Etikettarkiv: 2011

Can the Dutch Pirates get into parliament?

So far, none of the over 40 pirate parties throughout the world have gotten into national parliament. Sweden got into the European Parliament in 2009, Germany has managed several state elections throughout 2011 and 2012, and there are some pirates spread out locally (full list).

Next week marks the national election in the Netherlands, in which the Pirate Party might actually enter parliament. Several polls now show between one and two pirate seats in the parliament.

TorrentFreakPirate Times. Picture from www.piratenpartij.nl.

Främjandet av svensk rymdturism (motion till PP:s vårmöte)

Detta är en motion jag lämnat in till Piratpartiets vårmöte 2012. Dit och rösta och kommentera med dig.

Den 8 juli 2011 skedde den sista uppskjutningen med NASA:s rymdfärja, efter 30 år i drift, som ett ödets ironi nästan precis tio år efter att den första rymdturisten Dennis Tito for upp i rymden den 28 april 2001. Rymdturismen har år 2012 fortfarande inte börjat ordentligt, men andelen företag som satsar på branschen har stigit kraftigt det senaste decenniet. Richard Bransons Virgin Galactic blev 2011 det första kommersiella företaget i rymden, och planerar att 2013 eller 2014 genomföra de första turistresorna. Priset ligger på $200 000 US, bara en tiondel av vad Dennis Tito betalade för tio år sedan, och 500 miljonärer har redan skrivit på de första avtalen.

Sett till sin folkmängd är Sverige ett av världens ledande rymdnationer, och raketbasen Esrange i Kiruna har redan valts ut av Virgin Galactics som en av de mest intressanta platser att använda som europeisk bas. Esrange genomför sedan årtionden tillbaka världsledande astronomiska och geologiska undersökningar, och Kiruna är en utmärkt plats att utgå framtida rymdturism från, med redan etablerad professionell personal och en ovanligt god infrastruktur för en relativt isolerad stad. Detta är Sveriges chans att få vara med i början och utnyttja en helt ny bransch, som kan leda till en enorm mängd turism, förstärkt förtroende i astronomiska sammanhang, och en boom i Sveriges vetenskapliga utveckling.

Ingenting är dock säkrat, och ett annat alternativ är Skottland. Det är nu Sverige måste utnyttja det försprång vi har med en färdigbyggd rymdhamn i Kirunas Spaceport Sweden. Redan idag erbjuder de resor på höga höjder för att uppleva norrskenet, men om inte Sverige satsar på Spaceport Sweden finns en stor risk att vi hamnar efter och missar en enorm chans.

För att Sverige ska vara redo att ta hand om rymdturismen när den börjar måste arbetet starta redan nu, vilket snart tas upp i riksdagen med motion 2011/12:Ub323 “Nationell strategi för rymdturism”, som behandlas i april. Oavsett hur det går med denna motion behöver Piratpartiet ta en ställning för att försvara Sveriges plats i den kommande rymdturismbranschen, för att veta var vi står när vi kommer in i riksdagen. 2014, ett år vi har en chans att komma in i riksdagen, är också ett år då rymdturismen kan börja bli en viktig fråga för svensk turism och forskning.

Jag yrkar att…

  1. Piratpartiet ska se rymdturismen i Kiruna som en potentiellt viktig del av Sveriges framtida turism.
  2. Piratpartiet ska ta politisk ställning för att utveckla staden Kiruna med onejd inför den potentiella rymdturismen.

China is taking over the space market

Tiangong-1, launched in September 2011.

China’s space programme has been increasing at incredible velocities in the past decade or so, and by all accounts it will continue to increase in the foreseeable future. They recently became number two concerning satellite launches, launching a total of 19 satellites in 2011, beating the US which launched a total of 18, but still behind Russia with 36 launches. As USA’s space program continue to drop both when it comes to budget and launches, China will likely stay in the very top, possible even beating Russia in the upcoming years.

The Chinese now estimate launching 30 satellites with 21 rockets in 2012, and staying at an average of 20 launches per year until 2015. At the same time, their Tiangong-1 space module was launched in 2011, hopefully to be followed up by larger Tiangong-2 and Tiangong-3 modules in the next few years. The real trials of Chinese manned space docking will start in 2012, and if successful the Tiangong programme will be in the size of the ISS within a decade.

The dragon is rising.

BBC (image source) · Space Daily

Chinese proficiency report #2

Inspired by my six month report two weeks ago, I decided to start writing reports on my Chinese skills as they (hopefully) expand and evolve.

