Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Intel Fuck Off

Less than 1 year ago Intel announced that they were closing all their research centers in France (the 2 main ones were located in Toulouse and Sophia Antipolis (Nice)). The idea came like a shock, at least in Toulose, as the center here seemed to be working pretty well, and indeed it had grown in the previous months when the employees of the small center in Montpellier were transferred here.

From what I've read the French government provides companies with huge aids to their research efforts. It seems Intel took benefit of this support for a few years and then decided to close as part of their "restructuring efforts". I guess they just found another place where to get more aids... Well, you know, multinationals behave like that, and if their roots are in USA obviously they don't give a shit about "decadent Europeans"

To common surprise, last week a happy ending to this story was revealed. Renault is taking control of both sites, that will make up a new structure in Renault dedicated to connected and autonomous vehicles. This seems to be a pretty good deal for Renault, that expects this will help them to highly speed up their development on these fields. As for the employees, I assume that moving into a French company that keeps in France its main R&D facility, the Technocentre, which hosts around 8000 employees, the change should be rather reassuring.

It's also pretty good for Toulouse and its attempts to diversify its economy beyond the Aeuronautics sector. While the initial bet, the health sector (Oncopole), is moving rather slowly, the sector of technologies around "terrestrian transport" seems to be moving pretty good. In addition to this announcement from Renault, 2 months ago Continental announced that they would be launching here a new facility focused on "connected vehicles".

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Lyon Mural Paintings

I already praised the gorgeous city of Lyon some time ago. The beauty of this city continues to mesmerize me each time that I go there. French classic architecture, the imposing Rhone, the lovely Saone, the hills and their viewpoints (la croix-rousse is such a cute quartier), the "grandour" of Tete d'Or, the smart urban planning, pieces of modernity like the Tour Incity and Confluences... There are so many things to appreciate that I think they managed to distract my attention from an element that in other cities would have caught my eye quite earlier, the amazing mural paintings.

In first term I would not think of Lyon as a hotspot for Street Art, but indeed it is, as it boasts a huge number of astonishing mural paintings. In general these murals follow a more classic style, so I've had some problems to associate them with street art (mainly cause I've usually been more dragged to less conventional works like those of Blu, ROA, Hendrik Beikirch), but classifying something as street art has little to do with the style, but with the intent. Putting up art on the street for others to enjoy (get moved, awakened...) for free is the essence of Street Art, and these mural paintings obviously adhere to it.

In my last visit to Lyon I got delighted by the massive Mur des canuts. It's just beautiful. The explanation given here is pretty complete, so I will not repeat it with different words. I will add one thing that really fascinated me. As the article explains, this piece of art has been redone on 3 occasions. Well, it has evolved, treated as a live scene. The portion of neighbourhood depicted in this work has evolved over time, new shops have opened, the building facades have got revamped and vegetalized... but most importantly, the different characters that appeared in the first installment have also evolved with time, not just by getting smartphones or other modern elements, but by growing, getting older... I'm not sure about the particular changes, but one could think that maybe someone that in the first version was a kid in the second one would have turned into a teenager and in the third into a "family guy". For the occasional visitor this will not have much effect, but for those that have lived with this painting for years, it makes it a living element of their lives.

Sorry for the low quality, I took the pics at night, and I quite don't like using a flash:

Most of these amazing mural paintings have been created by the artists collective Cité-creation. Visit their website, it's just amazing. In this article there is a good overview of their creative path. Reading this paragraph below brings to my mind the words of wisdom written by Banksy 3 decades later in "Wall and pice"

In the early 1970s a group of local students got to discussing the closed nature of the art world, concluding that art was a form or expression largely confined to galleries and museums. Murals, they decided, would bring art to ordinary people. They would be direct, effective in portraying ideas, and free.

