Ruud Lubbers over angst voor allochtonen

(Excerpts from a translation I made of an article from the NRC M magazine, December 2007 special edition. Even though I have decided to only post in Dutch, since moving to the Netherlands, this is an interesting article for those outside the low countries… and it took me several hours, spread across two months, to translate the whole article — Phillip)

“Een goedmakertje?”

I weigh that also. Take your time, I find. And now there
is another coalition. I am glad there too, naturally. But
we are far from being there. Another tone is important,
but not enough. Participation is the only way forward.

Participation is a word that occurs in “The fear beyond”.
You could say that the word is used instead of the overloaded
word emancipation. Anyway, participation and emancipation
seem together:

It shall be a whole process, just as the case of emancipation
of women in the workplace was. Initially, awaiting their arrival
certainly did not sit well with the managers [in the workplace].
But that changed gradually. [Always?] Yet more often, there is
someone from the advisory body of the executive board who stands
during a discussion and says “I find it nevertheless so rare
that there is not a single woman sitting at the table with us.
We must do something about that.” I would for an equal reason
choose [vote for?] an immigrant to close the gap [to make for
lost time?]. This is how it also originally was with the
emancipation of women. That is indeed positive discrimination,
and that is badly needed.

Terug naar het begin…
“Back to the beginning. You ran through the streets and
were shocked. Where did you run? What did you see?”
‘What i said there is especially a metaphor [is
a special metaphor]. It is also not only walking. It is
also hearing how people talk about something. For this,
my wife is my primary source of information. She is in
this case the most often [source]. There is also the
dimension of older people who are taken care of. We go
[interact] naturally a lot with people of our own age.
And those questions themselves determine where things
must go.’

“But nevertheless: you live in the middle of the city.
You walk through the city.”
‘Yes, naturally. Therefore in that sense it is
no abstraction. On the other hand: it doesn’t only happen
in the large city. The intensity is greater in the large
cities. The negative and the defensive, how many fewer
immigrants, how better — that is stronger here. But
large cities always let us see developments which also
come [appear] elsewhere. Therefore what that concerns
is itself further stretched out. Such as the [Just as the]
participation of women was also not only a question of
the large cities.’

En over ‘k*t-Marokannen’…
And about ‘c**t Moroccans’:
Criminal youth must be tackled harder. I mean that the
perception of people depends on little things: the unsafe
feeling on the street and girls being called after on the
street. My plan works thus also only in combination with
crime supression [crime reduction].

Do you frequently get the reproach that you’ve become a
softie ?
‘There is naturally a small restricted group
who read such a booklet. And there are a lot of black-and-white
[ideas]. But my [ideas are / position is] not black-and-white.
People think: “Ruud Lubbers? He has the wrong idea that we must
be positive about immigrants.’ But I absolutely [certainly] do
not write that. I write that we must take firm actions against
crime. And I require that everyone roll up their sleeves and
work. Many people think that that’s not in the booklet. Or they
have read the booklet well, but do not want to see it. They find
that too complicated. These people say: are you now for or against
immigrants. I call that, like cowboys tended to be called, black
or white, this or that. Whereas I try to write precisely as I
stand [with my ideas].

There remains the possible accusation that Lubbers as the prime
minister stood at the cradle of the current problems. The
immigration flow of what were then called guest workers (guests who
should again return) occurred during his time [as prime minister].
The “Fear Beyond” also discusses this criticism, with a historical
sketch of a few pages. The conclusion:
The immigrant youngsters are contributing insufficiently
to society. That is now our largest problem. As the first generation
guest workers know how to save themselves here, so shall their
offspring automatically well “Dutchify”: that was for a long time
thought in the Netherlands. I also just later realized that
there is more needed for letting people integrate, even when they
are born here.

Is there, looking back, also something of regret? Had we seen it?
‘No, I don’t have regret. Naturally, you can ask yourself
whether we must not have done something earlier. Before I went into
politics, I was a factory manager. Back then we thought: the guest
workers will go away again. That was a misconception. And in this
manner you can see a whole series of misconceptions. Things of which
you said: it had been possible to be better. But it is [has] just
recently exploded.’

Is it difficult for politicians to recognize social problems swiftly ?
‘That is very difficult, yes. It is difficult to see things
swiftly. And it is also difficult to know what politicians must do
and what politicians must leave alone [ignore]. In the perception
of people, politicians have become moreover greater: only they can
solve it [the problems of...]. The politicians think the same too.
And the enormous journalistic environment creates the image that it
all happens there [in the politics].
But the strength of a country lies in the society. You
hopefully have a good cabinet and a good prime minister. But
nevertheless: eventually, the society must do it.’

Why did Pim Fortuyn recognize these problems well?
‘He lived in the middle of the city, but that was not the
main point. The main point [reason] was: it was a broad-minded
person with a good, careful capacity. And as a gay person he
experienced that muslims could be closed and rejecting. Was he
therefore a hard man ? No, i don’t think so. He was for a
general pardon. And he was aware of the fact that the cabinet
had lost contact [touch] with the society. It is not because
of Pim Fortuyn that things have gone bad in this country.
Things have gone badly because you must not only say things,
but there must also be participation [there must also be action].
That did not happen. As a result, there were always more calls.
And yet less of a movement that opens itself to others. I plead
for a movement that opens itself. I call that participation.’

But people listen preferentially to Rita Verdonk than to you
‘That would best be one [voice]. And that is maybe also
one part of the problem. I have many interviews with youngsters.
That comes from the fact: I speak about the long term, and I
think positively. Youngsters are aware of the fact that
much is short term. We live in a world of sound-bytes, where
negativity sells well – the dispute, the sensational. Youngsters
are relieved when someone with a different story comes along.
They want to hear positive things. To think about the long term.’

En het spiegelbeeld is: witte, bange, oudere kiezers

And the mirror image is: white, afraid, older voters.
‘Yes. But also young people, yeah. I encounter
contemporaries who say: my son or daughter is pro-Verdonk
or pro-Wilders. That occurs everywhere, also in the
better [social] circles.’

Only politicians with a convincing future-vision and
a clear moral compass can turn the tide, says Lubbers
in De vrees voorbij. And then yet further:
‘The acceptance of muslims is very sensitive:
the wounds in the society are still fresh. Every word
in the media has a wrong explanation — you can easily
burn your fingers there. I note the difference myself
too. If I come to a reading I love about climate change,
then I wait for a standing ovation before I have said
a single word. With regards to integration it is the
other way around. That is cycling through loose sand
instead of making good time on the asphalt. But that
should not be a reason to ignore the question. How do
you prevent two groups, muslims and non-muslims, growing
further apart? It seems to me the most important topic
of this time. More important than the mortgage interest
calculation and similarly the financing of the general
retirement pensions.’

‘Thus it will be well. Not immediately, but the
results will return one day. This is a phase we must go

‘De Vrees voorbij. Een hartenkreet.’ Ruud Lubbers in
conversation with Carolina Lo Galbo. De Bezige Bij, 2007.
60 pages, 6.90 EUR.


Van de meeste tijd van m’n d——-l s—–s, ik vind nauwelijks dat de advies van -’- a——- zijn in m’n beste —–. Ja. Soms. En ook soms vind ik de Shostakovich String Quartet No. 15 in E-Flat Minor, Op. 144: I. Elegy (Adagio) niet zo speciaal.

Copy, Fat.

No thanks. I’m on Jenny Craig.

Many in the sciences spend a reasonable amount of time writing, to disseminate their ideas, or simply to gather their thoughts. You, dear reader, might be one of them. When was the last time you read Strunk & White ? Is your copy of the Chicago Manual of Style dog-eared and marked-up ? Are you fond of its cloth jacket color ?

The answers you furnish may be quite telling. I believe that, more often, we are exposed to bad style, bad grammar and poor taste. Without a style compass, the ride to a state of abundant abominations in writing, might be a smooth one. Incompetence breeds incompetence. I believe exposure to incompetence leads to “incompetence fat”: it creeps up on you without your noticing, is easy to put on, hard to lose.

