Monday, March 28, 2005

Stories remind us of who we are and from where we came. They mark the trajectories of our lives; they show us our loves; our hopes; our obsessions; our fears. Most of all, our fears. Children understand fear better than adults, perhaps because the fears of childhood are darker and more primitive. Fear of being abandoned, like Hansel and Gretel. Fear of loss. And fear of the beast - be it wolf, dragon, ogre - which is, of course, the fear of adulthood and, lurking inevitably behind, the fear of death... A significant, secret part of us still wants to believe in magic that can change lives; love that can save us; heroes and heroines who can overthrow the ogres of our fear.

The debate about The Da Vinci Code has generated a great deal of interest in the life of Christ and the origins of Christianity. The two men who changed the course of history are the focus of this documentary Jesus and Paul: the word and the witness

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Seeking Sister, Self, and the Spirit
I didn't expect it to become a book

It is not uncommon for someone to respond to the death of a loved one by attempting to understand that person's life better, or trying to find "God," or trying to find out more about one's self. In Julie Mars' A Month of Sundays: Searching for the Spirit and My Sister (Greycore Press, due out in mid-April), the author manages to do all three when, following the death of her beloved older sister from cancer, she embarks on a pilgrimage of going to Church every Sunday for 31 weeks.

In terms of writing, if not life, this was virgin territory for me. But the biggest challenge (and scariest problem) for me was cutting and editing. Cutting this text felt different than editing fiction -- more bloody and far more painful, but, in the end, I had to pick up my pen and go at it. After a while, I realized I was equating editing with lying, with making the story prettier or more hopeful than it really was, disrespecting the project I had assigned myself.
Pilgrimage of spiritual equilibrium [Unwanted Memories of Aga's grave Ageless Aga ; It's not about drugs, definitely. The drugs are there but the story is about Maria and to show the people that this story can happen to anybody. It's so close to you that you don't even know Maria Full of Grace ]
• · A powerful, unflinching story that opens a window on an unknown aspect of a little-known war - the experiences of Chinese POWs held by Americans during the Korean conflict 'War Trash' Wins PEN/Faulkner Prize ; Nearly half of teachers have suffered from mental illness Stressful job
• · · Debutante balls are thrown by doting fathers who want to shore up their class-standing Rites of Passage; To be able to do something positive is a great motivator Risking Social Siberia.
• · · · We travel most ... when we stumble and we stumble most when we come to a place of poverty and need (like Haiti, perhaps, or Cambodia); and what we find in such confounding places, often, is that it is the sadness that makes the sunshine more involving or, as often, that it is the spirit and optimism of the place that makes the difficulties more haunting Sun After Dark: Flights into the Foreign ; Let him who is without sin cast the first stone A time to return to the true path
• · · · · Poverty can be hard to tackle if you can't define it Why poverty persists - even in the boom times ; Book Fairs: Show Off Promotion leading everyone into temptations
• · · · · · Dan Brown's once-humble life has been turned into a paperback circus Decoding Dan ; 19 Entertainment owns the format rights to Pop Idol, here known as American Idol, and pulls in an estimated $1 billion annually in merchandising, ad sales, sponsorships, etc." along with a simple personal message,"WOW! What's a hit worth?

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Back in the early1970s during the Tatranka folkloric days and later at the horticultural college periods we used to spent quite a bit of summertime in Morava, one summer we even manage to invade East Germany. Ach, heavy google hitters on the web, I remember well those Morava and East German moments of causing teachers headaches with our ideas of western disco dress type of revolutions at night. However, during the day we headed to places along the Morava River where we explored the unusual labyrinth of underground passages and domes of Moravian caves and the Moravian beauties disguised as tourist guides. They told us all about the romantic caves “Nature's Temple" and the "Virgin Cave" . The underground spaces were richly decorated with stalactites and stalagmites.
As teenagers in East Germany, Dresden and Leipzig seemed to us such a huge contrast between the natural beauty of Morava and the industrial smog of the German city. It is hard to believe that an underground movement was born in Leipzig at the time since even to us bridges, main stations and restricted areas were a risk to photograph. Our very own Jozef Kein led a procession of Tatran boys though pubs filled with strange alcoholic and other temptations ;-D
In 2005, Reading rather than drinking fever hits Leipzig

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Neighbours with Sleeves Rolled Up
Economists are beginning to recognise that money really doesn't buy you happiness. Is depression and unhappiness already at boiling point at Point Piper, Bellevue Hill or Darling Point?

It is tough trying to work out if life is good. It is usually only when something goes wrong that you realise it used to be great. For many of us, peer comparison is a useful way to judge how we are travelling.
We check to see if our cars are in the same price bracket and if our children are on the same school waiting lists. If we have a similar quality of living to our mates, we reason, then we must be doing all right.
We also like to be reassured on an international level. It is with a warm, smug glow that we read a recent report from the human resources group Mercer telling us that Sydney is in the top 10 cities in the world for quality of living. It is one of the few times when just physically being somewhere can be made to feel like an achievement.

But governments are still holding on tightly to their belief that standard of living is the same as wellbeing ...
Living in a wealthy, safe, stable city may be bad for your wellbeing [ Bohemian librarian, Casanova, the 18th-century lover who would breakfast on 50 oysters, has been vindicated by a study that proves they really are aphrodisiacs Pearly wisdom: oysters are an aphrodisiac ; A chewing gum which the makers say can help enhance the size, shape and tone of the breasts has proved to be a big hit in Japan Pueraria mirifica: Chewing gum can 'enhance breasts' ; My father used to keep Seven busy hives at our garden: Honey can be a strong ally in the fight against MRSA Antipodes: The healing power of honey bees ]
• · An advertisement for DirecTV recounts the baby boomer life cycle as a succession of instantly recognizable TV moments A Life in Reruns: Watch Out, the Ending Goes Quickly ; Advertising – old media, new media, internet or not – still sells goods by manipulating public attitudes about beauty and status. The New Pitch Under the Sun
• · · Relatives. We’ve all got them. And some are reviving the entrepreneural spirit in the former communist countries... While it takes a village to bring up a child, it takes a global village to make any family business tick and make them priceless. Family businesses are a time-honored tradition and my cousins continue the whole and retail exchange culture our grandfather Pekarcik (meaning baker rather than publican) created in the High Tatra region. M-I-M: Textrend: Mixing Business & Family; Troika: Maria, Ana and Helena, so Slovenskej Vsi (from Slovak Village), with the surname of Kiss keep up with the latest trends in the complex trade of textile and fabrics. Slovak Republic is lucky to have a successful and thriving businesses. Dovoz, velko a maloobchod s poahovmi látkami. Luxusné froté vrobky, dekorané vankúe, ozdobné prestierania, obrúsky, irok sortiment obrusov. A New Age Way of Doing Business in Bratislava: M.I.M., s.r.o. - Tupolevova 16
• · · · If you believe the truth is stranger than fiction and trust in the power of confession, then Letting Light in through the Cracks is for you; A book about a Friendswood dentist convicted of murder for running over her cheating husband is inaccurate and sensational, according to a defamation lawsuit filed Tuesday against the author and publisher Book about Clara Harris case draws lawsuit
• · · · · There are several forbidden topics for publishing in China, including politics, sex, the military and state secrets Leaks: Banning Cold Rivers In China (But Not Effectively) ; A sign of the times; it is now quite common for an ambitious writer to announce that they will prepare their new proposal and/or sample chapter in time for Frankfurt or London Who are you writing for?
• · · · · · The remixing metaphor applies to almost any area you can think of: music, politics, culture. Life Isn't Just as You Want It? Remix It! ; Are crime shows influencing real-life juries? The CSI Effect: Juries Want More

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Tina Brown: We are in the Eggshell Era

The Blog, The Press, The Media: We're not the Stasi. We're the people

We are in the Eggshell Era, in which everyone has to tiptoe around because there's a world of busybodies out there who are being paid to catch you out -- and a public that is slowly being trained to accept a culture of finks. We're always under surveillance; cameras watch us wherever we go; paparazzi make small fortunes snapping glamour goddesses picking their noses; everything is on tape, with transcripts available. No matter who you are, someone is ready and willing to rat you out. Even the rats themselves have to look over their shoulders, because some smaller rat is always waiting in the wings. Bloggers are the new Stasi. All the timidity this engenders, all this watching your mouth has started to feel positively un-American.

• Bloggers are the new Stasi Hungry Media Fill Up on Rice [ The Second Rule Of AdSense Is That You Can Now Talk About Earnings ; Google code-innovations ; Google AdSense ]
• · The federal government has set up a committee to pave the way for more Australians to live the telecommuter lifestyle. However the move won't go as far as recent legislation in the United States which requires government departments to support teleworkers Thou shalt telecommute ; It's crazy knowing you are part of this exchange of ideas with people all over the world. Xeni Jardin is one of four bloggers from around the world behind Boing Boing, last week voted the best overall weblog. All four of us are eccentric people, with odd sets of interests that mesh together - (Say that again Xeni ;-P) Boing - best of the blogs ; FEC Considers Restricting Online Political Activities
• · · Media bashing is still primarily a right wing phenomenon My Bias for Mainstream News ; Under the Federal Government's model it will be a judge rather than a jury who will decide whether an opinion is "reasonable". Defaming the dead ; Down in the depths of the netherworld: Requiem for the Gingrich Revolution — David Brooks drives a stake through the Class of '94's cheatin' heart. Masters of Sleaze
• · · · Should the FEC Regulate Political Blogging? ; Government Funds Color Press Group’s Objectivity Astroturf politics: If a political gaffe consists of inadvertently revealing the truth, then Sean Treglia, a former program officer for the Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts, has just ripped the curtain off of the "good government" groups that foisted the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill on the country in 2002 John Fund's excellent piece today tells the story of how liberal foundations managed to slide under anemic media radar
• · · · · Michigan State Police warn: blogging could mean jail time ; Via Blog Herald ; Before it took up marketing, the labour movement held some considerable political assets in its organisational structures and the sense of belonging to a movement with a cause to promote that many Australians felt Politics and community-building online
• · · · · · A lot of commentary has pointed to the ability of the right to mobilise on a grassroots level as well as a more academic level with things like right-wing think tank Right-wing mobilisation and left-wing conscience raising ; Slaughter At The BBC BBC to axe nearly 4000 jobs

