All posts in Personal

New Design and Backend

As of this weekend, this blog now sports a brand new design as well as the WordPress software! After a week of careful planning and researching themes and plug-ins, I decided to make the switch from my good old ExpressionEngine suite to the popular WordPress blogging platform.

As I’ve already used WordPress for another blog of mine, Thy Old XBOX, I am very familiar with the workings of WordPress. Although ExpressionEngine has suited me very well for the five years or so I have used it, WordPress is still a much better platform for blogging. For anything not blogging-related, I firmly believe ExpressionEngine is the better choice. I’ve written another post on this earlier when I compared the two suites.

The process of converting from ExpressionEngine to WordPress was one which I might detail sometime in the future, one which was not as straight-forward as I had hoped.

For you users, there now comes a month or two of adapting to the new theme (which, by the way, is not my own work, sadly) and to have patience while I fix up the “About me” and “Contact” pages, as well as other things I have planned for the near future. Bear with me, for I believe this change is for the better!

Facebook Usernames – Finally!

The clock ticks at 5:59, 6:00 and then reaches 6:01AM. What a thrill! The adrenaline pumping, the eyes flickering, the fingers rapidly pressing the keyboard trying to get that special username…

After trying /douglas and actually getting a message that the name was available – miliseconds later chaning status to taken – I finally rested my mind on /dstridsberg. Not too bad, but perhaps /douglas.stridsberg would have been better?

I don’t know, and I sure was way too fired up to think about anything else at the very moment…

I did, though, have a chat with the Douglas that received /douglas and in his timezone (6 hours behind mine) he only just had to stay up till 12AM (which isn’t that late considering its a Friday night). Life’s unfair – isn’t it?

Anyway, I’m still rather happy with my new facebook username, Douglas Stridsberg! Perhaps this will in some way or another favor my Google search rankings?

Organic Chemistry – Hydrocarbons

Definition

The study of organic chemistry is the study of the chemistry of carbon compounds. Not all carbon compounds are counted as organic, the rule excludes carbonates (x-CO₃), carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO₂).
Hydrocarbons contain hydrogen (H) and carbon only. They are divided into groups such as alkanes, alkynes, alkenes and alcohols, and are homologous series. Homologous series are, accodring to tiscali.co.uk, “any of a number of series of organic compounds with similar chemical properties in which members can be described by a general formula and ofen differ by a constant relative molecular mass”.

Alkanes

Alkanes are, thanks to their purely single carbon bonds (C-C), saturated. Physical properties include low melting- and boiling points considering the molar mass. They do not conduct, have low densities and do not solve in water.

Examples

  • Methane – CHâ‚„
  • Ethane – Câ‚‚Hâ‚

What’s Going On?

I’ve wanted to let you know about what I’m doing for a long time, but I just haven’t come around to doing it.
Currently I am developing the new design for the site which really will include everything you’d ever dream of.
I will introduce every kind of link rel=”” available to suit as many browsers and engines as possible. I will launch a mobile version of the site with less graphics but the same content.
I have plans for various small features such as change font-size, print this article and a cleaner and all more useful commenting system.

A sketch or two are available at the new page, go have a look!
I will hopefully bring you more news as time goes by, stay tuned!

The Rise of Adolf Hitler

The Beerhall Putsch of 1923, Hitler’s first attempt to take power, had failed, and Hitler was sentenced to 5 years in prison. While in prison he wrote “Mein Kampf” (My Struggle) which was to become the Bible of the Nazi movement.
It is symptomatic that Hitler had been allowed to make a grand speed at the trial. This shows the sympathetic attitude of the court system towards his ideas. The personnel of the courts were no strong supporters of the new Weimar Republic.
The speech was published all over Germany and made Hitler known as a strong nationalist leader. He only served nine months at the Landsberg prison whereafter he was released on probation.
When released, Hitler found a Nazi party (NSDAP) in disarray. The groups of Berlin, lead by the Strasser brothers, were pulling in one direction whilst the Munich Nazis were more anti-semitic and nationalistic in their ideas. Furthermore, Streseman had solved the crisis of 1923 and Germany had experienced progress. Therefore, the Nazi had very little support in the Reichstag.

