sexta-feira, 23 de fevereiro de 2018

Hoje é dia de Stan Laurel

Amnistia Internacional - Relatório anual 2017/2018



Over the past year, leaders have pushed hate, fought against rights, ignored crimes against humanity, and blithely let inequality and suffering spin out of control. This provoked mass protests, showing that while our challenges may never be greater, the will to fight back is just as strong.

Amnesty International’s report, The State of the World’s Human Rights 2017/18, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

While the findings remain shocking, it is the events such as those highlighted in the report that galvanised people across the world to stand up in the face of adversity and make their voices heard.

quinta-feira, 22 de fevereiro de 2018

Hoje é dia de Luis Buñuel

Luis Buñuel

"The Most Influential Images of All Time" - 26: Paul Strand

Blind - Paul Strand

Even if she could see, the woman in Paul Strand’s pioneering image might not have known she was being photographed. Strand wanted to capture people as they were, not as they projected themselves to be, and so when documenting immigrants on New York City’s Lower East Side, he used a false lens that allowed him to shoot in one direction even as his large camera was pointed in another. The result feels spontaneous and honest, a radical departure from the era’s formal portraits of people in stilted poses. Strand’s photograph of the blind woman, who he said was selling newspapers on the street, is candid, with the woman’s face turned away from the camera. But Strand’s work did more than offer an unflinching look at a moment when the nation was being reshaped by a surge of immigrants. By depicting subjects without their knowledge—or consent—and using their images to promote social awareness, Strand helped pave the way for an entirely new form of documentary art: street photography.

"Remembering the White Rose"

Seventy-five years ago Thursday, a group of young German idealists, students who had dared to speak out against the Nazis, were executed by the regime they had defied. Like a flickering flame in the darkness, the White Rose, as its members called themselves, is an inspiring group that never lost its courage — and a frightening reminder of how rare such heroes are.

The group’s founder, Hans Scholl, and his sister Sophie grew up outside Munich. Their father instilled in them a strong moral compass and a religious worldview. Like many his age, Hans joined the Hitler Youth. But he began to have doubts almost immediately: The Nazis did not allow him to sing certain songs, fly certain flags or read Stefan Zweig, his favorite author. He earned a spot as a flag-bearer at the annual Nuremberg Rally and returned disturbed at what he had seen.

Hans wanted to become a doctor, and when he was drafted he was posted as a medic in France. After a tour of duty, he went back to the University of Munich to continue his medical studies. Sophie soon joined him as an undergraduate. Hans read widely — Plato, Socrates, St. Augustine and Pascal — and decorated his dorm room with Modernist French art. He attracted a circle of like-minded students: Alexander Schmorell, the son of a doctor; Christoph Probst, a young father of two toddlers; and Willi Graf, a thoughtful introvert. They soon found an intellectual mentor in Kurt Huber, a professor of philosophy and ardent believer in liberal democracy.

In the summer of 1942, Hans and his friends — inspired by the sermons of the anti-Nazi bishop of Münster — began to distribute typewritten leaflets denouncing the regime. Their language was incandescent. “Every honest German today is ashamed of his government,” Hans wrote, a government that committed “the most horrible of crimes — crimes that indefinitely outdistance every human measure.” The members of the White Rose declared that all those who stood by were complicit and implored all citizens to engage in “passive resistance” to the Nazi state.

The White Rose also addressed the atrocities against Jews. Schmorell and Hans wrote in the group’s second leaflet: “Here we see the most frightful crime against human dignity, a crime that is unparalleled in the whole of history. For Jews, too, are human beings.” No punches were pulled even when it came to the Führer: “Every word that comes from Hitler’s mouth is a lie.” Sprinkled with erudite references to Goethe, Aristotle, Schiller, Ecclesiastes, Lao Tzu and others, the leaflets concluded with a plea to support the White Rose by circulating them. “We will not be silent,” ended the fourth. “We are your bad conscience. The White Rose will not leave you in peace.”

The leaflets appeared in mailboxes and phone booths between late June and mid-July 1942 and spread to sympathetic students in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin and Vienna. Then they stopped as Hans, Schmorell, Graf and Probst were shipped east on a day’s notice to the Russian front, where the Germans were bogged down. Yet Hans fought back against the Nazis with acts of simple humanity even as he approached the front. On his train to Russia, he saw a young Jewish girl doing hard labor, wearing the yellow Star of David mandated by the Nazis. Running from his transport, Hans handed her a chocolate bar from his rations — and a daisy for her hair.

After returning from the front, Hans and the others released two more leaflets warning that with the loss at Stalingrad, German defeat was inevitable. Declaring the preciousness of individual rights, the leaflets asked, “Are we forever to be a nation that is hated and rejected by all mankind?” Hans, Schmorell and Graf sneaked out at night and painted signs reading “Down with Hitler,” “Freedom” and other slogans on the main boulevard in Munich.

Then on Feb. 18, 1943, Hans and Sophie decided to distribute leaflets at the university, leaving stacks in corridors. As they started to leave, Sophie noticed that there were more copies in their suitcase and headed to the top of the stairs, which overlooked an atrium. She hurled the remaining leaflets in the air and watched as they drifted down the stairwell.

The maintenance man, Jakob Schmid, an ardent Nazi, was watching. He immediately locked the doors and notified the authorities. The siblings were hauled to the Wittelsbach Palace, the headquarters of the Gestapo. Soon after, Probst, whose wife had had a third child weeks before, was also arrested. The three were interrogated for several days, but they refused to implicate others.

All three were found of guilty of high treason and sentenced to death. Within hours, they were executed by guillotine. Before Hans placed his head upon the block, his final words echoed through the prison: “Long live freedom.” Within weeks, the other core members of the White Rose were apprehended and executed.

The story of the White Rose did make it to the front, where it inspired soldiers who were opposed to the regime. But the hope that its members had of inspiring their fellow citizens was not fulfilled. Their call was ignored.

“They did not seek martyrdom in the name of any extraordinary idea,” Inge Scholl recalled in her memoir of her siblings and White Rose comrades. “They wanted to make it possible for people like you and me to live in a humane society.” We are far from the darkness of fascism, but we do ourselves a service by remembering the sad but noble story of these beautiful souls on the anniversary of their tragic sacrifice.

quarta-feira, 21 de fevereiro de 2018

As Mulheres de Eduardo Galeano - "Tituba"

Tinha sido caçada na América do Sul logo à infância, e tinha sido vendida uma vez e outra e mais outra, e passando de dono em dono viera parar à vila de Salem, na América do Norte.

Ali, nesse santuário puritano, a escrava Tituba servia em casa do reverendo Samuel Parris.

As filhas do reverendo adoravam-na. Sonhavam acordadas quando Tituba lhes contava histórias de aparições ou lhes lia o futuro numa clara de ovo. E no inverno de 1692, quando as meninas foram possuídas por Satã e se contorciam e guinchavam, só Tituba conseguiu acalmá-las, acariciando-as e sussurrando-lhes histórias até que as adormeceu no seu regaço.

Isso condenou-a: fora ela trazer o Inferno para o virtuoso reino dos eleitos de Deus.

E a maga-contos foi amarrada ao cadafalso na praça pública e confessou.

Acusaram-na de cozinhar pastéis com receitas diabólicas e açoitaram-na até ela dizer que sim.

Acusaram-na de dançar nua nos concílios de bruxas e açoitaram-na até ela dizer que sim.

Acusaram-na de dormir com Satã e açoitaram-na até ela dizer que sim.

E quando lhe disseram que tinha por cúmplices duas velhas que nunca iam à igreja, a acusada converteu-se em acusadora e apontou o dedo a esse par de endemoninhadas e já não foi açoitada.

E depois outras acusadas acusaram.

E a forca não deixou de trabalhar.

Eduardo Galeano

"Documenting the Rohingya refugee crisis – in pictures" - Kevin Frayer

More than half a million Rohingya refugees have flooded into Bangladesh to flee an offensive by Myanmar’s military which the United Nations has called ‘a textbook example of ethnic cleansing’.

Disco recomendado - "Tribalistas" 2017


Hoje é dia de Malcolm X

Malcolm X

terça-feira, 20 de fevereiro de 2018

As Mulheres de Eduardo Galeano - "Xerazade"

Para se vingar de uma, que o atraiçoara, o rei degolava todas.
Casava-se ao crepúsculo e ao amanhecer enviuva.
Uma após outra, as virgens perdiam a virgindade e a cabeça.
Xerazade foi a única que sobreviveu à primeira noite, e depois continuou a trocar um conto por cada novo dia de vida.
Estas histórias, por ela escutadas, lidas ou inventadas, salvaram-na da decapitação. Contava-as em voz baixa, na penumbra da alcova, sem outra luz que não a da lua. Sentia prazer ao contá-las, e prazer oferecia, mas tinha muito cuidado. Às vezes, enquanto narrava, sentia que o rei estava a estudar-lhe o pescoço.
Se o rei se aborrecesse, ela estava perdida.
Foi do medo de morrer que nasceu a mestria de narrar.

