17 April 2007

Zen Mischievous Moments #126

Never trust a symmetrical loaf.

15 April 2007

Blogging Code of Conduct

Another piece I picked up from this week's New Scientist is the suggestion that weblogs should effectively be forced to adhere to a code of conduct or be "black marked". Here are a few apposite quotes from the full article, Bloggers lash out at 'code of conduct':
Perhaps inevitably, some bloggers have criticised a proposed "code of conduct" designed to curb the harshest online criticism.
A pair of internet luminaries suggested the code after a prominent blogger complained of threatening messages posted on her own blog and other sites.
Publisher Tim O'Reilly [...] and Jimmy Wales [...] proposed the Blogging Code of Conduct after Kathy Sierra [received] threatening messages [on her weblog].
[...]

A first draft was released this week [...] has riled some bloggers, who accuse its authors of acting like media overlords and disregarding free speech.
[...]

The proposed code calls for bloggers to ban anonymous comments and delete messages if they are abusive, threatening, libellous, false, and if they violate promises of confidentiality or an individual's privacy. "We take responsibility for our own words and for comments we allow on our blog," the draft code states. [...] The code also calls for ignoring "trolls" [...]
[...] bloggers who adopt [...] the code would adorn their websites [...] a sheriff's badge [...] those who chose not to [...] mark their websites with an icon of a stick of dynamite [...]
[...]
"I like civility but prefer the 'anything goes' badge [...] Censorship is a slippery slope [...]"

Some other bloggers also complain that even a crude bar on anonymity could help control comments in countries with governments that are intolerant of free speech.
David Sifry, founder of Technorati [says] "One of the core principles that the Internet is built on is the principle of free speech [...] If you really are a jerk, I don't have to read what you say."
"I'm not sure a code of conduct is the answer [...] It makes about as much sense as me wearing a badge to have a conversation [...]" [adds Mike Tippett].
Here's a link to the draft "code of conduct". Having read the "code of conduct" it isn't as draconian as the news articles I've seen imply. But I'm still not hugely in favour. No, correction, I am still against.

I have a fundamental belief in free speech and civil liberty for everyone, however uncomfortable it may be. And any such code of conduct strikes me as censorship by the back door. As previous readers of this weblog will know I have a deep rooted moral objection to anyone making impositions on what someone may read, write, say or think. Either we have freedom of speech or we have censorship. And in my book there is already too much censorship (mostly covert) in the world. I may not like or agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it. If I disagree with you I can either engage you in debate or I can ignore your views.

Equally no-one - at least no-one of right thinking - would want to abuse or upset someone else. But sadly there are too many out there who aren't right thinking. By focusing on them we give them the attention they mostly crave. As with "trolls" the best thing is to be grown up and ignore them. Let's lead by example and not by diktat.

And this weblog? Well it would instantly be "dynamited" because of the occasional references to sex and equally occasional use of words like "fuck" and "bollocks". Now just how pathetic is that!?

Circumcision and Morality

Two pieces I picked up from this week's New Scientist. First a report of moves to "encourage" male circumcision:
New York is [...] considering whether promoting circumcision among the city's men might help limit the spread of HIV there. The procedure has worked wonders in Africa, cutting the infection rate by 60 per cent in circumcised Ugandans, Kenyans and South Africans compared with their intact compatriots. On 28 March, the World Health Organization and UNAIDS endorsed it as a means of reducing HIV spread.
So far [...] the procedure has only been shown to work in Africa and in men who only have sex with women. So could a similar strategy work in New York, where sex between men and infection through intravenous drug use are more prevalent?
As this quote implies male circumcision isn't just actively under consideration in NY but also in the whole of Africa. And now to female circumcision:
The painful and dangerous practice of female circumcision has been outlawed in [...]Eritrea, where around 94 per cent of women are circumcised [...] anyone who requests, incites or promotes female genital mutilation [will] be punished with a fine and imprisonment.
I appreciate that there is a difference of scale between male and female circumcision, but it seems to me there is a disconnect here. How can it be immoral to (seek to) mutilate female genitalia but yet moral to (seek to) mutilate the male penis?

