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Hugo van der Merwe
Attended Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Lives in Zurich
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Hugo van der Merwe

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What is Lindy Hop? (And how I got into it!)

I did some dancing back in 2004/2005. Since then, I always though I'd dance again some day. That day came along in 2013, when I asked a friend for some suggestions as to which dancing school and scene she'd recommend in Zurich. She mentioned Lindy Hop.

So I did what everyone does these days (I hope): did some searching on YouTube! ;-) I watched three videos in particular, this was one of them: Skye and Frida in a competition (I think). Of course dancing like this followed years and years of dedication, but they give some sense of the aesthetics of the dance, and the music it is danced on. Watch a couple more videos for an even better idea.

Lindy Hop is a social dance that originated in the Swing Jazz era: the 20s and 30s. There has been a revival, starting in the 80s I think. It is now a popular dance in many European countries. (It is also danced in South Africa, but the scene there is rather small.) In courses, everyone dances with everyone (unlike, for example, the more "coupley" culture in Salsa). The atmosphere is very friendly and there is lots of fun to be had.

I started at the end of 2013 and have been dancing continually since then - courses once a week, typically. This weekend I'm attending my third or fourth workshop, depending on how you count: I find myself in Teufen, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, attending Säntishop for three full days and nights.

Workshops typically have great teachers from all over, and are typically taught in English. In this particular case, one teaching pair happens to be none other than Frida and Skye! (They come from Sweden.) Full circle! This might have been the very first Lindy Hop video I watched. ;-)

So now you know at least a tiny little bit more about Lindy Hop. My next few shares will be about how to get started in Zürich, for anyone curious. Feel encouraged to follow or unfollow this collection depending on whether Lindy Hop is of any interest to you.
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wow!
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Hugo van der Merwe

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Webcams in Zürich!

These webcams, hosted by roundshot.com, are pretty cool: they take a photo every 10 minutes in some cases, 360 degree photos in some cases, and the site can produce timelapses over various time periods (e.g. over the past 24 hours or over the past year).
https://www.zuerich.com/de/besuchen/webcams-in-zuerich

A map of all similar webcams in Switzerland can be found here:
Full map of these roundshot.com webcams in Switzerland, 94 at the time of writing: http://www.roundshot.com/xml_1/internet/en/application/d170/f172.cfm
Schauen Sie sich die Webcams in Zürich an.
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Hugo van der Merwe

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It took me some time to finish reading this, but I found it interesting enough to make it worthwhile.
 
The Man Who Broke the Music Business

Fascinating story about Bennie Glover, who leaked vast numbers of music albums from the pressing plant he worked at. This is timely here in Australia where a court decision has just been handed down to force ISPs to divulge the details of anyone who has illegally downloaded a movie. Music and movie piracy has been around for a long time in one form or another, and if one avenue is cut off it's a good bet that another way will be found fairly quickly.

This is as long read, so save it until you've got some time to spare.

from +The New Yorker 
Dell Glover manufactured CDs for a living, but he began to wonder: if the MP3 was just as good, why bother with the CD? Credit Photograph by Jehad Nga
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+Chris Sutton I liked the content of your post. :)
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Cats on YouTube! I was not familiar with #5, #7 or #10! Of these 10, I guess I'm mostly a fan of Henri and Maru. :)

We're celebrating 10 years of YouTube. From Wikipedia:
"The first YouTube video, titled Me at the zoo, shows co-founder Jawed Karim at the San Diego Zoo. The video was uploaded on April 23, 2005, and can still be viewed on the site. YouTube offered the public a beta test of the site in May 2005, six months before the official launch in November 2005."

Google acquired YouTube in November 2006, letting YouTube continue its phenomenal growth on top of Google's infrastructure.
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Music 
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Why we're just about to retire the corporate intranet: it's not secure.
Google is moving all of its internal apps to the cloud and changing the security in tow. Read More
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I missed BeyondCorp so much I am building it at the new gig ;)
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I wonder how a Strongmanrun compares to a Tough Mudder. Either way, some day I want to do one of these! (Do notice that +Betty Heiss​ has captions on the photos.)

+Serge Malikov​ what do you say? When will you bore of roads? ;-) (I think +Andreas Otz​ has also done one of these, are you still running Andreas?)
 
What a fun event - 11,238 runners, approximately 23 kilometers, 1,300 meters elevation, 38 obstacles.
I would say I rocked this one. Even though I showed up still recovering from bone bruises in both knees, without proper training, and with a nasty cold, I also
- had fun running without trying too hard,
- stayed injury-free, and
- made 11th rank out of 2,024 female runners.
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wow, the pictures from those events are always impressive!
But I'll pass for the foreseeable future - tried trail running already (Aletsch glacier half marathon), found it not for my taste :)
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Hugo van der Merwe

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This piece considers the "web 3.0" sharing economy in the light of what we learned about Feudalism in the middle ages. Considering new platforms for sharing e.g. rides (Uber) or houses (AirBnB) are effectively pushing forward new frontiers in the digital world in a "land grab", there are many parallels that can be drawn.

I suggest reading the article first, before continuing with my commentary:

Users making use of these platforms are basically accepting the platforms as their feudal lords. Given that the lords are funded via capitalism, they are required to behave in the interests of the shareholders. This has some interesting consequences, interesting problems that we need to solve.

- Is it possible to align capitalism with everyone's best interests? Will competition truly be sufficient to achieve this?

- Can we vassals trust our feudal lords to set up appropriate travel agreements with neighbouring lords, and grant us the necessary travel documents?

- Taking part in this new economy is based largely on reputation. if our feudal lords have full ownership of our reputations, we're locked in. Emigrating to a different fief would be costly. Instead, we should perhaps find a way to own our own reputations, so we can carry it with us. (The article draws parallels to medieval guilds.)

Via +Iulia Nastasa Jacobsson, thanks!
In Paris this week, at the Ouishare Fest, the great and the good from Europe's sharing economy have been delving deep into what it means to be running a collaborative business model within a capitalist framework. Are the two even compatible? Or is there a fundamental conflict at the heart of an industry that preaches collaboration but, due to being radically commercialised by venture capital money from Silicon Valley, also needs to profiteer from...
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Here is a YouTube playlist that currently contains 9 videos of AfrikaBurn, of varying quality. I found this playlist via the official site: http://afrikaburn.com/gallery/afrikaburn-2015-videos

I'm guessing they may add photos later, or perhaps add more videos to this playlist.
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I read this back in March:
http://www.salon.com/2015/03/12/what_i_learned_from_a_male_sex_surrogate/
It was thought provoking, partly with regards to the ways it challenged preconceived notions:

"I’ve naively gone through life thinking there is a single correct definition for intimacy, one that is morally superior and therefore clearly the right choice for me. That day I came to realize it was a completely subjective term and started to think about what it really meant to me as an individual."

And also thought provoking partly through the way it showed more of the breadth of the human struggle to find long-term companionship, and the variety of the kinds of help people draw on. In the case of the author of this piece, a therapist helping her for the long-haul, with a surrogate partner helping out with some initial therapy that was effectively "heart break therapy" - i.e. the ideal outcome of the therapy was to break the author's heart. O_o
I turned to sex therapy out of desperation. My experiences there broke my heart -- and led to amazing discoveries
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Via +Dewet Diener who wrote:

"This really puts it into perspective. Barring any massively innovative technological developments and assuming the continuing trend of the current lack of willpower to address the issue, we have very much passed a point of no return. It also drives home the fact that we should be squarely focused on mitigation and, essentially, give up on trying to wait for the market to control itself."
 
The awful truth about climate change no one wants to admit

There has always been an odd tenor to discussions among climate scientists, policy wonks, and politicians, a passive-aggressive quality, and can be traced to the fact that everyone involved has to dance around the obvious truth, at risk of losing their status and influence.

This trepidation, incipient two decades ago, has become rank and file of the climate change denialists, even in the face of escalating climate chaos and in the 21st century, replete with advanced scientific discoveries and technologies. The problem is, the denialists are our policy makers who live lives of cognitive dissonance, picking and choosing which science data fits the narrative that will garner them campaign dollars.  

The obvious truth about global warming is this: barring miracles, humanity is in for some awful shit.

The image below are a number of climate models, developed by climate scientists. The black line is carbon emissions to date. The red line is the status quo — a projection of where emissions will go if no new substantial policy is passed to restrain greenhouse gas emissions.

We recently passed 400 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere; the status quo will take us up to 1,000 ppm, raising global average temperature (from a pre-industrial baseline) between 3.2 and 5.4 degrees Celsius. That will mean, according to a 2012 World Bank report, "extreme heat-waves, declining global food stocks, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, and life-threatening sea level rise," the effects of which will be "tilted against many of the world's poorest regions," stalling or reversing decades of development work. "A 4°C warmer world can, and must be, avoided," said the World Bank president.

But that's where we're headed. It will take enormous effort just to avoid that fate. Holding temperature down under 2°C — the widely agreed upon target — would require an utterly unprecedented level of global mobilization and coordination, sustained over decades. There's no sign of that happening, or reason to think it's plausible anytime soon. And so, awful shit it is.