My courses in Chinese for the 2011-2012 year are the following:

  • TEKI01 – Basic Chinese part 1
    • The first of two basic courses, which take up the greatest part of the programme. These include the general grammar, vocabulary, listening, writing, et cetera. TEKI01 consisted of two exams and ten or so minor tests, and was ongoing from August to December 2011.
  • TEKI02 – Basic Chinese part 2
    • The next step after TEKI01, started in January and ends in May. Also consists of two exams and ten or so minor tests. The first exam was written on March 7, 2012, and the second will come in May.
  • TEKI09 – Translation
    • One of the two minor courses, TEKI09 consists of translation of Swedish sentences to Chinese, mainly using the vocabulary from TEKI01/02. August 2011 – May 2012.
  • TEKI10 – Practical language skills and specialized language
    • Another minor course, covering both everyday situations as well as specialized language for math, science and engineering.

My vocabulary is getting much stronger every day. By the end of February, I had gone through all words from TEKI09 and TEKI10, as well as a couple of chapters ahead of the TEKI02 course literature and several hundred added words I consider of importance from other areas – stuff like clothing, foods and other articles not covered in our literature, as well as scientific terms not covered in the TEKI10, like all the planets, a few major asteroids, some scientific theories and so on. The timing was perfect to be able to spend two weeks focusing less on new words and more on rehearsing the old ones for my TEKI02 test on March 7. The number of unique hanzi (Chinese characters) in my vocabulary are plateauing as the same hanzi can appear in many different words, but they have now reached around 1500 and continue to grow steadily. All of this is managed thanks to Anki.

Unique hanzi with March 7 as day 0, going back 180 days (slightly shorter than I've studied). The different colours reflect the hanzi's degree according to the HSK test, the standardised test of Chinese language skills. (Screenshot from Anki with the Pinyin Toolkit plugin.)

In the past two months, I’ve also started studying radicals more extensively, finding an excellent Anki deck to help along remembering the pronunciations and meanings.

Separate from vocabulary, I’ve also started working more on understanding Chinese idioms and quotes. I got an excellent idiom dictionary for Christmas and I’ve started reading up on a lot of them. In January, I bought a collection of Confucius quotes with the text in both Swedish and Chinese, with helps both in reading classical texts and in understanding the Confucian influence on China.

Speaking of reading, my reading of Chinese texts is getting better and better along. This is still one of my greater hurdles, separate from the vocabulary which is going much better. I’m reading much quicker than before, grasping the meaning and the pronounciation immediately more often, but I still need to work a lot with it. In the past weeks, I’ve made a habit of reading a minimum of two chapters in my course book out loud every day, which I think has helped a lot.

The next step to continue the habit I’ve had for a while now. I split the new vocabulary between course book words, additional words and radicals. I continue reading two chapters every day. I continue reading other stuff, such as idioms, Confucius and such, on the spare time when I feel like it. I will also ramp up my studies of traditional Chinese – I’ve already studied it half-heartedly for the past few months, but I’ll make sure to start spending more time on it and ease especially my reading, although the writing is of a lesser importance for now.

See you for a while.

Brottskod 5101 och rapport om fildelarjaktsåret 2011

Ung Pirat har under januari månad varit mycket produktiva. För några dagar sedan lanserades webbsidan Brottskod 5101, som sammanfattar hur fildelningsjakten i Sverige pågått hittills och hur den går just nu. Sidan tar bland annat upp gamla och pågående fall, kommande rättegångar, vad de olika partierna tycker, hur privatpersoner kan skydda sig från att åka fast, och vad man borde göra om man blir anklagad (inklusive hur processen går till). Det är en utmärkt sida som länge behövts, och den är späckfull med bra information.

Vidare har UP genom Brottskod 5101 skrivit ihop och släppt en tiosidig rapport om fildelarjaktsåret 2011. Rapporten sammanfattar fallen som gått, vad UP har gjort, och spekulerar även en aning. Författarna (som är anonyma?) diskuterar bland annat att alla som fällts i domstol erkänt brott, medan alla som fått förundersökningen nedlagt har nekat till brott i polisförhör. Det är fullt möjligt att åklagarna helt enkelt inte tycker det är värt att gå vidare med de som nekar, utan istället satsar på de som erkänner. Rapporten tar även upp de senaste studierna om hur vanligt fildelning är, och berättar hur man kan få tag i inspelningar från rättegångar.

Läs mer hos Gustav Nipe, Magnihasa och Victoria Westberg.

Nightwish – Imaginaerum (2011) track by track first listen review

While Nightwish’ new album Imaginaerum is set for a November 30, 2011 release, for some reason my preordered edition arrived early in the mail, and I got the chance to listen to it right away. So I made som hot cocoa, light up some candles and popped the CD in. Here goes with my first thoughts on the new album.

