Monday, July 23, 2007

We got an Instalanche for the El Jueves post, along with a link from Barcepundit who himself got Instalanched, so lots of people at least looked at that one. Also, I searched Google for "el jueves," and Iberian Notes is 20th on the list of English-only searches. That brought in a lot of people.

Wacky stuff from La Vanguardia: there's a back-page interview with a guy named Francisco Klauser, billed as a "videovigilance expert," who says, "There are already companies in the United States that demand that their employees have chips implanted." So I googled "us companies chip implant," and got this story from the Times of London about how some British patients were having identifying chips implanted for medical reasons; this BBC story on how implanted chips might be used to identify dead or wounded soldiers; and this New York Sun story saying that one video surveillance company required its president and two staffers to get the chip that would allow access into the room where their confidential video footage is stored. The staffers were not required to have the chips implanted; one carries his chip on his key ring.

Oh, yeah, one more story, from the New Scientist:

Clubbers in Spain are choosing to receive a microchip implant instead of carrying a membership card. It is the latest and perhaps the most unlikely of uses for implantable radio frequency ID chips.

The Baja Beach Club in Barcelona offers people signing up for VIP membership a choice between an RFID chip and a normal card. VIP members can jump the entrance queues, reserve a table and use the nightclub's VIP lounge.

The New Scientist artiole says that as of May 21, 2004, only nine people had been implanted with the chip at the extremely tacky Barcelona bar, where I have never been and will never go. Since only two US workers have had chips implanted, and one is the president of the company, that means that there are more bar-hoppers in Barcelona carrying these chips than workers in Big Brother's United States.

The tinfoil-hat interviewee adds, "In the Unitred States there is a system called Echelon that can listen to all telephone conversations." Whoa. I've heard lots of ridiculous claims about Echelon (which of course doesn't exist; signals intelligence does exist, and always has), but saying that the US government can listen to all phone conversations is beyond normal nuttiness.

One more slightly wacky bit: there's a rundown of 20th century American first ladies on the occasion of the death of Lady Bird Johnson (whose real first name was Claudia). The author translates "Lady Bird" as "'señora pájaro,' a curious nickname." Of course, a ladybird, also called a ladybug, is a beetle with red wings that have black spots on them, and the translation to Spanish is "Mariquita." Which also means "fag," by the way.

Jesus de Polanco, the guy who ran the Prisa media empire, died at age 77. De mortuis nil nisi bonum, but his company was a Socialist propaganda organ in the same way that El Mundo and the Cope are PP propaganda organs. Prisa's 2006 revenue was €2.8 billion, and its profit was €228 million. In order, the company's biggest moneymakers are El País, which beought in an €83 million profit, Radio Ser, which brought in €74 million, and the Santillana publishing house, which earned €37 million. Polanco's TV station, Cuatro, is operating at a loss.

PP leader Rajoy made nice and went to the funeral, though he didn't like Polanco one least little bit. The PP was boycotting Prisa media outlets because Polanco called them extremists who were trying to start another civil war, and I assume the boycott will continue.

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