Nobody wants to say that. Why not? It might seem obvious — no one wants to hear it! They want to hear that it is still possible to limit temperature to 2°C. Even more, they want to hear that they can do so while avoiding aggressive emission cuts in the near-term — say, until they're out of office.

http://www.vox.com/2015/5/15/8612113/truth-climate-change
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Another good post from Yonatan.

Heath Ledger's Joker was really awesome. I love it when X-Men's two factions are presented with great moral ambiguity (the latest movie I haven't seen yet BTW). I could watch Princess Mononoke again. Fringe and The Americans I haven't seen. Fringe and The Americans both sound interesting!
Yonatan Zunger originally shared to Brief Dispatches:
 
You know, I hadn't thought about it this way before, but the essay makes a compelling case: The Joker is really the hero of this story. Batman is weirdly overfunded and incompetent -- which is, of course, the traditional problem with Batman. ("You're going to invest how much in cleaning up the city? My god! Imagine all the schools and housing we could create, how many new jo... you're going to spend this on a bunch of armor and a car so you can beat up muggers? Oh. I see.") But the Joker is going out there and actually making a difference in rubbing out crime in the city -- and he seems to be going about it with a purpose.

I always liked these alternate perspectives. I remember walking out of X-Men: First Class several years ago and being profoundly confused by it; we have two guys with super-powers. One of them is an Auschwitz survivor who uses his powers to hunt down Nazi war criminals. The other of them seems to mostly use his powers to get laid, and is perpetually riding just this close to date rape. When they get pulled into political machinations, and it becomes clear that the mutants are going to be registered, indexed, "encouraged" to become ordinary people, all the things that would make anyone who survived Germany in the 1930's panic, the first one makes a stand against it and wants mutants to live freely and proudly, and tries to organize them so that they have the muscle to stand up to such demands, knowing that they'll never be accepted; the other one urges cooperation, that it'll all be OK if they just work within the system.

Wait, the second one is supposed to be the hero, and the first one is the villain? Xavier (#2 for those who haven't seen this) comes across as somewhere between naïve and deluded; Lensherr has the serious realism of someone who's seen just what the world offers in these cases. I'm pretty sure, given the choice, that I know which side this movie convinced me to take, and it sure as hell isn't Xavier's. 

This is something important in stories in general: Sometimes the story seems to have the hero/villain dichotomy printed on the label, but you can never really understand why, and it makes as much sense, if not more, from the opposite perspective.

One of the great masters of doing this on purpose is Hayao Miyazake. His Princess Mononoke is an excellent example: everyone in this war is acting for completely comprehensible, reasonable objectives, and everyone's goals make perfect sense from their perspective. But added together, they're a recipe for a bloodbath, and the real hero proves himself by preventing that.

Television has recently done an excellent job of adopting this approach, as well. Two shows which particularly come to mind are Fringe and The Americans: in both, we have two sides fighting an increasingly bloodthirsty war, and it would be very easy to pick one side as "the good guys" and the other as "the bad guys." But we see the stories through everyone's eyes, and it's extremely clear that each person is, in complete honesty, fighting for what they believe to be right, and with good reason. Fringe's "Walternate" has every reason to believe that the other world is trying to invade and destroy his, and given that they started off by kidnapping his only son, his militaristic attitude is quite understandable; and he's the closest thing the story ever had to a villain. In The Americans, listen to Elizabeth express her disgust with all the things broken in capitalism, or Stan his disgust with the KGB; everyone has real reason behind their patriotism. 

Broadly, I think this is something which always makes for the best stories: a sharp conflict, wherein all the perspectives actually make excellent sense. 

Movies, especially big-budget ones, appear to have lagged behind television in this regard, but this sometimes creates the wonderful moments of dissonance where you realize that the script itself did achieve this goal, and it's only the marketing materials or the directing choices which tried to paint one of the agonists as the hero. In a strange way, that can be even more rewarding than when it's overt: you get what you thought was a simple story, but then you peel back the layers a bit, and discover a moment of Fridge Brilliance. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FridgeBrilliance)

h/t to +Koushik Dutta for sharing this article.
When you really examine The Dark Knight The Joker might have been the real hero.
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As far as I am concerned, it's simply that I happened to see the movie first, so it spoiled the book a bit.
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I declare: the Open Water Swimming season in Zurich has started! - as far as I'm concerned anyway. :) Did a half-hour swim from Landiwiese today.

