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The human condition

maxresdefaultI wrote this on a trans-Atlantic flight several years ago. I just came across it and thought I’d put it here. DM

I am on this flight to L.A. and it is taking a while. 10.000 mile flights do.  A girl is sitting next to me. She is asleep. She was sort of scrounched on her seat and couldn’t help but lean on me a bit. This is natural, and to tell you the truth, quite nice. It makes me feel good for providing a small measure of comfort. I would tell her that she is welcome to lean on me, but that is of course not the done thing. From this, perhaps nice although impersonal guy sitting next to her, I would possibly turn (in her eyes) into a… I don’t know what I would turn into, but there is a huge chance that the rest of the flight might go down awkwardly if I showed any kind of kindness. I mean, she used a wet wipe to clear her table before she put her lunch tray on it. I don’t think she would appreciate a permanent contact with a stranger who has not been wiped down with a wet towellete, and who would possibly take offence is she tried to wipe him clean, before leaning on him.

No, this is the safe route. Pretend that our bodies are not touching and studiously ignore each other. What could be more natural than that? Somebody invades your personal space as you do theirs, for twelve hours, and the convention is that you pretend that what is happening, actually isn’t. And nothing actually is happening, just two people sitting next to each other, who might get to know each other or not. I do not know anything about this girl – I’ll call her Shrestha, for she seems Indian (or possibly Pakistani or Egyptian, I am not too good with geographical placement according to skin color) and I had an Indian primary school friend whose name was Shrestha.

I don’t know about Shrestha, but I have places to go and people to see and in a way if she does not provide any sort of useful info to satisfy my curiosity, then, I’ll just assume she has stuff to do too and make up what it is. I have to spend about seven more hours with her, after all. I assume three possible scenarios –

(a) She wants to make it big in the film industry and is following her dreams. That makes sense only in a jaded romantic way, and if she is Indian, then Bollywood is much closer and also she might only need to screw Indian people to get parts, whereas in L.A. … Also, possibly, the competition is greater in L.A. I don’t know. … I think this is possibly not the reason for her flight.

(b) She could be a student, although, I would assume not post-grad. I would say Shrestha is in her early to mid twenties, so I guess a post-grad is possible but only barely. Attending UCLA? Kinda doubt it – humanities seem more her style. Her hands are painted, she reads lifestyle magazines. The kind about celebrities.

(c) She is going on a trip of a lifetime, just travelling around, seeing the world. That is feasible. But then, I wonder, is there a love story underneath? Is there a white boy she met in a little village where she is from and spent an unforgettable fortnight with him under the Indian sun? And then the boy who is a son of a senator needed to fly back to his parents, his career and his aristo white WASP girlfriend, whom Shrestha knows nothing about; leaving her behind. And did she write to him, and did he reply? Or did he sort of assume that what happens in Bangalore, stays in Bangalore? Did he tell her one hot spring night that she should come to L.A. and be with him forever? Did he mean it, or just thought that he will get lucky again that evening if he said the right words? I know the bogus stuff I said to summer romance girls, so this is not out of the question. So many unknowns. Did he tell her that she should come and she believed him? Is she flying in blind or does he know she is coming? Will he be there at the airport? I’ll see. I kinda assume we’ll get lost in the shuffle once we land, but I’ll keep a lookout. You see, my problem is that I am a romantic at heart. But, for a great romance you also need a twist, an unwilling protagonist. Otherwise the three sentence structure (i.e. Romeo and Juliet  – Boy meets girls. Boy gets girl. Boy loses girl.), just becomes one sentence story. Boy gets girl. There is no drama there.

So, I am assuming that Shrestha is not pedestrian, she is not run of the mill. She deserves drama. She is Herencia (the movie) kind of girl. If I have to hazard a guess, which I think I very probably will have to do, then I would say that the boy will not be at the airport. He possibly didn’t tell Shrestha his contact details, so she is coming to L.A., a geographic area the size of a small European country, with 10 million inhabitants to find him. Perhaps he attends UCLA? I would think, though, that at the moment it is the Summer break? I don’t know enough about U.S. academia, can’t be bothered to find out and have no Internet access. I am on a plane, remember? Shrestha is sitting next to me.

So, while it gives me no pleasure to say this, I think, that things will not go according to plan – Shrestha will grab a cab or whatever to the campus, she will find Otis (let’s call him Otis), who will no doubt be surprised, but possibly not ecstatic to see her. She will not be able to sleep in his dorm, he will strenously advise her not to sleep in his frat house, because he saw a couple of brothers checking her out, when they went for a coffee (anything to get her out of the room). And, while Otis might be many things, he is not a pimp yet. So Shrestha is out on her own. It is evening and as Tom Waits says, there is nothing that Hollywood loves more than the taste of sweet little dreams and pretty blue wishes.

I mean what the hell? What is going on inside our minds? We are just little creatures industriously crawling from one continent to another and back. In my case, I am spending 24 hours on the planes in the next three freaking days. We spend inordinate amounts of time simply passing each other by. We are all shy, all herd creatures, who would mostly prefer not to spend time in a herd, although we would be sad and alone if we were isolated.

Shrestha is now elbow-touching me. She is still asleep. Sweet dreams.

Update:

I have covertly read the imigration card Shrestha was filling out – she is 25 years old, she lives in India and her name is not Shrestha. I was still slightly on the money, though 🙂
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Virgin Atlantic flight VS007, 1st of June, 2013.

Waterproofing replicas part 1

IMG_4278I lost my old watch to a swimming incident – see the story here. I almost never take off my watch. I sleep with it, I shower with it, I swim with it. It is there. I feel naked without a watch. The previous one served me for 23 years. I wanted to procure another one that would last me for just as long or longer. I need it to be water resistant and reasonably rugged. I figured that going for an automatic watch would remove the hassle of changing the batteries every three or four years. Also the craftsmanship of these higher-end watches is just amazing. I cannot afford a Patek Phillipe, but I could go for sort of Rolex / Breitling / … category. I do not like Rolexes. It is a personal thing, for sure. I don’t think there is anything wrong with them, the craftsmanship is certainly exquisite. But I just associate them with a sort of gaudy bling. I could  afford a used Submariner but I just don’t like them enough. I also really dislike the magnifying glass over the date window. I understand why it is there, I just don’t like it. A personal thing, as I said. So I decided a Breitling would be the way to go. They are steeped in tradition and have this ruggedness about them that I like. My requirements were: water resistance, automatic movement, date and, if possible, a day indicator. I would like the GMT hand (that is – a second time zone indicator), but all GMT Breitlings I could find were either too expensive for me or not water resistant enough.

