The Sydney Riots

My wife wrote the following and has kindly given me permission to publish it here.


I don’t love a racist country
a land of sweeping hate
of rugged men with iron bars
who say they stand up for a mate
I don’t call that madness friendship
I don’t call that loyalty
A communion based on hatred,
That’s not Australian, not to me.

We are all from far horizons
For our beliefs we are to blame
We make choices for our actions
In a world that’s gone insane.

by Donna Williams

Intelligent Design, Newspapers and TV

Found an interesting Q/A from an interview with a journalist covering the Dover School Board Intelligent Design case in the US.

Has any one of these factors in particular—politics, religion, age—been an indicator for which side of the case Dover residents come down on?

Interestingly, the division didn’t conform neatly to any of these lines. One consistent division I noticed, and that I wrote about, was between people who read and trusted the very good local newspapers (nearby York has two, which is pretty unusual for a small American city these days) and those who just didn’t trust them. The plaintiffs were the newspaper readers; the pro-intelligent-design school-board people were the newspaper rejecters.

Sounds like another manifestation of the effect that was found in 2003 that those who relied on Fox News had incorrect perceptions on events surrounding the war in Iraq (PDF, see page 14), such as whether WMD’s were found in Iraq after the war.

Australia Pulls Funding from Film Festival, Objects to Australian Films

So the government has pulled AU$20,000 of funding for the Jakarta International Film Festival because of the presence of 4 Australian films critical of the Australian or Indonesian governments, including a showing of the documentary The President Versus David Hicks, 24 hours before the festival was due to start.

The fims will still be shown, although a workshop by an Australian investigative journalist on documentary making has had to be cancelled.

If you can’t beat them, sue them..

So yet another company is trying to use software patents for getting back at a competitor they’re losing to, this time it’s Creative sueing Apple. The article describes the patent thus:

In August, Creative won a patent in the US for the way music tracks are organised and navigated on a player through a hierarchical system using three or more screens.

Obviously a truly earthshatteringly inovative invention..

How Microsoft Subverted the UN’s Vienna Conclusions

Groklaw has an excellent article written by Georg Greve (the president of FSF Europe) called The Complete Story of the Vienna Conclusions which tells the process that the UN and WIPO went through to reach conclusions and how Microsoft managed to get them changed without even the knowledge of the chair of the committee!

This apparently happened because of a comment by Microsoft on a blog that was, well, shall we say less than well used or publicised. You can read the full comment from Microsoft here.

The relevant quotes are:

p5/2. Digital Rights/Creative Commons
While we largely agree on the point that more choices should be given to creators and users (and the subsequent conclusions on Creative Commons or Wikipedia) we explicitly disagree on the notion that “increasingly, revenue is generated not by selling content and digital works, as they can be freely distributed at almost no cost, but by offering services on top of them. The success of the Free Software Model is one example” and propose to delete this text part completely, as it contains only an one-sided perspective on the ICT industry. The rationale for this is, that the aim of free software is not to enable a healthy business on software but rather to make it even impossible to make any income on software as a commercial product. We don´t see this neither as a viable not as a desirable path for the future economy of Europe.

That’s so bad it’s not even wrong.

P6/3. eLearning and eScience … Deletion of “…like the linux project” as this is only one particular – anti-commercial – specificity of the open source landscape. You could use instead of “Linux” the more broader term of “open source project”.

So Linux is “anti-commercial” ? Quick, someone better tell IBM, Redhat and everyone else who’s making money out of it to stop, quick!

Lava Hosepipe in Hawaii

Leon’s got a couple of nice photos from Hawaii from the collapse of an entire active lava bench belonging to Kilauea volcano.

The USGS also has another photo (shown below) from the press release of the resulting lava hosepipe that was created when a 6 foot wide lava pipe was left spewing molten rock into the see from a height of 50 foot. Quite an amazing sight!