Monday, April 30, 2012

10 Bible verses every woman should read

One thing I have realized with religious people is very few of those religious people have actually taken the time to read their religious script from cover to cover.They simply do not know large parts of what is in their religious script. To help people better understand the words of religious scripts from bronze age religions I have put together these 10 verses to help woman understand clearly where they and their family fit into Christianity. I chose Christianity because I live in a Christian country, but this same exercise can be applied to any of the bronze age religions.

*Disclaimer. These verses are quote mined and should also be read in context. The idea of this is to get people thinking about if the Bible (written by man) is really the absolute word of God. Or is it perhaps bronze age man's best understanding of God?

1 Corinthians 11:5-7

but every wife[a] who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to cover his head, sincehe is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man.

Deuteronomy 25:11-12

11 If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, 12 you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.

Deuteronomy 23:2

No one born of a forbidden marriage[a] nor any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, not even in the tenth generation.

1 Timothy 2:12

12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;[a] she must be quiet.

Deuteronomy 22:20-21

20 If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found, 21 she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done an outrageous thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you.

Leviticus 12:5

If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.

Matthew 10:35-38

35 For I have come to turn
“‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law 
36     a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[a]
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Deuteronomy 22:23-24

23If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
 24Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.

Exodus 21:7-11

“If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself,[a] he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11 If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.

Isaiah 13:15-18

15 Whoever is captured will be thrust through;
    all who are caught will fall by the sword. 
16 Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes;
    their houses will be looted and their wives violated.
17 See, I will stir up against them the Medes, 
    who do not care for silver
    and have no delight in gold. 
18 Their bows will strike down the young men; 
    they will have no mercy on infants,
    nor will they look with compassion on children.

I know a lot of Christians will be upset about the amount of Old Testament verses that I have quoted from. In a way they have a point. Where the New Testament God was more about loving and caring, the Old Testament God was all about smiting, rape, pillage and destruction. In early Christian society there was massive theological arguments about if the two Gods were compatible. 

However, to those that complain that I quote too much from the Old Testament, I would like you to listen to what Jesus of Nazareth had to say.

Luke 16:17

17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bravo Santam, Bravo!

South Africa has some very strong anti-competitive advertising laws. This is actually a bad deal for South Africa and one of the echo's of Apartheid... but every now and again... a company braves our archaic media laws and takes a fun little swipe at another company.

Hats off to both Nando's and Santam for this fun advertising war. Both companies played well, but Sanlam just rocked the show.

This is the original Santam advert

The is Nando's cheeky rip off  of the Santam advert

This is the brilliant response by Santam to the cheeky Nando's advert

Bravo Santam. Well played!

A day of frustration dealing with a Dell PowerEdge T110 II server

I wrote this blog post so that other people who have frustrating issues with a Dell PowerEdge T110 II server and its rather picky network card issues.

So this is how my day went. At 8:15AM I am called into our boardroom for a meeting. One of our clients has had a server crash on them and they want a new server solution. The sales team sell the client a nice large Dell PowerEdge T110 II server.

The hardware is handed to me and I take it to my office. First thing I notice is that someone has snaked my install CD for ClearOS. A little annoyed I grab a blank CD and hunt for the ISO image. I remember that my ClearOS ISO is on my linux partition and I am currently booted into Windows.

Using a special tool I extract the ISO from my Linux partition and get ready to burn it. Only to realize that my CD ROM/burner is not working. Oh well. I copy the ISO onto a network share and ask one of my colleagues to burn the ISO to a CD for me. He does and I get the bootable ClearOS CD.

I am about to put the CD in and start the installation when I notice that is only one onboard network card (NIC) in the Dell server. Since the client wants to use this server as a gateway server it would require two NICs.

So I head over to our supply department and ask for an additional NIC. They give me another NIC and I head back to my office. I open up the Dell server and look inside to see that they Dell server only handles PCI-Express NICs. Oh dear, so I mission back to the sales guys and ask them for PCI Express NIC.

This takes a little while because it turns out that the PCI-Express NIC is the last one they have in stock. What a bit of luck I think.

I take the NIC back to my office, place it in the open Dell, close up the machine and sit down at my chair. Finally!, I think. I can start installing the operating system.

I boot up off my ClearOS CD and go through the first part of the install configuration. I eventually get to the bit where it asks me for my PPPOE and other network settings and I quickly input the data.

