About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

05 November 2005

Frankfurt: First Impressions

Aah ... 2 Euros for 15 minutes of WiFi ... on a more interesting note; Lufthansa flights to US and Asia have WiFi coverage in the plane ... must try it out just for novelty's sake. Hopefully next post will be from the sky ;)

Flight was long but comfy - hint - sit on the first row - you will get tons of leg space in economy! For the first time I can remember, I got a seat next to an attractive lady and not some drunken slob (like my US flight last year) or a hippie (also last year) (already off to a good start ;)). Had quite a good conversation - she was a golf journalist - covering some corporate golf event in Cape Town and talked about a lot of things - places to visit in Germany (Munich and Berlin - that's it apparently), perceptions on South Africa, sport etc. The food was not great ... so looks like there is no difference between SAA and Lufthansa on that front. And we talked about stupid translations ... Must Love Dogs was the flight movie (which I slept through) and the German title translated to "Woman with dog seeks man with heart". And you thought Hong Kong movie translations were bad.

Frankfurt is a crap airport - squat all to do. Contemplating buying a booking by Noam Chompsky ... but will they let me into DC if I have the book in my hand? Interesting notes:
1. Bins are separated for recycling - glass, packaging, paper and other.
2. Lots of cigarettes for sale at the duty free shops with some really morbid messages like "Smoking causes a painful death" or "Smoking Kills". Still selling a lot though ...

03 November 2005

The Good Virus

On the eve of my departure to the US (if I followed Carl's habit of naming posts according to song, the title would have been Amerika ...) I was reminded of a chat I had with the passenger next to me on my way back from Zurich in July. The man was a professor in virology at the University f Harare, and while we talked a lot of politics and the "situation" in Zimbabwe; we also had a chat about other things; including viruses (or is it virii?) and the idea of a good virus.

The word virus has a bad reputation - both in biology and in computer science. Viruses have a reputation of being parasites; bringing harm to their hosts and generally causing a nuisance. But, in my opinion they are under rated - and their basic power of how quickly they can be transmitted from host to host could be exploited for "good" purposes. Consider a potential vaccine for HIV - the easiest way to spread the vaccine would be to use a virus that can easily spread amongst the population - like a cold. Sure, it would not suit the purposed of the big pharmaceutical companies; but it would certainly be the easiest way to cure people. and viruses as cures are used already for flu vaccines etc anyway - shouldn't be too difficult.

The same mechanism could be used to patch security holes in computers - fix a bug with a virus - much more efficient than the current way of doing things. And all will hail the good virus ;)