Yes, OK, male circumcision may reduce the incidence of HIV amongst a defined section of the population: males who have sex with females without condoms. But it worries me that there is clearly going to be (political, medical and peer) pressure applied to men to get circumcised, and on parents to have baby boys circumcised. Worse I can see circumcision of male babies becoming an unquestioned part of perinatal care with parents not even being asked if they consent. And for adult men (at least in Africa) I can foresee the scenario there was in India some years ago where men were effectively bribed to have vasectomies. If I choose circumcision of my own free will, then fine. But how dare the medical profession, let alone politicians, decree that I must (or even should)? And how dare parents inflict it on a baby? If the same situation was being applied to women there would be the most almighty outcry -- and rightly.

Let's stand by our human rights and be very clear that all body mutilation (whether medically induced or not) which is not chosen of the subject's own free will is immoral and (probably) illegal under international law.

When will politicians and the medical profession learn?

(Oh and by the way, no I'm not circumcised and I'm very glad my parents didn't inflict it on me.)

13 April 2007

Friday Five: More About Me

1. Who was your first crush?
A girl in my class at school named Sandra Shorer. We were about 10, maybe younger. She was not at all interested. I wonder where she is now, some 45 years later?

2. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Introvert, although I can move towards extrovert if I have to I can't do proper extrovert and I don't find it comfortable.

3. What is your favorite non-sexual thing you like to do with the love of your life?
Talk. The one thing we vowed to do when we got married was to keep talking to each other. I won't say we have a permanent on-going conversation, but it comes very close at times. It helps that we are interested in many of the same things and understand the world in similar ways and with similar humour.

4. Name one quirky habit your partner does that either annoys you or makes you grin.
Does everything too slowly; every job seems to take twice the time it would if I did it.

5. Do you believe in monogamous relationships?
No, not unless that is what both of you agree you want after careful thought. Monogamy is not how the human species was designed, it is an artificial invention of god philosophies used in order to keep control (of both men and women). Multiple partners are fine but they should not be hidden, secret affairs -- be open about it; which means talking and communication.

[Brought to you courtesy of Friday Five.]

07 April 2007

Reflect, Repent, Reboot

A couple of days ago I came across this wonderful collection of Windows error messages in haiku including quite a few I'd not seen before. I think my favourites are:
First snow, then silence.
This thousand dollar screen dies
so beautifully.

Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.

06 April 2007

Berberis in Flower


Berberis in Flower, originally uploaded by kcm76.

The Berberis in our garden looking stunning in the Spring sunshine. It's been in flower like this for at least the last week. It's bee heaven too. You really need to see this full size on Flickr!

05 April 2007

Quote: Goethe

Whatever you can do
Or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power
And magic in it.

[Goethe]

Back on Duty


Back on Duty, originally uploaded by kcm76.

Harry the office cat is back on duty after his operation. Although he's still confined to barracks (and mighty fed up about it) his leg is healing well and, as you can see, he's allowed to do light office duties. Amazingly he hasn't (yet) removed the stitches! And he's back to being huggy Harry, which is nice.

03 April 2007

Time for a Change?


Time for a New Job?????, originally uploaded by Futski.


Somehow, I know the feeling! :-(

02 April 2007

Poor Harry


Poor Harry, originally uploaded by kcm76.


Harry the Cat has been to the vet today for an op: he's lost a tooth and a lump from his back leg. He's back home; and he's obviously a bit sore, which is hardly surprising given that incision in his leg. Otherwise he seems fine, apart from being pissed off at being kept in.

Give him only half a helping of this special soft food, and no crunch says the vet. So Noreen did just that: he wolfed down the paté, and then proceeded to demolish Sally's whole helping of their normal food. Meanwhile Sally is pissed of 'cos there's no crunch!

Keep him in until you bring him back to have the stitches out in 10 days. Some hope! He's already eyeing the study fanlight. Oh and he's currently sitting on top of my scanner which I was actually using when he arrived!

Cats! Love 'em to bits.