This Mess We’re In

Teaching Children is Easy

Hong Kong has apparently been working hard at its efforts to integrate its multi-racial society a bit closer. This satirical jab from Hong Wrong on the statelet’s (sorry Self Governing Territory) efforts at educating the younger members of it’s society shows they clearly have some way to go.

The Trouble with Politicians

Speaking of Hong Kong, there was news this week that a politician born there was considering leaving Northern Ireland after more than 40 years…

…for good because of enduring sectarianism and now rising racism.
Lo, who represents South Belfast in the regional parliament, also cited first minister Peter Robinson’s support for a born-again Christian preacher’s depiction of Islam as “the spawn of the devil” as a reason for wanting out of Ulster politics.

Far be it for me to suggest that The North’s thin veneer of success following the end of the Troubles might be wearing thin, but I do* look forward to this month’s and next’s Parade Season to kick off. (* in the way that I look forward to a screaming baby at 3am).

A More Secure Commute

Meanwhile in Beijing qz is claiming they are now subject to Airport Security style searches before entering the subway, leading to massive lines. As one commenter mentions:

Surely “throwing a bomb into this crowd would be more lethal” than setting one off on the subway, noted one skeptic

Exactly, everything’s fine!

This Teenage Government

Our venerable Prime Minister today released an announcement ostensibly about the 70th anniversary of D-Day and upcoming visit to Canada and the USA. It contained such D-Day references as:

The Government’s Economic Action Strategy to lower tax, cut red tape and encourage trade will improve the competitiveness of businesses so that we can build a stronger Australia.
We welcome investment and we are making investment more attractive by scrapping the carbon tax and the mining tax, cutting 50,000 pages of red tape and ending the “analysis paralysis” on major projects.
Our international partners can see that our Budget is again under control, we are tackling debt and deficits and we are serious about building a strong and prosperous economy.

I’m sure the diggers and others who thought they fought to save Europe from tyranny would be surprised to know it was actually to protect Tony’s mates from Carbon Taxes. That they later withdrew the statement should only add to the concern the teenagers have left another mess for the adults to clean up.

This Mess We’re In

After that selection of mind-numbing news, I have to leave it the magnificent Polly Jean Harvey to remind us how much it seems to change, but never really does:

And I have seen the sunrise over the river
The freeway reminding of this mess we’re in

Lullabies: Five Pints 14 3

Science

I know I can sleep happily now they’ve finally solved the Mpemba Effect. Mind you, I thought you put boiled water into the ice cube trays because you could be certain the water was safe. You can tell I’ve been to Mexico and am not a Scientist.


People

Back in February Reza Berati, an Asylum Seeker from Iran, was killed at one of Australia’s Concentration camps for Asylum Seekers and Refugees which are scattered around the pacific islands. It took more than 8 days for an autopsy to determine the cause of death to be held. This past week a report into the events around his death was released.

The Australian Minister for Concentration Camps is clear about where the blame for Mr. Berati’s death really lies;

“There would have been no incident that night had there been no protests, I think that’s clear to say…”

What Scott fails to tell us is that there would have no protests if him and his political ilk treated people with a little more respect and showed a little more compassion.


Music

One evening recently I found myself lullabying my young boy with The Smiths magnificent Asleep.

You’ll be delighted to know he did wake up and wasn’t on his own the next morning.


Language

The internet has been a terrible cure for my infrequent bouts of homesickness. What with Skype and now FaceTime providing an easy avenue to see and talk with friends and family from afar and Facebook, Twitter et al connecting you with what those same people and others are thinking (and Liking) on a daily basis, it’s a lot easier than it must have been back in the day.

To top it off, there’s the People’s Republic of Cork website to remind me of the lilting tones of my own home place. In this story from earlier this year they can help you dear reader say Oiche Maith to me without sounding like a Scot.

If Commander Hadfield could do it on the ISS, why can’t you?


Entertainment

Speaking of Cork, I’ll leave you this time with a lovely little piece about the best part of that fine county, East Cork. And how Padraig Reidy (and I) totes agree that celebrity couple Kimye have chosen the best place in the world to spend their honeymoon this week.

Why Anywhere Else indeed!?

Warriors: Five Pints 14 2

Technology

The New Scientist tells us about research into Social Networks which knows when censors delete online posts:

The system was able to spot, with 85 per cent accuracy, when censorship was taking place on a wide scale. Upon detecting the resulting change in network shape, the system could be programmed to send an alert to activists or protesters, say, to warn them that the authorities were tampering with their posts.

More of this sort of thing.


People

Christine Buckley, one of the first willing to speak out about institutional abuse in Ireland recently died.

As a teenager, she tried to smuggle a letter to newspapers exposing cruelty at the orphanage but she was found out.