Bang. Error. “Unable to configure network interface”. Eh? Wtf? I have done hundreds of these installs and never had this error.

I drop down to the very complicated Dell BIOS and try to see what's happening. I see the Dell has some type of cool remote management system built into the BIOS that works off the network card. The PCI-Express NIC that I have I have used the same make on many of the HP server installs I have done , so I think that perhaps the reason why we are unable to configure the NIC’s is because of this fancy Dell network management.

Perhaps if I disable it and install a second PCI-Express NIC I will not have a problem. So I disable the onboard NIC and head back to the sales guys only to find out that we have no more PCI-Express NIC`s in stock :( So I get our salespeople to contact our suppliers and I organize another card. Only problem here is I have to get in my car and mission over to our suppliers to pick up the NIC. No problem. 40 minutes later I am back in my office with another PCI-Express NIC and I install it.

Once again I boot up off the CD, and once again I get the same error about not being able to configure the network interface. Now I am really confused. I know these NIC`s work in Linux as I have used them before. The only thing I am unfamiliar with in this whole setup is the Dell server. I normally just use HP servers and have never had a problem before.

To be sure, I take the PCI-Express NIC’s that I had put in the Dell and put them into a spare HP server I have lying around. Bang. That Ubuntu Linux install identifies the NIC`s right away and I am able to configure them.

A little confused I think perhaps there is a problem with the kernel on ClearOS. Highly unlikely, but I can not understand why the NIC`s are not showing up on the Dell. To make sure its not the operating system that is having issues I put the two NIC’s back into the Dell server and boot up off an Ubuntu CD. Nope. Not even Ubuntu is able to pick up the NIC’s

It has to be the fancy BIOS I think. If the HP can see them, there should be no reason why the Dell can not see them. Right now I feel really stupid as I think that perhaps since I have no experience with Dell servers I am unqualified to understand how their specific BIOS works.

I reboot the Dell and login to the BIOS. Wow... now one thing I will say about Dell. Their BIOS is next to amazing. Its is very complete... and very complicated. I had to research several of the terms used under the more advanced settings as I had never seen them before. Not only that the BIOS is divided into three sections. There is a section that deals with managing the remote access through to the BIOS through a network management port. There is the normal BIOS settings that we all know and love, and there is some type of advanced BIOS system (that has a full mouse supported color GUI) called “System services”.

After spending two hours going through every possible setting I could find (as well as learning several new technologies along the way). I give up in frustration. Bah. Nothing in those BIOS settings seemed to explain why the Dell server would not pick up the two PCI-Express NIC’s.

Now I am stressed. The client (who has a network of 50 computers) has being down the whole day. Which means their company has almost being shut down in non-productivity. The time frame that I had given my client as to when the server will be ready had long since gone. I had let them and myself down.

In frustration I decide bugger this. For now I will just ditch the Dell and get my client up and running in the meantime. I head back to our sales guys and ask them for an HP server that I can loan to our client until I sort out the Dell issue. No problem. They have a spare HP for me and I sign it out and once again head back to my office.

Finally! A system I am familiar with and a solution that I know works. I open up the Dell server, pull out the NIC’s, I then open up the HP and place the NIC’s in the HP server.

I then place the ClearOS CD in the CD tray and switch on the server. It does not boot up. I get a POST error sound and a blank screen. Wtf.

After a deep sigh I stand up and open up the HP again. Yup, one of the techie blighters in the workshop seem to have nicked the RAM module from the server. Sigh. So I open up my test HP server (the one I tested the NIC’s with earlier), pull out the RAM module from there and place it in the loan HP server.

Once again I push the on button and voila! It boots. Progress eventually! This time when the operating system install gets to the network configuration it works without any problems. Finally. It looks like I am finally getting somewhere.. until about 80% into the operating system install where I get an error saying XYZ file can not be opened. The CD appears to be corrupted. Sigh.

So I get another CD and I ask my colleague to burn the ClearOS ISO again as I thought perhaps the copy had been done too fast and the corruption occurred while we were burning the CD or because there was a small error on the CD media.

So we burn another CD and again I start the process. I go through the initial configuration again (for about the 15th time this day), and again the install fails at exactly the same point as the original disk. It appears my ClearOS ISO is corrupt. Sigh.

So I download the ISO again from the ClearOS website. Get my collegue to burn the ISO to yet another CD and I am finally able to complete the install. It is 4pm now and something that should have taken me 2 hours has taken me 7 hours.

I bet you are wondering why the Dell did not work with the PCI-Express cards? Well after searching the Internet for about an hour I finally found the reason why. The Dell server only works with specific types of PCI-Express NIC’s.

Apparently the Realtek chipset I was using is not supported by the Dell server. I found this out by reading many threads on the same issue on their support forums. The most common answer from Dell Support was, “Sorry, that is a 3rd party piece of hardware. We do not offer support for it”.

For the record (and from what I have figured out), the Dell PowerEdge T110 II server only likes to use Dell NIC’s, though according to the forums you may have luck with Broadcom, Intel and Giga-Byte network interface cards. The Dell server I have does NOT work with NIC’s with the Realtek chipset in it.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Does labelling the attacks against farmers in SA as genocide create a pseudo-issue?

Earlier this evening I was reading a blog post by Helen Zille describing what she calls pseudo-issues. I will quote her directly to give you a quick over view of the concept.
 ...should we do penance for the things that people claim, believe, allege or assume we said or did, irrespective of the facts?  
Politics is full of people who create “pseudo issues” to provoke “pseudo outrage”.   They then demand a “genuine apology”, in order to legitimise the outrage they provoked.   
Should we play along with this cynical game? 
The obvious answer is no. But nothing is obvious in politics. Perversions of the truth soon become perceptions of the truth which then become indistinguishable from the truth. When this happens, there is no point in drawing attention to the truth itself.  This simply provides an opportunity for a new round of pseudo outrage
It reminded me about (what I believed) was the misuse of the word, "genocide" by a right wing minority to describe violent crime on rural farms. I honestly feel that calling violent crime our farms are experiencing an organized racially motivated genocide campaign to be a pseudo-issue obstructing many of us from understanding and dealing with the real cause of rural homicides.

So I decided to tweet Helen Zille to get her opinion on the issue. Twitter is a terrible medium to try get across complex ideas and thoughts and I think that I did not communicate clearly enough to Helen about what I was thinking.
@ Read your post about pseudo issues. I feel that calling farm attacks, "genocide" is also a pseudo issue. What do you think?

Helen shortly responded with:

safrikaan Murder takes the debate into another realm. Not even one single murder can ever be described as a "pseudo issue".
I think due to the limitations of Twitter I was unable to convery my point clearly enough. I was not saying that murder is a pseudo-issue, every murder is a serious issue. I was saying that trying to label farm homocides as genocide is a pseudo issue.

To get my points and view across I have written this extended blog post to better understand my perspective.

I think I need to clarify that the farm attacks in South Africa are at seriously dangerous levels. As with most countries around the world, working on a farm is up there as one of the most dangerous occupations with high fatality rates. The remote nature of farms make farmers particularly vulnerable. Farm attacks are a serious issue South Africa has to resolve, and calling them "genocide" is not the way do it.

Calling the farm attacks "genocide" is a misuse of the word. I believe the use of the word is politically motivated to promote polarization and keeps us distracted from focusing on the real root causes of the attacks.

Let's first look if the farm attacks fit the requirements to be considered genocide.

Oxford Dictionary defines genocide as, "the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular nation or ethnic group". That is a pretty wide definition and even by that broad definition the farm attacks do not accurately fit the definition of genocide.

When you hear the farm attacks called genocide, the perception that is created is that there are systematic attacks focused on  taking out white Afrikaans farmers. This is a false perception on a serious issue.

According to some farmer organizations the number of people killed in farm attacks since the ANC took control is around 3000 people. The South African Police Service (SAPS) puts the amount killed at around 2500. I trust the credibility of farmers organizations on keeping track of the numbers killed in farm attacks more than I trust SAPS. So I give the benefit of the doubt here to the farmers.

So now you have the perception that 3000 white Afrikaans farmers have been killed over 18 years. Well, it's a false perception. Of the 3000 farm attacks victims, 61% of those that were killed were white farmers. The list includes the deaths of both farmers and farm workers from farm attacks.

If the attacks are focused on white Afrikaans farmers why is there such a high percentage of non-white deaths? Why do those that give the figures of over 3000 people killed forget to mention the high number of black farm workers killed in those same attacks.

