Hello Cruel World
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
This Government seems to have gone back to their vomit when it comes to the old punitive controlling idea - which they've tried (& sometimes done) a few times before with universities, art bodies, charities, perhaps others.

It really bespeaks a deep pyschological attitude - you can just imagine some of the more dysfunctional family relationships working the same way.

There also seems to be a confusion between government (for, of, by the people. Y'know, that organisation whose function is supporting society, those in it & its supports, not just distributing goodies to your family/tribe/group & hangers-on. That's the sort of thing we criticise 'corrupt regimes' like Suharto's & ones in, say, Africa or PNG, for.) and political parties. There's a similar attitude in assorted totalitarian states, but it also goes back to the old 'strong man' & patronage-style societies, where you lived dependent on powerful persons or families.

From Vaclav/Vaclev Havel's Maiden Speech (as president of Czechoslovakia)

[He describes the authoritarian communist regime as "a contaminated moral environment" ... Of course this can apply to repressive regimes of any ideological/religious slant.]

We fell morally ill because we became used to saying something different from what we thought. We learned not to believe in anything, to ignore each other, to care only about ourselves. ... The previous regime -- armed with its arrogant and intolerant ideology -- reduced man to a force of production and nature to a tool of production. In this it attacked both their very substance and their mutual relationship. It reduced gifted and autonomous people to nuts and bolts of some monstrously huge, noisy, and stinking machine, whose real meaning is not clear to anyone. ... We had all become used to the totalitarian system and accepted it as an unchangeable fact and thus helped to perpetuate it. In other words, we are all -- though naturally to differing extents -- responsible for the operation of the totalitarian machinery; none of us is just its victim: we are all also its co-creators"

[From an article called The Need for a Discontinuity in (Economic) Thinking: The Role of Academe by Nungsari Ahmad Rahi, in a file named usmpkap.pdf. www.weim.com.my/PDF-Mainsite It deals with the need to change economic thinking to help work towards longer-term sustainable economic growth. S/He maintains that the academic community should be a source of diversity & creativity in thought, but that its role has been marginalised, which has several causes. This is quoted in the conclusion.]

Another site with the whole speech:
speeches by

JOHN F. KENNEDY, 20 January 1961: "A new generation of Americans"

WINSTON CHURCHILL, 13 May 1940: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat"

VACLAV HAVEL, 1 January 1990

He also said:
Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to prosecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing.

    - Vaclav Havel, "The Power of the Powerless" (1978)
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Inkblot passwords

Note, near this entry you can also find the entry headlined: "Hunting naked women: Fact or fiction?"
which continues: "I honestly can't imagine a headline I've written more likely to get people reading"
and covers some reporting of the "Hunting for Bambi" video-tape selling place.

There is also a poetry competition on Matrix Essays (www.matrixessays.blogspot.com), see


Matrix Poetry Contest 1
I am having a Matrix Poetry Contest. Here are the rules for contest #1:

1. The poem must be a haiku. It must follow the 5-7-5 syllable form. Using the other haiku traditions like a "season word" or a "cutting word" are optional, but may add to the overall impression.
2. The poem must relate to either The Matrix or The Matrix: Reloaded. It does not have to actually contain the words "matrix" or "reloaded" though. The connection should be obvious enough that anyone who has seen the movies will "get it."
3. The deadline for entries is noon (PDT) on Sunday, July 27, 2003.
6. You may submit more than one entry.
7. I will choose a winner and a runner-up and announce them on Monday, July 28.
8. There is no prize, other than the fame and glory of having your winning poem announced on this site.


Saturday, July 19, 2003
Fri, 27 Jun 2003 14:16:46 +1000
To: ABC - Australia Talks Back - oztalkback@rn.abc.net.au

(If the SMH link which gives fuller details is gone, perhaps try Google News?)

Girl, 3, starved to death after Chinese police arrest mother
June 26 2003

A three-year-old girl starved to death in China after police arrested her mother and left her locked at home with no food for 18 days, state press reported today.

The incident, in the southwestern city of Chengdu, has sparked public outrage and marks yet another incident of police misconduct, which has led to a nationwide debate about the unchecked power of law enforcers.

