Refugees: They’re not “transferees”, they’ve become political prisoners of Australia

The Australian Government seems to like calling refugees seeking asylum and protection “transferees” as a euphemism to avoid facing the fact that they are effectively being kept in indefinite detention for committing no crime – article 14 of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights says:

Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

Now detaining someone indefinitely for exercising a recognised human right is not a behaviour you would normally associate with a democratic nation, especially not one that likes to think of itself as being the land of the fair go, of battlers and a nation founded by convicts from Britain (there had been people here for longer than the current continuous occupation of the UK, but that gets forgotten).

If the Australian Government was really interested in reducing deaths at sea of refugees whilst abiding by the international conventions they had voluntarily signed up to they would be investing in ways to let people apply for asylum far closer to their native land so they didn’t need to travel, whilst keeping them safe, and ensuring that applications were processed rapidly, fairly and accurately.

To me the fact that we don’t do that but rather imprison (let’s call it what it really is) the tiny trickle of refugees who do decide to come here means that the Australian Government isn’t interested in their welfare or dealing fairly with people looking from protection from persecution, it’s just interested in stopping people coming here full stop.

They are, therefore, keeping these people in prisons for political purposes, to win votes at home and to stay in power.

So I submit that the Australian Government is now in the de-facto state of keeping political prisoners, even to the extent of defying direct requests from the UNHCR to release some.

IBM Finally Leaving the Intel Server Market

After selling off the consumer side of their PC business to Lenovo the other shoe has dropped for IBMs x86 business, they are going to (try and) sell the rest of the x86 offerings (and the BNT network switches they bought recently) to Lenovo as well.

The Lenovo announcement is here here: (the IBM website is silent on the matter at the moment) but basically it boils down to:

Subject to the terms and conditions of the Master Asset Purchase Agreement, the Company will acquire certain assets (the “Transferred Assets”) which include, among other things, the following assets at the Initial Closing and Subsequent Closings:

  1. certain enumerated hardware products (including “System x”, “BladeCenter”, “Blade”, “Flex System”, “Pure Flex” products and system networking products including “Blade Network Technology” and certain other related tangible properties);
  2. certain intellectual property rights in connection with the Business;
  3. certain transferred contracts that are related to the Business; and
  4. inventory of the Business consisting of System x products, including the “System x”, “BladeCenter”, “Blade”, “Flex System” and “Pure Flex” products and certain other system networking products including “Blade Network Technology”.

By my reckoning that’s all their Intel related gear (and the network switches they recently bought when they acquired BNT).

So with no more BlueGene series and now no x86 that really leaves IBM with just Power for HPC workloads. I wonder how that will work out for them?

Poetry: Yggdrasil, Tree of Life

The word for “Equal Writes” in Belgrave for May was “Tree of Life”, so I settled on a Norse theme for it.

Yggdrasil – the Norse “tree of life”

Yggdrasil, noblest of trees, stands tall.
Branches spreading above the heavens,
three roots below to take the weight,
of an ash tree covering nine worlds.

The eagle above and the wyrm below,
a mutual hatred old and worn,
kept alive by squirrel Ratatoskr,
relayer of insults and slander.

Asgard, Jotunheim, Niflheim,
Gods, Giants and the land of Hel,
three lands connected by three roots,
of a tree rooted in imagination.

By Asgards root three Norns stand,
“Past”, “Present” and “Future” in our tongue
weaving the threads of life,
forever deciding all fate.

Odin, spear pierced all father,
hanging nine long nights upon the tree,
sacrificed to himself,
for wisdom, for literacy, for runes.

And then the end comes and Ragnarok rages,
Yggdrasil shudders and groans,
Gods die, the world burns and sinks.
Two survivors only emerge,
from this literal tree of life.

Poetry: Limerence

The word for the February “Equal Writes” meet up was Limerence, so I did a Limerence limerick. 😉

A young man afflicted with limerence
didn’t think it made much of a difference
that the object of his desires
wouldn’t return the fires
thus failing to match limerences inferences

Limerence was coined in 1977 by Dorothy Tennov as a de-novo word. In fact in an interview with The Observer newspaper that same year she wrote:

It has no roots whatsoever. It looks nice. It works well in French. Take it from me it has no etymology whatsoever.

Poetry: The Earth Moved

The topic for the December 2012 Equal Writes group at Belgrave was “The Earth Moved”, for which I wrote this poem:

The Earth Moved

Short, brief shakes of quakes
Bring people onto the streets
Waves to the shore
Fear, panic, sadness

Slow, imperceptable movement
Plates grind against each other
One pushing the other down
To be recycled

Magma from melted rock reborn
pushes up through the crust
Volcanoes erupt
Building new land

Elsewhere two plates collide head on
Neither able to give way
The pressure becomes to much
Land buckles into mountains

Rain falls on far hills
Each drop excavating tiny holes
On rock that seems immutable
Wearing down over ages

In a few billion years
The Sun will grow large and red
The Earth will boil away
and move out into the Universe

Our small pale blue dot gone
and all it ever contained
Star stuff returning to space
eventually, maybe, to be reborn

Poetry: Silver

This was written for the October 30th 2012 “Equal Writes” session in Belgrave. I did both a poem and a prose piece explaining the background.

Silver the poem

Strong runner
Apprentice butcher
Goal set
Strive for the finish

Runs well
Edged out
Second place
A quick silver race

Stands tall
between two men
skins darker than his
but an agenda shared by all

Medals awarded
Gloved fists
In the air
He stands, badged with honour

Fastest Australian
Never again called
Seen to have shamed
By wanting all to stand tall

Peter Norman – Silver medalist – 1968 Olympics

In the 1968 Olympics in Mexico an apprentice butcher from Melbourne threw a cat amongst the pigeons in the 200m heats by breaking the world record, threatening the domination of the US. He took silver in the finals, improving his time again, separating Tommie Smith who won gold (and the then world record) and Jon Carlos who took bronze.

Before the ceremony Tommie and Jon told Peter about their plans to protest racial segregation and inequality with the gloved fist salute, and Peter Norman said “I’ll stand with you”.

On the way out to the podium he borrowed an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge from one of the US rowers and then, when Jon Carlos realised he’d forgotten his pair of gloves, suggested that they share Tommie’s.

That iconic act of defiance had an immediate impact, with the athletes being booed as they left the podium and then ostracised. The two US athletes were expelled from the Games and Peter Norman was reprimanded by the Australian Olympic Committee the day after the race.

Despite being ranked fifth in the world and running qualifying times in the 100m and the 200m before the next Olympics Peter Norman was not selected for the 1972 Munich games, and he later retired from competitive running.

There was no reconciliation, when the 2000 Sydney Olympics happened he was the only Australian olympian to not be invited to participate in the lap of honour, a grievous omission, dashing his hopes.

However, the American team had not forgotten him and he was invited to be their guest of honour, staying with them in the Olympic Village.

When Peter Norman died in 2006 both Tommie Smith and Jon Carlos came to Melbourne to be his pall bearers and to read eulogies, Tommie said “Peter Norman’s legacy is a rock. Stand on that rock.”

Peter Norman’s 1968 finals time is still the Australian 200m record. The day of his funeral is honoured as “Peter Norman Day” by the US Track and Field Federation.

HPC sysadmin job in Melbourne, Australia

No, not where I work for once, but a friend of mine is looking for an HPC sysadmin in his group in the Victoria State Government:

This role requires advanced skills in system and network administration and scripting, clustered computer systems, security, virtualisation and Petabyte-scale storage. It is highly desirable that you have acquired these skills in a Life sciences environment. The heterogeneous environment requires both Linux and Windows skills. You should have the ability to design and implement solutions for automated transfer of data within and between systems and to ensure the security of both internal and Internet-facing systems. In this complex environment, working closely in teams of multi-disciplinary scientists to deliver computing solutions, including advanced troubleshooting and diagnostic skills, will be required. Supervision of other members of the team will also be necessary.

They’ve got a 1500+ core Linux cluster.. 😉