Portugal na imprensa estrangeira - "22 reasons why everyone is going to Portugal right now"

Everyone seems to be going to Portugal right now. Indeed, this week the country reported gleefully on another record year for overseas arrivals. Just over 12.7 million foreigners visited the country in 2017 – up 12 per cent year-on-year. Here's why it is proving so popular.

Hoje é dia de Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain


"The Dangers of Militarization" - Javier Solana

A great-power conflict is in no way unavoidable, unless these powers act as if it were. The greatest risk is that the US forgets the principles and institutions that have shored up its global leadership and, by emphasizing a narrative of confrontation, exposes the world to a self-fulfilling prophecy.

segunda-feira, 19 de fevereiro de 2018

Hoje é dia de André Breton

André Breton

"The Seven Deadly Sins of AI Predictions" - Rodney Brooks

We are surrounded by hysteria about the future of artificial intelligence and robotics—hysteria about how powerful they will become, how quickly, and what they will do to jobs.
I recently saw a story in ­MarketWatch that said robots will take half of today’s jobs in 10 to 20 years. It even had a graphic to prove the numbers.

The claims are ludicrous. (I try to maintain professional language, but sometimes …) For instance, the story appears to say that we will go from one million grounds and maintenance workers in the U.S. to only 50,000 in 10 to 20 years, because robots will take over those jobs. How many robots are currently operational in those jobs? Zero. How many realistic demonstrations have there been of robots working in this arena? Zero. Similar stories apply to all the other categories where it is suggested that we will see the end of more than 90 percent of jobs that currently require physical presence at some particular site.

Mistaken predictions lead to fears of things that are not going to happen, whether it’s the wide-scale destruction of jobs, the Singularity, or the advent of AI that has values different from ours and might try to destroy us. We need to push back on these mistakes. But why are people making them? I see seven common reasons.

1. Overestimating and underestimating

Roy Amara was a cofounder of the Institute for the Future, in Palo Alto, the intellectual heart of Silicon Valley. He is best known for his adage now referred to as Amara’s Law:

We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.

There is a lot wrapped up in these 21 words. An optimist can read it one way, and a pessimist can read it another.

A great example of the two sides of Amara’s Law is the U.S. Global Positioning System. Starting in 1978, a constellation of 24 satellites (now 31 including spares) were placed in orbit. The goal of GPS was to allow precise delivery of munitions by the U.S. military. But the program was nearly canceled again and again in the 1980s. The first operational use for its intended purpose was in 1991 during Desert Storm; it took several more successes for the military to accept its utility.

Today GPS is in what Amara would call the long term, and the ways it is used were unimagined at first. My Series 2 Apple Watch uses GPS while I am out running, recording my location accurately enough to see which side of the street I run along. The tiny size and price of the receiver would have been incomprehensible to the early GPS engineers. The technology synchronizes physics experiments across the globe and plays an intimate role in synchronizing the U.S. electrical grid and keeping it running. It even allows the high-frequency traders who really control the stock market to mostly avoid disastrous timing errors. It is used by all our airplanes, large and small, to navigate, and it is used to track people out of prison on parole. It determines which seed variant will be planted in which part of many fields across the globe. It tracks fleets of trucks and reports on driver ­performance.

GPS started out with one goal, but it was a hard slog to get it working as well as was originally expected. Now it has seeped into so many aspects of our lives that we would not just be lost if it went away; we would be cold, hungry, and quite possibly dead.

We see a similar pattern with other technologies over the last 30 years. A big promise up front, disappointment, and then slowly growing confidence in results that exceed the original expectations. This is true of computation, genome sequencing, solar power, wind power, and even home delivery of groceries.

AI has been overestimated again and again, in the 1960s, in the 1980s, and I believe again now, but its prospects for the long term are also probably being underestimated. The question is: How long is the long term? The next six errors help explain why the time scale is being grossly underestimated for the future of AI.

2. Imagining magic

When I was a teenager, Arthur C. Clarke was one of the “big three” science fiction writers, along with Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. But Clarke was also an inventor, a science writer, and a futurist. Between 1962 and 1973 he formulated three adages that have come to be known as Clarke’s Three Laws:

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Personally, I should probably be wary of the second sentence in his first law, as I am much more conservative than some others about how quickly AI will be ascendant. But for now I want to expound on Clarke’s Third Law.

Imagine we had a time machine and we could transport Isaac Newton from the late 17th century to today, setting him down in a place that would be familiar to him: Trinity College Chapel at the University of Cambridge.

Now show Newton an Apple. Pull out an iPhone from your pocket, and turn it on so that the screen is glowing and full of icons, and hand it to him. Newton, who revealed how white light is made from components of different-colored light by pulling apart sunlight with a prism and then putting it back together, would no doubt be surprised at such a small object producing such vivid colors in the darkness of the chapel. Now play a movie of an English country scene, and then some church music that he would have heard. And then show him a Web page with the 500-plus pages of his personally annotated copy of his masterpiece Principia, teaching him how to use the pinch gesture to zoom in on details.

Could Newton begin to explain how this small device did all that? Although he invented calculus and explained both optics and gravity, he was never able to sort out chemistry from alchemy. So I think he would be flummoxed, and unable to come up with even the barest coherent outline of what this device was. It would be no different to him from an embodiment of the occult—something that was of great interest to him. It would be indistinguishable from magic. And remember, Newton was a really smart dude.

If something is magic, it is hard to know its limitations. Suppose we further show Newton how the device can illuminate the dark, how it can take photos and movies and record sound, how it can be used as a magnifying glass and as a mirror. Then we show him how it can be used to carry out arithmetical computations at incredible speed and to many decimal places. We show it counting the steps he has taken as he carries it, and show him that he can use it to talk to people anywhere in the world, immediately, from right there in the chapel.

What else might Newton conjecture that the device could do? Prisms work forever. Would he conjecture that the iPhone would work forever just as it is, neglecting to understand that it needs to be recharged? Recall that we nabbed him from a time 100 years before the birth of Michael Faraday, so he lacked a scientific understanding of electricity. If the iPhone can be a source of light without fire, could it perhaps also transmute lead into gold?

This is a problem we all have with imagined future technology. If it is far enough away from the technology we have and understand today, then we do not know its limitations. And if it becomes indistinguishable from magic, anything one says about it is no longer falsifiable.

This is a problem I regularly encounter when trying to debate with people about whether we should fear artificial general intelligence, or AGI—the idea that we will build autonomous agents that operate much like beings in the world. I am told that I do not understand how powerful AGI will be. That is not an argument. We have no idea whether it can even exist. I would like it to exist—this has always been my own motivation for working in robotics and AI. But modern-day AGI research is not doing well at all on either being general or supporting an independent entity with an ongoing existence. It mostly seems stuck on the same issues in reasoning and common sense that AI has had problems with for at least 50 years. All the evidence that I see says we have no real idea yet how to build one. Its properties are completely unknown, so rhetorically it quickly becomes magical, powerful without limit.

Nothing in the universe is without limit.

Watch out for arguments about future technology that is magical. Such an argument can never be refuted. It is a faith-based argument, not a scientific argument.

3. Performance versus competence

We all use cues about how people perform some particular task to estimate how well they might perform some different task. In a foreign city we ask a stranger on the street for directions, and she replies with confidence and with directions that seem to make sense, so we figure we can also ask her about the local system for paying when you want to take a bus.

Now suppose a person tells us that a particular photo shows people playing Frisbee in the park. We naturally assume that this person can answer questions like What is the shape of a Frisbee? Roughly how far can a person throw a Frisbee? Can a person eat a Frisbee? Roughly how many people play Frisbee at once? Can a three-month-old person play Frisbee? Is today’s weather suitable for playing Frisbee?

This does not mean that these systems are useless; they are of great value to search engines. But here is what goes wrong. People hear that some robot or some AI system has performed some task. They then generalize from that performance to a competence that a person performing the same task could be expected to have. And they apply that generalization to the robot or AI system.Computers that can label images like “people playing Frisbee in a park” have no chance of answering those questions. Besides the fact that they can only label more images and cannot answer questions at all, they have no idea what a person is, that parks are usually outside, that people have ages, that weather is anything more than how it makes a photo look, etc.

Today’s robots and AI systems are incredibly narrow in what they can do. Human-style generalizations do not apply.

4. Suitcase words

Marvin Minsky called words that carry a variety of meanings “suitcase words.” “Learning” is a powerful suitcase word; it can refer to so many different types of experience. Learning to use chopsticks is a very different experience from learning the tune of a new song. And learning to write code is a very different experience from learning your way around a city.

When people hear that machine learning is making great strides in some new domain, they tend to use as a mental model the way in which a person would learn that new domain. However, machine learning is very brittle, and it requires lots of preparation by human researchers or engineers, special-purpose coding, special-purpose sets of training data, and a custom learning structure for each new problem domain. Today’s machine learning is not at all the sponge-like learning that humans engage in, making rapid progress in a new domain without having to be surgically altered or purpose-built.