I bought a nice Breitling SuperOcean (SO) and was quite content with it. It fulfills my requirements: water resistant to 500m, day and date display, automatic. It also has a chronograph which I could do without – I don’t much care about them. The previous watch had a stopwatch too, but I probably used it twice on purpose in 23 years I had it. But the only SO that had a day display also had a chronograph, so I figured, why not. My SO is quite cool and stylish at the same time. Certainly worth the investment.

I then started worrying – I am about to go to Brazil on a consulting gig and I just attended a Conference where Bob Arno presented his stuff. I saw him literally steal a shirt from someone’s back in front of a live audience! In that process he also ‘stole’ a large number of watches, to demonstrate how easy it is. And it seems very easy. Takes a few seconds. I noticed he only ‘stole’  the watches with a a buckle, not the ones with a steel strap or a deployment clasp. So at first I thought, well, as long as I have the steel bracelet I am fine, right? Right? So, I went and asked Bob. It turns out I was wrong. Watches on steel bracelets are also exceedingly easy to steal, but you need to break the bracelet lugs to do it. It is not hard, but mr. Arno does not do it in demonstration settings. I realised I was screwed. Well, I figured, I need a replica watch to wear while I am in Rio. It makes no sense to walk around with 5000 GBP strapped on my wrist in slightly shady places. So, I started looking into replica watches. I figured I do not have to buy another SuperOcean, I can buy whatever I pleased. I can actually go for a GMT watch, because replicas are pretty much the same price in the same category, regardless of what you pick.

The journey starts
I googled replica forums and to my astonishment discovered that this is a huge market with many message boards and millions of users. It was surprisingly difficult to find “reputable” replica sellers. I then found two sellers with good reputation among forum dwellers, went to their websites and looked around. I could go for anything I wanted, there are literally thousands of options.

I had to decide on a brand. I thought I wouldn’t go for a Breitling, I have a genuine SO already. I decided not to go for Rolex because that is just sad. If I don’t want the genuine, I certainly do not want the fake one. I excluded Patek Phillipe because the whole point of PP is that it is practically forever. It is something you hand down generation to generation. What would be the point of having a replica of an eternal watch that will die in a few years? Also, I would feel really fake wearing a PP replica. I cannot afford the genuine one. And even if I could, how could I justify it? They cost as much as a new luxury car. You could buy a house in rural Slovenia for the same amount of money. No, I did not want PP. And I excluded any of the boutique brands, or brands where the genuine watch would not cost a lot more than a replica (for example Nomos). So I came across Omega. I was not enchanted by their regular offerings. The speedmaster has a chronograph, meh. The Seamaster is kinda quirky. But the Planet Ocean series, that is very nice. And what is more, they have a GMT version. Hmm. That could work. In the end I ended up buying two watches in the space of a month from two different sellers. They are both Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT (PO GMT, for short) replicas of varying quality.

The first one I bought was quite cheap. It has a DG2813 movement (23 jewells, 21,000 bph). This particular movement was made by the Beijing Watch Factory (or so the seller claimed. No way for me to check). It keeps time well enough (-5s / day) and they cut some corners making it – the steel bracelet does not have screws but pins, the lugs are 22mm instead of 21mm (as in the original PO GMT), the crystal is mineral glass, not sapphire and the lume is sub-par. Still, it cost only $150 (compared to the genuine PO GMT which costs about $8000). I read about the movement and realised that you probably get what you pay for. So, I figured, why not get another, they are cheap anyway. As a spare, so to speak. I got to another reputable site (the first one did not have what I was looking for) and got a slightly more expensive replica with many perks.

The more expensive one has the ETA2836.2 GMT (26 jewells, 28,800 bph) movement inside. The seller has been very firm in claiming that this is an actual ETA movement, but I suspect it was not made in Switzerland, because almost none of the movements in replicas are. For those of you interested in this kind of thing, ETA is a Swiss manufacturer of movements. It is part of the Swatch group and produces about 5 million movements per year. Most swiss makers use their movements (Breitling for example used ETA movements until recently. Omega too). There are two issues, though. ETA is clamping down on selling their movements outside of the Swatch group and they want to know where their movements are going. They certainly would not like to put them in replicas that infringe the copyrights of ETA’s own partners. So, the Chinese have started making ‘perfect’ replicas of ETA movements. They are not perfect, really, but they are quite close. You can look at in-depth comparison here (The post is made by Christian Danneman a master watchmaker). So my ‘ETA’ is probably a Seagull , but it could be still quite well made. This replica also keeps adequate time (again, the timekeeper shows -5s / day), but that one is also a lot easier to adjust, which I will do soon. It has screws in the bracelet and sapphire crystal and is nicely lumed. Not as nicely as the genuine watch, but there are almost no watches that are as bright as genuine Omegas.

Both watches are nice for the price, and they have one function that I find very very useful for my use case – they have a GMT hand. Once I got them, I almost stopped wearing my Breitling. I have so many meetings with people from the States that I really need the GMT ability.

It is one of those things – once you start using it, you cannot imagine how to do without. I realised that I don’t need the Breitling after all, but I do need the PO GMT. So, I went and bought the genuine Planet Ocean and am selling the Breitling (see my listing on eBay).

In that way, I am solving many issues at the same time. I felt slightly uncomfortable wearing a replica and not having the genuine watch – In my head, I can rationalize wearing the replica in situations where the genuine should not be used, but only if I have the genuine watch. In that respect, I figure I am not defrauding Omega nearly as much, just protecting my investment. I mean, by law, I was in the clear before – The UK law prosecutes the sellers, but not the buyers of replicas. But now all is fine, I think. I still need to sell the Breitling, though :).