Other links:
www.atimes.com/atimes/China/EF28Ad01.html (Child's death turns up heat on China's police, By Miao Ye. Asia Times Online, Jun 28, 2003)
news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3023030.stm (China police leave child to starve, BBC News World edition, Thursday, 26 June, 2003, 13:33 GMT 14:33 UK)
charleston.net/stories/070803/edi_08edit3.shtml (Three strikes on China's leaders, Tuesday, July 8, 2003 ) includes this bit: In the case of Li Siyi, the government reportedly ordered a journalist not to publish her report tying the child's death to police neglect. But, according to the Post, the reporter was so angry about the abusive behavior of the police, she posted the story on the Internet. Within days, it was known throughout China, where it provoked widespread calls for reform.


Before the other comment on children, below, can I just mention something I think other people seem to have also noticed.

Some people seem to have huge concerns about blastocysts, embryos & foetuses (& there are legitimate concerns about experimentation & welfare), but don't seem to have such obssessive, vocal concern for the children & people they develop into (Monty Python's "Every Sperm is Sacred" poked fun at this attitude).

Have a look at the recent film "City of God" about gangs; think of the
death squads eliminating unwanted, annoying, street children in countries without contraception. It's not just their suffering, but the damage done to others and to society. Many studies have shown the greatest number of mentally ill, indigent, or violently criminal adults were either neglected or abused children - yes, some groups do try to help with this, but it's mainly picking up the pieces after the damage is done.

One might say that oppressive forces in society prefer this situation as it suits several of their purposes, but that's not the point of this letter.


Although I don't agree with the 'child-free group' which one man spoke for - having heard some of their arguments on other subjects before - neither am I fully in support of the attitude of the woman who said having children makes you fully human.

It was like a slap right across the face.

So anyone who - for whatever reason - doesn't have children is no longer "fully human"?

Like negroes & jews & native tribes perhaps?

Read "The Handmaid's Tale", or " Native Tongue" (Suzette Haden Elgin). Remember the Nazi attitude to women as 'mothers of the nation'; remember how the Roman Catholic Church and high representatives of Islam got cosy together at a big conference a couple of years back to stop some very useful worldwide progams on health & education just because they would also mention contraception.

This is just the sort of attitude that drives 'barren' women (it may actually be their husband who's infertile) to suicide, or sometimes just social ostracism, in quite a few societies today. And leads men to scatter children around, presumably seeing a confirmation of their manliness in them (in western societies tho', having got several by one woman & moved on to get more by another, they do complain about actually paying for their support).

There's still a bit of it lingering on here, by the sound of what that woman said, and by the desperation you sometimes see in child-free couples going through all sorts of things to obtain either a born or adopted child.

And don't get me started on the desperate situation the world - human & non-human - is pushed to by population pressure.

There's nothing necessarily intrinsically bad about having one or two children, and they can have all sorts of good effects, but like so many other things, it's better for them, us, & the rest of the world to behave sensibly about the subject. Difficult tho' this might be, it's being able to do this that might mean you are human, and not like those mice that breed up into insatiable plagues, then die off in huge numbers when conditions change.
(Note: In The Matrix, one character likens such behaviour by humans to that of a virus. Perhaps ironically, that character later multiplies rather like a virus. See this link at Matrix Essays which includes his angry description "You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus.")

Some Links for Suzette Haden Elgin's "Native Tongue"
Linguistics and fiction - lots of examples, including Native Tongue

Thursday, July 17, 2003
History Of Medicine
A short history Of Medicine

  • 2000 B.C. - Here, eat this root.

  • 1000 A.D. - That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer.

  • 1850 A.D. - That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.

  • 1920 A.D. - That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.

  • 1950 A.D. - That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic.

  • 2000 A.D. - That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root.

Bringing back Memories
Friday, 23 March 2001 11:33
PS: Schoner Gotterfunken -- golden-red & bright, like a cigarette flipped out of a car speeding past you at night Mir arced up through the haze & patchy cloud, just after 2010 -- after berating myself for missing it the night before, I'd set my alarm watch & had to interrupt a conversation to dash down the corridor & turn out lights.