Likewise, when people hear that a computer can beat the world chess champion (in 1997) or one of the world’s best Go players (in 2016), they tend to think that it is “playing” the game just as a human would. Of course, in reality those programs had no idea what a game actually was, or even that they were playing. They were also much less adaptable. When humans play a game, a small change in rules does not throw them off. Not so for AlphaGo or Deep Blue.

Suitcase words mislead people about how well machines are doing at tasks that people can do. That is partly because AI researchers—and, worse, their institutional press offices—are eager to claim progress in an instance of a suitcase concept. The important phrase here is “an instance.” That detail soon gets lost. Headlines trumpet the suitcase word, and warp the general understanding of where AI is and how close it is to accomplishing more.

5. Exponentials

Many people are suffering from a severe case of “exponentialism.”

Everyone has some idea about Moore’s Law, which suggests that computers get better and better on a clockwork-like schedule. What Gordon Moore actually said was that the number of components that could fit on a microchip would double every year. That held true for 50 years, although the time constant for doubling gradually lengthened from one year to over two years, and the pattern is coming to an end.

Doubling the components on a chip has made computers continually double in speed. And it has led to memory chips that quadruple in capacity every two years. It has also led to digital cameras that have better and better resolution, and LCD screens with exponentially more pixels.

The reason Moore’s Law worked is that it applied to a digital abstraction of a true-or-false question. In any given circuit, is there an electrical charge or voltage there or not? The answer remains clear as chip components get smaller and smaller—until a physical limit intervenes, and we get down to components with so few electrons that quantum effects start to dominate. That is where we are now with our silicon-based chip technology.

When people are suffering from exponentialism, they may think that the exponentials they use to justify an argument are going to continue apace. But Moore’s Law and other seemingly exponential laws can fail because they were not truly exponential in the first place.

Back in the first part of this century, when I was running MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and needed to help raise money for over 90 different research groups, I tried to use the memory increase on iPods to show sponsors how things were continuing to change very rapidly. Here are the data on how much music storage one got in an iPod for $400 or less:

2002 10
2003 20
2004 40
2006 80
2007 160

Then I would extrapolate a few years out and ask what we would do with all that memory in our pockets.

Extrapolating through to today, we would expect a $400 iPod to have 160,000 gigabytes of memory. But the top iPhone of today (which costs much more than $400) has only 256 gigabytes of memory, less than double the capacity of the 2007 iPod. This particular exponential collapsed very suddenly once the amount of memory got to the point where it was big enough to hold any reasonable person’s music library and apps, photos, and videos. Exponentials can collapse when a physical limit is hit, or when there is no more economic rationale to continue them.

Similarly, we have seen a sudden increase in performance of AI systems thanks to the success of deep learning. Many people seem to think that means we will continue to see AI performance increase by equal multiples on a regular basis. But the deep-learning success was 30 years in the making, and it was an isolated event.

That does not mean there will not be more isolated events, where work from the backwaters of AI research suddenly fuels a rapid-step increase in the performance of many AI applications. But there is no “law” that says how often they will happen.

6. Hollywood scenarios

The plot for many Hollywood science fiction movies is that the world is just as it is today, except for one new twist.

In Bicentennial Man, Richard Martin, played by Sam Neill, sits down to breakfast and is waited upon by a walking, talking humanoid robot, played by Robin Williams. Richard picks up a newspaper to read over breakfast. A newspaper! Printed on paper. Not a tablet computer, not a podcast coming from an Amazon Echo–like device, not a direct neural connection to the Internet.

It turns out that many AI researchers and AI pundits, especially those pessimists who indulge in predictions about AI getting out of control and killing people, are similarly imagination-challenged. They ignore the fact that if we are able to eventually build such smart devices, the world will have changed significantly by then. We will not suddenly be surprised by the existence of such super-intelligences. They will evolve technologically over time, and our world will come to be populated by many other intelligences, and we will have lots of experience already. Long before there are evil super-intelligences that want to get rid of us, there will be somewhat less intelligent, less belligerent machines. Before that, there will be really grumpy machines. Before that, quite annoying machines. And before them, arrogant, unpleasant machines. We will change our world along the way, adjusting both the environment for new technologies and the new technologies themselves. I am not saying there may not be challenges. I am saying that they will not be sudden and unexpected, as many people think.

7. Speed of deployment

New versions of software are deployed very frequently in some industries. New features for platforms like Facebook are deployed almost hourly. For many new features, as long as they have passed integration testing, there is very little economic downside if a problem shows up in the field and the version needs to be pulled back. This is a tempo that Silicon Valley and Web software developers have gotten used to. It works because the marginal cost of newly deploying code is very, very close to zero.

Deploying new hardware, on the other hand, has significant marginal costs. We know that from our own lives. Many of the cars we are buying today, which are not self-driving, and mostly are not ­software-enabled, will probably still be on the road in the year 2040. This puts an inherent limit on how soon all our cars will be self-driving. If we build a new home today, we can expect that it might be around for over 100 years. The building I live in was built in 1904, and it is not nearly the oldest in my neighborhood.

Capital costs keep physical hardware around for a long time, even when there are high-tech aspects to it, and even when it has an existential mission.

The U.S. Air Force still flies the B-52H variant of the B-52 bomber. This version was introduced in 1961, making it 56 years old. The last one was built in 1962, a mere 55 years ago. Currently these planes are expected to keep flying until at least 2040, and perhaps longer—there is talk of extending their life to 100 years.

I regularly see decades-old equipment in factories around the world. I even see PCs running Windows 3.0—a software version released in 1990. The thinking is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Those PCs and their software have been running the same application doing the same task reliably for over two decades.

The principal control mechanism in factories, including brand-new ones in the U.S., Europe, Japan, Korea, and China, is based on programmable logic controllers, or PLCs. These were introduced in 1968 to replace electromechanical relays. The “coil” is still the principal abstraction unit used today, and PLCs are programmed as though they were a network of 24-volt electromechanical relays. Still. Some of the direct wires have been replaced by Ethernet cables. But they are not part of an open network. Instead they are individual cables, run point to point, physically embodying the control flow—the order in which steps get executed—in these brand-new ancient automation controllers. When you want to change information flow, or control flow, in most factories around the world, it takes weeks of consultants figuring out what is there, designing new reconfigurations, and then teams of tradespeople to rewire and reconfigure hardware. One of the major manufacturers of this equipment recently told me that they aim for three software upgrades every 20 years.

In principle, it could be done differently. In practice, it is not. I just looked on a jobs list, and even today, this very day, Tesla Motors is trying to hire PLC technicians at its factory in Fremont, California. They will use electromagnetic relay emulation in the production of the most AI-enhanced automobile that exists.

A lot of AI researchers and pundits imagine that the world is already digital, and that simply introducing new AI systems will immediately trickle down to operational changes in the field, in the supply chain, on the factory floor, in the design of products.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Almost all innovations in robotics and AI take far, far, longer to be really widely deployed than people in the field and outside the field imagine.

Rodney Brooks is a former director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT and a founder of Rethink Robotics and iRobot.

"America First — Or Against All?" - Jean-François Boittin

To Trump, everything in politics – even at the global trade stage – is about him personally and how it affects his business interests.

domingo, 18 de fevereiro de 2018

Filme recomendado - "The Post"

Realização de Steven Spielberg

"A Divided Germany Came Together for the Olympics Decades Before Korea Did - Erin Blakemore

At the opening ceremonies of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games, on February 9, 2018, something spectacular happened: Athletes from North and South Korea, which have been bitterly divided for 73 years, marched beneath a unified flag. Though North and South appear no closer to reunification, the move was seen as an olive branch of sorts that could pave the way for better relations between the estranged countries—and it’s just one example of how the worldwide sporting event can bring people together, if only for a few weeks.

"Misery for Women and Girls in Greece’s Island Paradise" - Hillary Margolis

Government Downplays Sexual Violence Risks in Migrant Hotspots

quinta-feira, 15 de fevereiro de 2018


A 17 de Dezembro de 2017, a Vereadora da Cultura da Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, (CML), Catarina Vaz Pinto, anunciou numa entrevista ao jornal Público que a saída do director artístico do Teatro Maria Matos (TMM), Mark Deputter, para a Culturgest e o encerramento do Teatro da Cornucópia – sedeado no espaço alugado do Teatro do Bairro Alto (TBA) – levaram a autarquia a repensar a rede de teatros municipais. Na mesma entrevista afirmou que a CML irá entregar a gestão do TMM, espaço que lhe pertence, a uma entidade privada, e que este passará a ter “um modelo de programação bastante diferente, com carreiras mais longas e uma maior preocupação de captação de público, para ser rentável”. Anunciou ainda que a CML se responsabiliza por dois novos teatros: o TBA, agora alugado e gerido pela CML, vocacionado “para o teatro e as artes performativas contemporâneas emergentes”; e o Teatro Luís de Camões (TLC), recém-reabilitado pela CML, para a programação infanto-juvenil.

Desde esse anúncio, foi criada uma petição pela gestão pública do Teatro Maria Matos, que reuniu mais de 2750 assinaturas e que foi entregue à Assembleia Municipal.

