of those kids have started up a rock band here in Norway, based out of Asker and Bærum. I thought I’d do a shameless plug to (hopefully) improve their fan base somewhat – because their music is really good and with their upcoming album, they could really need a boost in attention :)

They call themselves AnCollision and play guitar based, melodic, straight forward rock music. Below is a music video they have made without anything other than a iPhone and some free editing software. I thinks its cool :) They are currently recording their first album, out in November 2013 (on Indie Recordings) and will distribute on Spotify, Wimp, iTunes and other digital platforms in addition to physical media.

This is, in my humble opinion, a good example of ordinary guys getting a break and using modern technology in their quest to get their music out to the masses. It’s incredible how computers, smart phones and inexpensive software has made it possible for “ordinary people” to do what demanded a complete record company, talent scouts, PR-people, technicians, distributors, record company execs and the kitchen sink  just a few years ago. Power to the common people!!

Anyway, have a look at their first video and if you like it, feel free to support them and share the links in any way you want – its much appreciated :D

 

 

Rabies!

July 30th, 2013
The bat is the most likely carrier of rabies

The bat is the most likely carrier of rabies
copyright: Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International

Yesterday I became aware that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia is warning travelers to Norway of the rabies carried by bats in my country. Have a look at this link, in Norwegian only. Apparently they are warning about rabies in bats in all European countries on their “Health Information for Travelers” pages that cover most, if not all, countries in the world. Rabies is a very, very serious illness and I am not saying that getting a vaccine against it (or any other serious disease for that matter, vaccines are a good thing!) is not smart, but there should be a level of quality control in the warnings posted.

Here is the complete warning from the CDC:

Rabies is present in bats in Norway. However, it is not found in dogs and is not a major risk to most travelers. CDC recommends rabies vaccine for only these groups:

  • Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities in remote areas that put them at risk for bat bites (such as adventure travel and caving).
  • People who will be working with or around bats (such as wildlife professionals and researchers).

In Norway the doctors are suspecting that a case from June 2013 – the death from meningitis of a woman in an Oslo hospital – may be rabies related. If so, she has picked up the disease somewhere other than in Norway – as we have not had a rabies death since 1815 and there has never been any confirmed cases of rabies in bats or any other animal on Norwegian soil. That means that we have had no deaths from rabies in almost 200 years. My country has done tremendous work to keep the disease out, even though it has been present on occation in our neighboring countries. The woman had been visiting her origin country in Asia, a place with substantial amounts of rabies in animals. She has most probably picked it up there.

Anyway, it is still not confirmed whether it is rabies or not – but we do know she did not pick it up in Norway if it is.

I like the work of the CDC and all other organizations that are warning travelers or its inhabitants of the possibility of infectious diseases – and I think information is the key to prevent the unnecessary spread of easily avoidable diseases and infections. I do not, however, condone the spreading of fear that this is an example of. It is important that the information coming from the CDC (and others) is correct, truthful and updated. This information about Norway is not, and it undermines the believability of all CDC information in my view. I do not have the numbers, but I bet that many other countries on the “rabies list” do not have problem with this disease either.

What about other diseases that they are warning people about when traveling, how accurate is this information?? I don’t know, I have not checked all the information available on their page, and I do not have information on the various diseases present in all the ~200 countries of the world.

Global Rabies WHO 2008

copyright: who.int

 

When checking on the Internet for information about the subject, I came across the World Health Organization overview of rabies in the world, and it’s just as inaccurate, unfortunately. WHO also uses the shotgun approach and claims that there is rabies present in bats in Norway and all other countries in Europe, in addition to the US and other places. Only New Zealand is said to be completely rabies free. The WHO also warn travelers to get vaccines if likely to get in contact with bats.

Europe is not a country, nor is Africa, North or South-America, Asia or Oceania – and the information provided cannot cover whole continents, it must be country specific. If the CDC and WHO are reusing information from one country on all the others in the same vicinity, it’s hurting their credibility.