The NSDAP after Hitler’s freeing

Hitler did not mind that the Nazi party was weak and split when he was release. Now he could take control and shape the party. At the 1926 Party Congress in Bamberg, Hitler did just this.
The Strasser group had on its side a strong PR expert, Dr. Joseph Göbbels, who intended to “defeat” Hitler at the said meeting. Instead however, Göbbels was impressed by Hitler and actually joined his camp.
Furthermore, Hitler managed to introduce some key principles into the party ground rules; the “Führer Prinzip” (i.e. Hitler would from now on be the leader and he alone would make important decisions to be obeyed) and he also decided that power was now to be reached not through violent coup d’état but rather by working within the democratic system and winning elections for the Reichstag.
After Bamberg in 1926 the main problem for Hitler remained the lack of Nazi support in the Reichstag. During the booming German economy a party of the discontented like the NSDAP had hard times winning popular support.

The NSDAP gains votes (1929->)

By 1927 the situation of German farmers was deteriorating. The Nazis reacted on this and started to go out in the countryside offering help and support to the peasants. In the elections from 1930 and onwards it became apparent that a large majority of Germany’s farmers voted Nazi.
In 1930, the last SPD Chancellor, Müller, resigned. The economic crisis was causing a massive growth of unemployment and the government couldn’t find majority support in the Reichstag for its policies.
In May 1930, Heinrich Brüning (Catholic Centre Party) was appointed Chancellor by President Hindenburg. Brüning was reluctant to increase government spending on subsidies for companies and support for the unemployed – as he had the 1923 hyperinflation in fresh memory.
At no cost did he want to risk the occurrence of a new inflation. For this, Brüning earned the nickname “The Hunger Chancellor”. He was Chancellor until 1932, running a minority coalition.
Therefore, the government was completely dependent upon the presidential emergency decree (Article 48), which was used at an increasing rate.

The Backstairs Intrigue

Brüning tried to create support for his government in 1930 by asking for new elections. However, the situation in the Reichstag just deteriorated.
The extremist parties won more seats (the NSDAP won 107 seats, the KPD 77 seats) which was quite the opposite of what he had hoped. Now he became even more dependent on the presidential decree.
The Nazi paramilitary organization, Sturmabteilung (SA), became very active, creating violence in the streets and picking fights with the communist bands.
The SA had by the early 1930’s grown into an organization of 2.5 million men, lead by Ernst Röhm. In order to try to restore calm in the cities, Brüning imposed a ban on the SA in 1930.
They were no longer allowed to parade the streets in uniform. With the dysfunctional situation in the Reichstag, influence over President Hindenburg instead became the key factor for political power.
He was during 1930-1933 very much listening to the advice of General Kurt von Schleicher.

The Intrigue evolves

von Schleicher had suggested the choice of Brüning as Chancellor. By 1932 however, von Schleicher had begun to disagree with Bru¨ning’s anti-Nazi attitude.
In May 1932, at von Schleicher’s advice, Hindenburg withdrew his support for Brüning and dismissed him. Franz von Paper was appointed and formed a government which was named the “Government of Barons” due to all of it’s ministers being noble.
Hoping for support in the Reichstag, von Papen asked for new elections. The result was more than 50% of the seats in favor of the extremists, and the Nazis had now the biggest party with 37% of the seats.
In order to please Hitler, von Papen lifted the ban on the SA. Furthermore, Hitler is offered a port in Papen’s new government, but he refuses to accept anything but the Chancellorship.
Thus, von Papen’s new government is left completely dependent upon Article 48. By November, the economic depression and political violence had plunged German society even deeper into chaos.
Now, von Schleicher asked the President to dismiss Papen. He had a plan.

Back from Holiday in Zermatt

After a wonderful week, both regarding the weather and the happenings, in Zermatt I am finally back home.
Zermatt is a well-known skiing area in the southern parts of Switzerland, just close to the Italian border. The ski-system consists of 313km snow-covered pistes including a snow-park, a beginners area and pistes on a glacier (the Theodul Glacier).
Amongst other things I brought my camera, a Kodak Z812 IS, which resulted in a lot of imagery (and a lot of thought about whether to buy a new camera or not), most of it being fairly dull photos of the scenery.
Nonetheless I have had time to edit and perfect a dozen or so images (not only from Zermatt) which I have uploaded to the Gallery.