On a side-note. I do not know what people have been smoking, but there is absolutely no way one can mistake the PO GMT replica for a genuine one. Even by simply looking at the face. The crystal is brighter, the hands movement smoother on the gen. If you try to wind it, it becomes clear as day which is which (genuine is buttery smooth. You almost doubt you are winding it, whereas the DG2813 feels as if you are dragging something through broken glass). The bezel on the genuine is (a) liquid metal and (b) bidirectional which are both no-shows on the replica. Once you turn the case around it also becomes clear which is which. The markings of the Omega 8605 are there on replicas, but there is no mistaking things like the Silicon balance wheel and spring, etc. Also, mine keeps perfect time. 0 seconds gained or lost in the past six days. It is a marvel of engineering.

I still have a problem, though.

I am still going to Brazil in the (Brazillian) summer and I will probably do at least some swimming in the sea. The genuine watch is water resistant to ridiculous 60ATM (600m) meaning that I would probably be crushed by the oceanic pressure much sooner than my watch would be. But the replicas are about as water resistant as paper towels. So – I am going to Brazil where I will be swimming in the sea, but my genuine watch will be waiting for me at home. Hmm… The only solution: WATERPROOF ALL THE WATCHES!

What do I need to do? I need to do a bit of reading. Check. A very good guide is here.

I need to:
1. Seal the (front and back) crystals with G-S Glue.
2. Seal the Helium release valve with marine Epoxy (I don’t need the HeV and frankly neither does the 99.9% of the worlds population. If you are interested in what its purpose is, look here. As is usually the case, if you have to look it up, then you probably don’t need it).
3. Rub silicon grease on the crown and stem of the watch.
4. Immerse back basket in silicone.
5. Have it tested.

Off we go. I need the following:

  • Case opener
  • Tweezers
  • Screwdrivers
  • Marine epoxy
  • G-S glue
  • silicon grease
  • silicon pad
  • fine brushes
  • pegwood sticks
  • movement cushion

The DG2813 PO GMT Replica

Let’s start with the DG2813. Here is my workbench at the lab, with everything I need nicely arranged.

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I first need to open the watch. I use the Jaxa wrench, displayed on the right in the picture above. The back comes off easily enough. And sure enough the gasket is completely dry.

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I remove the gasket with tweezers and put it into silicone grease to soak. I remove the rotor, the stem and the little screws holding the movement in place.

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I then realise that I have no idea how to remove the movement. It usually just pops out in the videos I’ve seen. Not here, though. Hmm. I attempt to pry it out, but to no avail. I do not want to use too much force. I then google disassembly of DG2813 but find very unhelpful posts (mostly with the movement already out). I google disassembly of replica watches, but cannot find any that show my particular model. I am stuck. Oh well, I figure, I will not glue the front glass, hoping that it is already tight enough and that I will fill the HeV with movement in place. If testing shows that the watch is not water tight, I will have another go at removing the movement.

I mix the marine epoxy.

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I prepare the watch by putting sellotape over the movement, being careful not to touch any moving parts. Let me be clear – if this didn’t cost less than a hundred Euros, I would be more careful, but I figure, why not, even if I break it, I have a spare replica. I would not dream of doing that to a genuine watch, but then again the genuine does not need this treatment anyway and also has a 5-year warranty, so if anything happens to the gen, I am straight to the Omega service centre.

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I use a bamboo stick to fill the HeV with epoxy with the valve unscrewed. Then, I screw it back in and remove the excess epoxy before it hardens. I remove the tape and end up with a nicely filled hole with not too much epoxy residue.

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I need to clean up the epoxy that is stuck in the gasket groove. I use the pegwood sticks for that and after it is almost clean, I use the little watchmakers brushes. I then grease the groove with Silicone and put silicone grease into the stem tunnel. Here is a photo of the epoxy seal from a different angle and the grooves are nicely greased.

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I then turn to the display glass in the back, which I can seal with the g-s glue. I apply the glue with a needle applicator, but it still flows a little too freely. You can see the residue on the glass and a little spiderweb tendril of glue crossing it.

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I waited a bit for the glue to settle and then used pegwood sticks to clean the excess glue. Looking a lot better now.IMG_4329

I then greased the crown and the o-ring in the crown with silicone grease…

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…inserted it back into the movement, re-attached the rotor, and took the gasket from the silicone bath and put it into the groove.

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And screwed the back back on.

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I checked whether the stem is sitting nicely and whether it still works (it seems that many people are too forceful with the clutch holding the stem in place and they disrupt the winding or the date mechanism when they take the stem out. Luckily that was not a problem for me. Everything still works.

The only thing still needed is to take the watch to the watchmaker to test for water resistance.

UPDATE 1. Next day, I went to a local watchmakers. They first said that they do not have the equipment to test to 600m. I assured them that 10ATM / 100m would do nicely. It passed! The watch is resistant to 100m, which means I can go swimming with it. Yay!

UPDATE 2. I searched for a while on how to remove the movement from the case. It turns out I was almost there. You need to remove the three screws, but also the three oblong washers and then the movement falls out. To see what I am talking about, check this thread on replica-watch.info.

 

In the next post, I will do the same for the ETA2836-2 replica. Stay tuned.

 

The Restoration of Sector STE200 part 1

IMG_4274I used to have a watch. It was (is) an old quartz Sector STE200. I bought it 23 years ago and it was on my wrist, day and night, for most of that time. When I was a teenager, I worked with computers and the first paying job I got, netted me quite a lot of money (for my age and the times). The day I got paid, I went into the store in Slovenia and bought this watch. It is not worth much by horological standards, but it is worth a lot to me.

This summer (2015), we went to the island of Losinj for our holidays and I wore the watch as always when I went swimming. On the second day, there was condensation on the inside of the glass. This happened before (about ten years ago), so I was not too upset. I figured, I could get it dried and repaired as I did before. Two days later, it stopped working. Hmm. When I attempted to set it, both hands moved at the same time. Hmmm. The date wheel didn’t move. Hmm. Ok, I thought, it needs cleaning and perhaps the battery needs to be changed. I had the battery changed about three months ago and then it was also tested for water resistance – it was still fine for up to 10ATM (100m).