Her punishment was a beating by a "sadistic" nun that left her needing 100 stitches in her leg.

Vale Christine Buckley, a great woman of Ireland.


The Media

In light of more recent stories, easily broken using data alone about Australia’s shameful concentration camp on Manus Island in PNG, Andrew Elder’s piece from January on the lack of journalistic initiative on Nauru is particularly damning:

Australia detained thousands of asylum-seekers on Nauru from 2001 to 2008, and again since 2012. It had been an Australian dependency for decades: politically that ended in 1968 but economically it has never not been the case. The country has a matrilineal social system. The most popular sport on the island is Australian Rules football. Why there wasn’t at least one, just one Australian reporter, stationed there during that time, is an indictment of the initiative of Australia’s media.


Football

I loved this intriguing dissection of Steven Gerrard by Ken Earlys :

Some of those Manchester United players were better than Gerrard in some aspects…None could match Gerrard’s all-around ability, his combination of skill, athleticism, and big-game impact. Scoring goals is the most difficult thing in football. Gerrard has scored 183 for club and country, more than Giggs (181), Scholes (169) or Beckham (146).

He’s the only player to score in the final of the FA Cup, League Cup, Uefa Cup, and Champions League. He’s collected more individual Player of the Year awards than all of the Class of ’92 put together.

I’m unapologetically a Liverpool and Steven Gerrard fan, but I’d trade all those successes of his in just to see a League winners medal around his neck.

It’s time.


Entertainment

Recently the Ad hoc podcast geeked out on Blade Runner.

Yes, my first time was pan and scan on VHS too.

Highly recommended for some excellent insights, not just on the movie, but on Ridley Scott’s creative process and the technology of the time.

Which mistake did you made today?

Today I made mistakes, we all make mistakes. Not every day, but then as the song goes, some days are better than others.

Sometimes mistakes are good. The best mistakes are the ones where I quickly understood and corrected the problem. The ones where held my hand up and admitted that I messed up and asked the right questions to make sure the problem got fixed. Quickly.

Except in the worst of circumstances, people understand and I have hopefully learned from the experience.

The worst mistakes are where I stick to my guns, bury my head in the sand and hope the problem goes away. The situation where someone has constant and continuing problems, and any reputation that I might be capable goes down the drain.

Somewhere in the middle are the deliberate mistakes. Those made to either test responses or used to distract from something unpalatable. If I made them and was found out, I expect that not only does perception of my capability get thrown out the window, trust is frogmarched out of town as well.

One of the major political parties in Australia, and almost certainly our next government, has made a mistake regarding their policy about filtering the internet. I think we can agree that while the mistake was pretty serious, it wasn’t life threatening – despite some of the online reaction (the overwhelming majority of the country probably think a filter is for their pool or air-conditioner). And the person ultimately responsible for the policy, responded within hours to correct the record and we moved on.

Or have we. One thing I’ve noted from the ongoing online responses is the lack of trust in the response – which admittedly was probably already quite low from many of those responding – a feeling that the clarification wasn’t anything more than a fearful backdown.

Today the same political party released the costings of their announced policies. With the election in two days it should be certain that this long anticipated event would garner most if not all of the headlines less than 48 hours out from the polls opening. Releasing a mistaken policy, while not entirely masking some of the massive numbers in those costs, is bound to have some form of distraction.

Gotcha moments are more likely to make headlines, or at worst get you a story at The Onion, dry figures and policies instead tend to exist down the page.

Which mistake do we think the Liberal Party of Australia made today? Are they spinning a distraction or was it an honest mistake?

Link

The impulses to get rid of images of abuse, and shield children from pornography, are not bad ones. But to imagine that this can be done solely by algorithms creating filters, blacklists and blocking, rather than solid support for police work on abuse images, and proper, engaged debate on the moral and ethical issues of what we and our children can and cannot view online, really is like imagining one can command the tides.

via David Cameron’s King Canute moment – Index on Censorship | Index on Censorship.

Link

While clutter has been shown to negatively effect your performance, it is your perception of clutter that matters, not someone else’s.

If having a notebook, pen, or a photo of your significant other on your desk, doesn’t feel like clutter to you, then it’s not.

You should seek to create spaces that make you feel at ease.

Put this interesting article on clutter alongside a recent post on procrastination, and I’m starting to see some patterns in my own behaviour.

I should use Freecycle more.

Link

Campaigns designed to raise awareness are as much about advertising the status of the campaigners as they are about changing the outlook of a target audience.

So says Frank Furedi as he raises awareness from his well promoted pulpit about those professional awareness raisers.

Aside from the obvious irony of writing about the topic, it is a well argued story which I’m happy I’ve been made aware of.

I’m off to check which colour ribbon I should be wearing today.