29 September 2013

Neo-nazis in Sweden: on the train to Stockholm

From time to time, there are groups of neo-Nazis in Sweden, even here in Uppsala, demonstrating against immigrants. According to wikipedia, there are several  of them.

Yesterday, my girlfriend, on the train to Stockholm, saw a group of those, men and women, who "looked scary". Shaved heads, swastika tatoos, leather jackets and boots, black outfit, radiating hatred from everywhere, even up the wazoo. That's the idea, of course, to bully by their mere presence. To intimidate. To make you feel unwanted. To threaten. To set themselves apart. To always be on the edge of violence.

They were abominable. And they knew it and enjoyed being so.

The amazing thing was the reaction of the train passengers.


Nobody even bothered to look. As if it was a normal thing. Just another bunch of crazy Swedes, dressed in one of those weird uniforms, we don't care, let them be, they are part of us. What? Could they even be thinking they were part of them? No reaction. None, whatsoever. Not a single look. Not a comment. Nothing. Nada.

I received a text message from her:
I feel threatened. It's horrible.
 Take a picture, I told her, let me see. I'll post it on my blog. Of course, she was more wise, and did not take one.

But the story doesn't end here. At some point, a woman enters wearing a hijab. She sat down and didn't speak to anyone. Immediately, heads turn towards her. There are no discussions, no comments, but people stare. They stare and stare and, perhaps, they disapprove. Of course, nobody will say anything. On the right side, the nazis. On the left side, the woman with the hijab. My girlfriend told me:
She was noticed. People look at her; they stare! But she poses no threat!
This is a first-hand incident and, by itself, of course, it proves nothing. But you know what I suspect and what everyone who had been on that train and was not part of the locals would have suspected: that nazis were as if they were part of the norm, whereas the hijabed woman was not.

It is not violence, fascism/nazism, which makes heads turn, but a Muslim woman with hijab, even though she poses no threat.

No wonder that so many people in Scandinavia supported Breivik, after his massacre, so much so that all online newspapers had to close down for a couple of days in order to remove the supporting comments and in order to start moderating all reader's comments. To this date, Breivik has lots of supporters.

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What measure theory is about

It's about counting, but when things get too large.
Put otherwise, it's about addition of positive numbers, but when these numbers are far too many.

The principle of dynamic programming

max_{x,y} [f(x) + g(x,y)] = max_x [f(x) + max_y g(x,y)]

The bottom line

Nuestras horas son minutos cuando esperamos saber y siglos cuando sabemos lo que se puede aprender.
(Our hours are minutes when we wait to learn and centuries when we know what is to be learnt.) --António Machado

Αγεωμέτρητος μηδείς εισίτω.
(Those who do not know geometry may not enter.) --Plato

Sapere Aude! Habe Muth, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen!
(Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!) --Kant