We finished the vacation and we went back to Slovenia. I took it to the watchmakers (the official Sector seller no less) and they had it for a few days. They called me and I spoke to Marko, a very friendly watchmaker. He told me that the watch was corroded and that the movement is shot. It would need replacing, as well as the hands and probably the dial. I said fine, do it. He told me that he was worried about the cost, but I did not care about that. Whatever it costs. He told me that it is August and the Italians (Sector is an Italian company) have the ferragosto (I hope I spelled that correctly) – the national vacation time. Nothing happens in Italy during August. Well, I said, try to get the parts and I will leave the money with my mother in law and she’ll pick it up for me (I was due to come back to Cambridge). He agreed and I left the watch with him.

He called me a week later and told me that Sector does not have the parts for the watch any more and that I am shit out of luck. I said thanks, took the watch and went online to buy myself another long term staple of my wrist (there is another story there, but that comes in another post). When we came back home to the UK, I thought that simply chucking the watch into the drawer would be giving up, somehow. I went online and checked whether there was a used Sector STE200 for sale anywhere. No luck. Well, I found one for sale in Brazil, but it would be hard for me to procure it (no international shipping, a site in Portuguese, prices in Real’s etc). I was not ready to give up just yet, though.

I registered at Cousins UK, a watchmaker’s site specializing in providing spare parts and movements. I knew that they would not have Sector, but they would sell Japanese and Chinese quartz and mechanical movements. Sector has a swiss ETA movement, by the way, but they are (a) very hard to get as the Swatch group (who owns ETA) is reluctant to sell the movements outside the group and even spare parts are really hard to source.

So ETA was not an option, but there are catalogues of different movements at Cousins. I needed to find the movement that had the right small dial positions at the right places. I figured I would repair the hands and the watch dial myself. When I say repair, I mean relume, essentially. The dial is fine, but the hands are pretty bad (see the photos). So I went searching. I found a Miyota movement that would probably work, but the dimensions need to really match, so I needed to get the movement out of the case. A jaxa type wrench is used for that, which I didn’t have, but that is what eBay is there for. I bought a wrench on September 4th and 24 days later, they still haven’t delivered it. Damn. In the meantime I bought another wrench from another seller, they delivered next day, but without the pins that you need to attach the wrench to the back. I complained, they promised a replacement, but I am still waiting 14 days later.

In the meantime, I discovered an italian watchmaker selling a sector STE155 movement. Used, with a butt-ugly dial, but what do I care, I will replace the dial and hands anyway. I just need to see whether the dimensions match. As soon as I get the wrench, I am opening the watch up and we’ll see. UPDATE. I got the wrench. It seems that the movement should fit. I ordered it. If it does not fit, I will be buying an ETA movement (when I opened the watch up, I found out I am looking for ETA 251.272. I can get those for about 100 pounds).

In the meantime I started preparing for the movement swap. I bought the following:
– new hands (they are luckily very similar to Rolex hands and thus I can get replica rolex hands fairly easily. I still don’t know whether the hole diameters match. I’ll find out when I get the bloody movement out).
– Rodico (cleaner)
– casing cushion
– bracelet tool + lugs
– movement holder
– hand remover
– hand setter
– luminous paste for the dial
– pegwood sticks (cleaning)
– digital measuring tool
– bezel remover
– silicon grease and paste (to grease the orings and gaskets)
– fine brushes
– watchmakers tweezers
– watchmakers screwdrivers
– G-S Glue (to seal the watch crystal)
– gasket and crystal tool (looks like a little hand press with different attachments).
– Watchmakers hammer

I still need to buy:
– the movement
– gaskets
– o-rings

While I am waiting for the case opener, I can still do some stuff. I started by taking the bracelet off. The lugs were heavily distorted. They either used 22mm lugs (it seems that this is a 21mm width) or they just got destroyed by 23 years of use. Luckily, I have about a 100 spares.

I cleaned the bracelet with soap. It is stainless steel, and I am not looking to make it look like new. Having it functional is just fine.

I removed the bezel, because it did not turn any more. The inner grove was just full of gunk. I brushed that out, cleaned it and re-set it. It now turns freely again. I put the watch in the movement holder and waited.

UPDATE. The Jaxa wrench(es) arrived today. I got two wrenches now. But hey, two is better than none.

Front. As you can see, it is badly badly corroded. The hands are really destroyed.

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Back.

 

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A bit of wrenching later, the case opens. There does not seem to be much damage. No discoloration or rust.

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I need to buy a new gasket. 32mm seems to be the right size (0.5mm thick). Off to eBay I go.

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Ok, gasket ordered. Now, I need to remove the hands (they have been corroded together). I cannot move them to a position where all of them would be aligned. when I tried (with tweezers, I am not a complete tool), the minute hand just fell apart on me.

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Ok, hands are removed, the dial is now exposed.

 

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While I wait for the movement and the new hands, I can re-lume the dial. I use pegwood sticks and slowly remove the old paint.

 

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Then re-lume and this is what I end up with.

 

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Now, I need to wait for the parts to arrive. I will revisit this, once I have everything. Hope the movement will fit. If not, well, I’ll have an extra movement :). To be continued.

O nadpovprečnosti

mladinaV Mladini (19.02.2015) je v izjavah tedna tudi tale:

“Čedalje več je takih ljudi, ki so nadpovprečni” (Vlasta Nussdorfer na Valu 202 o inflaciji nadpovprečnosti)

Na prvi pogled je to smešno. Sej ne more biti več kot polovica ljudi boljših od povprečja, ne? Ne?

 

Polovica ljudi je na vsaki strani srednje vrednosti, ne aritmetičnega povprečja. Zmedeni?

(1) Primer:

Imamo 10 ljudi in merimo njihov npr. uspeh od 0 do 100%. V prvem primeru je 5 ljudi doseglo 25% in 5 ljudi 75%. Aritmetična sredina je:

(25 + 25 +25 +25 + 25 + 75 + 75 + 75 + 75 + 75) / 10 = 50

Torej 50% je povprečje in 5 ljudi je boljših in 5 slabših. OK.

