Mubarak steps down

Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle…

Hosni Mubarak has stepped down as president of Egypt, after weeks of protest in Cairo and other cities. The news was greeted with a huge outburst of joy and celebration by thousands in Cairo’s Tahrir Square – the heart of the demonstrations.

It’s not over yet. There still remains to be seen what kind of government forms in the absence of a dictator, but compared to revolutions like France and the United States, this one is pretty bloodless. I’m going to keep watching.

 

From on the ground in Egypt

As I mentioned earlier this week, there’s only one thing of any importance happening in the world right now, and it’s happening in Egypt, Tanzania, Yemen and Jordan. The entire world is sitting with bated breath, wondering what the outcome of this sudden and unpredictable outpouring of popular anger will be.

This is a story from a person who is currently in Egypt:

Cairo, Egypt – It is 5PM in Cairo, and the curfew has begun once more. Security is tight, and the sounds of not-so-distant gunfire have become just about as commonplace as the chirping of birds. Today is the tenth day of antigovernment protests that have no indication of ending any time soon. By now everyone has seen the images circulating in newspapers and the media: Cairo is under siege, violence and chaos reign, and the country is teetering on the brink of civil war. Well, I am here to tell you that while all of this coverage makes for good ratings, it does not tell the whole story.

It’s a pretty gripping tale that doesn’t seem to conflict with what I’ve been seeing and what is being reported on the major news outlets I follow.

We spent another hour standing in the square and speaking with Egyptians, who instructed us to tell their story to the world. “This is not freedom, this is not democracy!” They shouted. Satisfied with what we had witnessed, we decided to make our way back home through the debris-laden streets. Our route took us passed the Interior Ministry, where it seemed all of the security forces had gathered after ceding Tahrir Square the protesters. The police lines stretched for nearly a mile, and we quickly found that we were the only non-police present. Nervous, we continued along, passing rows upon rows of security trucks and riot police huddled in groups, laughing, eating, and asking us for cigarettes. Little did we know that these would be the last police that we would see in Cairo for the next three days.

With my limited knowledge of foreign policy, I am not qualified to make the following statement, but I can’t see how the outcome of this protest doesn’t shape the entire geopolitical map for a generation. I am not employing hyperbole when I say this is the only important thing going on – these protest may reverberate through the entire Muslim world at a time when U.S. oil interests are on a knife edge, the global economy is warping, and religious theocracies are looking to extend their reach into the secular world.

As usual, Al Jazeera is doing a great job. I’m writing this from work so I can’t be watching the live feed, but please believe I’ll be tuning in as soon as I get home.

An apology

Regular readers here (numbers have taken a spike in the past couple of weeks – anyone have some insight as to why?) may notice that, after a glut of posting, my posts are becoming less frequent and smaller. Please interpret this as a lack of free time, rather than a lack of interest. As I write this I am getting glared at by the instructor of the workshop I am attending for being the only person typing on his computer. I’m also writing this 6 days later than usual, thus running the risk of missing a post (due to a lack of my usual buffer).

I can’t promise that this will change soon – I will be on vacation over the Christmas break, but I may not feel much like blogging once my schedule changes. After the New Year I should be back to normal.

Je me souviens

No post today. It’s Remembrance Day. We all owe every single one of the freedoms that I rail about day in and day out to the efforts and sacrifice of those who were willing to fight when necessary.

We owe a huge debt to those who had to fight when it wasn’t necessary too. Let’s make sure that whenever Canadian lives are lost in war, that the war is worth fighting.

New blog buddy

I found out that a friend of mine has a blaugh as well. I’m a sucker for technology, as I’ve said previously. I like innovation, it’s one of the things that makes me optimistic in what seems like unprecedented world crisis. Every time humanity has come up against a crisis, we’ve prevailed.

This guy is hitting me right in the optimism centre of my brain.

This might seem like a good thing. It’s not. Because energy is invisible, we have no idea how much we are using at any given moment. At least not in terms that are meaningful to us. Sure, there are beautiful, visual calculators like this one. But — crucially — these are missing the “at-any-given-moment” part. And actually…they might even be missing the meaningful part.

Southern California Edison had it right when they installed something called an Ambient Orb in their customers’ homes. When the ball glows red, it means you’re using too much electricity; green reassures you that you’re consuming responsibly. The result: a 40% reduction in energy use during peak periods!