A forma como esta decisão foi tomada e anunciada, sem debate prévio, demonstrou desrespeito pelos cidadãos e por um processo democrático que, como a CML tanto tem vindo a afirmar, se quer participado. Tal foi passível de ser comprovado - não obstante a disponibilidade sem precedentes da Sra. Vereadora da Cultura para participar num debate organizado pelos peticionários no dia 14 de Fevereiro - pelo facto de este ter tido lugar dois dias antes da reunião de Câmara, onde será votado um documento que elenca linhas orientadoras relativas à programação artística do Teatro Maria Matos, i. e, quando as decisões finais parecem já estar tomadas. Do mesmo modo, a forma como nas suas intervenções os factos e perguntas concretas dos presentes foram reduzidos a “mera emoção” e descartados sem direito efectivo a resposta clara, minou a possibilidade de uma real conversa transformando-a numa encenação de democraticidade. Nós, enquanto público e artistas, produtores e programadores, críticos e investigadores, temos uma opinião, feita de emoção e de razão. Vivemos na cidade, e frequentamos os lugares; temos pensamento sobre o papel da autarquia na definição da política de cultura de Lisboa, e acreditamos que só com a multiplicidade de todas as vozes na definição desta mesma política conseguiremos uma cidade mais democrática.

Assim, e no seguimento deste processo, vimos com esta Carta Aberta, documento de trabalho colectivamente redigido:

I. Clarificar a opinião pública sobre um conjunto de pontos a nosso ver essenciais para a correcta avaliação do que está em causa nesta decisão; 

II. Solicitar o esclarecimento por parte da vereadora de uma série de questões fundamentais para a boa compreensão da sua decisão, com a qual não concordamos, e que, na ausência destes esclarecimentos, nos parece pouco transparente.

Se na secção (I) procuramos responder a discussões travadas na esfera pública ensaiando, sempre que possível, clarificar factos, na secção (II) sublinhamos a insuficiência de dados facultados pela CML em relação aos custos previstos inerentes à operação proposta, insistindo na necessidade de conhecimento de valores concretos e na maior transparência da CML.

I. Clarificações

No debate do dia 14 de Fevereiro, a Vereadora da Cultura repetiu várias vezes, que o actual projecto do Teatro Maria Matos acaba aqui como consequência da saída do seu director artístico. Isto não é evidente para nós. A saída do director artístico é uma coisa natural. Defender que a missão de determinado espaço cultural municipal não sobrevive à saída de um director artístico já não é natural e mostra uma falta de sentido de responsabilidade em relação ao investimento que se fez, em dinheiro e conhecimento técnico, na construção desta missão. No ecossistema cultural da cidade de Lisboa - com o qual a Vereadora da Cultura se preocupa, como deve - o Teatro Maria Matos não é apenas um espaço para a apresentação de criação artística contemporânea / experimental / emergente. Isto é feito em vários outros espaços na cidade, dos quais o Teatro Maria Matos se distingue por ser o único a assumir um posicionamento político (não partidário) e a convidar-nos para pensarmos o nosso mundo e a forma como vamos viver em conjunto. Acreditamos que cabe à CML ser a garantia da orientação/missão do Teatro Maria Matos, por ser única na cidade e porque se tornou indispensável para muitos cidadãos. Portanto, longe de lamentarmos o fim de um projecto, esperamos que lhe seja dada continuidade, ansiosos para ver de que forma um novo director artístico enfrentará o desafio de pensar connosco a forma como vamos viver em conjunto.

1. Uma comunidade e não um público-alvo.k
O TMM excedeu a vocação de relação programação/público e passou a desempenhar também o papel crucial de ponto de encontro, entre crítica e pensamento, na qual os espectadores se tornaram participantes activos. Para tal, colaboram vários factores que vão muito além do projecto curatorial ali levado a cabo. Articulando uma relação arquitectónica singular entre a sala de espectáculos, o foyer e o bar-lugar-de-encontro-janela-para-a-rua - com uma escala que permitiu que fosse apropriada por moradores, artistas, e frequentadores quaisquer; e tornando porosas as suas fronteiras à cidade e à formação de comunidade - o TMM criou a potência de encontro, capaz de alterar as condições de possibilidade do próprio lugar. O TMM deixou pois de ser “só um teatro” e passou para o domínio público. Os grupos que aqui se juntaram reivindicam este com-domínio para uso público. As decisões sobre o destino deste espaço devem ter em conta o que aqui se criou, o uso do espaço físico e geográfico, as práticas que cresceram neste espaço concreto e que não são linearmente transportáveis para outro lugar. A mudança anunciada resultará num desmantelamento. Trabalhar com condições e sinergias activas é diferente de começar tudo de novo. Há vozes que desejam ter lugar, desejam poder continuar a discutir os lugares públicos. Que este acontecimento o tenha tornado visível a partir de um teatro é já de si uma vitória.

2. Um dos argumentos levantados pela Vereadora da Cultura foi a desadequação do espaço do TMM à programação que tem acolhido, expressada por em quase toda a sua programação se ter colocado uma bancada amovível no palco para assegurar uma relação menos distante entre público e artistas. A realidade é diferente: entre Junho de 2009 e Junho de 2017, o TMM apresentou cerca de 140 espectáculos de teatro/dança com bancada amovível (de 180 pessoas) e 90 espectáculos usando toda a capacidade da sala; e cerca de 40 concertos com bancada e 95 concertos usando toda a sala. Ou seja, só contando com a programação de teatro houve uma relação 60/40 com/sem bancada amovível. Contando com toda a programação a relação é 50/50. Nesta argumentação da Vereadora, a utilização da bancada amovível é encarada apenas como característica fragilizadora do espaço MM. A sua mais-valia enquanto dispositivo de flexibilização do espaço capaz de apoiar a afirmação e crescimento gradual de projectos artísticos, simultânea à formação e crescimento de públicos não é reconhecida. Foram vários os projectos artísticos que começaram por se apresentar com a bancada amovível e passaram, mais tarde, a apresentar-se usando a sala completa, nomeadamente: a Mala Voadora, Joana Sá ou Raquel Castro.

3. Um outro argumento levantado foi a falta de público para encher a sala, reforçada pela descida dos números nos últimos anos, o que obriga a CML a repensar o TMM, como espaço, e a sua programação. Os números dos últimos anos são os que se seguem e revelam a fragilidade deste argumento:

Ano : Público
2010: 23 519
2011: 22 593
2012: 21 889
2013: 32 402
2014: 36 654
2015: 31 139
2016: 24 329
2017: 34 662

Ao mesmo tempo, acreditamos que os números de público não podem ser a medida da qualidade dos espectáculos e, como tal, não devem servir de pretexto nem à entrega de um equipamento municipal à gestão privada, nem a uma alteração profunda da sua missão artística.

4. Foi defendido pela Vereadora da Cultura que a programação do TMM poderia passar, com vantagem, para dois outros teatros (TBA e TLC). Temos as maiores dúvidas sobre isso. A separação e desmembramento das várias dimensões da missão de um espaço cultural resulta na perda de consistência e sentido. Esta decisão reforça a concentração da produção artística experimental “contemporânea” no eixo central Cais do Sodré - Bairro Alto - Rato, contribuindo para espartilhar geograficamente e dividir em segmentos de consumo, sem contacto entre si, a fruição cultural da cidade. Vem também despojar o eixo norte-nascente de Lisboa do único equipamento cultural municipal dedicado às artes performativas. Finalmente, apesar da dita “desadequação” do espaço do TMM à produção artística contemporânea, há espectáculos que nele têm tido lugar e que dificilmente poderão ter lugar no TBA: por um lado, uma vez que este se insere num espaço residencial, não houve garantias da existência de condições de isolamento acústico exigido, por exemplo, no caso de alguns concertos (parte importante da actual programação do MM); por outro, uma vez que a Vereadora também não garantiu que o TBA venha a ter as condições técnicas necessárias à realização de espectáculos de média escala com maior exigência do ponto de vista técnico.

5. Por que razão dois por um e não um mais dois? No que diz respeito a uma eventual incapacidade da CML de manter a gestão do TMM, ao mesmo tempo que a dos dois novos espaços referidos (TBA e TLC), afirmada pela Vereadora da Cultura em reunião, o programador António Pinto Ribeiro foi muito claro no seu artigo de opinião (Público, 16.12.2018): “No contexto financeiro actual, nada obstaria a que a CML não pudesse manter o Maria Matos, o Teatro Luís de Camões e o Teatro do Bairro Alto — como unidade de produção experimental —, desde que essa indicação fosse dada como uma prioridade na gestão da Empresa de Gestão de Equipamentos e Animação Cultural (EGEAC).