Much of the mural work in Lyon follows the Trompe-l'œil technique, trying, very successfully in many occasions, to create a 3-D effect that when seen from a distance really makes you think that you are seeing real buildings rather than a painting. In that sense, this one in Montpellier continues to amaze me each time I pose my eyes on it

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Macron President

Let's start this post with an enormous exclamation of RELIEF.
OK, now let's go on. 20.743.128 (66.10% of valid votes) French citizens saved The French Republic last Sunday by giving their vote to Emmanuelle Macron. Some did it by conviction, others to stop the FN monster, to make sure their plan to destroy the France and the Europe that we know, to throw us into isolation, chaos and misery, could not be carried out. The French Republic has been saved, hopefully we have not followed the path into disaster followed recently by UK and USA voters, and we can look at them with superiority and say "Fuck you, we are cultivated Europeans, you are anglosaxons".

I don't want to devote much time to the 10.638.475 (34.90% of valid votes) idiots, ignorant beasts or whatever that voted for Marine Le Pen. If the catastrophe had taken place and she had won, they would have suffered the consequences of their ignorance or evilness once the French society and economy had got disintegrated. After all these years of dediabolisation, where the FN has made a huge effort to present themselves as "normal folks", I used to think that good part of the vote for the FN came out of the (justified) fear of Islam and criminality, the rejection of the other old and corrupt parties, the confused vision of the EU as a source of evil, and so on... After the electoral debate on May 3rd, where Marine Le Pen drop her mask and behaved like a violent, almost crazy beast, vomiting all sort of insults, lies and unfounded accusations, I can no longer think of any kind of justification for those who voted for her. They are either people with cognitive deficiencies or ultra-nationalist, xenophobic bastards full of hate.

As for the 25% of people that did not vote, and the 4 million people that voted either blank or null, I have basically the same bad feeling and contempt as for the FN voters. I quite understand that some people decide not to do the effort to choose between Sarkozy and Hollande (or between PP and PSOE in Spain). You don't see much difference between having one or another managing the country, so you just don't give your opinion (indeed, I have not voted in the last Spanish elections). But if you are not able to see the difference and make a choice between the Le Pen clan and Macron, you are full of shit. My disdain (well, it's stronger than that, it's hatred) goes in particular to those alleged "lefties" that in the first round had voted for Melenchon's sect (La France Insoumise), or even worse, for the NPA islamo-stalinists, and in the second round decided not to "get their hands dirty" voting for a "banker" (as they call Macron), letting the door open to Le Pen. Those that (in Melenchon's stupid vocabulary) could not choose between the "extreme-droite" and the "extreme-finance". I think these so called "lefties" have also drop their masks. These people have waved the flag of anti-racism, multi-culturalism, open society and so on cause it's part of the "left-culture", but indeed they don't give a shit about it. They have only taken into account the economical dimension to decide between FN and En Marche, and as many of them in their ignorance have judged that the "liberalism with human face" of Macron would be as bad as the senseless economical program of Le Pen (that is indeed not much different from Melenchon's "utopia"), they have preferred not to help us to stop the human drama that the FN would bring about, because as I say, internally they don't really care about xenophobia or discrimination, it was just a trendy piece of clothes that can be taken off and thrown into a drawer. It's particularly painful to think that for sure many of these scumbags will have vehemently accused of "Islamophobia" to anyone critizising radical Islam, but now they would not give a shit about the mispolicies that Le Pen would perpetrate against any Muslim...

These "lefties" are so radical and so "insoumis" that not even the calls to vote against Le Pen launched by most of the progressist media were able to make them change their mind. They do not obey (I mean, they only obey to the Melenchon "comrade")... I'll put here some of the calls to actions that some decent media put up that week, they make up part now of our history:

Charlie Hebdo front page: Is it really necessary to do a design?

Charlie Hebdo last page: Is it really necessary to do a speech?

Le Canard Enchaine: The Canard also advocates for the "ni-ni": Neither Marine nor Le Pen

Liberation: Do whatever you want, but vote for Macron

L'Humanite, the French Communist Party newspaper, (yes, the PCF does not get on well with the Melenchon bastard)
Let's stop her!