Sunday, March 20, 2005

You're Never Fully Dressed Without A True Smile! Give the audience the truth, the actor's director and new head of NIDA tells Angela Bennie, and the magic of the theatre will be assured. Director of the boards

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: The digirati: Daring Path Breakers
If Gutenberg's printing press heralded the age of mass reading, then the internet gave birth to the age of mass writing - every kind of writing imaginable, and a lot that couldn't be imagined.

Creative writing (poetry and short stories), articles, opinion pieces, political commentary, multimedia, blogs (web logs or diaries) and even longer works such as novels, are all there jostling for their own e-readership and, just possibly, instant fame.
If politics is your bag, however, consider contributing to, a cheeky site claiming to be Australia's leading independent online news service which has been digging the dirt on Australian politicians, media barons, big business and high-flyers since it was established in 1999. Crikey even pays its contributors: $15 for items of up to 250 words (for the daily section) and $30 for items exceeding 500 words which are run on the public website (send articles to, a recently established site with similar goals, seeks writing that contributes to public debate. Some pieces are commissioned and paid for, but the site thanks writers for donating their work (both finished articles and ideas to
Jacketmagazine is a poetry site run vy John Tranter who has also begun another website called Australian Literature Resources.
Another site worth visiting is dotlit, the online journal of creative writing established in 2000 by the Creative Industries Faculty at the Queensland University of Technology.
Other independent sites that accept contributions include, which claims to showcase "Australia's best new writing" and accepts unpublished material and works published by small and independent presses whether fiction, non-fiction, poetry or plays.
Another Australian site,, has attracted some exciting new writing since it was established by Matthew work.

The Literary Horizon Dilemma ; [Cracks appear in cage regime ; Harvard-Google Project Faces Copyright Woes Precious Cargo of Literature ]
• · +he Future Beautiful: 10 Lessons for First-time Documentary Filmmakers. ; As this society grows, it becomes more unequal: An essay concerning the origins, nature, extent and morality of this destructive force in free market economies. Definitions. Paradoxes and omissions ... Robert Reich points out that the superrich live in a parallel universe to the rest of the country
• · · Maestro J. Randy Taraborrelli: From the bestselling author of Jackie, Ethel, Joan: Women of Camelot and Madonna: An Intimate Biography comes the groundbreaking biography of the royal family of Monaco, full of triumphs and tragedies, romance and heartbreak Once Upon a Time; They stormed the barricades in Les Miserables and now many of our music theatre stars plan to protest at the demise of the annual Sydney Cabaret Convention, on the Town Hall steps Life's not a cabaret, old chum, in Moore's new city of villages ; As Byron Bay groans under the weight of tourists, Catharine Munro discovers that the conservation-minded coastal town's greatest problem is itself Byron Bay: Beauty and the Beast
• · · · To rival one of Dostoevsky's characters so narcissistic he cared more about an ounce of his own body fat than the lives of 100,000 of his own countrymen Best Read After St Patrick’s Day ; Gossip writer Ros Reines: Politics and Film Industry Mix Kidman's intimate date with Gaddafi
• · · · · Several times a day, for several days, you induce pain in someone. You control the pain with morphine until the final day of the experiment, when you replace the morphine with saline solution. Guess what? The saline takes the pain away. 13 things that do not make sense: The placebo effect ; In a world with millions of refugees, numerous war zones and huge areas devastated by natural disaster, aid agencies and militaries have long needed a way to quickly erect shelters on demand. Need a Building? Just Add Water
• · · · · · Australians go shopping for the thrill of the purchase rather than the pleasure of using the goods. Homes are stacked with CDs that have never been played, novels that have never been read, clothes that are rarely worn, and food that is thrown out at the end of the week: Out with the old, in with the takeaway - Danger of excess in our throwaway culture ; From kid in a candy store to thoughtful consumer A bulwark of the economy - consumer spending

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Chatswood will never be the same Join The Party [The music may stop now and then, But the the strings will remain forever]

Life Begins @ 40: Many, Many, Happy Returns Minna;P
Ach it was not so long ago when I celebrated my 40th at the Iceberg Club among the Martins and the Lofties of this world ... Friend derives from a word meaning free. A friend is someone who allows us the space and freedom to be ...

