Archive for the ‘World’ Category
Religion is a sensitive subject for a lot of people, so let’s be careful with this movie, but let me be the first to say that this documentary looks phenomenal. Religulous is a documentary simply looking at Bill Maher’s take on the current state of world religion. It’s a very interesting subject to focus on, especially at this rather important time in America’s history. And I’ll be damned if this trailer isn’t amazingly well put together! It’s the perfect tease to get you completely interested in what Bill Maher has in store for us with Religulous. You don’t want to miss this trailer!
This morning we saw the historic apology by the Australian Government to the indigenous people who were forcibly removed by the Government, the Stolen Generation. I for one whole heartedly agree with this apology, I only wish the previous Government would have done it sooner . As for compensation, I think the Government is ethically and morally obliged to compensate people for this action of forced removal.
If nothing else is achieved by this apology, it (and the opening of Federal Parliament with a traditional welcome to country) set the tone for this Government’s term. It sets the tone for unity over division, positiveness over negativeness and hope over fear (something I’m seeing parallels with in the US primaries).
May this be the first of many changes in the world for the better of all of its citizens.
 It’s telling that all living former Prime Ministers except John Howard were present in parliament.
Via Bruce Schneier comes Refuse the terror, very American focused, but good none the less, all I can say is I’m very glad the our previous Government was voted out of office.
See also Downsize DC, a group that appears to have similar aims of reducing the fear.
Following on a little from yesterday’s post on stuff, here’s a video about how having too much choice may not be a good thing.
Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central belief of western societies: that freedom of choice leads to personal happiness. In Schwartz’s estimation, all that choice is making us miserable. We set unreasonably high expectations, question our choices before we even make them, and blame our failures entirely on ourselves. His relatable examples, from consumer products (jeans, TVs, salad dressings) to lifestyle choices (where to live, what job to take, whom and when to marry), underscore this central point: Too many choices undermine happiness.
Source: The paradox of choice.
From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.
Source: Story of stuff.
Further to my RFID post from a couple of weeks ago, a European research group has found serious flaws in RFID passport implementations.
By failing to implement an appropriate security architecture, European governments have effectively forced citizens to adopt new international Machine Readable Travel Documents which dramatically decrease their security and privacy and increases risk of identity theft. Simply put, the current implementation of the European passport utilises technologies and standards that are poorly conceived for its purpose. In this declaration, researchers on Identity and Identity Management (supported by a unanimous move in the September 2006 Budapest meeting of the FIDIS Ã¢â‚¬Å“Future of Identity in the Information SocietyÃ¢â‚¬Â Network of Excellence) summarise findings from an analysis of MRTDs and recommend corrective measures which need to be adopted by stakeholders in governments and industry to ameliorate outstanding issues.
We should all send little Johnny and Alexander a card to celebrate the first birthday of Australian passports containing RFID chips.
In anticipation of this event, Bruce Schneier has a nice little article extolling the virtues of RFID chips in passports. Speaking about US passports:
If you have a passport, now is the time to renew it — even if it’s not set to expire anytime soon. If you don’t have a passport and think you might need one, now is the time to get it. In many countries, including the United States, passports will soon be equipped with RFID chips. And you don’t want one of these chips in your passport.
By itself, this is no problem. But RFID chips don’t have to be plugged in to a reader to operate. Like the chips used for automatic toll collection on roads or automatic fare collection on subways, these chips operate via proximity. The risk to you is the possibility of surreptitious access: Your passport information might be read without your knowledge or consent by a government trying to track your movements, a criminal trying to steal your identity or someone just curious about your citizenship.
If you need to find out if your passport contains an RFID chip these images should help. The little logo (“gold international ePassport symbol”) on the cover is an international standard identifying passports with RFID chips.
Some links for the day:
Some links that I’ve been reading, relating to the US Administration’s hypocrisy surrounding Iraq & North Korea.
Did the U.S. Provoke N. Korea? (emphasis mine):
The Bush administration says that this sequence of events was a coincidence. Whatever the truth, I found on a recent trip to Pyongyang that North Korean leaders view the financial sanctions as the cutting edge of a calculated effort by dominant elements in the administration to undercut the Sept. 19 accord, squeeze the Kim Jong Il regime and eventually force its collapse. My conversations made clear that North Korea’s missile tests in July and its threat last week to conduct a nuclear test explosion at an unspecified date “in the future” were directly provoked by the U.S. sanctions. In North Korean eyes, pressure must be met with pressure to maintain national honor and, hopefully, to jump-start new bilateral negotiations with Washington that could ease the financial squeeze. When I warned against a nuclear test, saying that it would only strengthen opponents of negotiations in Washington, several top officials replied that “soft” tactics had not worked and they had nothing to lose.
Isn’t it interesting to see that the government of North Korea also uses the same rhetoric as that used by the US. I wonder how much thinking the US administration does from North Korea’s point of view. Putting your faith in “hard” tactics is no way to overcome a problem when both sides are resolved to them (hard tactics that is). Conflicts all over the world show this on a daily basis. The logic behind this is clearly lacking.
Let no one deny we are patriots. We love our country, we hold dear the values upon which our nation was founded, and we are distressed at what our President, his Administration, and our Congress are doing to, and in the name of, our great nation.
Blind faith in bad leaders is not patriotism.
A patriot does not tell people who are intensely concerned about their country to just sit down and be quiet; to refrain from speaking out in the name of politeness or for the sake of being a good host; to show slavish, blind obedience and deference to a dishonest, war-mongering, human-rights-violating President.
That is not a patriot. Rather, that person is a sycophant. That person is a member of a frightening culture of obedience–a culture where falling in line with authority is more important than choosing what is right, even if it is not easy, safe, or popular. And, I suspect, that person is afraid–afraid we are right, afraid of the truth (even to the point of denying it), afraid he or she has put in with an oppressive, inhumane regime that does not respect the laws and traditions of our country, and that history will rank as the worst presidency our nation has ever had to endure
The movie “United 93″ shows how American heroes take on the hijackers — but only after a German passenger has tried to persuade them not to. The movie is described as “meticulously researched” and “fact-based”, but there is not any indication that Christian Adams, deputy directory of the German Wine Institute and a Fulbright Alumnus, acted in the cowardly appeasing way he is portrayed in the movie.
Anthony Kaufman writes in his review in AlterNet: “a German blond businessman who turns out as a stereotypically weak-kneed Euro-pacifist (an obvious non-American who is eventually neutralized).”