1. Taikatalvi (02:35)

The first real intro the band has ever had (as an own song), and it works very elegantly. Soft playing and Marco Hietala singing in beautiful Finnish, a perfect introduction to the album. I am glad to hear how smoothly it moves into Storytime, the next song, and I start to hope for a smooth album with songs that work both individually and as a whole

2. Storytime (05:22)

Storytime was the first song released from the album, the first single released in early November. I still agree with my opinions then – it really works. It’s catchy without being too catchy (which I thought was the problem with 2007’s ”Amaranth”), and it has an excellent orchestral C-part (albeit quite reminiscent of the Crimson Tide musical score).

3. Ghost River (05:28)

Although this wasn’t as smooth as Taikatalvi-Story Time, it works nicely. A surprisingly hard rock-y intro is met by Anette Olzon’s somewhat AOR-y voice, followed by a Hietala heavy chorus. While not a particularly melodic chorus, it immediately sticks on me, and Hietala’s voice works well with the background riffs and Olzon’s backing vocals. The lyrics easily stick as well: ”He will go down he will drown drown deeper down / The mills grind slow in a riverbed ghost town”. The song has several interesting parts in only five minutes, including a slower Olzon bridge and a second bridge with a children choir. Feels like a given live song.

4. Slow, Love, Slow (05:50)

One of the more controversial songs due to it’s unusual jazz influence, this is one of the songs I’ve looked forward to the most (alongside particularly ”Scaretale”, ”Turn Loose the Swans” and ”Song of Myself”). It works really well, with a nice atmosphere which feels extremely Opeth-y (alongside the obvious 1930’s piano bar thoughts). And while I thought the song would have pretty much the same tone all the way through, the second section really builds up to something. The orchestra, keys, guitars and Olzon’s voice work extremely well together in the final two minutes or so.

5. I Want My Tears Back (05:08)

One of the songs that both by the released sample and the title sound extremely poppy to me, but let’s see. The vocals are indeed pretty cliched, as are the bagpipes – while I love bagpipes, it is really hard to get them do something special, and not just ending up sounding like the same old Eluveitie song over and over again. That said, the song really works, Olzon contributes with some interesting vocal lines, and the lyrics are some of the best of later-day Nightwish. The rather uninteresting chorus is if anything a break from the rest of the song (including the Escapist-reminiscent pre-chorus). Speaking of cliched bagpipes by the way – while the instrumental break of the C part isn’t super interesting musically, it truly rocks your socks of, and I can’t wait to see it live.

6. Scaretale (07:32)

Starting out like a horror movie, it has got me right from the start, with creepy sounds and super creepy singing children. Ah! Help! The song starts out with three instrumental minutes like it’s one of the good old Nightwish epics alongside ”Ghost Love Score”, ”The Beauty of the Beast” and ”The Poet of the Pendulum”, and then continues with more of the interesting ”new” Anette Olzon vocals that are much more varied than on Dark Passion Play. For some reason the song’s mid-section feels a lot Devil Doll-ish. And… without noticing it, the song is almost over.

7. Arabesque (02:57)

Much like Taikatalvi is Nightwish’ first real intro song, this is their first purely atmospheric tracks since possible ”Lappi” (Angels Fall First, 1997). They’ve done instrumentals several times in the past, but not like this – this feels more like a chase scene than the older ones, which are pretty much let’s-drink-some-vodka-and-rock-on-by-the-midwinter-fire. This… rocks. Oh, and I love how tightly it’s connected to ”Scaretale”.

8. Turn Loose the Mermaids (04:20)

The only real ballad on the album (though ”Slow, Love, Slow” and ”The Crow, the Owl and the Dove” are both debatable), it works really nicely. Olzon voice is yet again on the top, and the lyrics are excellent, alongside the music by itself – a fantastic mixture of piano, harpsichord and Troy Donockley’s several instruments, as well as the percussion towards the bridge section. As Holopainen has said before, the bridge has an interesting Ennio Morricone-like feel to it, and it really works.

9. Rest Calm (07:03)

Seeing as I am a huge fan of doom metal, this was one of the songs I was looking forward the most to, seeing as doom metal is the main influence. Much like Scaretale, the intro kicks it off extremely elegantly, though this has much more of a heavy metal feel. The chorus is both catchy and heavy metal, and Olzon’s post-chorus section is immediately melancholic and escapist. The lyrics are amazing as well: ”You are the moon pulling my black waters / You are the land in my dark closets / Stay by my side until it all goes dark forever / When silent the silence comes closer”. One of the best so far.

10. The Crow, the Owl and the Dove (04:10)

This was the other song I had heard before release (thanks, Aku Ankka!), but only once. It is excellently composed and works really nicely, if not for the rather dull chorus. Is a little subtlety too much to ask for?

11. Last Ride of the Day (04:32)

Starts out truly epic with orchestra and chanting before the band kicks in. The chorus is epic as hell, and reminds me of the good old power metal days. And I suddenly understand the idea of being on a roller coaster that Holopainen wanted to convey.