Les Echos, an economy magazine: Defeat the extremism

Before closing this writing, I'll share my shocking experience with one of these "I don't give a shit" individuals (I don't know if he voted in the first round or not...). Last Sunday afternoon I was sitting on a train on my way back to Toulouse. It was 20:30, I had no data connection on my phone (I'm not plannig to explain why), SNCF does not provide WiFi on board and obviously I really needed to know the results, to know if our world as we know it was going to shit. I looked around (assuming everyone would be reading like crazy Le Monde, Le Figaro or whatever source of electoral information... but it was not the case). So I chose one twenty-something guy that was reading a comic on his phone. When I asked him if he knew the electoral results he looked at me absolutely surprised, asking me "the presidential elections?" He searched on google and showed me the good news, France (and Europe) was saved. The guy had not looked at the results until that moment and was totally surprised that anyone could have the slighlest interest on them. They guy was indifferent, absolutely unaware of the big difference that it would make for everyone's life (including his life) that Le Pen would win. He showed no emotion at all when he showed me the results on the screen... An authentic "Je m'en fou/I don't give a shit"...

A tous ceux qui ont voté pour battre Le Pen, MERCI

A Melenchon et NPA, allez vous faire foutre, collabos de merde (avec Le Pen et avec les islamistes)

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Macron ou la guerre

We are just a few days far from the most decisive elections in the modern history of Europe, the second round of the French presidential elections. There are many different things that I'd like to express here, I could probably write like 4 or 5 posts, but I have no time for that, so I'll summarize it all together in this chaotic writing.

I don't know to what extent people in the whole of this continent are aware of what is at stake. If Le Pen were to win this Sunday, the European Union is over. I hardly can imagine a world without European Union. A world were I would have to ask for a Visa to go to Berlin or Paris. A world were I could not opt to a job position in one city that I love because I was born in "the wrong place". We are used to other people having to suffer these constraints, to feel pity for them and relief for us, for being so lucky to be Europeans in the XXI century, to be the "easyjet generation"... free to travel and to find a place we like and have the possibility of staying there. All that would be over. That's the first, more direct consequence, but then would come the worse. Countries would withdraw and close on themselves, and us, the citizens, would do so. Nationalism would be back, stronger and more stinky and repulsive than ever, and with Nationalism, sooner or later, would come war.
You think I'm overstating? Just take a look at our history... Alsace-Lorraine comes to mind as a "nice" pretext for a Franco-Prusian war v.3.0. And there would be many more pretexts. Above all, the brutal economical crisis that would come with the death of the European Union would cause such internal turmoil that starting a war would be the best way to distract the population and make them address their hatred to an "external enemy" rather than the internal beasts that caused this disaster. In a multipolar world where our small countries of 80, 60, 40, 10... millions inhabitants are just nothing compared to USA, Russia, China, India, Brasil... what a better way to feel important again and find our new place in the world that trying to beat our neighbour in a senseless war...

Honestly, when the results of the elections of the first round were announced with the good news of Emmanuel Macron arriving on the first position, I thought the problem was almost fixed. I assumed everyone would join on the second round to vote Macron to defeat the Le Pen clan. It's what happened in 2002, when every normal citizen voted for Chirac (even if they had to cover their nose) to defeat Le Pen (the father). To my horror (and the horror of so many normal citizens that can not understand how lost and stupid one part of the population is), this has not happened. This time there has not been a Front Republicain to defeat the FN. Sure the socialist party has called to vote for Macron without any sort of doubt or ambiguity. Most of the main figures in Les Républicains have also done so (Fillon, in an act that manages to dignify a bit such a gloomy individual, Alain Juppé, Sarkozy), but the party itself has not taken an official stance. The serious issue comes with "the radical Left". Jean Luc Melenchon, the LEADER (I put it in uppercase because I sense quite a sort of stalinist personality cult around him) of that new far-left movement called "La France Insoumise" has shamefully opted for the "ni-ni" (neither Macron nor Le Pen). He has not asked to vote for Macron, he has just asked not to vote for Le Pen. This is a disgusting act of irresponsability (at the best) or a meditated, machiavelic political plan for the next elections (make Macron weak for having obtained a minimum victory, or just let Le Pen reach power so that chaos starts and people cry for their 'Left savior") at the worst. Everybody knows that not a single Le Pen sympathizer will fail to put his nauseating vote in the polling box, so abstention or voting blank is not an option at all. Melenchon says to want to keep his vote secret and not to want to force people's vote, but with his continuous critics to Macron "he's the candidate of the banks, he's the candidate of the financial system..." he's indeed pushing the electorat of the France Insoumise to abstention/blank vote (or even worse, bearing in mind that a 10% of these alleged "revolutionaries" intend to vote for Le Pen...). Melenchon has just become a collabo like Pétain in the WWII.

Hopefully, some of the political organizations that make up "la France Insoumise": the PCF and the Front de Gauche, have asked to vote for Macron with slogans like "first let's defeat Le Pen, then let's fight against Macron", but based on what I could see in Paris the other day and what I can read on the news, it does not seem like they are having too much effect... This leads us to the next level in human stupidity, some of the "left radicals" that either voted for "les insoumis" or for other worse political sects like NPA or LO (or that directly did not vote) and are now trying to convince others to abstain. These "saviours of humanity" that in some cases make up the rangs of the infamous "black block" that ruins legitimate demonstrations attacking the police and destroying public property. These "left warriors" that have converted the Antifa movement in France in something close to a terrorist organization. These "freedom fighters" already took to the streets as soon as the results of the first round were announced to protest against Macron and Le Pen likewise (and to take the opportunity to destroy public property and attack the police once again). When these idiots put both candidates at the same level, using phrases like "neither finances dictatorship nor fascist dictatorship", "neither plague nor cholera", "capitalism == fascism", they are putting our society at risk, cause there are other idiots that will believe their crap and decide not to vote for Macron just to feel rebellious and cool, just because it's becoming trendy... These criminals are just planning "to fight Le Pen on the streets" if she wins... cool... Are they plannig to do like last Monday in Paris, setting a policeman on fire??? Interesting that last time I saw someone being burnt alive it had been ISIS the author. Bearing in mind that a certain part of the "far-left" is sympathetic with (when not openly defends) Islamists, it's not so odd that they learn "battle techniques" from them...

If I had the French nationality I would have already voted for Macron in the first round. It's not that I were entusiastic about him, I would have preferred a hard guy like Manuel Valls or Sarkozy (unfortunately both had been kicked out in the respective primary elections of their parties) that would have a harder stance towards Islam and criminality, but all in all I think he can be a pretty good president for this country and a great asset in order to help to put the European project back on track. For sure my political views have changed enormously in the last years. I have nothing to do with the "left radical Asturian nationalist" that I used to be just a few years ago, but I'm pretty sure that even if I were still lost in such ideological nonsense, in a situation like this I would have voted for who I would have considered "the lesser evil".

I belong to a generation that has been lucky to never have lived a war on its territory (and which parents enjoyed also that privilege), and suddenly, these days waiting for the results on Sunday evening, it seems a bit like what other generations had to feel the days before an imminent call to arms or the signature of a treaty that would avoid the conflict. Next Monday, the aftermath of this dramatic election, it's the 8th of may. On this date France celebrates "Victoire", the victory over fascism in the WWII. I really hope this year we'll be able to do a double celebration.

I pretty liked this article by Marjane Satrapi (the author of Persepolis). As someone that found refuge in France after having to flee her birth country to escape a dictatorship she can not understand that people will decide not use their vote as a weapon against horror. I'll reuse the last lines of her post to close this one:

Votez Emmanuel Macron!

Vive la Liberté!

Vive l’Egalité!

Vive la Fraternité!

Et vive la France!