6. Por que razão não deve um teatro municipal ter gestão privada, de vocação comercial? A programação comercial, pela sua natureza e fins maioritariamente lucrativos, é vocação de privados que devem investir, arriscar, beneficiar de lucros no quadro legal, em concorrência. A CML, ao entrar nesta lógica comercial, está a fomentar competição desleal no mercado do teatro comercial permitindo ao futuro concessionário competir em desigualdade com outros privados, uma vez que beneficiará de recursos excepcionais (pagos pelos nossos impostos durante anos). O dever da CML é assegurar que a arte seja o mais possível acessível a todos, quer do lado da criação quer do lado da fruição e não pode colocar em causa princípios como a boa gestão de dinheiros públicos. De acordo com os relatórios da EGEAC, ao longo dos últimos 8 anos, terá sido feito um investimento de 92.939 euros em melhorias estruturais e equipamentos. Foi igualmente feito um investimento de 16.000 euros num novo website. A Vereadora da Cultura afirmou na reunião de dia 14 de Feveriero algo mais preocupante: o investimento financeiro em equipamento técnico do MM será igualmente cedido ao futuro concessionário privado do espaço. Parece, pois, que neste caso concreto o investimento feito com capitais públicos vai servir a entidade privada que vier gerir o TMM.

II. Dúvidas

A forma infeliz em que foi anunciada a decisão da atribuição da gestão do TMM a privados faz ressaltar o que parece ser uma marca do executivo de Fernando Medina: o desenho top-down da cidade sem que os seus habitantes sejam tidos em conta. Esta tem vindo a ser observada no incentivo camarário à financeirização do solo urbano, cujo aspecto mais visível é o crescente número de autorizações concedidas a equipamentos vocacionados para o turismo, e, o menos visível, a vaga de despejos de lojas, habitações e instituições culturais, algumas delas com mais de um século de existência. Sendo inegável o momento de transformação que Lisboa actualmente atravessa e o papel da CML neste desenho – e, dentro deste, o papel esperado da cultura e da EGEAC nesse processo – vimos assim solicitar a disponibilização pública dos dados concretos que a este caso dizem respeito, para que cidadãs e cidadãos possam compreender e validar a justeza de tais decisões.

1. Custos

1.1 Receitas:

- Qual a receita prevista com a privatização da gestão do TMM, i.e, por que valor mensal se conta concessionar o equipamento?

- Qual a figura jurídica sob a qual se processará esta concessão e mediante que condições?

1.2. Despesas:

- De acordo com os relatórios da EGEAC ao longo dos últimos 8 anos terá sido feito um investimento de 92.939 euros em melhorias estruturais e equipamentos imobilizados. Foi igualmente feito um investimento de 16 mil euros num novo website. O investimento na reabilitação do edifício beneficiará sempre a entidade privada que o vier concessionar. A vereadora afirmou na reunião de dia 14 algo mais preocupante, o investimento financeiro em equipamento técnico imobilizado do MM será igualmente cedido ao futuro concessionário privado do espaço. Há alguma parte destes investimentos feitos com capital público que, com esta decisão, não passarão para as mãos da entidade privada que vier gerir o teatro?

- Quais os custos do aluguer e despesas correntes da sala do TBA?

- Quanto está previsto custarem as obras a serem feitas neste equipamento (TBA), quais serão, e como será atribuída a sua concessão?

- Quanto está previsto gastar-se e como se procederá na compra de equipamento para o TBA?

- Quanto foi gasto na recuperação do Teatro Luiz de Camões?

- Quanto se conta gastar na manutenção da equipa dos novos equipamentos?

- Qual o balanço esperado das receitas e despesas?

2. Outros

2.1. Relação com a cidade e suas freguesias

- Num momento em que a grande maioria da população jovem Lisboeta tem vindo a abandonar o centro da cidade devido aos elevados preços da habitação, acabar com a oferta cultural experimental e de média dimensão na zona norte da cidade parece ser um contrassenso, uma decisão que contribui para o desequilíbrio territorial em curso.

Por que razão concentrar tudo numa área específica da cidade, eixo Cais do Sodré- Bairro Alto – Rato? 

- Tendo sido afirmado pela Vereadora da Cultura que neste momento está a repensar toda a rede de equipamentos culturais municipais de Lisboa, cumpre-nos perguntar quais os planos, a nível cultural, para as freguesias de Alvalade, Areeiro, Lumiar, Benfica e Marvila?

- O que vai acontecer às parcerias estabelecidas com redes internacionais, uma parte significativa do orçamento para a programação do TMM, e que se têm revelado essenciais na afirmação da cidade num tecido de artes performativas global?

- Havendo já o Tivoli, o Capitólio (e futuramente o Teatro Variedades), o Mundial, o S. Jorge, o Coliseu, e dezenas de outras salas, por que razão precisa a cidade de mais um teatro vocacionado para o teatro comercial?

2.2. Garantias e salvaguardas se a decisão de cedência da gestão do TMM a privados se efectivar.

Não concordando com a cedência da gestão do TMM a privados, gostaríamos de saber quais as garantias ou salvaguardas que a CML irá exigir aos futuros concorrentes:

- A CML terá a capacidade para definir um preço máximo de entrada e com isso manter a acessibilidade aos espectáculos da maior parte da população, independentemente do seu rendimento?

- A CML será capaz de garantir um conjunto de descontos, como o que acontece com outros equipamentos (ex. reformados, desempregados, estudantes, pessoas com deficiência, entre outros)?

- Quem fará a avaliação das propostas? Serão as mesmas alvo de discussão pública?

- Como será feita a avaliação durante o período de concessão?

- Que garantias tem a CML que as obrigações serão cumpridas pelo privado?

- Imaginemos que por alguma razão o privado incumpre o contrato, como será ressarcida a CML pelo incumprimento do mesmo?

- Há algum documento produzido? Onde se pode consultar?

O público esclarecimento destas questões pode não apenas ajudar a compreender o que está em causa nesta proposta como contribuir para o cumprimento de políticas culturais municipais mais democráticas, transparentes e participadas.

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"Galileo in Rome for Inquisition"

On this day in 1633, Italian philosopher, astronomer and mathematician Galileo Galilei arrives in Rometo face charges of heresy for advocating Copernican theory, which holds that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Galileo officially faced the Roman Inquisition in April of that same year and agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence. Put under house arrest indefinitely by Pope Urban VIII, Galileo spent the rest of his days at his villa in Arcetri, near Florence, before dying on January 8, 1642.

Galileo, the son of a musician, was born February 15, 1564, in Pisa, Italy. He entered the University of Pisa planning to study medicine, but shifted his focus to philosophy and mathematics. In 1589, he became a professor at Pisa for several years, during which time he demonstrated that the speed of a falling object is not proportional to its weight, as Aristotle had believed. According to some reports, Galileo conducted his research by dropping objects of different weights from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. From 1592 to 1630, Galileo was a math professor at the University of Padua, where he developed a telescope that enabled him to observe lunar mountains and craters, the four largest satellites of Jupiter and the phases of Jupiter. He also discovered that the Milky Way was made up of stars. Following the publication of his research in 1610, Galileo gained acclaim and was appointed court mathematician at Florence.

Galileo’s research led him to become an advocate of the work of the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1573). However, the Copernican theory of a sun-centered solar system conflicted with the teachings of the powerful Roman Catholic Church, which essentially ruled Italy at the time. Church teachings contended that Earth, not the sun, was at the center of the universe. In 1633, Galileo was brought before the Roman Inquisition, a judicial system established by the papacy in 1542 to regulate church doctrine. This included the banning of books that conflicted with church teachings. The Roman Inquisition had its roots in the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, the purpose of which was to seek out and prosecute heretics, considered enemies of the state.

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"Zola is brought to trial"

On this day in 1898, French writer Emile Zola is brought to trial for libel for “J’Accuse,” his newspaper editorial attacking the French army over the Dreyfus affair.

Lettre à M. Félix Faure,

Président de la République

Monsieur le Président,

Me permettez-vous, dans ma gratitude pour le bienveillant accueil que vous m’avez fait un jour, d’avoir le souci de votre juste gloire et de vous dire que votre étoile, si heureuse jusqu’ici, est menacée de la plus honteuse, de la plus ineffaçable des taches ? Vous êtes sorti sain et sauf des basses calomnies, vous avez conquis les coeurs. Vous apparaissez rayonnant dans l’apothéose de cette fête patriotique que l’alliance russe a été pour la France, et vous vous préparez à présider au solennel triomphe de notre Exposition Universelle, qui couronnera notre grand siècle de travail, de vérité et de liberté. Mais quelle tache de boue sur votre nom - j’allais dire sur votre règne - que cette abominable affaire Dreyfus ! Un conseil de guerre vient, par ordre, d’oser acquitter un Esterhazy, soufflet suprême à toute vérité, à toute justice. Et c’est fini, la France a sur la joue cette souillure, l’histoire écrira que c’est sous votre présidence qu’un tel crime social a pu être commis. Puisqu’ils ont osé, j’oserai aussi, moi. La vérité, je la dirai, car j’ai promis de la dire, si la justice, régulièrement saisie, ne la faisait pas, pleine et entière. Mon devoir est de parler, je ne veux pas être complice. Mes nuits seraient hantées par le spectre de l’innocent qui expie là-bas, dans la plus affreuse des tortures, un crime qu’il n’a pas commis. Et c’est à vous, monsieur le Président, que je la crierai, cette vérité, de toute la force de ma révolte d’honnête homme. Pour votre honneur, je suis convaincu que vous l’ignorez. Et à qui donc dénoncerai-je la tourbe malfaisante des vrais coupables, si ce n’est à vous, le premier magistrat du pays ?