Eric Partridge's book, Name Your Chil shows "Minnie from the German 'Minne', meaning love. A Scottish variant of this is Minna. And Mina is an English pet-form of Wilhelmina.
If every friend is a new door to a different world than in Minna’s world friends are like flowers in the garden of life. For years I have misspelled your name, but our families can never say that we misspent time with you and cheeky boys. The memories of Elizabeth Bay come flooding back with Steve and Leonsky taking over the balconies wherever you went. We cannot take it for granting that the most exciting time for my girls was to walk down the isle at St Marks as your flower girls. The images of them dancing at the Royal Boat Club will give godfather Steve a bargaining position at their 21st ;P.
Words can never express the joy we experienced by sharing simple meals at McKell Park, Nielson Park, Esplanade Park in Helsinki. How can this Bohemian and his family forget the Finnish baptism in properly stoked sauna or the risque crossing of that freezing lake peppered with ramshackle cottages referred to as the summer house. The lake was round like a circle it had no end, that is how long we hope to be your friends. Frienship not only makes the world go round, it makes the eating and drinking worthwhile. I recall well how the Finnish nights merged into days, but only the stars know why vodka starts to taste like voda (water) after a while ;D Especially, when uncle Yusi is around!

I still have no idea who polished all that wine during Steve’s 30th?! If Helina pleaded not guilty how does Lauren plead? Shared sorrow is half sorrow, shared joy is double joy:We cried until we had to laugh!
• Forgotten Lessons of Helsinki: Human Rights and Folklore: UnFinnished Identity: The Next Exciting Chapter of Gifts;D [Years ago, many Finns emigrated to the Americas and the Antipodes. Altogether some 30,000 Australians have Finnish blood in their veins: The Finns settled mainly in Sydney ; The world's consciousness of Findland are myriad and magical like friendship. Consider the Moominland stories of Tove Jansson, the building and furniture design of Alvar Aalto, the writing of Aleksis Kivi and the inspiring compositions of Jean Sibelius. And where else can you eat reindeer stew? Virtual Finland ; Land of Finns: ]
• · The Charter 77 & the Helsinki Effect: Charter 77 was based on the Helsinki Charter! True friendship is sitting together in silence and feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had Literary strangers are just friends waiting to happen ; Best friends are like diamonds, precious and rare. False friends are like leaves, found everywhere
• · · A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out A friend is one who walks in when others walk out: Rinnemarket ; Backyard of Riverside Loop: Can’t Fool(er) Sugar and Spice
• · · · A friend is one who believes in you when you have ceased to believe in yourself: Caves Beach: HiStory ; Woman means business when she lowers her goggles on Caves Beach: Watch out Aleksi and Anton
• · · · · C. S. Lewis: Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like politics ...
It has no survival value; rather is one of those things that give value to survival - Minna Canth (1844-1897) was a Finnish playwright, novelist and essayist as well as an energetic fighter for women's rights and social justice Minna Canth's Spice Cake ; Friends are the most important ingredient in this recipe of life The Best of Finnish Cooking

Now is the time for all good men & women to come to the aid of their Blogosphere Experiment in Democracy

Invisible Democracy & Markets: Clouds over Democracy Start to lift
We the Bloggers, in order to form a more perfect Blogosphere, hold these truths to be self-evident: Free Thought and Free Speech are the cornerstones of Free Societies and Free People

Why a Blogosphere Democracy? Throughout our history, high-minded tools and actions have often been slandered and oppressed by those who wouldn't benefit from them--to mention a few: Science, Religion, Arts, Philosophy and specifically the study of Rhetoric which has never recovered, the Printing Press, Democracy, etc., etc., etc. To that end, the following proposition is a mere outline to establish an inclusive organized system to benefit the overall Blogosphere; all constitutional decisions should be clarified and ratified by the Foundation Board, Elected Congress Members, and engaged Bloggers (see below). Issues of concern to the Blogosphere can be addressed in this system as determined by the Members of the Board and Congress; likewise, individual Bloggers can appeal to their representative for action. The Blogosphere Democracy, in the hands of the Foundation Board and Congress of Bloggers, can achieve a democratic voice (Congress), support (Foundation), unity (Union), and advances (Guild) for the Blogosphere while finding methods of defending (Bureau) it.

Ach, Out of Many
• · Understanding the Process of Economic Change ; Rafsanjani to Buy Some Good Publicity
• · · In its first four years, the GST has collected $194.58 billion for distribution to the states. A partner at KPMG, LachIan Wolfers, says although that revenue is broadly in line with federal Treasury's expectations, it has grown faster than inflation and gross domestic product. [Hard Copy of Business Review Weekly, 17/03/2005, Page 20] State love their cake, too
• · · · When Hamlet's father was killed, his right to the throne and the fortune of Denmark were usurped by Claudius (his uncle, who married his mother). If only they'd had a family trust, none of the brutality that followed would have happened. [Hard copy of Australian Financial Review, 17/03/2005, Page 20] Face to face with a question of far-reaching implications
• · · · · Information Technology Minister Vladimir Mlynar has denied wrongdoing over the use of state funds to establish a company to operate an Internet portal for the government Minister denies misuse of money ;
• · · · · · The Irish are exporting more than woolens and property funds to the Czech Republic, and the trend is just bound to grow, say figures on both sides of the Irish Sea. It's highly probable that potatoes were planted in the Czech lands for the first time in the garden of their college. The pub is the meeting place for many Czechs, and the social cornerstone of a lot of Irish life is also in the pub Irish investment, culture on the rise ; Prague gets in touch with its Celtic roots

