News of the Day

« August 2003 | Main | October 2003 »

September 30, 2003

Microsoft's PR trick

It would appear that Microsoft's benevolent decision to close it's chatrooms "For the sake of the children" may not have been quite so altruistic.

The fact that Microsoft is closing its chatrooms in all but five countries just a day before it locks down its MSN Messenger network appears to have escaped many people.

...

The decision to close the chatrooms has been painted as one driven by the need to protect children. Nobody, bar nobody, would dare oppose such a thing. It's a soft touch.

But if Microsoft is so conscious about protecting children, then MSN Messenger should be thrown out as well.

Very true. While I think that having unmodulated, unrestricted chat rooms are really just asking for trouble, the fact of the matter is that the IM clients create much the same situation.

NineMSN's spokesperson Ngaire Moyes says that MSN Messenger offers a very much reduced risk of paedophilic activity, but gives no explanation as to how this is. I would say that Messenger has a higher risk, as it not only gives chat services, but provides a plethora of other information like age, location, gender, birthdays, etc. Now, it is true that this information is all optional, but young children are more likely to want to put this info in. Until this situation I rectified, I fail to see how Microsoft are acting in the best interests of the child.

Posted at 11:16 AM in the Web/Tech dept.| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Design

Yay, I now have my new design up!

Please let me know if anything looks wrong in your browser (and let me know what browser it was pls).

Posted at 09:36 AM in the Meta Data dept.| Comments (8) | TrackBack (1)

September 23, 2003

Enviroterrorists

As if we didn't have enough trouble with religious wackos blowing things up, along comes a group doing it the name of the environment. The ELF claims to have inflicted more than $US100 million (AU$147 million) in damage in "ecotage" since 1997. What was I saying about becoming cynical about environmentalists?

The info on their website is disturbing, the rhetoric sounds more like a communist or fanatical Muslim text.

By operating in cells (small groups that consist of one to several people), the security of group members is maintained. Each cell is anonymous not only to the public but also to one another. This decentralized structure helps keep activists out of jail and free to continue conducting actions.
There was even one activist, Bosco Boscovich, in Australia, who using the name Pacific Popular Front, torched a French embassy in Perth to protest at the French nuclear tests in the region.
If you are arrested do not name names. Helping the police with their enquiries will not save you from a prison sentence. All it achieves is the exposing of the police informant as a cowardly gutless traitor who will quite rightly be despised by the Earth Liberation Front movement and they will receive no support whilst they are inside.

Posted at 03:01 PM in the Not Australia dept.| Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

September 20, 2003

Andre the philosopher

G'day all, back from The Entrance, beatiful place

James Lileks has noted the philosophical genius that is "The Princess Bride", and in particular Fezzik:

It's the Andre the Giant philosophy, expressed in "The Princess Bride":

I hope we win.

Lileks' article is brilliant, as always, go read it, but it got me thinking that Fezzik's profundity were not the only wise words mentioned in that movie.

Continue reading Andre the philosopher...

Posted at 11:31 AM in the Weblogs dept.| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 13, 2003

Holidays

Expect no posts for a week from this site, I'm going on some long overdue holidays. New site design is coming up when I get back.

Bye all!

Posted at 01:24 PM in the Weblogs dept.| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 11, 2003

Sept 11

Dean, the admin at blogs4God has written a moving piece on his emotions concerning Sept 11 2001 & one picture in particular of a man jumping from the burning towers.

Who is this person; this person jumping from the World Trade Center? Why did these savages kill you? What can I do in your memory? How is it that you were elected to perish while I was allowed to flourish? When will this pain go away?

I hate this, this attack on our Country. No longer can I walk out on a crisp, cloudless September morning and not be reminded of the exact same conditions on that horrible exacting day.

I hate this, this attack on our peace. You cowards, you bastards! I had no beef with you. Why did you force me to take sides? Didn't you know I would beat my plowshares into swords and take the fight to you?

Well said.

He concludes that The only way you're going to get over the hopelessness of horrible day is by realizing that God is in control. On this day, it is that one thing which is so difficult to do that is the only thing that can enable us to endure it.

Posted at 05:11 PM in the Not Australia dept.| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Poor Fellow - my Country

This would be funny if it weren't so true: Australia's current version of the old parable of the ant & the grasshopper.

It reminds me, as things often do, of an essay by Bill Whittle:

Where you stand on the political spectrum, what you think of rich and poor people, and what you think about rich and poor nations and how they should act in the world, comes down, in my mind, to one single issue, and one only: Can wealth be created, or can it only be redistributed?

If you believe, as I do, that wealth can be manufactured out of thin air, then there is no limit to the amount of wealth you can amass. And since you are creating it out of thin air, there is no moral onus on making money – you work hard to create it and have stolen from no one. There is an expression for this: you earned it.

...

Now people on the left have, in their guts, a revulsion towards the rich and the wealthy, because when ever they see wealth they naturally assume that it was stolen from people without any – the poor. That rich man in the private jet has taken the wealth from all the poor people and is therefore a criminal.

If you haven't read it already, read the rest, it's great.

Posted at 10:30 AM in the Australia dept.| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 10, 2003

Beebwatch

The Telegraph in London has started a segment in it's opinion pages called 'Beebwatch', that is, watching the BBC for bias & journalistic integrity (or lack thereof). Now while this is coming from a compeditor of the BBC and should therefore be viewed with some scepticism, the points the article raises are valid and the BBC has got some serious questions to answer (yes Andrew Gilligan, that means you too).

No, BBC bias is not a piece of partisan trickery - it is a state of mind. So strong is the state of mind that a great many of the acts of bias, perhaps the majority of them, are quite unconscious. It is time to delve into that unconscious. Hence our Beebwatch, which starts on the opinion pages today.

The BBC's mental assumptions are those of the fairly soft Left. They are that American power is a bad thing, whereas the UN is good, that the Palestinians are in the right and Israel isn't, that the war in Iraq was wrong, that the European Union is a good thing and that people who criticise it are "xenophobic", that racism is the worst of all sins, that abortion is good and capital punishment is bad, that too many people are in prison, that a preference for heterosexual marriage over other arrangements is "judgmental", that environmentalists are public-spirited and "big business" is not, that Gerry Adams is better than Ian Paisley, that government should spend more on social programmes, that the Pope is out of touch except when he criticises the West, that gun control is the answer to gun crime, that... well, you can add hundreds more articles to the creed without my help.

Now, none of the above beliefs is indefensible. The problem is that all of them are open to challenge and that that challenge never comes from the BBC.

As Glenn Reynolds notes, the blog world is way ahead of the Telegraph, Biased BBC has been running for a while. All this gets me thinking that maybe one of our papers here in Oz could set up the same thing for the ABC. Unfortunately, then Uncle might be put out of a job.

Posted at 09:23 AM in the Not Australia dept.| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 08, 2003

It's all in your head

Scientists in Canada are claiming that morning sickness is mostly psychological.

The scientists calculated 14% of the women's misery could be attributed to physical symptoms, suggesting 86% of it was in the mind. Dr Kiran Chandra and Laura Magee, the authors, said: "Women will tend to perceive symptom severity according to how they are feeling overall and how other aspects of their life are affected."

After twice nursing my wife through hyperemesis I know first hand that this is utter rot. If it is mostly psychological, how is it that what you do physically effects it, like what you eat, certain smells & so on? I think the responce from a midwife sums it up well

Susan McNeil, a sister midwife at the Queen Mother's Hospital in Glasgow, said most women will be greatly offended by this. "The fact that some women experience the symptoms prior to confirmation that they are pregnant would appear to disprove this theory."

Belinda Phipps, of the National Childbirth Trust, said: "Women suffering from hyperemesis (the most serious form of morning sickness) will be severely miffed if people think their illness is psychological."

Miffed, I feel, is rather understating the issue.

Posted at 09:16 AM in the Science dept.| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 05, 2003

So why aren't we using it?

I'm no scientist, but if what this article says is true then the environmentalists have a lot to answer for.

A pandemic is slaughtering millions, mostly children and pregnant women -- one child every 15 seconds; 3 million people annually; and over 100 million people since 1972 --but there are no protestors clogging the streets or media stories about this tragedy. These deaths can be laid at the doorstep of author Rachel's Carson. Her 1962 bestselling book Silent Spring detailed the alleged "dangers" of the pesticide DDT, which had practically eliminated malaria. Within ten years, the environmentalist movement had convinced the powers that be to outlaw DDT. Denied the use of this cheap, safe and effective pesticide, millions of people -- mostly poor Africans -- have died due to the environmentalist dogma propounded by Carson's book.

Continue reading So why aren't we using it?...

Posted at 10:42 AM in the Science dept.| Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

"I wish the real world would just stop hassling me" - Rob Thomas