Data complied by AgriSA (AgriSA is South Africa`s largest agricultural trade association in South Africa and represents most South African farmers) and the police and published by the Institute in 2003 found that 89% of farm attacks were motivated by robbery for financial reasons, while only 2% were motivated by race hate crime.  Unfortunately, the statistics are a little dated (perhaps because the SAPS classifies these cases under regular
homicide and does not specify them as farm attacks).  However, there is no data to suggest that the trend has changed.

So only 2% of farm attacks are race crimes against farmers. While that is still a horrific number of people, it is not the main cause of these attacks. Those people incorrectly calling the farm attacks a genocide are ignoring the real main causes of farm attacks. South Africa is one of the global leaders in social and financial inequality within its population and every political scientist knows that the bigger the gap between the rich and the poor, the more unstable, desperate and violent a society becomes. If we look at countries with the highest levels of income inequality, we see South Africa near the top of the list.

Since the end of Apartheid, South Africa has become a welfare state. While many right wing fiscal conservatives (and libertarians) like to misrepresent South Africa`s transition into a welfare state as communist agenda  designed to lead us on the road to ruin, the reality of the issue is that well-managed welfare countries are the best (best as in happiest, most educated, most equal, safest, most economically free,  etc) countries in the world.

There is a small but constant incorrect perception that only wealthy countries can afford to become welfare countries. This is not the truth.Countries become welfare states to grow their middle class. A large majority of the the most successful welfare states in existence today went welfare in their economically darkest hours. Welfare countries like France and Germany went welfare after World War 2. Both Germany and France had their industrial economies decimated by two world wars and France had record an unemployment of over 36% (much higher than South Africa's unemployment figures) pre-welfare. Today Germany is one of the strongest economies in the world and France`s unemployment rate has dropped to 9.8%. When Sweden went welfare, it did so because of food riots and the failure of state- and church-organized charities to sufficiently deal with poverty and unemployment. Many countries like Finland went welfare after their economies were decimated by Soviet occupation.

Well-run welfare states have a proven track record of reducing poverty and unemployment.This comparison chart on Wikipedia shows clearly shows the impact of welfare on unemployment and poverty.

So if South Africa is a welfare state, why are the crime and poverty rates dropping more quickly?  One aspect we need to consider is that change takes time. France, Germany and Sweden did not drop their poverty and unemployment levels overnight. However, the single-most important reason why we have not had better results is the single biggest relevant criticism against a welfare state: Welfare states are complex and difficult to manage, and if they are managed badly, mistakes can cost us a lot (as the PIGS welfare countries recently found

South Africa is listed by CitiBank as the most mineral-rich country in the world. We have the resources and ability to manage constructive welfare programs to develop South Africa at a higher rate. Unfortunately, the culture of corruption in the ruling ANC party has created a hostile environment for the essential ingredients for a successful welfare state -- competency, transparency and accountability.

So why are some right wing white South Africans incorrectly saying that the farm attacks are organized genocide? They are creating and blowing out of context the real reasons for the farm attacks in an attempt to polarize population groups into supporting their ideology. The easiest way to control people is through fear. By creating an artificial perception of genocide they are polarizing people into being more receptive to their extremist ideologies and wacky racial beliefs.

It is the same fear that the Apartheid government used to polarize white communities during Apartheid. Swaart Gevaar (Afrikaans for "black danger"). The manipulation of fear is not just exploited by white people on the far right. Fear is just as easily exploited by ANC representatives on the far left for their own corrupt political agenda
as we saw with Julius Malema and his singing of the, "Kill the Boer" song.

Both the far left and far right represent tiny but very vocal minorities in South Africa. Most South Africans of all color want to live and work together and build a better South Africa.

If we want to reduce the farm attacks we need to reduce South Africa`s level of financial and social inequality. We do this by replacing the current corrupt ANC with a more competent, transparent and accountable government. We build more and increase the quality of our public schools and universities and we make sure there is a strong social healthcare service to protect the weakest in our community. A strong focus on education and health and creating the opportunities for business to grow will result in positive future prospects for our

We need to focus on the real causes of violent crime in South Africa. High levels of corruption, poverty and unemployment and low levels of quality education, health and other essential services.

Lastly. If you did not get bored of my rambling and want to look at more information and empirical evidence about why becoming becoming a welfare country is the best solution we have come up with so far. Please read this article on American Scientist :