OK, Verizon Fios is coming on Monday. Goodbye RCN, hello internet.
UPDATE 2: I'm back, for like one day.
Actually I have to leave right now to go to DC for a wedding. Maybe I'll be able to clear this up next week...
UPDATE: I'm on a boat.
The boat is the St. Peter Line's Princess Anastasia. After two days as a tourist in Stockholm, I feel like I've pretty much seen the highlights. Stockholm seems like a great place to live (if you can afford it, at least in the summer), but it's not much of a tourist destination.
The first day we made it to the Army Museum (which mostly covers the 1600s) and the Vasa Museum (which is basically one ship from the 1600s). There were lots and lots of painted figures frozen in melodramatic poses verging on the parodical.
Both museums made a big impression on me, but I think the Army Museum is fascinating because it shows the perspective of a modern, liberal European nation, looking back on history stretching through the neutrality of the 20th century to the bloody coups of the 1500s. Sweden's 500 years of (mostly) independence also have remarkable continuity of the state, with strange results. For example, I learned that in Medieval warfare, uniforms had not yet been invented, and armies charged under banners (just like in the movies!) mostly to keep everyone pointed in the right direction. The standards were regarded as trophies, and a bearer would be executed if he lost his to the enemy. In a hundred years of these battles, Sweden acquired many such trophies (and presumably lost a few). Today, Sweden is a modern democracy, but they still hold these trophies from ancient battles as state property. What to do with them? Well, display them in the Army museum, of course!
Despite detailed accounts (and life-size dioramas) of all this history, the museum is unsubtly antiwar, to an extent that I cannot imagine for a museum operated by, say, the US DoD. The opening diorama shows three chimpanzees grappling, teeth bared, under dim lights and an ominous soundtrack. Accounts of military history focus on the depravities: most soldiers were unwilling conscripts, most deaths came from disease, and supplies (food) were largely pillaged from local villages, even when fighting on your own territory. Multiple accounts from surgeons tasked with amputating gangrenous limbs were highlighted.
In the modern section, there's a small area devoted to Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who was tasked (by the US War Refugee Board, indirectly) to go to Hungary and use his Swedish diplomatic authority to provide (neutral) Swedish passport-like documents to as many Jews as they could find, about 10,000. They also moved a similar number into buildings leased by Sweden as diplomatic property, providing protection not unlike Julian Assange's current position.
The museum's exhibit on Wallenberg does not mention the USA or the American War Refugee Board. Instead, he is described in glowing terms as a Swedish hero. Others who saved Jews are described on a nearby wall, even though they don't seem to be Swedish.
The next exhibit over is a collection of WWII-era artifacts and photos from Sweden and Hungary, presented without comment. One photo is labeled "anti-semitic sign in a bookstore in Stockholm", and behind the artifacts is an unlit wall, wallpapered with posters for pro-Nazi events in Sweden. This, after all, is what neutrality looks like in hindsight.
How do you tell an honest national history while advancing a modern ethical agenda? By focusing on education and celebrating the brightest spots, the Swedish Army has found a way.
I switched to RCN for internet service at my new apartment, mostly because they were the only provider that I could activate without having to have a technician come in. Everything seemed to be working fine ... until today, in Stockholm, when I discovered that the machine is online, and routable, but not reachable on port 80.
I've never heard of this before.
It turns out that blocking port 80 (inbound) is some sort of widely noted but never documented policy by RCN for at least some of their plans. This is maddening, and since I've only discovered it now, from 6000 km away, there's not much I can do. It's possible that this has been going on since I moved the server two weeks ago, and I've only noticed now because I've tried to access it from outside the apartment.
Needless to say, I won't be sticking with RCN at this rate.
It's frustrating not to have the blog working while I'm traveling, when there's so much more to write.
Maybe I'll find a way.