 

(2) V drugem primeru doseže 5 ljudi 10% in 5 ljudi 20%. Aritmetična sredina (povprečje) je:

(10 + 10 +10 +10 +10 + 20 + 20 + 20 + 20 + 20) / 10 = 15

Torej tistih 5 posameznikov, ki so dosegli 20% je nadpovprečnih! V absolutnem smislu so skrajno neuspešni, vendar v primerjavi s svojimi vrstniki dobivajo nadpovprečne ocene. In še huje:

 

(3) V tretjem primeru imamo takole razporeditev: 5, 1, 1, 1, 5, 6 , 6, 6, 6, 6. Aritmetična sredina (povprečna vrednost) je:

(1 + 1 + 1 +5 +5 + 6 + 6 +6 +6 +6) / 10 = 4.3

Od 10 posameznikov jih je 7 nadpovprečnih v tretjem primeru. Torej več kot polovica.

 

Ampak, ampak, kako je lahko več kot polovica ljudi nadpovprečnih, vas slišim spraševati. Zato, ker povprečje (oz. aritmetična sredina) ne označuje nujno srednje točke v populaciji! Nabolj pogosto, prelomno vrednost, ki deli skupino na dva dela, označi mediana. Mediano izračunamo tako, da razvrstimo vrednosti po vrsti  in tista, ki je najbolj pogosta, je mediana. Če sta dve številki bolj pogosti kot ostale, potem ju seštejemo in razpolovimo. Mediano uporabljamo predvsem v ekonomiji, ko recimo želimo vedeti kaj o plači, ki je najbolj pogosta. Če vzamemo aritmetično sredino, potem tisti, ki zaslužijo ogromno in tisti, ki ne zaslužijo nič izkrivijo porazdelitev. Če npr. vzamemo nekega pro-rektorja neke angleške univerze, ki ima plačo 500.000 funtov+ na leto in nekega pomivalca posode, ki ima plačo 8.000 funtov / leto, zraven pa dodamo še 8 delavcev, ki zaslužijo 18.000 na leto, potem bi lahko mislili, da je povprečna letna plača v Angliji 65.200 funtov. Vrednost mediane je v tem konkretnem primeru 18.000 funtov / leto, kar je tudi v resnici blizu najbolj pogosti angleški plači in nam pove precej več o stanju ekonomije, kupni moči, revščini itd). 

(1) V prvem primeru je mediana: ( (25 + 75 ) / 2 ) = 50 (== aritmetična sredina)

(2) V drugem primeru:  ( (10 + 20) / 2) = 15 (< aritmetične sredine)

(3) V tretjem primeru :  ( (5 + 6) / 2) = 5.5 (> aritmetične sredine)

V vseh treh primerih je mediana na sredini (5 ljudi na vsaki strani).

Na dva načina je torej lahko zgornja izjava povsem točna.

(a) Ker povprečje ni mediana in je možno, da je čedalje več ljudi nad povprečjem.

in

(b) Ker je razmerje lahko isto (pri fiksnem povprečju), pa imamo kljub temu vedno več nadpovprečnih posameznikov.

Ne vem o čem konkretno je Vlasta N. govorila v oddaji, ampak recimo, da je govorila o inteligenci in ne o izpitni uspešnosti. Povprečna inteligenca je določena. Povprečen IQ po Wechslerju je 89 – 109. Če vzamemo izjavo samo, potem je vedno več Slovencev, ki imajo IQ > 109. Malo verjetno je, da je prav v Sloveniji normalna distribucija inteligentnosti drugačna kot po svetu. Če je, potem ni treba nič več dokazovati, ker izjava logično (ne pa nujno faktografsko) že stoji .

V primeru, da Slovenija ni izjema in da je vrednost povprečne inteligence po vsem svetu podobna, je Vlastina izjava še vedno lahko pravilna. Kako? Če hočemo ohraniti fiksno povprečje, potem moramo kontra-obtežiti populacijo. Kako? Za vsakega genija, rabimo dodatnega morona, pa povprečje in razmerje ostaneta ista, obenem pa imamo več nadpovprečnih. Torej, če hočemo preveriti ali je izjava resnična ali ne, potem pogledamo rezultate inteligenčnih testov šolarjev (ne vem če jih še delajo, v mojih osnovnošolskih časih so jih) in hitro vidimo ali je res vedno več genijev in vedno več butcev.

Seveda gre vse to na račun povprečno inteligentnih.

Nič smešnega ali čudnega ni v izjavi tedna. Morda izjava ni faktografsko resnična, vendar tega ne vidimo iz izjave same.

O primitivizmu in Godwinovemu zakonu

from: http://pbmo.wordpress.com/2010/08/page/8/Takole:

Najprej piarovec največje vladne stranke primerja enega bolj vidnih desničarskih “intelektualcev” z očetom modernega marketinga in Hitlerjevo desno roko. Potem Mladina to potisne še korak dlje in na satirični predzadnji strani objavi fotografije obeh prej omenjenih posameznikov skupaj z njunima družinama. V svoj zagovor (ki se ga morda tudi da razumeti) rečejo, da hočejo opozoriti na to, da največja opozicijska stranka uporablja marketinške strategije tretjega rajha. Slehernik, v dobri meri podpihovan z rumenim tiskom se osredotoči na to, da so na slikah otroci in popeni.

Pustimo po strani, ali je to upravičeno ali ne (vsekakor je res tudi, da je vsaka reklama dobra reklama in naklada Mladini verjetno s to objavo ni padla). Argumenti so bili že večkrat podani, tisti, ki jih to zanima s(m)o si pro-et-contra lahko prebirali do zasičenosti v večini slovenskih medijev. Seveda govorim o argumentih tega ali objaviti slike otrok ali ne, ne pa tudi ali se opozicija obnaša kot nacional-socialisti v štiridesetih letih prejšnjega stoletja. To je, zgleda, postransko. In tudi ni tema tega pisanja.
Potem pa se, kot kaže, aktivira fanatična desnica in demonstrativno, kao, ‘da bojo vidl kako boli, ko je čevelj na drugi nogi‘ vzame dodobra prezvečen in izpet kos fantastičnega filma Der Untergang in čez nalepi druge podnapise. Originalno? Niti ne, kratek obisk youtuba navrže dobrih 13000 tovrstnih “parodij” s ključnima besedama “hitler parody” (saj vem, da niso vsi parodije na Untergang).  Nanašajo se na vse živo od tega, da Hitler napove vojno sam sebi, do tega da hoče svoj Counterstrike server in podobno.