“You haven’t used the simulacrum to verify the DNA sequence of the knarled eastern”

Sakyotr Povich Malovsky had spent several years trying to breed a new type of cabbage. It was a knarled eastern cabbage of his own design.

He had spent the first several years perfecting a thought device (or process if you will) which he referred to as the “gedanken cabbage simulacrum”. An interesting device it was indeed. It was made up of two notebooks, the back cover of the first glued to the second. Through a system of holes he carefully cut in the pages, he could model many variations of cabbage breeding techniques. He used the cabbage simulacrum to test out his ideas about the breeding of his goal, his knarled eastern cabbage. The holes in the simulacrum were arranged such that by dog-earing the right set of pages, he could determine the viable sequences of grafts, culls and pollinates (though it must be pointed out that the requisite dog ears, were more like a beagle’s than a schitzu’s). For years, he lobored over the simulacrum, perfecting its capabilities, using it to gain insight into his quest. After this painstaking process, Sakyotr begun growing the knarled eastern. And because of his experience with the simulacrum, he managed to achieve the perfect knarl in only four generations!

The simulacrum on its own was no small feat, capable of guiding the evolution of many a horticultural breed, from flowers to tubular roots, even gaining much sucess with woody trees (which were incidentally used to make is favorite pencils) and even with the Lebanese bonzai. With the growth of his eastern knarls, he took those insights from design to implementation. But his quests did not end there. The eastern knarls presented a particular culinary problem: their many knarls (up to 38,400 individual knarls on one prize growth), presented new challenges to the masters and engagers in the culinary arts. This was rather problematic, since the inevitable occasional tyro could barely handle a single knarl, and the experienced professionals topped out at processing two or three. But the knarls acted like little cilia, were highly sensitive to variations in pressure, and could thus, literrally, “hear”. And what an amazing feat that hearing was!

It turned out that the right sequence of vibrations would cause a knarled eastern to “self-slice”, turning into a neat cole-slaw, setup for pip’s “the stuff” or anything else. An appropriate sequence of vibrations could even turn a footbal (that’s soccer to the southerners) into a pea-sized lead nugget larger than either Catvich’s brain.

So, to go with the simulacrum, and the seeds of the knarled eastern to boot, Sakyotr devised a lexicon of incantations that could be used to achieve a cutting of choice.

And one day, the Catvich’s, unable to glean anything from his noteooks, came in to put the fire on his behind. They started bitching endlessly about the order of books on his shelves, the abscence of legends on the street signs and such. After a long rant, they ended with this: “Oh, you know, the simulacrum is nice and all, hats off, but, you know, yeh, yeh, yeh, even though it lets you accurately grow knarled easterns and such, you haven’t used it to verify the DNA sequence of the knarled eastern.”

“108 30 0 31901 105518″

Sakyotr Povich Malovsky was slowly losing his mind. In some sense, one might take this literally, since he would dash around the streets in his hills-to-spills neighborhood, wondering what had happened to his head; it wasn’t in a vice grip, but it certainly wasn’t in plain sight or yielding quickly to his queries.

To aid his search, he wrote. In many ways, that was his avocation too. He had come to the hills-to-spills neighborhood to complete two tasks he had begun two years prior. The first, yet again, involved writing. The second too, but writing was just a final means to an end in that one. However, now, with the first task behind him, and the second looming and losing him much sleep, he was engaging in what turned out to be an equivalently numbered third task.

To this third task he devoted several notebooks, and wrote with his favorite pencils. He had not graduated to the now commonplace mechanicals. The industrial revolution was still a fresh memory in the minds of all. It was evident that it was over when the academics begun positing all its benefits in their conferences (in which little knowledge was ever conferred) and their journals too. So in his notebooks he wrote. Few of his marks ever made any sense, even to him, but he strove on nonetheless, in the hope that he would chance upon his mind, bag it, and take it home. Never happened.

