Archive for January 28th, 2010

Kwik Hits

Random thingies of little import:

For a couple of weeks now, we’ve been having horrible problems with our home DSL connection, which is Powered By Qwest(TM). (Well, there’s your problem!, I hear you all shout. I know, I know.) From about 1600-2330 local time, we’re frequently unable to get even 20Kbps speeds on what should be a 1.5Mbps connection, and ping times can exceed four seconds to servers a few dozen miles away. Clearly, our DSL trunk or whatever it’s called is “congested”, a complicated technical term that basically means “oversold”. When we contacted our (local) ISP, they sympathized with our plight, agreed that it sounded like congestion, and said they’d contact Qwest, but said “the odds of anything being done about it are slim. Qwest is pushing fiber-optic internet service now, and considers copper-wire DSL service a basically unsupported legacy product they just don’t care about.” We’re doomed…

One of my roommates had a strange dream the other night; in part, this is notable because she very, very rarely ever remembers more than vague details once she wakes up. In the dream, she arrived at her old college campus to find a loud demonstration in progress; a new sculpture had been installed in one of the courtyards, replacing an older sculpture that had succumbed to the elements. The grass around the sculpture’s plinth was full of gopher holes, which the angry students thought was part of the “installation”, and while some were yelling that this was dangerous, the majority were upset by the “sexist and misogynistic overtones” of the holes. (Yes, she went to college in Minneapolis; why do you ask?) When her dream-self tried to point out that they were just gopher holes, a bunch of eco-activists denounced the exploitation of animals, and attempted to burn down the art department. (Psychoanalyze that!)

In something that resembles actual news, albeit obscure, Russia has announced plans to invest 330 million USD in the disputed territory of Abkhazia over the next three years. That might not sound like a lot, but that basically subsidizes the relatively small territory’s trade deficit for the next couple years, and between the outright cash and “economic investments”, should serve to greatly increase Moscow’s influence in (and by proxy control over) Abkhazia.

It’s easy to not care about that part of the world, but the timing is suspect, coming as it does amid an important election in the Ukraine, and the tensions over Poland, and it’s not hard to see this as a sign that Russia wants to increase its influence with as many of its neighbors as it can, and move as many polities into the “firmly pro-Russia” column as possible. It’s just like the Cold War, all over again – controversial missile basing issues in central Europe, a gently antagonistic ascendant Russia trying to increase its influence over its neighbors… Everything old is new again… again.

Published in: General | on January 28th, 2010 | No Comments »