On the return from Zermatt I paid a visit to the Caf̩ de Paris in Geneva. As you may know they only serve one dish, the Entrec̫te Caf̩ de Paris with the famous Caf̩ de Paris sauce and the French Fries. Let me just say this Рit tasted amazing. Nothing short of amazing.

I do hope you enjoy watching the newly uploaded photos as well as further reading my blog!

The Weimar Republic

Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic was the constitutional system, the state, that ruled Germany between 1919 and 1933. Because of the insecurity in Berlin after the war where both left- and right-wing extremists tried to take power, the new democratic government was set up in Weimar, judged to be a safe place.
As Germany had been forced to disarm her huge army, the country was now filled with unemployed ex-soldiers, bitter and filled with strong nationalism.
These, together with the right-wing extremists, formed bands of Freikorps whom did not accept the Versailles Treaty, the loss of the war and the Weimar Republic.

The Troubled Start

At the end of the First World War different political extremist groups tried to take power. Amongst them were a Socialist republic under Kurt Eisner, the Spartakist Uprising (which leaders were brutally murdered (Kurt Liebkniecht and Rosa Luxemburg)), right-wing extremists under Wolfgang Kapp.
Out of the above, the army spared only the latter which in fact was crushed by the Weimar Republic itself…

The Weimar Republic and Adolf Hitler
Due to the early troubles, the Weimar Republic inherited a weakness already; the Germany army could perhaps not be trusted to defend the existence and power of the Republic.
In the cases of left-wing attempts to overthrow the state however, the army commander were keen to defend the government.
What in the end killed the right-wing attempt to overtake power was a general strike issued by President Ebert, which forced Wolfgang Kapp to leave his power after 3 days.
In 1993 in Munich, Adolf Hitler and the local right-wing party, the Nazional Sozialistiche Deutsche Arbeiter Party (NSDAP), tried to carry out a coup. The attempt was supposed to create a massive following as Hitler wanted to make a march to Berlin. It was however stopped by the Munich police who shot at the marchers, killing some.
Hitler fled but was arrested and sentenced to 6 years in prison in 1924.

More weakness

Weimar politicians were blamed for the 1918 armistice, nationalists claimed it was a “Stab in the Back” of the victorious Germany army.
These politicians were also blamed for signing the Treaty of Versailles.
The republic had an election system which was proportional. This was 100% democratic. There was however no threshold to how small the parties of the Reichstag could be (only needing about 60’000 votes).
Therefore several small parties sat in the Reichstag which in turn created political instability. On average, the republic changed government every six months, and it was difficult to create stable majority support for the government.
Instead, the governments were weak coalitions with the SPD (Sozialistiche Partei Deutschlands) depending on the Catholics or Liberals for support.
In 14 years, the Republic had 21 different governments, only eight of them had majority support.
The political parties of Germany had never under Bismarck or Wilhelm really carried the responsibility of governing the country. Thus, they had not understood the importance of compromise and pragmatism.
Some parties even went as far as organizing troops against each other. This added to the weakness of the parliamentary system under Weimar. According to the constitution, in case of the parliament failing, the president had the possibility of governing through emergency decree.

Important events

In 1921 the reparation payments for Germany to pay were fixed at £6’600 million. This was seen as a burden too heavy to bear, and France agreed that it could be payed in goods instead of currency.
But the Germans asked for postponement in 1921, 1922 and 1923… The French lost their patience as they needed the money not only for reparations but also to pay their debts to the USA. As a result, French troops invaded the Ruhr area in 1923 to physically make Germany pay.
Berlin ordered a strike and France sent over their own workers to run the factories. The invasion was called the Ruhr Crisis.
Economically, the Ruhr Crisis was a major disaster for Germany as they lost 95% of the level of production in the area.
Following this event, Germany also started over-printing money to pay the striking workers. It seems that Germany wanted to demonstrate to the world how unfair the reparations were.
Germany was struck by hyper-inflation, some big change in German policies had to happen!

The Second Crisis of Weimar

In 1929 a financial crisis started in the American countryside which by October hit the stock market at Wall Street. The Wall Street Crash caused US banks to urgently ask the debts to be paid.
For Germany this was disastrous. Investment funds for German industry dried up and factories laid off workers. Within two years, six million people lost their job. Consequences of this were that extreme parties gained voters causing an impossibility to create a majority government. This undermined the Republic and opened the door to the Nazis.

“iykwim” – the Story of the Lost Abbreviation

“iykwim”. “iykwim”. “iykwim”. My bet is that none of those abbreviations (ha ha, they’re all the same) mean anything at all to you. At most it might look like a cryptographic sequence of letters that allegedly mean something cool.
Want to know what it means? It’s a lot simpler than you thought, it simply means “if you know what I mean“. I have used this one on so many people, and I have yet to find someone who can decipher what it stands for.

Now you know, thanks to me. I’ll take the signing of autographs later!

Buying a Dist-Pedal for the Guitar

The past day or so I have been actively browsing my favorite music-apparel shops in search for a dist- and overdrive-pedal for my guitar.
I currently own a Peavey BANDIT 112 amp at 80W, a wonderful amp with a lot of customization and an unbeatable sound quality. But, but, but… It lacks the kind of distortion I am looking for… The roaring kind of dist, lifting the whole room when you strike that power chord…

The amp

The BANDIT 112 in all glory – it is truly a fantastic amp – but it has a pretty dull and compressed distortion. That particular type is suitable for some songs, but I want more!
So therefore I am, as stated, looking for distortion pedals in the range of -$60 USD. That might sound as very little, but as I am selling my old effect-box for about that amount.

I have mainly been looking at the Behringer HD300 Heavy Distortion pedal. It looks amazing, I just hope it sounds as amazing!

Tourist or Traveller – an Essay on Modern Tourism

“The tourist takes his culture with him, the traveller leaves his behind.”

The quote above, taken from a paper lying in front of me, describes the relationship between tourists and travellers. It describes the impact they cause on the country they visit as well as their general attitude towards another country, culture or other people. What exactly does it mean, though?

I believe it means tourists are unwilling to spend time and effort to try and adapt to the country they visit or to the cultural habits they are facing. Tourists see themselves as by-passers, trying to enforce the “watch but don’t touch”-idea at all times. They do not foresee how much impact their own actions do, meaning that they generally negatively impinge on the surrounding area and environment.
The quote describes travellers as people whom whole-heartedly attempt adapting to the culture and the ways of the country they visit. They are very aware of how to behave, what to not do and why, thus by also “leaving their culture behind” they take in a lot more knowledge and positive impressions from the visit.

It’s not the first time we’ve heard about the dangers of tourism, and it surely is not the last either. Often the environment has been victim of littering and other harmful behaviour, resulting in a lot of attention from the press and environmental organizations. Tourism can of course be a negative thing, and it probably mostly is, however it does have some bright sides to it. Tourism is to many countries the foremost source of money and fame, and in some rare cases big areas live solely on the profits from tourism. Although perhaps this looks like a symbiotic relationship, wealthy tourists visit the area and receive great service whilst the people obtain money to build schools and hospitals, it is absolutely reliant upon tourism. There is no “partnership” in this case, consequently if tourism dies then so do all the funds. Not vice-versa.

In comparison, travellers are tourists with an open mind and a conscious way of living. They do practically no damage to the environment, they interact in a helpful way with the people and their culture, they live on what is available more than trying to acquire what isn’t there.

Personally, I consider the main difference between tourism and travelling boils down to be the attitude. With an open mind and a positive attitude towards other cultures and ways of living I think humanity can come far, not only solving problems with tourism but also solving major environmental crises. I believe the cause for most problems on the Earth is attitudes and the way they affect how we act and think. Seeing the key role advertising plays in how we consume I assume it’s the best way to combat habits that affect the environment negatively, as consumption is closely linked to how much we influence our surroundings.

Which type of visitor I would rather be? That’s a difficult question! In most cases I do not wish to endeavour the lengthy process of becoming part of a culture nor do I wish to live by its rules even though I may deeply respect them. I am more of something in between; I avoid both affecting nature but also the affecting the culture, a moral I live by and which works for me. Admittedly none of us can be perfect, but I say let us overcome our differences and unite to save the Earth from what awaits it!