What did happen, was that one day, the Catvichs waltzed in, picked up all his notebooks, and exited. He watched in disbelief (but not horror) as his notebooks were taken away to be copied. The Catvich’s had recently graduated from using manual scribes for copying (since the case of 2003-S-045), to using the recently invented Xerograph. They might even write a “paper” about it. Sayotr shook his head and tapped his head with his pencil. It was marked “108 30 0 31901 105518 non-photo-blue”, and made a pleaseant wood-to-head sound.

Gate sizing

In the Xilinx Virtex 4 FPGA, the I/O transistors have 250nm gate length, memory and pass gates are 100nm, and logic is 90nm.


About two years ago, I moved into a new office. One of the extant occupants of the office at the time had his wife visiting. They took a sudden interest in my nationality, and after a few side-channel communications, the office mate made it known to me that his wife wanted to ask me a question. Go ahead, I said. “Do you eat people ?” Huh. Now I’m a cannibal.

My answer was no.

She had a follow up: “Or is it because I am skinny, maybe they wouldn’t like to eat me because I’m skinny”. I shook my head and continued reading about the π–calculus or something similar I had my head buried in at the time.

On another occasion, I’m at a musuem where I used to volunteer several hours each week. A patron enters the museum, and I begin to give them the spiel. They seem a bit taken aback, as though they had just heard a rabbit in a green bunny suit with a bib speaking fluent Dutch. I ignore their suprise. Happens all the time. Then they ask “where are you from”. I notice the priests collar, and I think “This is a man of God, if I lie to him, I might go to Hell”. Hmmm… “New Jersey” I tell him. “Oh,”, he says, “a good friend of mine sounds just like you, he went to school in England but he is originally from … . He used to tell me how he could see the top of mount Kilimanjaro from his hut every morning when he woke up. Is that true ?” Hmmm, I have seen huts, but have never slept in one, and have never seen any piece of rock bigger than mount Rainier in Washington state. Furthermore (and probably besides the point from some points of view), I had no idea who his friend was, so I could not say anything authoritative about whether his friend was a liar or not, and it would probably be better if I didn’t, because then his friend might go to Hell too, and would be pretty pissed off at me if I ended up there too. Imagine the agression. “You bastard! you ratted me out, I’ll.. I’ll…”.. Anyway, I just shook my head at the priest and told him I was sure his friend had a lot of fun as a child, and a great view of great mountains, but as to the validity or truth value, or any commentary about mountains which I have never seen, but which I must apparently be an authority on, I could not make any authoritative statements. Huh. I was shaking my head, and in my head I was thinking of myself watching myself think of shaking my head. He then asked me “What is your name ?”. Huh ? “Phillip Stanley-Marbell” I answer. At this point, I’m watching myself think about what life would be on a planet where one must perpetually shake one’s head in order to generate necessary acceleration to keep one’s brain from emission out of one’s cranial perforations. He then asks me to kindly write my full name on the visitors guide I had handed to him a few moments prior, thanks me, and enters the museum.

Blocks and Pieces

It would be interesting to know how many people, at a crossroad in their lives, choose to follow the ideals the truly believe in, rather than the safe choices. One could always argue that there are constraints — financial committments, personal, legal, other —. How often are these excuses ? I think we often don’t acknowledge that the constraints we might posit as preventing our pursuits, are really just things (things: a word of which I am currently not tooo fond) that we hold dear, or are in fear of.

How much do we care about the individual things, if any, that we cherish ? Maybe too much.


From whence cometh the name “Translation Lookaside Buffer”.
Why “lookaside” ? It turns out when the idea was invented,
caches were rare, and were oft referred to as “lookaside buffers”,
so the translation cache was called a “translation lookaside buffer”.
The name stuck.
(I found this shortly after midnight one night, when I just cracked
open my copy of Dominic Sweetmans MIPS book, “See MIPS run”. I was
just, you know, reading casually, procrastinating doing real work.
Somehow I wound up on page 121 and voila, who’d a thunk it ?)
– psm : 08/02/2002

 steal compass, drive north, disappear...