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Messages - Frenzie

DnD Central / Re: DnD entropy
I've always found the term tiresome and don't mind its demise in that sense. But the fact that Twitter took over a lot of it is a bit of a pity. Incidentally, traditional newspapers have finally started linking sometime in the last five, some as early as ten years. They've effectively all become blogs.
DnD Central / Re: What's going on in Italy?
Indeed, conflicts of interest may very well not be legal. Here's an opinion piece about how to change the rules in relation to some semi-recent affairs:

There are countless front pages of newspapers, books and documentaries devoted to the troubled relationship between political and economic power. Diamonds, pesticides, oil, agri-food, automobile, public works, pharma... all of them are entitled to the dilatory strategies of the shadowy influencers.

And in doing so, the trust of citizens in our political system is eroded a little more. Ecolo can thus condemn Maggie de Block as "Minister of Lobbies" rather than Minister of Health.


To date, there is no direct regulation of the activity of lobbyists in Belgium. Parliamentary commissions and codes of ethics have been put in place, without however recognizing lobbying in the strict sense.

The Belgian Association of Public Relations Consultants (BAPRC) has therefore been given the task of drafting ethical codes for its members. This is a welcome self-regulation, but it does not replace the legitimacy of the law.

The Federal Parliament has therefore decided to move forward on the subject. Overshadowed by other issues such as pension reform or the migration crisis, the work of the "Political Renewal" group and a first bill to create a register of lobbies have begun to recognize the activity.

However, citizens are likely to be disappointed. The proposed register of lobbies contains little information (name, telephone, company number). More surprisingly, the federal executive, the main instigator of the laws, would not be subject to this register and would continue to consult lobbies in the shadows.
Forum Administration / Re: Questions to the Administrator
I'm at the new much much better place, but apparently setting up the internet is really complicated. They hooked up the fiber on 23 September, at which date it was supposed to be activated. Unfortunately they still haven't managed to fix some underlying street issue…

Luckily I could borrow a 4g modem from work[1] so I can still work from home three days a week as usual.
70 GB volume, not a lot, but my phone only has 12 GB
Hobbies & Entertainment / Re: Bicycling
Traffic lights for pedestrians over here are still not halfway as bad as in USA though.
Oh yes, in the US they're completely absurd. Here's a video about it, but I've experienced it firsthand. They had a sign saying something like "wait for cars to turn right before crossing." The first time I did that… and never was able to cross. The second time, I stepped in front of the cars as if I was in Italy.[1]

I determined that the made up nonsense of "jaywalking" (what we call "walking") was probably the safest method of crossing the street, because you can simply do it when there are no cars, whereas the traffic light where you're supposed to cross is:

a. horribly far
b. significantly less safe
Meaning ready to jump back but pretending not to.
Hobbies & Entertainment / Re: Bicycling
There are usually big problems with a bits-and-pieces approach when trying to improve cyclability: Okay, you will build four bicycle-friendly crossroads, but what about the way for the bicyclists to get to the crossroads?
You have to start somewhere, or you'll get nowhere. I think it's okay to update infrastructure as it naturally approaches its end of life. But keep in mind you can do some easy things to existing infrastructure without upending it completely. That does require an actual plan to extend it, of course. I guess you're implying they have the absurd impression that the work is done?

That's how we did it in the Netherlands. In the '70s it was as car infested as anywhere else. When you look at the Netherlands in the 2020s what you see is the result of four decades of mostly naturally improving things as they needed renovations anyway. It didn't happen overnight. As soon as you start, within a decade you'll see massive improvements. The Netherlands that I grew up in in the '90s was somewhat similar to Belgium (or at least Flanders) today in 2022.

is not accidentally omitting some vital elements that make it work?
One thing they are very much omitting in Belgium despite building fairly properly nowadays, perhaps because it's not so much visible as experienced, is that the traffic lights themselves are programmed differently — of course I mean better. Regardless whether you're driving, cycling or walking, it's just significantly more pleasant in the Netherlands. Here they're more stupid timer-based affairs rather than having '80s-level intelligence.[1]

In the Netherlands, the traffic lights will let you go as soon as it makes sense. You rarely feel like you're waiting for nothing. That's particularly true for pedestrians and cyclists compared to many a country that doesn't seem to have given traffic light programming any thought at all, but by car it's also significantly nicer than elsewhere. For some reason people don't seem to realize that when street design is actually given some thought driving is a million times better too.

Btw, the third article is entitled Comment les piétons investissent les villes. My father likes to tell the anecdote of how back when he did his high school exam in, what was it, '55 I think, one of the assignments was a text about piétons. One of his classmates had written about how if a python wants to cross the street, first he should look left and right, and so forth.

My conclusion is that non-planning is better when it comes to street and road infrastructure. Competent city planners do not exist in this part of the world and overall they are far and few between. Now, I have happened to see really splendid bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly street infrastructure in some West European cities, but the funny thing is that at its very best the result resembles the completely unplanned countryside where I grew up.
I'm not convinced. The '50s through '80s Belgian infrastructure was borderline unplanned and as far as I'm concerned it's atrocious. Though I suppose it was still more or less planned by the local municipalities rather than by the people living in the street. But those needn't be opposites. The municipality can act as an enabler, like it mostly does in the Netherlands.
It's possible that they're even better today in the 2020s but that's neither here nor there.
Hobbies & Entertainment / Re: Travelling and such
If it makes no difference, then why go out of your way to block walkers so that there is no chance in hell?
I wasn't talking about Milan Airport of course. That the airport should have proper infrastructure goes without saying. I have no idea what they're smoking over in Italy; that sounds more like something you'd find in Texas. It also goes without saying that you can stroll over from Schiphol to Hoofddorp (or to Amsterdam, but that'll probably take you 3+ hours), or from Zaventem (Brussels Airport) to, um, Zaventem (and Brussels), though I also know walking over from Brussels Airport won't be the most pleasant walk, not in line with the Netherlands.[1] Walking up to Antwerp Airport is perfectly pleasant though, unless you expect to be able to walk across the runway.

Anyway, my point was I don't see a problem with for example Schiphol being a 3 hour walk from Amsterdam given that it's only a 10-30 minute train/bus ride away. And keep in mind the airport also serves many other cities. Being more properly in Amsterdam would arguably make its location worse, geographically speaking.
See here for what parts of that might look like. But maybe there are some nicer paths to be found?
Hobbies & Entertainment / Re: Travelling and such
As long as you can conveniently get to the airport by tram/bus/train I don't see what difference it makes? Noise pollution-wise it seems better to have it at a slight distance.
DnD Central / Re: What's Going on in Russia?
Samuel Furfari of Université libre de Bruxelles says that Erdogan of Turkey is awesome for achieving the grain deal between Ukraine and Russia.
I can't find the guy saying anything like that in Dutch/French.

Over at Le Figaro, a business banker says that, instead of imposing sanctions on Russia and supporting Ukraine, we should democratically discuss the costs of doing so and then probably not do it.
lol what? They barely cost us anything at all.
DnD Central / Re: Should Pot Be Legalized?
I didn't know that cannabis was illegal in Belgium and needed legalising.
It is indeed, but of course not quite in the absurd American sense.

Does "salle de shoot" mean here a (legal) bunker for addicts? Do they already exist anywhere in Belgium already? Are they more like clinics, sobering cells or more like underground clubs?
I believe that in English it's called a supervised injection site.

I think we just call it addict care, and (addict) treatment centers.

Growing weeds became legal, there's no law about trade yet, while public smoking is still illegal.
Weird, but it may well make more sense than effectively the reverse situation we have in the Netherlands and to a lesser extent Belgium.