O vsem tem mislim dve stvari, najprej tole:
“Hodite v najboljše restavracije, vozite najboljše avtomobile potem pa še porivate pse.”
“Tišina! Katarine gole še videl nisi.”
“Če pa mislite, da bom zaradi tega zapustil Murgle, se pa motite. Skril se bom med vrtne palčke”
“Vse bi vas moral poslati na Goli Otok ali pa zmetati v jame. Kot Tito.”

Mogoče se splača tole še enkrat prebrat in potem malo razmislit o avtorju, ki je zmožen tole spisat. Kaj si lahko mislimo o njem?

No, kaj?

Mene je sram. Sram, da diham isti zrak, sram, da govorim isti jezik. Sram, da obstaja majhna možnost, da se me poveže s tisto družbo. Da ne bo pomote – nikakor ne trdim, da bi moralo biti sram tudi koga drugega, to je pač prepuščeno posamezniku in njegovi vesti. Kaj je tukaj konstruktivnega? Sama žalost in plitkost. Je to res rešitev, da na neko pritlehnost odgovoriš tako, da si še bolj pritlehen? Kaksna čudovita priložnost je bila zamujena – lahko bi rekli, “Kolk ste bogi, ste pač podlegli Godwinovemu zakonu. No, nam pa tega ni treba. Raje bomo konstruktivni, tej oslariji bom namenili 0 pozornosti in se raje usedli skupaj, da rečemo kako o tem, kako bomo kej naredili za narod.” Ampak ne.

Druga stvar, ki jo mislim je tole: Kaksno vezo ima Milan Kučan s tem, da je Mladina razžalila desnico? Ali pa levi politiki per se? Ko se desni fanatiki spravijo kazat kako je, ko nekdo drug okusi njihovo zdravilo, se ne spravijo na Sarkiča ali Mladino, ki sta kao odgovorna, ampak na prvo žogo napadejo levico. WTF? Kje je tle logika? Ali res kdo misli, da se Milanu Kučanu da ukazovat Sarkiču kaj naj piše in da ga Sarkič upošteva? Res kdo verjame, da je celotna leva vlada lastnica in upravnica Mladine? Sej se se med sabo ne morejo dogovorit najbolj osnovnih stvari, pa naj bi usklajeno obvladovali Mladino? Prosim, no.

O argumentu, da je cela parodija pač smešna, pa raje ne bi, razen mogoče tega, da poniževanje nekoga drugega v resnici ni smešno, ampak bolj žalostno (zdej se mal nazaj držim, da ne začnem navajat primerov tega kako lahko je vzeti neko posameznikovo značilnost, npr. višino in se iz nje norčevat. Posameznik s tem ne more narediti nič, težko bo npr. zrasel. Da ne bo pomote, osebnost je preprosto prebrat in čisto vsak med nami ima kak gumb, ki se ga da pritisnit. Vsakdo. To, da ga pritisneš, te ne naredi velikega, to da ga ne, pa te).

Bedno je to. Ta neskončna igra of how low can you go.

O nemoči učiteljev…

[…] Vsi, ki se tako ali drugače ukvarjamo z mladimi, vemo da je problem obraten- mladi nimajo jasno začrtenih meja..Permisivna vzgoja večine, šolska zakonodaja, ki je že leta napisana tako, da lahko starši prikorakajo v šole z odvetnikom, ki profesorja poduči in spomni na kršene pravice, seveda gre ponavadi za običajne sankcije “špricanja” ali za doslednost profesorja, ki noce “šenkati oocene” […]
Komentar iz Dnevnika v kolumni ‘Ne solite pameti mladim ljudem, ki jih zaničujete in teptate‘ (M. Gregorčič) (21.05.2010)

Mal razmišljam o tej nemoči učiteljev. Nobenega dvoma ni, da je možno, da ti v razred uleti učenec/starš z odvetnikom, ki te hoče  tožit, ker malemu Ivanu nisi dal odlične ocene, pa pustimo po strani, če si jo zasluži ali ne. Tud men so že starši pacientov grozili s tožbo, ko sem še delal v zdravstvu. Tam je sicer drugače – pacienti so bili pri nas prostovoljno in ko niso upoštevali pravil institucije, smo jih pač vrgli ven, ker niso sebi delali nič dobrega in v večini primerov tudi  sopacientom ne. Ne morejo te prisilit, da nekoga zdraviš, če se njemu jebe, pa naj še tako mahajo s tožbami. Ne, ker mu ne bi hotel pomagati, ampak, ker to pač ni mogoče. But I digress.

Poskušam si predstavljat situacijo kjer delam na neki srednji šoli (čeprav sem, kot je nek moj kolega rekel ze nevarno preveč izobražen, da bi mi kdo ponudil službo v SŠ ali VZ) in mi uleti nek starš/odvetnik in mi teži, ker ne vzgajam njegovega pamža. To bi se moralo zgoditi samo enkrat. Če mi ravnatelj tisti hip ne bi skočil v bran, bi imeli naslednji dan vsi moji učenci letnik zaključen s petko pri mojem predmetu. Zakaj bi se človek sekiral? Takoj na naslednji uri, bi jim sporočil, da imajo že zaključene ocene in da jim ni treba hodit k mojim uram. Če si kdo vseeno želi, naj pride, ostali naj se prosim spokajo. Vpisal ne bom nikogar, nihče ne bo dobil ukora in nihče ne bo imel popravcev. Kakršenkoli nadaljnji izgred bi sankcioniral s tem, da bi izpeljal krajši vroči stol z učencem, kjer se mi ne bi dalo očitati, da koga fizično maltretiram ali da koga zlobno ocenjujem. Itak, bi imel vsi pet – še tožit me ne morjo. Garantiram, da mi ne bi bilo treba storiti tega več kot dvakrat.