La vérité d’abord sur le procès et sur la condamnation de Dreyfus. Un homme néfaste a tout mené, a tout fait, c’est le lieutenant-colonel du Paty de Clam, alors simple commandant. Il est l’affaire Dreyfus tout entière; on ne la connaîtra que lorsqu’une enquête loyale aura établi nettement ses actes et ses responsabilités. Il apparaît comme l’esprit le plus fumeux, le plus compliqué, hanté d’intrigues romanesques, se complaisant aux moyens des romans-feuilletons, les papiers volés, les lettres anonymes, les rendez-vous dans les endroits déserts, les femmes mystérieuses qui colportent, de nuit, des preuves accablantes. C’est lui qui imagina de dicter le bordereau à Dreyfus; c’est lui qui rêva de l’étudier dans une pièce entièrement revêtue de glaces; c’est lui que le commandant Forzinetti nous représente armé d’une lanterne sourde, voulant se faire introduire près de l’accusé endormi, pour projeter sur son visage un brusque flot de lumière et surprendre ainsi son crime, dans l’émoi du réveil. Et je n’ai pas à tout dire, qu’on cherche, on trouvera. Je déclare simplement que le commandant du Paty de Clam, chargé d’instruire l’affaire Dreyfus, comme officier judiciaire, est, dans l’ordre des dates et des responsabilités, le premier coupable de l’effroyable erreur judiciaire qui a été commise. Le bordereau était depuis quelque temps déjà entre les mains du colonel Sandherr, directeur du bureau des renseignements, mort depuis de paralysie générale. Des «fuites» avaient lieu, des papiers disparaissaient, comme il en disparaît aujourd’hui encore; et l’auteur du bordereau était recherché, lorsqu’un a priori se fit peu à peu que cet auteur ne pouvait être qu’un officier de l’état-major, et un officier d’artillerie: double erreur manifeste, qui montre avec quel esprit superficiel on avait étudié ce bordereau, car un examen raisonné démontre qu’il ne pouvait s’agir que d’un officier de troupe. On cherchait donc dans la maison, on examinait les écritures, c’était comme une affaire de famille, un traître à surprendre dans les bureaux mêmes, pour l’en expulser. Et, sans que je veuille refaire ici une histoire connue en partie, le commandant du Paty de Clam entre en scène, dès qu’un premier soupçon tombe sur Dreyfus. A partir de ce moment, c’est lui qui a inventé Dreyfus, l’affaire devient son affaire, il se fait fort de confondre le traître, de l’amener à des aveux complets. Il y a bien le ministre de la Guerre, le général Mercier, dont l’intelligence semble médiocre ; il y a bien le chef de l’état-major, le général de Boisdeffre, qui paraît avoir cédé à sa passion cléricale, et le sous-chef de l’état-major, le général Gonse, dont la conscience a pu s’accommoder de beaucoup de choses. Mais, au fond, il n’y a d’abord que le commandant du Paty de Clam, qui les mène tous, qui les hypnotise, car il s’occupe aussi de spiritisme, d’occultisme, il converse avec les esprits. On ne saurait concevoir les expériences auxquelles il a soumis le malheureux Dreyfus, les pièges dans lesquels il a voulu le faire tomber, les enquêtes folles, les imaginations monstrueuses, toute une démence torturante. Ah ! cette première affaire, elle est un cauchemar, pour qui la connaît dans ses détails vrais ! Le commandant du Paty de Clam arrête Dreyfus, le met au secret. Il court chez madame Dreyfus, la terrorise, lui dit que, si elle parle, son mari est perdu. Pendant ce temps, le malheureux s’arrachait la chair, hurlait son innocence. Et l’instruction a été faite ainsi, comme dans une chronique du XVe siècle, au milieu du mystère, avec une complication d’expédients farouches, tout cela basé sur une seule charge enfantine, ce bordereau imbécile, qui n’était pas seulement une trahison vulgaire, qui était aussi la plus impudente des escroqueries, car les fameux secrets livrés se trouvaient presque tous sans valeur. Si j’insiste, c’est que l’oeuf est ici, d’où va sortir plus tard le vrai crime, l’épouvantable déni de justice dont la France est malade. Je voudrais faire toucher du doigt comment l’erreur judiciaire a pu être possible, comment elle est née des machinations du commandant du Paty de Clam, comment le général Mercier, les généraux de Boisdeffre et Gonse ont pu s’y laisser prendre, engager peu à peu leur responsabilité dans cette erreur, qu’ils ont cru devoir, plus tard, imposer comme la vérité sainte, une vérité qui ne se discute même pas. Au début, il n’y a donc, de leur part, que de l’incurie et de l’inintelligence. Tout au plus, les sent-on céder aux passions religieuses du milieu et aux préjugés de l’esprit de corps. Ils ont laissé faire la sottise. Mais voici Dreyfus devant le conseil de guerre. Le huis clos le plus absolu est exigé. Un traître aurait ouvert la frontière à l’ennemi pour conduire l’empereur allemand jusqu’à Notre-Dame, qu’on ne prendrait pas des mesures de silence et de mystère plus étroites. La nation est frappée de stupeur, on chuchote des faits terribles, de ces trahisons monstrueuses qui indignent l’Histoire ; et naturellement la nation s’incline. Il n’y a pas de châtiment assez sévère, elle applaudira à la dégradation publique, elle voudra que le coupable reste sur son rocher d’infamie, dévoré par le remords. Est-ce donc vrai, les choses indicibles, les choses dangereuses, capables de mettre l’Europe en flammes, qu’on a dû enterrer soigneusement derrière ce huis clos? Non! il n’y a eu, derrière, que les imaginations romanesques et démentes du commandant du Paty de Clam. Tout cela n’a été fait que pour cacher le plus saugrenu des romans-feuilletons. Et il suffit, pour s’en assurer, d’étudier attentivement l’acte d’accusation, lu devant le conseil de guerre. Ah! le néant de cet acte d’accusation ! Qu’un homme ait pu être condamné sur cet acte, c’est un prodige d’iniquité. Je défie les honnêtes gens de le lire, sans que leur coeurs bondisse d’indignation et crie leur révolte, en pensant à l’expiation démesurée, là-bas, à l’île du Diable. Dreyfus sait plusieurs langues, crime ; on n’a trouvé chez lui aucun papier compromettant, crime ; il va parfois dans son pays d’origine, crime ; il est laborieux, il a le souci de tout savoir, crime ; il ne se trouble pas, crime ; il se trouble, crime. Et les naïvetés de rédaction, les formelles assertions dans le vide! On nous avait parlé de quatorze chefs d’accusation : nous n’en trouvons qu’une seule en fin de compte, celle du bordereau ; et nous apprenons même que les experts n’étaient pas d’accord, qu’un d’eux, M. Gobert, a été bousculé militairement, parce qu’il se permettait de ne pas conclure dans le sens désiré. On parlait aussi de vingt-trois officiers qui étaient venus accabler Dreyfus de leurs témoignages. Nous ignorons encore leurs interrogatoires, mais il est certain que tous ne l’avaient pas chargé ; et il est à remarquer, en outre, que tous appartenaient aux bureaux de la guerre. C’est un procès de famille, on est là entre soi, et il faut s’en souvenir : l’état-major a voulu le procès, l’a jugé, et il vient de le juger une seconde fois. Donc, il ne restait que le bordereau, sur lequel les experts ne s’étaient pas entendus. On raconte que, dans la chambre du conseil, les juges allaient naturellement acquitter. Et, dès lors, comme l’on comprend l’obstination désespérée avec laquelle, pour justifier la condamnation, on affirme aujourd’hui l’existence d’une pièce secrète, accablante, la pièce qu’on ne peut montrer, qui légitime tout, devant laquelle nous devons nous incliner, le bon Dieu invisible et inconnaissable ! Je la nie, cette pièce, je la nie de toute ma puissance ! Une pièce ridicule, oui, peut-être la pièce où il est question de petites femmes, et où il est parlé d’un certain D... qui devient trop exigeant : quelque mari sans doute trouvant qu’on ne lui payait pas sa femme assez cher.

Mais une pièce intéressant la défense nationale, qu’on ne saurait produire sans que la guerre fût déclarée demain, non, non ! C’est un mensonge ! et cela est d’autant plus odieux et cynique qu’ils mentent impunément sans qu’on puisse les en convaincre. Ils ameutent la France, ils se cachent derrière sa légitime émotion, ils ferment les bouches en troublant les cœurs, en pervertissant les esprits. Je ne connais pas de plus grand crime civique. Voilà donc, monsieur le Président, les faits qui expliquent comment une erreur judiciaire a pu être commise ; et les preuves morales, la situation de fortune de Dreyfus, l’absence de motifs, son continuel cri d’innocence, achèvent de le montrer comme une victime des extraordinaires imaginations du commandant du Paty de Clam, du milieu clérical où il se trouvait, de la chasse aux « sales juifs », qui déshonore notre époque.