Seeing was excrable here at work, leaning out of the northern kitchen window with streetlights, houselights, illuminated construction cranes & floodlights glaring up at me & moths disguising themselves as orbiting artifacts. As my hand-shielded eyes slowly adjusted to things dimmer than Jupiter & Saturn, they would pop into peripheral vision & shimmer in the fog & filthy air, also masquerading as orbiting artifacts.

Had to stay for metadata work until after 2300 & then forgot to ask for receipt from taxidriver!!! That's the third time, counting my amnesia at Canberra, and after 2200 the rate goes up, instead of $15-$17, it's $20-$22. Grrr. So I may not be wending at 1720ish, but if possible, I'll try to get some coverage of it.


{PPS: Bach's birthday, March 21st; Beethoven's deathday, March 27th: for some connexion between these two, see www.bachfaq.org/odetojoy.html}

Anyone know German?
This link has a bit of a dissertation on identity (ish), including a mention of the "brain in a vat"
philosophical thought-experiment, which almost exactly parallels the premise of The Matrix.

Some chunks are in English - mainly extracts of stories or other works on the subject, including
"Where am I? aus Daniel C. Dennetts Brainstorms". Another link in the chain?

Meanwhile am still looking for "thought-experiment" in German, 'Gedanke' is, more or less, 'thought' and
'Versuch' is 'experiment' (sounds like 'research'), but don't know the combined form.
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Harley Sorensen has a column at SFGate. Many good bits. In this one:
he points to an interesting blogger: plubius.blogspot.com

Full Moon last night & tonight. In the clear cold sky of midwinter, its brilliance shines very strongly indeed. Despite the chill, I caught a ferry home & sat outside to watch it over the harbour. In the yard last night, most of the stars were washed out by it, except for the golden sparkle of Mars at opposition, but every leaf of grass seemed to lift itself separately above a black slice of shadow.
Such precious moments I hope to remember in years to come, like the September night Chris & I spent on a hired yacht we'd sailed onto Myall Lakes, rocking quietly in the starlight & listening on a rather crackly radio to the satellite broadcast of Princess Diana's funeral. cue Roy Batty: "All these memories ..."

Monday, July 14, 2003
Happy Bastille Day
BoingBoing.net has been collecting digital art about SARS.
See www.sarsart.org
Wednesday, July 09, 2003
Scum at the Top - Australia's Journal of Political Character Assassination

Four Corners "Ocean View" (7/7/2003)
The rush is on for a beachside lifestyle...but in the drive for a sea-change are we in danger of loving our beaches to death?

Blogland's man of the people
The Web has found its candidate for president, and his name is Howard Dean.

By Farhad Manjoo
July 3, 2003

NB: Want to read the whole article? You have two options: Subscribe now, or watch a brief ad and get a free day pass. If you're already a subscriber log in here.

Patriot games

Duncan Campbell explains how one Californian city has demonstrated its strong opposition to extended federal anti-terror powers

Tuesday July 8, 2003

When Dave Meserve, a builder and local council member in the small northern Californian city of Arcata, cycles around the area, many locals give him the thumbs-up, he says.

Arcata is the first city in the US to pass an ordinance instructing its employees, including its police chief, not to "officially assist or voluntarily co-operate" with federal investigators who try to enforce the country's Patriot Act (The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act).

Sunday, July 06, 2003
Underhand Scheme to infiltrate Fairfax succeeding slowly!
Now have two photos in their online galleries (Rain and Autumn), and just found today have another letter in the Sydney Morning Herald Letters to the Editor (July 5-6, 2003) "Leave it alone" (their heading; they also edited off the last half sentence), as well as bits in Margot Kingston's Webdiary
<sound of evil laughter>

Webdiary (Webdiary heading. Date in URL)
In Remembrance - smh.com.au (Webdiary)

Ricochet thoughts - smh.com.au (Webdiary)

Green idiocy - smh.com.au (Webdiary)

Steady, soaking rain - smh.com.au (Webdiary)

Garage doors against the war - smh.com.au (Webdiary)