Friday, March 18, 2005

Pat Buchanan: Freedom and democracy are on the march. So, says President Bush. And, surely, something is on the march on the unpredictability of revolutions An essay on a heterodox perspective on the meaning of war: The key to the accelerated pace of empire building over the past decade is the “open spaces” resulting from the demise of the collectivist states (USSR, Eastern Europe and Asia) and their overseas dependencies and allies in Africa and elsewhere Closed Spaces

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The endless quest for ethics grail
In ancient Greece the philosopher Plato considered any form of rhetoric, or what we might call persuasion, to be spin. Being fond of the simple truth he would have called a spade a spade, and spin would be lying.

But in the 3rd century BC the art of persuasion started to appear. Aristotle, a pupil of Plato’s, saw the value of the art of persuasion in the political arena and wrote treatises on rhetoric, or what we might call spin today.
In the following centuries the sophists became masters of rhetoric, and taught this sometimes black art to the politicians and lawmen of their day. (The sophists would be able to tell their charges how to explain their New Year stay in a friend’s Spanish villa; articulate how your partnership in a law firm is not a conflict of interest with your role as leader of the opposition . . . in addition to allowing you to sound off on complex issues such as 24-hour licensing, stem cell licensing or human cloning).

Sophists: an ancient version of Celebrity Big Brother . . . or First Minister’s Questions [A conversation with Larry Diamond on Rial Politik What to do about Iran's nuclear revolution? ; Who Should Apologize to Whom? Where is the country that Bill Clinton, a former president of the United States, feels ideologically most at home? Believe it or not, the country Bill Clinton so admires is the Islamic Republic of Iran ; Encounters is an electronic journal of political science featuring prize-winning articles by non-english language political scientists from around the world, is out The inaugural issue]
• · Mike Steketee The Right's friendly new face: Mark Arbib & Kelli Field ; Back in February 2005 Naked Eye of Sun Herald fame noted that queues were forming for Bob Carr’s seat. For the third time in recent months, Premier Bob Carr has attended his local branch meeting, spreading good-will among the comrades of Maroubra. Among the application to join the branch is Mark Arbib. Official rumours Fire began to sizzle when penalties faced the chop ; The inside word...; Sydney train driver charged over threatening letters Sour Grapes on Trains
• · · Malcolm Turnbull's tax adventures ; In new democracies and closed societies, The Open Society retains its freshness and relevance The Open Society Revisited
• · · · Ian Thorpe isn't swimming at the Australian Titles and World Championships in Sydney this week, but at the weekend he made a very astute remark when he warned about the perils of over exposure Thorpe in drowning pool; One hears the groan every four years: only one Olympic bronze medal for one billion people. Are Indians born losers?
• · · · · However, tonight on the radio the US military denied troops killed Iraqi general US troops shoot dead Iraqi general: police ; The assassination of Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov Thanks from the new Czar ; How Has War Changed Since the End of the Cold War?
• · · · · · Belgium confronts its colonial past ; The Techno-Politics of the Indonesian Crisis: An Opportunity Lost

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Lord knows how to give generously, but He has no idea how to distribute things evenly among His children. Parents often mumble these words beneath their breath as they struggled to bring their children into a real world. Angela Schwindt makes a wise point - While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.
If you study to remember, you will forget, but, If you study to understand, you will remember. We need to understand that in distribution of power dwells out greatest potential for suffering and joy in life, in art, in literature ...
Ropo Oguntimehin once observed that education is a companion which no future can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate it and no nepotism can enslave

Eye on Academics & Teenage Tempers: WE Don't Need No Education
This special feature is brought to the Google Lovers By Political Theory Buffs As Robert Frost said: Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper.

Academic news and debates: Academici is about networking with academics and researchers across continents and about content, facilitating (free of charge) the exchange of ideas, discussing research findings. A Southampton professor will unveil a new plan that could revolutionise how academics and the public view research. From The Chronicle of Higher Education, postdocs are becoming more common, but do they help new Ph.D.'s get jobs or merely keep the planes circling? More on the new online publication Inside Higher Ed. High-school programs that offer low-income students personal instruction and postsecondary degrees are rife with good intentions and challenges. A new movement is increasingly grabbing attention: democratic schools. What happens when children get a say in their own education? O brave new world, that has such edutainment coordinators in it! College students at no greater risk of alcohol-related problems than peers. A student writes a controversial article about athletes for an investigative journalism course at Rutgers, with widespread fallout. So what if Johnny and Susie, as the song says, “don’t know much about history”, is it really such a big deal? And historians are still divided about the meaning of the Shoah in the context of the development of western civilisation