Et nous arrivons à l’affaire Esterhazy. Trois ans se sont passés, beaucoup de consciences restent troublées profondément, s’inquiètent, cherchent, finissent par se convaincre de l’innocence de Dreyfus. Je ne ferai pas l’historique des doutes, puis de la conviction de M. Scheurer-Kestner. Mais, pendant qu’il fouillait de son côté, il se passait des faits graves à l’état-major même. Le colonel Sandherr était mort, et le lieutenant-colonel Picquart lui avait succédé comme chef du bureau des renseignements. Et c’est à ce titre, dans l’exercice de ses fonctions, que ce dernier eut un jour entre les mains une lettre-télégramme, adressée au commandant Esterhazy, par un agent d’une puissance étrangère. Son devoir strict était d’ouvrir une enquête. La certitude est qu’il n’a jamais agi en dehors de la volonté de ses supérieurs. Il soumit donc ses soupçons à ses supérieurs hiérarchiques, le général Gonse, puis le général de Boisdeffre, puis le général Billot, qui avait succédé au général Mercier comme ministre de la Guerre. Le fameux dossier Picquart, dont il a été tant parlé, n’a jamais été que le dossier Billot, j’entends le dossier fait par un subordonné pour son ministre, le dossier qui doit exister encore au ministère de la Guerre. Les recherches durèrent de mai à septembre 1896, et ce qu’il faut affirmer bien haut, c’est que le général Gonse était convaincu de la culpabilité d’Esterhazy, c’est que le général de Boisdeffre et le général Billot ne mettaient pas en doute que le bordereau ne fût de l’écriture d’Esterhazy. L’enquête du lieutenant-colonel Picquart avait abouti à cette constatation certaine. Mais l’émoi était grand, car la condamnation d’Esterhazy entraînait inévitablement la révision du procès Dreyfus; et c’était ce que l’état-major ne voulait à aucun prix. Il dut y avoir là une minute psychologique pleine d’angoisse. Remarquez que le général Billot n’était compromis dans rien, il arrivait tout frais, il pouvait faire la vérité. Il n’osa pas, dans la terreur sans doute de l’opinion publique, certainement aussi dans la crainte de livrer tout l’état-major, le général de Boisdeffre, le général Gonse, sans compter les sous-ordres. Puis, ce ne fut là qu’une minute de combat entre sa conscience et ce qu’il croyait être l’intérêt militaire. Quand cette minute fut passée, il était déjà trop tard. Il s’était engagé, il était compromis. Et, depuis lors, sa responsabilité n’a fait que grandir, il a pris à sa charge le crime des autres, il est aussi coupable que les autres, il est plus coupable qu’eux, car il a été le maître de faire justice, et il n’a rien fait. Comprenez-vous cela ! Voici un an que le général Billot, que les généraux de Boisdeffre et Gonse savent que Dreyfus est innocent, et ils ont gardé pour eux cette effroyable chose ! Et ces gens-là dorment, et ils ont des femmes et des enfants qu’ils aiment ! Le lieutenant-colonel Picquart avait rempli son devoir d’honnête homme. Il insistait auprès de ses supérieurs, au nom de la justice. Il les suppliait même, il leur disait combien leurs délais étaient impolitiques, devant le terrible orage qui s’amoncelait, qui devait éclater, lorsque la vérité serait connue. Ce fut, plus tard, le langage que M. Scheurer- Kestner tint également au général Billot, l’adjurant par patriotisme de prendre en main l’affaire, de ne pas la laisser s’aggraver, au point de devenir un désastre public. Non! Le crime était commis, l’état-major ne pouvait plus avouer son crime. Et le lieutenant-colonel Picquart fut envoyé en mission, on l’éloigna de plus en plus loin, jusqu’en Tunisie, où l’on voulut même un jour honorer sa bravoure, en le chargeant d’une mission qui l’aurait sûrement fait massacrer, dans les parages où le marquis de Morès a trouvé la mort. Il n’était pas en disgrâce, le général Gonse entretenait avec lui une correspondance amicale. Seulement, il est des secrets qu’il ne fait pas bon d’avoir surpris. A Paris, la vérité marchait, irrésistible, et l’on sait de quelle façon l’orage attendu éclata. M. Mathieu Dreyfus dénonça le commandant Esterhazy comme le véritable auteur du bordereau, au moment où M. Scheurer-Kestner allait déposer, entre les mains du garde des Sceaux, une demande en révision du procès. Et c’est ici que le commandant Esterhazy paraît. Des témoignages le montrent d’abord affolé, prêt au suicide ou à la fuite. Puis, tout d’un coup, il paye d’audace, il étonne Paris par la violence de son attitude. C’est que du secours lui était venu, il avait reçu une lettre anonyme l’avertissant des menées de ses ennemis, une dame mystérieuse s’était même dérangée de nuit pour lui remettre une pièce volée à l’état-major, qui devait le sauver. Et je ne puis m’empêcher de retrouver là le lieutenant-colonel du Paty de Clam, en reconnaissant les expédients de son imagination fertile. Son œuvre, la culpabilité de Dreyfus, était en péril, et il a voulu sûrement défendre son oeuvre. La révision du procès, mais c’était l’écroulement du roman- feuilleton si extravagant, si tragique, dont le dénouement abominable a lieu à l’île du Diable! C’est ce qu’il ne pouvait permettre. Dès lors, le duel va avoir lieu entre le lieutenant-colonel Picquart et le lieutenant-colonel du Paty de Clam, l’un le visage découvert, l’autre masqué. on les retrouvera prochainement tous deux devant la justice civile. Au fond, c’est toujours l’état-major qui se défend, qui ne veut pas avouer son crime, dont l’abomination grandit d’heure en heure. On s’est demandé avec stupeur quels étaient les protecteurs du commandant Esterhazy. C’est d’abord, dans l’ombre, le lieutenant-colonel du Paty de Clam qui a tout machiné, qui a tout conduit. Sa main se trahit aux moyens saugrenus. Puis, c’est le général de Boisdeffre, c’est le général Gonse, c’est le général Billot lui-même, qui sont bien obligés de faire acquitter le commandant, puisqu’ils ne peuvent laisser reconnaître l’innocence de Dreyfus, sans que les bureaux de la guerre croulent dans le mépris public. Et le beau résultat de cette situation prodigieuse est que l’honnête homme, là- dedans, le lieutenant-colonel Picquart, qui seul a fait son devoir, va être la victime, celui qu’on bafouera et qu’on punira. Ô justice, quelle affreuse désespérance serre le cœur ! On va jusqu’à dire que c’est lui le faussaire, qu’il a fabriqué la carte-télégramme pour perdre Esterhazy. Mais, grand Dieu! pourquoi ? dans quel but ? donnez un motif. Est-ce que celui-là aussi est payé par les juifs ? Le joli de l’histoire est qu’il était justement antisémite. Oui ! nous assistons à ce spectacle infâme, des hommes perdus de dettes et de crimes dont on proclame l’innocence, tandis qu’on frappe l’honneur même, un homme à la vie sans tache ! Quand une société en est là, elle tombe en décomposition. Voilà donc, monsieur le Président, l’affaire Esterhazy : un coupable qu’il s’agissait d’innocenter. Depuis bientôt deux mois, nous pouvons suivre heure par heure la belle besogne. J’abrège, car ce n’est ici, en gros, que le résumé de l’histoire dont les brûlantes pages seront un jour écrites tout au long. Et nous avons donc vu le général de Pellieux, puis le commandant Ravary, conduire une enquête scélérate d’où les coquins sortent transfigurés et les honnêtes gens salis. Puis, on a convoqué le conseil de guerre.