Zakaj se dajat ljudem v zobe? Sej se bo uravnilovka pojavila sama od sebe. Štala na maturi, štala na eksternem preverjanju znanja. Če že komu rata priti na faks s takim podnom od znanja, bi pač popušil tam in začudeno ugotovil, da se ljudem na faksu čisto zares šljivi, če se teb ne da delat. Tako kot se šljivi učiteljem po srednjih šolah, samo oni mislijo, da morajo ohranjati učiteljsko poslanstvo. In obenem imajo zgrešene predstave o njem.

Gotov sem, da bi na moje ure tudi ob takih pogojih vseeno prikapljali kaki mulci, ki bi jih predmet res zanimal. Tisti bi si visoko oceno tudi zares zaslužili, kar bi pomenilo, da mi zagrenjeni starši in ravnatelj brez hrbtenice ne bi mogli očitati niti da sem slab pedagog – malo bi vil roke in rekel, ampak glejte, če je res, da ne znam učiti, kako je možno, da ima teh 40% učencev nadpovprečne ocene tudi pri eksternem preverjanju znanja?

To me spomni na leta nazaj, ko smo s prijatelji delali v nekem vzgojnem zavodu in po enem mesecu nas je ravnatelj poklical na razgovor, da bi malo poklepetali o tem kako smo se imeli in kaj naj bi spremenili. Najprej je bil na vrsti Bedva, ki je rekel, da se je mel kar v redu in da bi sam sicer morda kaj spremenil, ampak na splošno pa nima pripomb. Potem je bil na vrsti Habo, ki je (kot se je izkazalo kasneje, skrajno naivno) mislil, da ravnatelja zares zanima kaj si mislimo. Pa mu je povedal, da ga moti, da ga morajo mulci vikat, da mu ni všeč, da mora brati njihova zasebna pisma, da misli, da bi morali preživeti več časa z mulci in tko naprej. In ravnatelj je popizdil. In imel (sigurno) 15 minutni monolog o tem kako je dotični zavod zakon in kako smo mi še mladi in ne štekamo kaksna je kruta realnost in da smo butci, ker nismo samo požegnal njegovega dela, poklekniknili in poljubili njegovega prstana. Z drugimi besedami, seveda. Slina se mu je nabirala v kotičkih ust in rdeč je bil v obraz. Potem je malo dihal v tisini in ko je bila vrsta na meni, sem rekel, da sem se imel noro in nepozabno. Da nisem se nikoli bil v bolje urejenem zavodu, da mi je v čast, da sem spoznal takega vrhunskega strokovnjaka kot je on in da si lahko samo želim, da bi se kdaj delal z njim. Pa je bil model srečen.

Tisto, kar sem zamolčal pa je bilo, da sem prvi dan, ko sem prišel v zavod šel v skupino in rekel mulcem: “Verjetno to itak veste, ampak vseeno. Po pravilih zavoda moram čitat vašo pošto in to bom dosledno delal. Če jo bom našel. Upam, da se razumemo.” In mulci so pokimal in jaz v vsem času kar sem bil tam, nisem prebral niti enega pisma. Ker ga nisem našel na nobenem vidnem mestu v skupini.

Moja poanta je sledeča – čas za revolucijo je mimo. Predavanje ljudem o tem kako neuki so, je adijo. Modrovanje vodilnemu kadru pa naj bo to v šoli, zavodu ali podjetju, s pozicije podrejenga je zgolj in samo t.i. one-down power play (Steiner), po transakcijski analizi, torej igra moci, kjer ne mores zmagat. Vse kar lahko dosezes je, da se imata oba v odnosu bedno. To pa nima smisla. Kreganje s svojim nadrejenim skoraj nikoli ne prinaša pozitivne spremembe. Saj pravim ‘skoraj nikoli’. Vsi smo imeli vsaj enega šefa, ki je bil dostopen in je, če je bilo to vsaj malo smiselno tudi upošteval naše predloge. Večinoma pa ni tako. in takrat pač narediš točno tisto, kar črka zakona od tebe zahteva, to pa narediš na način, ki zahteva minimalno ali pa morda sploh nično spremembo tvojih stališč.

Če se torej vrnem na vprašanje o nemoči učiteljev in pomanjkanje podpore, bi bil moj tihi odgovor vsakem staršu, ki mi grozi s tožbo, ker ne podpiram njegovega neobvladanega pamža: ‘Ti mi kr groz, bebec, še mal pa bom naredil točno tisto kar hočeš od mene. In na koncu boš nasrkal ti in tvoja razvajena deca.’

Research Impact Reform…

Tory government would postpone REF, Willetts reveals

[…]The research excellence framework will be delayed by up to two years if the Conservatives win the 2010 general election, Times Higher Education can reveal. […]

A Taxpayer 15 January, 2010
So, a whole bunch of academics have decided to resign if impact is introduced – goodbye. I would thought that those afraid of having their efforts measured for usefulness to the society that pays for them to exist are the ones we can do without.

DavidM 19 January, 2010
It seems to me that this is an age old question of what good the people in HE are to a common man, or to be more precise in this case, how can Universities and their staff further a particular political agenda. If they can’t, well then they are obviously worthless to the power structure. It seems to me that measuring impact of a particular piece of research is a fiddly job – there have been numerous occasions where semi-unrelated research led to inventions that changed our civilisation (for instance nylons or Internet for that matter). How do you judge impact of that? I mean the first conversation over what we now call Internet was a 1200baud phone line connection. They wanted to send “HELLO” over the wires and the connection broke after it transmitted “HELL”… Should the government at that point have decided to scrap the research into the Internet, or at least not fund it, since it had no impact?
Also, let’s say that a researcher is doing a longitudinal study into, for instance, disclosure of political corruption, combined with rise of educational levels of general population. The study lasts five years. Does the researcher get no funding for five years, since it is somewhat obvious that he would have a hard time getting journals to accept articles along the lines of “I don’t know yet, let’s wait another few years…”? I am simplifying here, I know. At the same time, we would like to know for a fact that it is harder for politicians to get away with financial fraud if the general population is more knowledgeable. Would this fictional researcher get nothing for five years, then publish, get a bunch of prizes, which would secure plenty of funds for the University that year, but next year nothing again? What if the article still had impact that continued to reverberate? Do you fund Universities on the strength of their previous research or just current one?
The idea that pure knowledge is worthless to the common man is more or less playing into the hands of those who like to keep the common man uneducated and thus easier to manipulate. The fantasy that a person does not need academia because they are a drain on the taxpayers is incredibly shortsighted – oh yes, you will be able to buy one more Cadbury’s fruit and nut bar per year by keeping your hard-earned money for yourself (as if the taxpayers would actually pay less taxes!) but it won’t really help in ten or twenty years time when nobody actually remembers how to make chocolate.