12. Song of Myself (13:38)

1. From a Dusty Bookshelf
It’s not an overstatement to say this is one of the songs I’ve been looking the most forward to. Its length alone is enough to make me think of earlier songs in the Nightwish repertoire. Still, I’ve heard a lot of bad disappointed comments on the net, so I try my best not to have too high expectations.

2. All That Great Heart Lying Still
It starts out nicely, but not really surprising. The lyrics are interesting though. The chorus when it comes up lifts the whole song, and it works excellently. I by the way love The Dead Boy getting some mentions in a song for once (I think there was a line earlier in the album as well).

3. Piano Black
Excellent lyrics and vocals mixed with beautiful, epic music (though somewhat boring guitar riffs, as have been a feature throughout the album). The music dying for a moment in the end of this section is one of the most epic moments of the album.

4. Love
I have heard a lot of bad stuff about this section. The monologues… they are supposed to be boring. I loved them. I couldn’t help myself crying like never before. I loved it. The music may be simplistic, but it works excellently. It’s perfect. Just about perfect.

13. Imaginaerum (06:18)

There is currently not much to say about this outro. And yes, outro is exactly what it is. Pip William’s orchestrated medley of the major themes on the album. It works… so well. So fantastic. But I can’t judge it alone. The entire album as a whole works so well.

Awesome.

Studera HT 2011

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It begins…

Music releases of 2011

Within Temptation's "The Unforgiving", coming on March 25.

I entered 2011 thinking most music releases came in 2009 and 2010, and this would be a pretty calm year. I’m slowly realising I was damned wrong.

Symphonic metal act Within Temptation will release their first album since 2007, the experimental ”The Unforgiving” on March 25. The album is released alongside a comic book series written by Steven O’Connell, and six pages of the prequel is already out on Within Temptation’s website.

In March also, Swedish thrash metal act The Haunted will release ”Unseen”, the follow-up to 2009’s ”Versus”. The song ”No Ghost” from the album has already been performed and filmed live and can be seen on YouTube already. Generally well received, I take it as an awesome return to the more experimental ”The Dead Eye” era.

Sons of Seasons' second album "Magnisphyricon", coming on April 1.

In March also, German power metal project Avantasia plan to release their first live CD/DVD, The Flying Opera, filmed during their 2008 The Scarecrow tour.

On April 1, the German symphonic progressive metallers Sons of Seasons, the project of Kamelot keyboardist Oliver Palotai, will release their second album Magnisphyricon. Judging by the cover and tracklist alone, it looks like an incredibly promising album, and hopefully with a better production than their debut Gods of Vermin.

In the third or fourth quarter of the year, symphonic power metal giants Nightwish will hopefully release their seventh studio album, the follow-up to 2007’s Dark Passion Play. I have high hopes for this, believing Anette Olzon has grown into her role as the new lead singer, and developed her voice to better suite the music.

After founding member Mike Portnoy’s sudden leave in the past autumn, Dream Theater‘s remaining members are working on an upcoming album, the successor to 2009’s incredible Black Clouds and Silver Linings, presumably with a new drummer they have yet to reveal to the public. I have no idea whether the album will be released in 2011 or not, but as I understand it they have at least entered the recording process, and so the album should be released in late 2011 or early 2012.

Music of 2009

Lots of bands have already announced albums to be released in 2009. Oh my god, I’m having a musical stroke…

 

Dream Theaters latest album - a special edition of Systematic Chaos.
Dream Theater's latest album - a special edition of Systematic Chaos.

Sometime in the spring (I’ll see them live on Sweden Rock Festival in the beginning of June as their first gig for the upcoming tour), progressive metal pioneers Dream Theater will release their so far untitled tenth studio album described by the band as:

[…] a DT album with A Change Of Seasons, Octavarium, Learning To Live, Pull Me Under and The Glass Prison….all on one album.

Today it was revealed that one of my all time favorite bands, Finnish symphonic power metal giants Nightwish will release a live DVD/CD entitled ”Made in Hong Kong (and Various Other Places)”, as a result of their Dark Passion Play Tour.

On the doom metal front, British My Dying Bride will release their tenth studio album ”For Lies I Sire” on an untold date in 2009. Track listing is already revealed! After still rolling as heavily on their 2006 release ”A Line of Deathless Kings”, I don’t think I’ll be disappointed.

Again some Nightwish news: They have reported they’ll soon draw back to record their seventh studio album, and they have also said both Tuomas and Marco have several finished songs. Probably to be released in either late 2009 or early 2010!

For later years: Dutch symphonic rock / metal band Within Temptation has announced their next album to be released in 2010, and American power metal Kamelot are planning their tenth album in 2011!