seeking knowledge and laughter, putting a bullseye on inaccuracy


Visiting Amsterdam and Bruges

After being asked to speak in Brussels, Michelle and I figured it would be a good time to spend some time in Europe on both sides of the speaking engagement. For the most part, I decided to relax rather than focus on making photos but what I did do are available here.

We spent a few nights in Amsterdam, Brussels, and then the stunning Bruges (where the night canal photo below was made).




Bruges, Belgium

I also made a few videos to show some views from the trains we took. Starting with leaving Amsterdam.

While in Bruges, we went up the famous Belfry of Bruges and timed it to hear the bells ringing.

And finally, a bit of the view from a train leaving Brussels, I think.

Pacific Northwest Roadtrip - 2014 Vacation

In an epic 5,000ish mile roadtrip from Minnesota to Oregon and up through Jasper in the Canadian Rockies, Michelle and I got to see great friends, incredible natural beauty, and listen to hours upon hours of podcasts. Heaven. All the photos are here and select photos are on Flickr.










Istanbul Photos

In 2014, I spent a week from late August - early September in Istanbul for the Internet Governance Forum. A few highlights below and more photos in the full gallery.






U.S. v. Iran - Who Cares More ABout Democracy?

Which country has the greater respect for democracy - in the sense of power to the people - the U.S. or Iran? This is a question about culture, not which government is more democratic, that would be an absurd proposition.

No matter who won the election in Iran, remember that they were voting for a puppet. The true power in Iran lies with the religious leaders, not with the person the people (including the women, unlike other allies of ours in the Middle East) vote for. Looking at the evidence, I have no idea if the election was stolen or not, I think the evidence is maddenly muddy in both directions.

But as I was biking into work this morning, I was thinking about all the people in Iran that have taken to the streets to protest what they believe is a stolen election. I was mentally comparing it to the election in the U.S. in 2000 - when there were significant voting irregularities in Florida that led many to believe they could not trust the official results.

What did Americans do? It is true that some went to the streets to protest. But I think far more were content to grumble amongst themselves and joke about leaving the country. Certainly, as a proportion of the population, far more in Iran have put themselves in far greater danger by protesting in the streets than did U.S. citizens.

There are a number of variables that make comparisons difficult - Iran has a greater proportion of young people (the people who tend to be the most passionate about having a voice in their governance it seems). Iran's society is much more in flux than was ours in the year 2000. Perhaps Americans have a greater faith in "the system" and the idea eventually the true winner would be found -- but I think that is a hard case to make.

Those of us who have spent a lot of time outside the U.S. are often struck by just how passionate others are about their politics. Maybe Iranians just care more about democracy than Americans ... I haven't made up my mind about it, it is just something I'm considering and trying to figure out how I feel about it.

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