Give a shout if you want to join, west side of the lake - to benefit motivation and discipline.  Less optimal weather in the next week probably  means it will be a while before we're back at yesterday's 19 degrees water - nice and warm, Zurichsee/Mythenquai. Perhaps good that I did my "season opening" today instead, Ascension Day, when the temperature neatly/suddenly dropped back to 16, else I'd be spoiled.

I know I can handle 16+, let's find discipline to swim in anything from 15...
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Oh ouch! A drop to 12 degrees today?! (I am expecting them to be measuring 30 cm below the surface or something. Curious to see where it settles over the weekend...)

+Andreas Tischer I'm contacting you on hangouts. :)
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Education
  • Stellenbosch University, South Africa
    M.ScEng (Electronic Engineering with Computer Science)
  • Paul Roos Gimnasium, Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • British School in the Netherlands, The Netherlands
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Geek, enthusiastic about skiing, mountain biking, road biking, swimming and swing dancing!
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Making good progress on learning German (tackling B2 throughout 2015). Not sure what 2016 holds: C1 High German, or start with Swiss German? :)
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Zurich
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Somerset West - Stellenbosch - Wassenaar - Scheveningen - Johannesburg - Cape Town
Hugo van der Merwe's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Poor Little Rich Women
www.nytimes.com

I studied the women of the Upper East Side as if they were a tribe in a faraway land.

Services Google Play – Applications Android sur Google Play
market.android.com

Les services Google Play permettent la mise à jour des applications Google et Google Play. Ce composant offre des fonctionnalités fondamenta

Password Alert
chrome.google.com

Password Alert helps protect against phishing attacks.

‘Tunisian exception’ teaches democratic lessons - SWI swissinfo.ch
www.swissinfo.ch

Tunisia’s relatively successful transition to life after the Arab Spring can best be explained by the country’s history and past ...

Chrome Connectivity Diagnostics
chrome.google.com

Chrome Connectivity Diagnostics is a fast and simple network testing and troubleshooting tool for Chrome and Chrome OS. The tool…

Application Cache is a Douchebag
alistapart.com

We’re better connected than we’ve ever been, but we’re not always connected. ApplicationCache lets users interact with their data even when

Tim Taylor's World Record Attempt Report
www.rapidmedia.com

Tim Taylor reports on what it took to complete his 214-kilometer open-water paddle along the New Zealand coast. ;I had planned the challenge

Dublin goes dark: Google's experiments with employee wellbeing - Virgin.com
www.virgin.com

How do you make people's home lives blissful and less stressful? Google tried an experiment in which it invited their Dublin office staff to

Nothing to stand on
www.economist.com

“GIVE me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth.” So Archimedes explained the power of levers in the physical world. The digital rea

China's Great Cannon
citizenlab.org

This post describes our analysis of an attack tool that we identify as separate from, but co-located with, the Great Firewall of China.

I Quit: What Really Goes on at Apple
roadlesstravelled.me

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other pe

Robot That Bought Ecstasy On Dark Web Freed By Police After Three Months
www.techweekeurope.co.uk

The Random Darknet Shopper had bought 10 yellow pills containing 90mg of ecstasy each as part of artists' experiment

Faith vs. Facts
www.nytimes.com

People reason differently when they think about God.

Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism
www.nytimes.com

Outsized praise for a new novel quickly turned to a torrent of outrage as its young German author admitted to using full passages from anoth

The Shortest-Known Paper Published in a Serious Math Journal: Two Succin...
www.openculture.com

Euler's conjecture, a theory proposed by Leonhard Euler in 1769, hung in there for 200 years. Then L.J. Lander and T.R. Parkin came along in

I buy my gas here (for barbecuing), and also just learned that this little shop is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Based on a single sample, it seems they run out of nice barbecue meat on public holidays with good weather (today was Ascension Day). In such cases, one can also try walking south to the Avia, which has a Spar (they still had some Bratwurst).
Public - a week ago
reviewed a week ago
Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
I liked this restaurant, partly for being in my neighbourhood. I should return before I can give a more infirmed opinion. :)
Public - 3 months ago
reviewed 3 months ago
190 reviews
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Nice venue for social dancing, in my case Swing / Lindy Hop on Tuesday nights. I haven't tried any of the courses here though.
Public - 2 months ago
reviewed 2 months ago
If you are into classical music, this is the lovely venue of the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich. For "young people", they have a "half and half" event with a classical music concert at 10pm followed by electronic music with dancing and drinks after 11pm - this is called TonhalleLATE and seems to take place every second month in Winter. This feels like a weird mix for the classical purist in me though. ;-)
Public - 3 months ago
reviewed 3 months ago
It's a McDonald's, you know what you're going to get. :) Best feature: open until late.
Public - 3 months ago
reviewed 3 months ago