There is nothing training cannot do. Nothing is above its reach. It can turn bad morals to good; it can destroy bad principles and recreate good ones; it can lift men to angelship.
-Mark Twain
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
-W. B. Yeats
Education is bitter but the fruit is sweet. (Adopted Aristotle: The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet)
-Agustin Marissa
You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.
If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.
-Slavic proverb

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) just released a report stating that the total number of Australian internet subscribers topped 5.7 million – an increase of 520,000 from the previous six-month period Australia internet usage rises 10pc in 6 months
Assuming that a web search is the same as fossicking through a newspaper archive is the biggest research mistake search-engine expert David Hawking ever made. In 1993 he worked on the Parliamentary Sound Text and Image Environment (PASTIME), Federal Parliament's first electronic Hansard search engine of parliamentary debates. The challenge was to design a system for non-technical users. Experts muster a search party

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Gambling with Security
In this exclusive extract from his upcoming book, famed hacker Kevin Mitnick arms security managers against social engineers hacking their way to a free lunch.

In the summer of 2002, a security consultant whose handle is "Whurley" was hired by a resort group in Las Vegas to perform security audits. They were re-engineering their security and hired him to "try to circumvent any and all processes" to build a better security infrastructure.
On his first day, he approached a very relaxed employee and quickly found the person discussing details of his job. He told Whurley he lost his employee badge all the time, and would share a badge with another employee to get in for the free meals provided in the staff cafeterias.

• The Art of Intrusion: The Real Stories Behind the Exploits of Hackers, Intruders & Deceivers (ISBN 0764569597) by Kevin D. Mitnick and William L. Simon goes on sale this week for $45.95. The Art of Intrusion [How many blogs were there in 1997? ; Bewildered by blogs? If you're wanting a better understanding of blogs, these sources may be useful ; Rebecca Blood Blog History ]
• · The Jeff Gannon affair has not yet morphed into a full-fledged political scandal, or retreated to the realm of embarrassing footnote, so this may be a good time to pause and reflect Gannon and the Bloggers ; This is comedy at it's best; mirroring society. He takes his shots at all bloggers too In this Rob Corddry segment on the "Secrets of New Journalism Success
• · · Who owns your desktop? You, or the owner of whatever webpage you happen to be browsing? Who Owns Your Desktop? You Do! ; One of the most popular individual bloggers discusses microcelebrity and his decision to go pro Bloggers who sell ads
• · · · via Crikey: Liars, cheats and cokeheads. I love tabloid journalists ; Piers Morgan puts some spin on the wrong axis
• · · · · Visit today to download info and enter to win a plasma TV. The language of the business culture, or "corporate lingo," took a dramatic turn with the advent of the word "software." What changed is history. Now, once again, techie lingo is teasing our communication skills and our corporate understanding ; Australia will never be able to create companies like Google, Sony, Nokia, Hilton, Unilever, Toyota, Shell or P&O as long as the economy is dominated by gouging cartels supported by a high-taxing limp-wristed government This list tells you everything that is wrong with Australian business
• · · · · · At a Suit's Core: Are Bloggers Reporters, Too? ; n any case, operating on the maxim that I will try almost anything once, I have decided to take the plunge. Besides... where else could I chat with the public without paying for ink or air time? Mayors are often called by several names; blogger might be one of the more benign monikers

Saturday, March 05, 2005

The corruption obsession also crowds out debate on other crucial problems. A country’s bankrupt educational system, malfunctioning hospitals, or stagnating economy cannot compete with headlines about the latest corruption scandal: Critics fear new rules may undermine fight against corruption

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Bad Medicine
The war on corruption is leaving the world worse than we found it.

About a decade ago, the world witnessed a corruption eruption. As democratic winds swept the world, the dirty deals of once unaccountable dictators and bureaucrats came out into the open. During the Cold War, kleptocratic dictatorships often traded their allegiance to one of the two superpowers in exchange for its countenance of their thievery. With the superpower contest over, such corrupt bargains dried up. And, thanks to the information revolution, the slightest hint of corruption at the highest levels quickly became global news

