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29.6.04

Internet History

I'm not sure, but I think that my brother and I may have set a techno-geek historical first because of our "warboating" exploits tonight. Stranded at a lake cottage with extended family and no Internet access, we drove around the edge of the lake, looking for WiFi signals. On land, this is called wardriving. Well, I can tell you that sitting in a car or even next to your car with a laptop is a suspicious activity, even at night. However, if you go instead on a fishing boat (yes, I know, laptops on a boat, who could be that stupid?) to a point on the lake out from the same houses you have warchalked on land, you would look like two guys fishing. To make a long story short, I am writing this message from the prow of my father's boat off the shore of an undisclosed lake in Michigan.

Now this is not malicious, since the signals that we are using are left open by their owners and are not encrypted, and we are not doing anything sneaky or harmful. Believe me, I am just happy to have the chance to check up on cultural news and read Le Figaro and Le Monde and Die Welt and my other regular reads. So, here are a couple interesting things I got to read while on a boat in the moonlight, with the lake like a sheet of shiny black glass all around me.

Pierre Magnan, in an article (Des intermittents occupent le toit du Medef, June 26) from France 2, reports on the restlessness among the intermittents du spectacle, the part-time performing arts workers in France. Although they made some noise at the Cannes Festival (see posts on May 10, May 13, and May 16), the real activity may take down some of the summer arts festivals, as it did last year (see post on August 13, 2003). About 50 protesters have occupied the roof of the Medef building in Paris, where they say they will remain until their demands are met. At issue is the government order from last year (June 27, 2003) that made changes to their insurance and unemployment benefits, on which the government, of course, did not consult them. The intermittents insist that the order be rescinded so that earnest negotiations may take place. They believe their rooftop occupation will be ideal to keep the pressure on, as it would be difficult for the police to remove them without hurting anyone. Even so, the unions are calling on workers to mobilize for action. The Avignon Festival, which they shut down last year, is scheduled to begin on July 6.

An article (Le Jeu de paume s'ouvre à l'image avec Guy Bourdin, June 26) by Michel Guerrin in Le Monde reviews the reopening of the Musée du Jeu de Paume, which merged with the Centre national de la photographie on May 1, 2004. The first exhibits are a Guy Bourdin retrospective (the same one shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London last year) and an exhibit called Éblouissement, both until September 19.

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