The thing you do not want when informing people about potentially life threatening diseases, is the loss of credibility – it can be a killer.

Good stuff I found on facebook

June 30th, 2013

Every day I, and probably most of you, see a lot of images with quotes, funny stuff, political statements or “like if you don’t want kids to get cancer” in my Facebook news feed. The quality of these differ a lot, some are downright genius – most are not and some are just plain bad. I post these from time to time too, when I like them for some reason and they have some content that I like or find funny/provocative/interesting/dumb or any combination of these. Below I have collected some stuff that I have received and/or posted in my Facebook feed, feel free to use them if you want. I have no idea who has the rights to these, if anyone – so use them at your own risk :)

arthur c clarke quote

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snowden at the terminal  - like the movie upside down world map opinions are like assholes anti fascists indispensable people arthur schopenhauer quote truth 603550_463633923654263_2087669242_n 564870_10150679855981501_1924298134_n 419627_597248580292796_485343556_n 337987_10151023839376501_1713258328_o 315961_10150338343901501_944452057_n

Julian assange quote Russels teapot offended 560176_10150834231011501_141876870_n 534368_10150629861461501_290075374_n 531423_10150664572211501_560274994_n 483708_10151918141216501_282903388_n 405661_363899010306225_205344452828349_1354528_1765088331_n 314370_10150331514421501_247452656_n 165263_10151995534231501_1805514592_n 64461_10151889608086501_1860624830_n 45342_10151072438221501_2011606355_n 19930_10151804207451501_1628726827_n

 

christians and atheist motivation to do good

christians and atheist motivation to do good

Some nuts and bolts and stuff

June 25th, 2013

I have not statistics blingyoubeen writing much in this blog for a while, and when coming back here today – I discovered that it has been almost one year since I last wrote anything at all (364 days to be exact). Still, even without being up to date on the current affairs of the world, or to be more precise: writing about whatever is going that needs my comment (if anything) – I am still receiving some traffic, albeit no or very few comments, on this blog. I do love comments, so if you have any opinions that you feel need to be aired, please do – I am all for discussion!

Actually, before I forget – have a look at my last post and please go to the linked site and define your favorite things. Its bloody difficult to reduce the number to only three.

At the moment, this blog is being accessed by about 100-150 different IP-addresses per day and that made me curious. What are people searching for in order to get this blog as a search hit, high enough in the responses from google, bing or whatever people prefer? Well, WordPress to the rescue – there are statistics!

Looking at the total statistics, a lot of people have been searching for the same thing – and my number one is Lizzie Miller from way back in 2009. She was the model that was somewhat “controversial” because of her un-model-like body, with some extra pounds here and there, somewhat unfit (but completely normal, as I have been told repeatedly) appearance. I did a piece on this here, if you are interested. I wanted to voice my opinion on this topic, and many got back to me with their comments. I appreciate all those that took the time to inform me, educate me, disagree with me and generally not praising my view on things. I like those that disagree, agreeing is not productive – but I still stand by my initial post on this :)

More than 4000 search hits on the word “snus” as well. Snus is, for those of you that are not Swedish or Norwegian, a form of smokeless tobacco that is banned in the EU but is available in many other countries under a myriad of names, probably in different cuts too. I find it strange that the EU would ban smokeless tobacco while at the same time allowing cigarettes, that we know will kill a large percentage of its user base, but that’s just me. Tobacco is all bad, but snus is much less harmful if you are addicted to nicotine and need your daily dose of that. Works great on long flights too.

People seem to need demotivational posters from time to time, probably to underline a point or get likes on facebook. I have some, not many, that I put up here a long time ago – the ones I at the time found to be the funniest. I have not really been looking for any of these since then, but if you have suggestions on good motivational or demotivational posters – please post them in the comments below. Some of these are pure genius!