Once people learned so many politicians had been on the take—often in cahoots with business leaders—it was only natural that there would be a public outcry for a “war on corruption.” Countries enacted anti-corruption legislation, corporations adopted stern codes of conduct, and nongovernmental organizations such as Transparency International were launched to “name and shame” countries into action
Much was done, but not much was accomplished. What we are doing is not working. In fact, it may be hurting [ Ach, As politicians pad their pockets, will the electorate wake up? ; Bohemian Sussexers ]
• · It's an open secret that the US intelligence community has its own classified, highly secure Internet We Need Spy Blogs ; An era of serial war, Rawls, Habermas and Bobbio as theorists of a perpetual peace. Jurisprudence and force in three parallel philosophical constructions of the present international order, and the unsettled afterthoughts—American, German, Italian—that accompanied them Arms and Rights: Rawls, Habermas and Bobbio in an Age of War
• · · Last fall, the race to stop terrorists from acquiring a nuclear bomb passed through Tashkent, Uzbekistan. There, on the morning of September 19, a Russian Antonov 12 cargo plane touched down carrying two nearly indestructible steel canisters. Under the watch of elite security forces armed with machine guns, Uzbek officials unloaded the canisters and drove them to a remote, wooded area about 20 miles from the Central Asian capital. Waiting there at the Institute of Nuclear Physics, which houses a small nuclear reactor used for scientific research, was a team of Americans, Russians and officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency Can Terrorists Build the Bomb? ; The Unionization of Nontenure-Track Faculty Fighting to be Fired (But Only with Just Cause)
• · · · Has exile been overstated, by Edward Said and others, as a characteristic condition of the modern artist? Darko Suvin suggests a more fine-grained typology of displacement, distinguishing between exiles, émigrés, expatriates and refugees, and proposes the category of ‘border intellectuals’ as a better understanding of figures like Said himself. Reflections on the inner phenomenology of each condition, and the historical forces that have produced them. Some reflections on exile and border intellectuals: Displaced Persons; The Prophet Outcast The Impermanent Revolution
• · · · · Bush's Feb. 24 speech in the center of Bratislava would have been unthinkable just seven years ago, when Slovakia was blackballed by the European Union, dubbed a "black hole" by a U.S. secretary of state, and embarrassed by the brief kidnapping of a president's son Slovak glory days ; Social issues are supposed to set young people on fire
• · · · · · After 9/11, it was all over the news. For months, snatches of cellphone conversations in Karachi or Tora Bora routinely made the front page The New Hows and Whys of Global Eavesdropping ; The Next Big Race After nuclear arms, is energy next?

Friday, March 04, 2005

On the Antipodean front, Alan Ramsey has always something worthwhile to say. He is a walking A name to look out for rather than recall
On the global front, David J. Rothkopf is the man to capture the most important figures and committees in the world. September 11, 2001, was a catalytic event that revealed the core character of the Bush administration’s national security team. As rival factions fought for the president’s ear, the transformative ideals espoused by the neocons gained ascendancy—triggering a rift that has split the Republican foreign-policy establishment to its foundations Inside the Committee that Runs the World

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The sum of all fears? No Christian Love Lost
When Channel Ten axed Queer Eye for the Straight Guy they blamed poor ratings. But the leader of the Christian Democrats, the Reverend Fred Nile, knows the real reason. "It's a reflection of the will of God," he told Spike yesterday. Wonder why He put it on in the first place? Or if He can bring back the West Wing? Spike asked the NSW MP what he thought was wrong with the show

On Wednesday Spike asked the Reverend Fred Nile, leader of the Christian Democratic Party, what he thought of the axing of the Australian version of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. "The homosexual lobby is so powerful in America, they now have the same influence as the Negroes," Nile said.
The NSW MP's comments prompted a massive response yesterday. Andrew Dobson, of East Sydney, offered some Cambridge Dictionary definitions of the words "Christian" and "democrat", concluding that "once again, he is promoting goodness, kindness, helpfulness, freedom and equality for all - except for pesky homosexuals and Negroes who are plotting to take over the world".
Rory Delaney wrote that the comment "says it all about the Nile lobby. Tell me, though, did he really say this?" Yes, Rory, he did.
Spike took one call from an angry African-American woman, who asked for Nile's details so she could take it up with him directly.
We told her his email is and his office number is 9230 2132. If you contact Nile, Spike would love to hear how you go