Go check the site out, and jump up and down on his head to post more frequently.

Rrrrread it!

Exciting new blog developments

Hello to all of my faithful readers, and also to those who just use me for a moment’s distraction and don’t call the next day. There are a couple of new things that have happened recently that I want to share with you.

First, I am thrilled to inform you that last week, this blog hit the 25,000 views milestone. Considering that this site is only 6 months old, and that I haven’t really done any significant or targeted marketing, this is well beyond my wildest expectations.

  • The site averages 133 hits a day (with a mode value of between 50-75 hits on a usual day)
  • The 5 highest-trafficked posts represent nearly 70% of total traffic
  • June 8th was the busiest day, with 4,672 hits
  • A total of 153 posts have gone up, with 387 comments between them

Obviously, this wouldn’t have been possible without you. I started writing without a clear plan, or an idea of the impact I might have. I still get a little weirded out when someone tells me they read my stuff. So I want to thank you for sticking around, reading, commenting, and telling your friends about the site.

Second, I am honored to accept an invitation from the national blog Canadian Atheist. This is a site with multiple commentary from a variety of authors across Canada. I will be sharing some of my thoughts on religion, civil and human rights on a regular basis on this site. My longer think-pieces, as well as my discussion of race and racial issues, will remain here at the Manifesto. There are a lot of great writers at Canadian Atheist, and I don’t think there’s a single one there with whose views I actually agree, so it’s a great chance for me to join a discussion. It’ll be a good chance for those of you interested in religious and secular issues to check out a variety of views, and see where your own feelings lie.

Finally (this one is the most exciting), my very first blog has been resurrected. Yes, friends, Porocrom’s Crappaper is once again disgracing the face of the intarwebz. This was a sort of catch-all site with movie and music reviews, commentary on pop culture, and lampooning interpersonal relationships. Poromenos and I plan on generating new content for the site soon, so feel free to poke around our archived posts for now. For fun, try to guess who wrote which item.

Anyway, that’s what’s new around here. Lots of stuff coming your way at this site over the next two weeks, including a post that I’ve been waiting to write for about 4 months (that’s coming on Monday). Enjoy!

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Bloggity blog blogs

I have many blogs linked to this one.

They’re on the side bar of your screen —–>

Maybe I should tell you about them!

BelleIQ – This is written by a former colleague of mine who is a fashion model as well as a scientist. I’m happy to say that at my urging, and the urging of others, she has started adding new content. FRSRS, visit this one. She’s a great writer.

Classically Liberal – I came across this one shortly after I started blogging. Yes, he’s a Libertarian (one of those), but he writes some very thought-provoking content and espouses many liberal principles from the perspective of the Libertarian movement. Even when I disagree, I read.

Pharyngula – PZ Myers’ blog about religion, science, and squid. I’m assuming that at least half of the people reading this have been to Pharyngula already, but if you haven’t you should go.

Racialicious – A handy resource for commentary about pop culture and racial issues. As often as not I find myself disagreeing with their take, but I read it every day.

Respectful Insolence – The one that first bit me with the blogging bug. Medical science, quackery, and a whole host of medical woo. Interesting stuff!

Scary Fundamentalist – On days when I feel particularly full of myself, I call this guy my nemesis. Another Vancouver blogger who writes and thinks as well as I do, but whose opinions make me want to punch my way through the internet and kung-fu him in the face (figuratively speaking, of course).

Stuff White People Do – Almost as soon as I found this blog, the author went on hiatus. The archives are fun to poke around in, though.

The New 20 - Appears to be on hiatus (hasn’t been updated since April). May take this one down soon.

If there are any blogs that you read about free speech, racial issues, religion, or other types of skepticism, or that you think I’d particularly enjoy, and that update content regularly, please let me know about them. I will be adding more soon (Canadian Atheist immediately springs to mind).

I am officially a Twit

It’s been 6 months here at the Manifesto, I’ve been lucky enough to generate a decent number of regular readers, and sporadically I get a flood of new traffic. If you’re interested in keeping up-to-date with the latest posts and information, and you use Twitter, you can follow me (@Crommunist). Plus there is a picture of my sexy face, so you can bask in its gloriousness and gloriosity.