Comment a-t-on pu espérer qu’un conseil de guerre déferait ce qu’un conseil de guerre avait fait ? Je ne parle même pas du choix toujours possible des juges. L’idée supérieure de discipline, qui est dans le sang de ces soldats, ne suffit-elle à infirmer leur pouvoir d’équité ? Qui dit discipline dit obéissance. Lorsque le ministre de la Guerre, le grand chef, a établi publiquement, aux acclamations de la représentation nationale, l’autorité de la chose jugée, vous voulez qu’un conseil de guerre lui donne un formel démenti ? Hiérarchiquement, cela est impossible. Le général Billot a suggestionné les juges par sa déclaration, et ils ont jugé comme ils doivent aller au feu, sans raisonner. L’opinion préconçue qu’ils ont apportée sur leur siège, est évidemment celle-ci :

« Dreyfus a été condamné pour crime de trahison par un conseil de guerre, il est donc coupable ; et nous, conseil de guerre, nous ne pouvons le déclarer innocent ; or nous savons que reconnaître la culpabilité d’Esterhazy, ce serait proclamer l’innocence de Dreyfus. » Rien ne pouvait les faire sortir de là. Ils ont rendu une sentence inique, qui à jamais pèsera sur nos conseils de guerre, qui entachera désormais de suspicion tous leurs arrêts. Le premier conseil de guerre a pu être inintelligent, le second est forcément criminel. Son excuse, je le répète, est que le chef suprême avait parlé, déclarant la chose jugée inattaquable, sainte et supérieure aux hommes, de sorte que des inférieurs ne pouvaient dire le contraire. On nous parle de l’honneur de l’armée, on veut que nous l’aimions, la respections. Ah! certes, oui, l’armée qui se lèverait à la première menace, qui défendrait la terre française, elle est tout le peuple, et nous n’avons pour elle que tendresse et respect. Mais il ne s’agit pas d’elle, dont nous voulons justement la dignité, dans notre besoin de justice. Il s’agit du sabre, le maître qu’on nous donnera demain peut-être. Et baiser dévotement la poignée du sabre, le dieu, non ! Je l’ai démontré d’autre part : l’affaire Dreyfus était l’affaire des bureaux de la guerre, un officier de l’état-major, dénoncé par ses camarades de l’état-major, condamné sous la pression des chefs de l’état-major. Encore une fois, il ne peut revenir innocent sans que tout l’état-major soit coupable. Aussi les bureaux, par tous les moyens imaginables, par des campagnes de presse, par des communications, par des influences, n’ont-ils couvert Esterhazy que pour perdre une seconde fois Dreyfus. Quel coup de balai le gouvernement républicain devrait donner dans cette jésuitière, ainsi que les appelle le général Billot lui-même ! Où est-il, le ministère vraiment fort et d’un patriotisme sage, qui osera tout y refondre et tout y renouveler ? Que de gens je connais qui, devant une guerre possible, tremblent d’angoisse, en sachant dans quelles mains est la défense nationale ! Et quel nid de basses intrigues, de commérages et de dilapidations, est devenu cet asile sacré, où se décide le sort de la patrie ! On s’épouvante devant le jour terrible que vient d’y jeter l’affaire Dreyfus, ce sacrifice humain d’un malheureux, d’un « sale juif » ! Ah ! tout ce qui s’est agité là de démence et de sottise, des imaginations folles, des pratiques de basse police, des moeurs d’inquisition et de tyrannie, le bon plaisir de quelques galonnés mettant leurs bottes sur la nation, lui rentrant dans la gorge son cri de vérité et de justice, sous le prétexte menteur et sacrilège de la raison d’État ! Et c’est un crime encore que de s’être appuyé sur la presse immonde, que de s’être laissé défendre par toute la fripouille de Paris, de sorte que voilà la fripouille qui triomphe insolemment, dans la défaite du droit et de la simple probité. C’est un crime d’avoir accusé de troubler la France ceux qui la veulent généreuse, à la tête des nations libres et justes, lorsqu’on ourdit soi-même l’impudent complot d’imposer l’erreur, devant le monde entier. C’est un crime d’égarer l’opinion, d’utiliser pour une besogne de mort cette opinion qu’on a pervertie jusqu’à la faire délirer. C’est un crime d’empoisonner les petits et les humbles, d’exaspérer les passions de réaction et d’intolérance, en s’abritant derrière l’odieux antisémitisme, dont la grande France libérale des droits de l’homme mourra, si elle n’en est pas guérie. C’est un crime que d’exploiter le patriotisme pour des oeuvres de haine, et c’est un crime, enfin, que de faire du sabre le dieu moderne, lorsque toute la science humaine est au travail pour l’oeuvre prochaine de vérité et de justice.Cette vérité, cette justice, que nous avons si passionnément voulues, quelle détresse à les voir ainsi souffletées, plus méconnues et plus obscurcies! Je me doute de l’écroulement qui doit avoir lieu dans l’âme de M. Scheurer-Kestner, et je crois bien qu’il finira par éprouver un remords, celui de n’avoir pas agi révolutionnairement, le jour de l’interpellation au Sénat, en lâchant tout le paquet, pour tout jeter à bas. Il a été le grand honnête homme, l’homme de sa vie loyale, il a cru que la vérité se suffisait à elle- même, surtout lorsqu’elle lui apparaissait éclatante comme le plein jour. A quoi bon tout bouleverser, puisque bientôt le soleil allait luire? Et c’est de cette sérénité confiante dont il est si cruellement puni. De même pour le lieutenant-colonel Picquart, qui, par un sentiment de haute dignité, n’a pas voulu publier les lettres du général Gonse. Ces scrupules l’honorent d’autant plus que, pendant qu’il restait respectueux de la discipline, ses supérieurs le faisaient couvrir de boue, instruisaient eux-mêmes son procès, de la façon la plus inattendue et la plus outrageante. Il y a deux victimes, deux braves gens, deux coeurs simples, qui ont laissé faire Dieu, tandis que le diable agissait. Et l’on a même vu, pour le lieutenant-colonel Picquart, cette chose ignoble : un tribunal français, après avoir laissé le rapporteur charger publiquement un témoin, l’accuser de toutes les fautes, a fait le huis clos, lorsque ce témoin a été introduit pour s’expliquer et se défendre. Je dis que ceci est un crime de plus et que ce crime soulèvera la conscience universelle. Décidément, les tribunaux militaires se font une singulière idée de la justice. Telle est donc la simple vérité, monsieur le Président, et elle est effroyable, elle restera pour votre présidence une souillure. Je me doute bien que vous n’avez aucun pouvoir en cette affaire, que vous êtes le prisonnier de la Constitution et de votre entourage. Vous n’en avez pas moins un devoir d’homme, auquel vous songerez, et que vous remplirez. Ce n’est pas, d’ailleurs, que je désespère le moins du monde du triomphe. Je le répète avec une certitude plus véhémente: la vérité est en marche et rien ne l’arrêtera. C’est d’aujourd’hui seulement que l’affaire commence, puisque aujourd’hui seulement les positions sont nettes: d’une part, les coupables qui ne veulent pas que la lumière se fasse; de l’autre, les justiciers qui donneront leur vie pour qu’elle soit faite. Je l’ai dit ailleurs, et je le répète ici: quand on enferme la vérité sous terre, elle s’y amasse, elle y prend une force telle d’explosion, que, le jour où elle éclate, elle fait tout sauter avec elle. on verra bien si l’on ne vient pas de préparer, pour plus tard, le plus retentissant des désastres.

Mais cette lettre est longue, monsieur le Président, et il est temps de conclure. J’accuse le lieutenant-colonel du Paty de Clam d’avoir été l’ouvrier diabolique de l’erreur judiciaire, en inconscient, je veux le croire, et d’avoir ensuite défendu son oeuvre néfaste, depuis trois ans, par les machinations les plus saugrenues et les plus coupables.

J’accuse le général Mercier de s’être rendu complice, tout au moins par faiblesse d’esprit, d’une des plus grandes iniquités du siècle.

J’accuse le général Billot d’avoir eu entre les mains les preuves certaines de l’innocence de Dreyfus et de les avoir étouffées, de s’être rendu coupable de ce crime de lèse- humanité et de lèse-justice, dans un but politique et pour sauver l’état-major compromis.

J’accuse le général de Boisdeffre et le général Gonse de s’être rendus complices du même crime, l’un sans doute par passion cléricale, l’autre peut-être par cet esprit de corps qui fait des bureaux de la guerre l’arche sainte, inattaquable.

J’accuse le général de Pellieux et le commandant Ravary d’avoir fait une enquête scélérate, j’entends par là une enquête de la plus monstrueuse partialité, dont nous avons, dans le rapport du second, un impérissable monument de naïve audace.

J’accuse les trois experts en écritures, les sieurs Belhomme, Varinard et Couard, d’avoir fait des rapports mensongers et frauduleux, à moins qu’un examen médical ne les déclare atteints d’une maladie de la vue et du jugement.

J’accuse les bureaux de la guerre d’avoir mené dans la presse, particulièrement dans L’Éclair et dans L’Écho de Paris, une campagne abominable, pour égarer l’opinion et couvrir leur faute.

J’accuse enfin le premier conseil de guerre d’avoir violé le droit, en condamnant un accusé sur une pièce restée secrète, et j’accuse le second conseil de guerre d’avoir couvert cette illégalité, par ordre, en commettant à son tour le crime juridique d’acquitter sciemment un coupable.

En portant ces accusations, je n’ignore pas que je me mets sous le coup des articles 30 et 31 de la loi sur la presse du 29 juillet 1881, qui punit les délits de diffamation. Et c’est volontairement que je m’expose.

Quant aux gens que j’accuse, je ne les connais pas, je ne les ai jamais vus, je n’ai contre eux ni rancune ni haine. Ils ne sont pour moi que des entités, des esprits de malfaisance sociale. Et l’acte que j’accomplis ici n’est qu’un moyen révolutionnaire pour hâter l’explosion de la vérité et de la justice.

Je n’ai qu’une passion, celle de la lumière, au nom de l’humanité qui a tant souffert et qui a droit au bonheur. Ma protestation enflammée n’est que le cri de mon âme. Qu’on ose donc me traduire en cour d’assises et que l’enquête ait lieu au grand jour ! J’attends.

Veuillez agréer, monsieur le Président, l’assurance de mon profond respect.