Matt Damon seems to be popular and he has been for the duration of this blog. I did a post on his increased weight for a movie, and now “Matt Damon fat” is high on my charts, so is “Matt Damon shirtless” and just plain old “Matt Damon“. I guess men search for the fat version to feel better about themselves, women just find him generally attractive. In his new movie, Elysium, he is as fit as ever. Damn you, Matt Damon!

Also, Bling water is something that many have an interest in. I bought a bottle of this by mistake once, and wrote some stuff about it. Thinking back, I find this to be one of the greatest hoaxes out there, right next to Scientology, people that can speak to the dead and most kinds of non science based medicine. Getting people to buy water purely for the image of you that it reflects is either really smart or completely .. eh .. its really smart. Low production costs combined with a high retail price is the best business idea I have ever heard of. You can still get it at the bling store, if you want it. I never drank mine, it was too expensive to open for a long time, and when I wanted to taste it – it was out of date. Water does not really get out of date though, but having it on a shelf for a long time is not the best way to store it, so it went in the sink.

I also had a look at the search hits that somebody only searched for once this year, and there are some strange ones there. Have a look a the image to thestatistics blingyou2 right. You have to have a strange mind to enter some of that stuff into a search engine, stuff like “poverty kids happy”, “omer bhatti michael jackson gay lover”, “lesbian islam” and “fat shirtless actor pictures”. I like the one about “dead fritjof nansen” though. Go here for his infamous nude picture, taken prior to his death, btw.

I have written some things about serious topics too, like the sexual abuse of children, folks I know that help poor children at orphanages in Africa and policing in Norway and on the Internet. They don’t seem to bee that popular, though.. ;)

So – have a look at the other search hits and think about what brought you to this place. Anything productive, intelligent or useful – or just wasting time like most of us do when on the Internet?

What is most important to you?

June 26th, 2012

Have you ever used the service Stumbleupon? It’s basically a service where people add things they find interesting within a certain area, be it photography or humor, and by doing so recommend it to others with similar interests. I use it from time to time, when I have no idea what I want to read or if I am bored with whatever I normally check when I go surfing.

One of the really great things about this service, is that you will be sent to web pages you probably would not find yourself or through google – usually because you did not think of actually searching for it. I have experienced numerous times that I have an interest in stuff I did not know I had an interest in :)

When stumbling around I wast presented with a blog that asked me what my favorite things are. I was about to zoom on by when I realized that I actually didn’t really know. I am, probably like most of you, living in a society where we are overwhelmed by things – we basically have everything one could possibly want or need. By having everything its easy to loose track of the most important things among them. Not necessarily physical things, it could be thing you do rather than a thing you have, but still – what is most important? Is your computer, your TV, running in the woods, being with friends, diamond rings, your car, cool speakers, an iPad 3 or whatever the version is now? You are asked to only give two things. While most of us could probably name a dozen things that we like, it’s actually more difficult to name only two.

Frankly, I am not certain at the moment, so I have not written anything. Not many people have at the moment, as a result of low traffic or people just not being able to reduce it to only two things. It’s strange how such a simple question can result in not being able to produce an answer off the top of your head.

I will think about it and write something when its clear to me, and I urge you to challenge yourself in the same way; What are the most important things for you or in your life?

Not as simple as you thought, eh?

People helping people

November 13th, 2011

I have some friends that are doing a very commendable thing this Christmas. Rather than eating and drinking too much, in sync with the traditional Norwegian Christmas celebration, they have chosen to spend both money and time on something better. One of the members of the household worked as a voluntary worker at an orphanage in the village of Darmang, north of the capital Accra in Ghana earlier in 2011.  You will not find the village on any maps, not even Google has passed it by with their street view, as its tiny and largely goes unnoticed.

I does have an orphanage and a “school” – and this is where young people from various countries come to work for free to help out. I write school in brackets, as there are no trained teachers there and the aid workers do most of the teaching, but it is better than nothing. Unfortunately, the children have very little school material like books, pens, paper and the like.

When the son of my friends went there, he and the other young people collected money from their respective families and dug a new well for the orphanage, saving them hours of walking to get good water every day, they built sanitary toilets for both boys and girls and by doing so reduced the probability of disease, bought new cribs for the babies, mattresses for the older children, pens, crayons and paper for the children to use at school etc. Even on a very slim budget they were able to do a lot, as money go far in Africa. Have a look at the below pictures and you can see some of the things that were built. To the left are the original “toilet” and the two other images show the exterior and interior of the new ones. Quite an improvement, I would say.

 

Anyway, back to Christmas 2011. This family has decided to travel down to Ghana and bring clothes, toys and other things that children need that they have collected from friends, family and neighbors. The children at the orphanage has nothing or very little of everything, so anything children between birth and 12 years old would need is being collected. In addition they are accepting donations for the purchase of school supplies, mosquito nets, medicine, band aids, shoes or other things they are lacking. All the money collected will go to the children. The family is paying their own trip, room and board out of their own pocket and there are no administrative fees of any kind.

They have a plan to try to support one of the children at the orphanage on a long-term basis too – hopefully more than one, but it depends. There is a 1-year-old girl at the orphanage, as seen on the picture to the right, that has Sickle-cell anemia, a disease that is not that uncommon among Africans, and demands constant follow-up from medical personnel. At the moment this girl is not receiving any real treatment, something that will result in a much shorter life span and chronic pain and discomfort. Their plan is to try to transfer money regularly to see to that she is taken care of. If they are not able to establish some system where several persons pay a small amount on a monthly basis, they will cover this themselves – but that will reduce their ability to help all the other children. You can read more about Sickle-cell anemia here and here.

They will be leaving Norway for Ghana on the 19th of December 2011, celebrating Christmas at the orphanage and will make sure that the children have a great Christmas meal – just like most of us are used to.

If you have money to spare and/or want to contribute – please go to their homepage for more information. This page is in Norwegian only, unfortunately – but it does give you the possibility to practice your Norwegian :) You can also read it through google translate here.

If you are a Facebook user, and quite frankly – who isn’t, you can enter the event they have set up or go to the Facebook page they have set up – in English. It’s open for all, so feel free to invite your friends in on this project. There is information on how to pay from outside Norway into the project’s Norwegian account available on all the before mentioned pages.

As I understand it, any amount is welcome!

Those of us that are fortunate enough to be born in the rich part of the world, and have quite pathetic problems like obesity and laziness among youth, should take a step back from time to time, and look at the big picture. In the great scheme of things, many of our problems are minute compared to not having parents, not having food, not getting any schooling, living in a country with little or no security, having no hope for the future. Even though we can not save the world by helping a few kids in a country we have never been or even heard of, you can help a few children improve THEIR world, making them better equipped to save themselves and their own people and country. In my view, all the little things amount to all the big things – and when you change the little things – you are helping in making the really big changes.

Please consider setting aside an amount for something other than yet another unnecessary Christmas gift this year, give it to someone who really need it instead.

 

National heroes are people too

October 17th, 2011

copyright: AftenpostenThere are very few things Norwegians are more proud of than our explorers. I have written about Roald Amundsen in this blog before, but this time it is our polar explorer, Nobel peace prize winner and all around good guy Fridtjof Nansen that has stirred up an interest. The usually calm and collected Norwegians have even, in some cases, been angry that the images was published.

The newspaper Aftenposten published images of the nude Nansen, images he had taken himself and sent to his American lover/mistress/girlfriend, Brenda Ueland, in 1929 – one year before he died.

How we are used to seeing Nansen, on the old 10 kroner bill.

Some think that this was beneath the well-respected newspaper and that his memory and image should have remained untainted. I do not. So what if he wanted to show off his body (including the penis, as it is attached you see) to his mistress? Does that make him less of a national hero and important figure in our history? I do not think that it does, if anything it shows that even the ones we look up to, idolize, try to imitate and worship are just people with flaws – just like you and me – and the only reason you don’t see sex tapes with historical figures is that the technology was not in place.

Speaking of technology, the Facebook page of the newspaper had to remove the image, or risk being banned, due to the no nudity clause of the social media platform. 80-year-old images of 67-year-old men may be damaging to watch..

I find it liberating to see that even our heroes are people too, even national heroes :)

Protecting child victims of sexual abuse

February 18th, 2011

The CIRCAMP web page

Its a strange world that we are living in. People can communicate across borders, across ethnisity, across color and sometimes across language on the Internet – we can share thoughts, opinions, pictures and other files. Thats all well and good and probably the best thing that has ever happened to humanity, but as with all good things, it can also be used for really horrible things.

I just read a blog entry informing me that a system that has been in place in a number of countries for years is to be voted upon by the European Parliament, namely having Internet Access blocking against child abuse material (child pornography) in place or not. The post is written by the crimes against children team at Interpol – so one should think that they know what they are talking about. Its not a case of censoring the Internet or blocking illegal material in general, the EU are going to vote whether countries “must” or “may” block access to images of children being raped.

“Must” or “May”? If there ever was a no-brainer, this would be it!

Are there any countries that will choose not to prevent the distribution of images of children that are sexually abused? Are there any arguments against having such a system? Does any country want their population to have access to this, willingly or unwillingly?

Any sensible person would probably answer those questions with a thundering “Hell, no!” – but there are..

While some countries in Europe and the rest of the world have chosen to remove access to raped children, many or most have not. The countries that have such blocking have not crumbled, their Internet is not broken or reduced in speed and availability, their police or politicians have not chosen to block political sites, they are not on a slippery slope towards eternal damnation – they are actually rising above those that bend over backwards to civil liberties groups that demand that the Internet be free from any policing.

Civil liberties my ass, and for who? For you, you who surf the Internet from your nice house somewhere or civil liberties for the victims of the abuse? Those that choose their own right to access to all information, even if being criminal to produce, distribute and possess, over the basic rights of others and in particular the victims – are, imho, morally depraved.

Shame on anyone that is willing to protect the people that crave and produce these images – as they are all equally responsible for its existence and availability. Free speech advocates thinking that access to images of child victims is free speech are just plain stupid and should go back and read up on rights in general. Free speech is stating that you disagree with your government and why without the fear of being arrested, free speech is not protecting the rights of criminals spewing out pictures of sexually abused children.

I live in a country where we accept a level of policing, both in society and on the Internet. We accept that there has to be rules, regulations and some basic structure to how we can behave and treat each other. Personally I have never, ever accidentally come across images of child sexual abuse nor have I ever seen my country’s warning page. I use the Internet a lot, but I obviously use different parts of it than the ones that object to having such blocking because of its limiting effect on their “freedom”.

The Internet is now such an integrated part of our existence that not having rules that apply for our benefit seems dated and unrealistic. Would you accept that your bookstore on occasion displayed such images in its windows or that the mailman from time to time put it in your mailbox? Probably not. Would you accept that a house on your street had such images plastered all over its inside and outside and let people travel from near and far to access it free or for a small fee? Probably not. Still, this is basically what is happening on the Web today. You can choose to view a funny video on youtube.com or choose to view a rape of a baby – its equally accessible, as its using the same technology and the same information highway to your screen.

I think this is unacceptable and anyone that willingly let this continue should be held accountable.

Funny signs

September 25th, 2009

At the moment I am lacking something that I really want to write about, so I have indulged in “Google image searches” instead :) There is a heap of funny stuff out there in Intenetland and I found some signs that i found amusing. Some are meant to be funny, while others probably was put up in all sencerity – making you wonder what  the people that put up the sign without checking it thoroughly are really thinking..