O stranskih učinkih cepiva proti HPV

Članek je tule

Večina komentarjev se osredotoča na to kako hudobna je farmacevtska industrija.

10.03.2009

Sklepam, da ste moji predhodnji komentatorji moškega spola? Upam, da ste iz zgornjega članka razbrali, da pride do težav (ne pa do paralize) v 2 promilih primerov. Hujših težav pride v približno 2 promilih, 2 promilov. Torej 1 oseba na vsakih 400.000 ima hujše težave zaradi cepljenja. To je približno pol toliko mogoče kot da v Sloveniji zmagaš na lotu. Pa ljudje vseeno igrajo.

Recimo, da človek v povprečju živi 80 let in da obstaja nevarnost okužbe z rakom m.vr. samo v obdobju, ko ženske ovulirajo torej recimo 45 let. v teh 45 letih v britaniji umre (! in ne zboli) za rakom m.vr. 31.500 žensk. Če privzamemo, da razmerje ona:on v Angleški populaciji 50:50 in da je od teh posameznic približno polovica plodnih, ter da je razmerje relativno stabilno, vidimo da je tudi možnosti, da ženska za časa svojega življenja umre (in ne zboli) za rakom m.vr. približno 2.5 promila.

Če torej povsem popreprostimo enačbo -> če se cepiš zdaj imaš skrajno majhno možnost, da boš imela krče in mikroskopsko možnost da pride do hujših posledic. Če se ne cepiš sedaj imaš podobno majhno možnost, da umreš od raka m. vr. in precej večjo možnost, da dobiš raka, kar, če imaš srečo pomeni, da ti bodo odstranili maternico in boš celo življenje jemala hormonske tablete in ne boš imela otrok.

In kje je tu dilema?

In na kaksen nacin se da iz tega sklepati da so lekarnarji zasluskarji? Saj ne pravim da niso, ampak to res ni dober primer.

Za spremembo inštituta referenduma

Zares

(c) siol.net

Saga se nadaljuje….
Ker gre Marjan na jetra vladajoči eliti, ta zahteva spremembo pravil o tem kdaj in kako je referendum sploh možen. Celoten članek je tule
Za spremembo inštituta referenduma.

David Modic pravi:
Pozdravljeni,
sicer se strinjam z idejo, da je zapravljanje denarja v situacijah, kjer politika poskusa prenesti odgovornost za neprijetne odločitve na ljudstvo, nepotrebno. Tako stališće se mi zdi povsem zdravorazumsko, zato ga ni težko podpreti.

Vsekakor pa to ne reši situacije, kjer politika in politiki nimajo osebne integritete. Referendum ne bi bil potreben skoraj nikoli, če bi ljudje verjeli v to, da politiki dejansko izvajajo njihovo voljo. Če npr. SD zatrdi, da bo upoštevala pravne instance države in jo (tudi) zato volilci volijo, potem njena kredibilnost pade, ko se ob prvi priliki odloči, da npr. izjava finančnega sodišča nima nobene teze. Heh, kako je že rekel plagiator ob neki drugi priliki: “Saj je samo črka na papirju”. Verjetno se marsikdo vpraša ali se lahko zaupa taki vladi in ko ji ne zaupa več, ima občutek, da bo moral soodločati o vsem – “če hočeš kaj narediti dobro, moraš narediti sam”. In takrat hoče referendum, ker ne verjame več, da imajo politiki v mislih njegov interes, čeprav so mu včasih obljubljali, da ga imajo. V tem pogledu je referendum skoraj vedno v bistvu poraz demokratičnega procesa – če bi demokratični proces funkcioniral ne bi bilo potrebe po tem, da se ljudje naknadno vključujejo vanj. Če povem po domače – “Izvolil smo vas, dobro ste plačani, zdej pa dejte še mal delat svoj posel, da lahko jaz delam kaj drugega, kar me bolj zanima. Če moram priti vsake par tednov in malo popravit vaše odločitve ali pa vam jih kar predpisat, potem je škoda stroškov, ki jih imam, ko vzdržujem vaše delovno mesto.”

Resitev torej morda ni oteževanje procesa referenduma ampak to, da ustvarite pogoje, kjer ni potrebe zanj. Tu ne govorim o servilnosti.

Gotov sem, da se vedno najde kdo, ki izrablja različne vzvode, ki so na voljo za izražanje volje ljudstva. Mimogrede, a ne bi bil hec, če bi ta hip razpisali referendum o tem ali premier in posledično koalicija še imata pravico vladati, glede na prelomljene obljube in pomanjkanje sposobnosti kritičnega odločanja pod pritiskom? Mislite, da bi nabrali 40.000 podpisov?

Nazaj k temi, gotov sem, da se vedno najde kdo, ki bo poskušal izsiliti svojo. Rešitve pa vseeno ne vidim v tem, da rešujete primere enega za drugim, kot, da bi počasi lepili obliže na mesto, kjer je imel včasih nekdo roko.

V zadnjih nekaj tednih je koalicija pokazala, da nima moči odločanja. Kar dvakrat zaporedoma se je pustila izsiljevati in verjetno ni treba biti ravno briljanten mislec, da dojameš, da to ni zadnjič. Dokler ne bo potreben kakšen hud pritisk za to, da pokleknete in zanikate lastno integriteto, ne vidim kako bi lahko pomagalo (pri reševanju problema, ki ga koalicija v resnici ima) če spremenite referendumsko zakonodajo.

Po domače rečeno, če preprečite raji, da vas izsiljuje to ne deluje tudi znotraj parlamenta. Ali ne bi bilo morda bolje, da se ne pustite izsiljevati?

LP, D