• It Takes a Christian Family? Divine intervention: Divine intervention Taking offence [Riots at Macquarie Fields Remove the sense of social isolation ; Don Weatherburn: There's a lack of consensus on the best way to deal with troubled communities Government action needed to help crime-prone areas ; But paradise is an illusion in Fortress Australia. Almost 20 years after Australia's first gated community opened at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast, research here and abroad is challenging the rationale for homeowners to hide behind high walls ; "Be nice to the security guard" has replaced "beware of the dog" on the front gate Behind the urban curtains ]
• · Peter van Onselen and Wayne Errington: Think tanks get too much credit for influencing political policy. The former speech writer for Mark Latham (yes, he had one), Dennis Glover, has complained that policy ideas are conceived in think tanks such as the Institute for Public Affairs and the Centre for Independent Studies, taken up by ideas-hungry conservative politicians, and barracked for by strategically placed newspaper columnists. Unfortunately, Glover didn't give any examples of this seamless process in action Like minds don't make ideas work ; Tough line on crime fills jails
• · · Williams, of Avalon, is the husband of Judy Grant, the ABC's procurement manager for the northern region, including NSW. His appointment in 2002 caused disquiet among staff, and the ABC's managing director, Russell Balding, faced Senate questions about Williams being hired while his wife was in a senior role. ABC man accused of gouging $701,000 ; Terry Television on the money with ABC fraud -
• · · · The appearance of whistleblowing former NSW detective Deborah Locke as People Power's candidate in the Werriwa by-election has aroused the interest of some media and the major parties Can People Power emulate Family First? ; American Politics In The Networking Era ; Historically, the term left originated with the French Jacobins (they sat on the left in the Assemblies of the French Revolution) and the Stalinists who gave a 20th century gift of Jacobinism to about 20 million victims That's what the term leftist meant for about 200 years: a bloodthirsty fiend who seized your property and chopped off your head
• · · · · As noted on several occasions on the Dragon, the issue of the police pursuits has been around for a long time. Yet very little strategic thinking has cameralised. I keep reiterating that next time it might be your son of mother or other close relative ... Let us think outside the square and stop the senseless carnage. Are terrorists paying our governments to eliminate us? Big thieves run down the little thieves? (hard irony intended) Police pursuit death toll rises: 61 killed in 10 years ; In a personal appeal yesterday, the NSW Police Commissioner, Ken Moroney, urged Jesse Kelly to contact him on 9265 4407 at any time and said he was prepared to meet him at a location of his choosing Prison inmates donate to help pay for crash youth's funeral ; Teammates from a local rugby league football team formed a guard of honour at Mr Rayward's service
• · · · · · More than 100,000 workers in Cuba's tourism industry have been ordered to restrict their contact with foreigners to an absolute minimum Cubans told to shun foreigners ; All the Way with the USA: Australia, the US and Free Trade and How to Kill a Country: Australia’s Devastating Trade Deal with the United States ... A review of books on Australia’s trade deal with the US One deal, two fatalities? The AUSFTA ; Homegrown Terror: Loose nukes, nanobots, smallpox, oh my! In this age of endless imagining, and some very real risks, which terrorist threats should be taken most seriously? "The Dew of Death," Rethinking doomsday

Bloggers and journalists defy media clampdown by king. After the Royal Takeover in Nepal, King Gyandendra censored the media, arrested journalists and cut communications. But tech-savvy journalists are using their blogs to get news out to the rest of the world n the Internet Age, powerful rulers have little chance to operate in a media blackout

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Seven's enemies in a tangle of paperwork
On Monday, a quiet little judgement slipped out of the Federal Court, shining a milky arc of light on the way life is conducted in the upper reaches of media management - to be precise, at the Dirty Digger's local information and opinion factory, News Ltd

Justice Brian Tamberlin's reasons for rejecting the company's claim of legal professional privilege to a heap of sensitive documents was most instructive. It is but one ingredient in a tangle of arm wrestling that is going on in the Federal Court before the commencement this year of a mighty case the Seven Network has brought against a busload of corporate enemies.
Seven and its principal owner, Kerry Stokes, allege a conspiracy by the Murdoch, Packer and Telstra interests to do them commercial damage. This followed the loss of football broadcast rights by Stokes's C7 pay TV channel, which is now as dead as a dodo.
Seven is not just after $700 million to $1 billion in damages but also court orders that would change the landscape in this constricted industry - for instance, forced divestment by Packer and Murdoch of their interests in Foxtel, access to the Foxtel cable and the transfer of NRL and AFL broadcast rights to Seven.

It all kicks off properly before Justice Ron Sackville in May [Central Company Brain organizes client information, security The central scrutinizer ; For over a year, U.S. businessman Michael Keating has been developing an ambitious project that should help bring more attention to biotechnology CzechTrade ]
• · Do you know of (or run) a quality ‘Entrepreneurial’ or ‘Business’ Blog that deserves a bit of extra attention? Do you read one that you wish others knew about? Nominate it now in the 2005 Business Underblogger Awards! Read on to find out how! 2005 Business Underblogger Awards ; It's an open secret that the US intelligence community has its own classified, highly secure Internet We Need Spy Blogs
• · · Dark Hero of the Information Age: In Search of Norbert Wiener, the Father of Cybernetics A Brilliant Mind and an Anguished Life ; The days of promoting a TV show with a basic website are over. Network executives now are developing elaborate Web productions for many of their shows to create buzz, earn extra advertising dollars and, by strengthening viewer loyalty, keep ratings up WebSide Story... (The Web For TV Shows)
• · · · The estimable Jeff Ooi, a blogger in Malaysia who is doing great things for free speech, has been questioned by the authorities about his blog Thought Police in Malaysia -- and America ; Global Voices blogger Jeff Ooi
• · · · · A Cuban Revolution, in Reading. It's not just about sending whatever books we can, but we want the people in Cuba to know they are not alone and that someone here recognizes what they are going through Adopting The Cuban Librarians ; Podcasting facesgrowing pains Truth In Podcasting
• · · · · · BBC faces shakeup for digital age; On the face of it, Tessa Jowell had good news and bad news for the BBC. A Better BBC? (Hmnnn...); UK To Dismantle BBC Board Of Governors