Always willing, we're off to war again - smh.com.au (Webdiary)

In Australia's best interests - smh.com.au (Webdiary)

Letters (These are headings of whole letters page)
CEO contracts should be about risk, not retirement - smh.com.au The Sydney Morning Herald (letters)

Ken Park ban: protect children, but treat us like adults smh.com.au - The Sydney Morning Herald (letters)

Have your say: Drug and food watchdogs smh.com.au - The Sydney Morning Herald (forums)
Dear Pyra People (Blogger Blokes) Thanks I Think
They say the problem with the Archive links is 'resolved'. Well, we'll have to check.
Yay! - ish
The ones in here are working - you now have unfettered access to the fetid murmurs of the muses in my mind through time.
The ones in my (eventually) photographic blog In a Small Dark Room aren't. But there has been major missing problem with those ones since January, so no surprise. Also is one reason why there aren't too many entries in there.
Thursday, July 03, 2003
My Name is Legion
My Name is Legion
I don't know if this was a commercial set-up or a 'community-based' event, but I rather like it
Stanislaw Lem information & appreciation

Making of Media Legends
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2003 16:30:51 +1000
From: Jan O'Hare
Reply-To: Radio National Clickon!

Mez wrote:

>Due to the notorious photo, Mr Downer's iconographic image (like
>St Peter's keys) has become the fishnet stockings.
> A little while back, however, I heard someone mention in passing
> that it was one of a series taken by a photographer who got all
> these different people to dress up in fishnet stockings & high heels.
> Does anyone know anything about this? The photographer's name?
> Anyone else in the series? Even just a help for a reference to
> the original appearance in print?

This is all I can find, as it was for charity I suppose we are being a
bit unkind. The Adelaide Advertiser archives may have the rest.

Extract of a transcript of

Media Dimensions

Episode Three

Monday August 20 (2001)

Photo Journalists

picture of a few Adelaide celebrities with fishnet stockings on to
promote. 'The Rocky Horror Show' as a bit of a charity event. Thought I'd
give Alexander Downer a call. He was all very rushed to get to the
airport and I photographed his leg, and then I said, "Mr Downer, would
you mind a full-length shot?" And I had about 30 seconds to go. And he
said, "Yeah, sure. Go for it," you know. "Make it snappy, I've gotta go
to the airport." Well, for the first 20 seconds, I was almost
dry-retching 'cause I'm sitting there thinking, "Well, this is the
Foreign Minister. The man who wanted to be prime minister a few years
before that. And he's gonna let me take his picture in fishnets and high
Clinton came out here to address both Houses of Parliament. Moments before
he walked into the Lower House, there were calls from the government MPs,
"Alex, Alex, show us your legs." BILL CLINTON: Thank you very much.

GRANT NOWELL: Bill Leake, he always draws Mr Downer with fishnets on and I think Bill won a Walkley for that as well. And these days, whilst I've photographed everything that moves for the last 25 years, these days I generally do food, wine and fashions. I did a bit of work in Pakistan and Europe, of course, like most photographers seem to do, and in North Africa. So really this work is so eclectic, it's quite bizarre. The funny thing about this is that it was a very basic job. I guess on a scale of 10, it would've rated probably 2 or 3, but ended up being the most significant photo I've ever taken. And it's certainly given me a lot of pleasure, there's no doubt about it.
Wednesday, July 02, 2003
There are now two of my photos on the Sydney Morning Herald website, as well as parts of my writing appearing in Margo Kingston's Webdiary & some of my letters in their Letters to the Editor page. One hopes this doesn't make one a target.

A Sydney Morning Herald (www.smh.com.au) readers' gallery of photos of Sydney in a heavy rainstorm
Harris Street, Ultimo (Sydney) in Rain

A Sydney Morning Herald (www.smh.com.au) readers' gallery of photos of Sydney in Autumn
Bats in the Sydney Domain

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 / . Lives in Australia/New South Wales/Sydney, speaks English. Eye color is hazel. I am what my mother calls unique. My interests are photography, reading, natural history/land use, town planning, sustainability.

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Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability.