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This WordPress gives me an opportunity to record and recall the things I think are worth remembering. Its a space which organises the thoughts and ideas I have or am exposed to into neat categories. Below is a guide, please use the categories on the left.

Art and Creativity

Astronomy
One of my keen interests is Astronomy. I enjoy watching space documentaries and reading space magazines. Understanding the universe and exploring its make up, content and mechanisms is the frontier of human discovery and has captivated our interest as human beings for thousands of years, even before our Egyptian predecessors built their cosmic sundials 5000 years ago. Space exploration continues to fascinate us and steal our imaginations, and is always a humbling and incredibly thought provoking experience.

Comedy

Education
“Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people sustain from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts.” It is the process which shapes an understanding of the world and ones place in it. To Educate means, in its original Latin, to “draw forth” or to “raise up” or “lead forth”. This category is dedicated to discussing and critiquing current practices in education around the world, as well as sharing ideas about what education can and should be.

Leadership and Activism
People can change the world. In fact, every human act creates some change in the world at some level. Most people are ignorant, uninspired or resentful of this realisation and the level of responsibility it forces upon us. Some seek to live well and approach this responsibility cautiously, working to look after themselves and the people around them. A handful, however, seek to move humanity in a certain direction, to actively shape the ideas and experiences we have in order to bring about their vision for a better world. These people are activists and this page is dedicated to the activism I admire.

Numbers
The universe can be understood through a numeric lens. The laws of physics, the rotation of the planets, the forces of gravity and electro-magnetism, the distance and volume of shapes are all understandable by virtue of mathematics. Numbers, sequences and patterns can be created all around us yet no matter how common numbers are in our lives, their beauty and simplicity gives us insight into their inextricable relationship to existence, space and time. This page is dedicated to numbers and their relationship to each other as described by mathematics, and the interesting things numbers and mathematics have to offer.

Personal Blog
These are my thoughts, the ones which do not refer on to other places or things.

Philosophy

Politics
Wikipedia describes Politics (from Greek politikos “of, for, or relating to citizens”) as a term which is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments. It consists of “social relations involving authority or power” and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy. In my description, politics is the art or science of collective decision making. A given political paradigm is a description of where, and in what form, power manifests within the collective. This category is dedicated to politics in theory and practice, in Australia and globally.

The Internet
The Internet is in its infancy but already it makes every respectable list of “Top 10 Inventions for Humanity”. Fire, the wheel, the steam engine, the combustion engine, flight, anti-biotics, the light bulb, the printing press, the telephone, the laser and the contraceptive pill are all regular entires, but these have been around for a long time. The internet, the history of which is located in a post below, still inspires fantastic daydreams about its potential. It has changed human communication yet its capabilities as a tool for collaboration – in academics, art, music, business, trade, gaming, social interaction and politics – remains unfulfilled. This category is dedicated to some of the inspiring achievements the internet has facilitated, as well as some information about internet culture, internet censorship, how the internet works and some speculation as to where it may go in the future.

The Law
The Law is the most tangible manifestation of a society’s ethical beliefs. In coming together, and in choosing to live together, a collection of citizens establishes laws which prescribe the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. The Law is real, and unlike the interesting ethical dilemas we pose in our lounge rooms, usually involving a choice between killing few to save many, the answer the law gives to these scenarios has real consequences. This helps the legal world to be serious and intimidating and while in most areas the law agrees with my view of right and wrong, in some places I think it gets things wrong. This category is about the law; how it works, how it should work, what it says and the gap between this and what the law should be saying.

Thoughts
These are thoughts that do not find their place in the other categories.

Words
Language is a unique and powerful force. Language reflects and shapes the way we think and express ideas. Words and language can express emotion, tell stores and give insight into much of what it is to be human. This page is dedicated to words I’ve come across, in various combinations, that I consider to be worth noting. I should also mention that a single word can express 1000 images. In conjunction with the saying “a picture can say 1000 words” it follows that a word can say a million words or a billion images.

Tacoma McDonald’s Corporation

The residents of Tecoma, Victoria, have decided to protest the establishment of a McDonalds outlet in their town. I believe that residents of a locality have the right to protest changes to their laws, infrastructure or environment freely, and that the police should not be used as a tool to break up non-violent assembly. 

Footage has been circulating of a woman who was dragged off a roof by security guards. They should be charged with attempted murder. 

I am told that the protestors are trespassing. There is a hierarchy of laws, some are very important and some are less important. The less important ones can be broken for higher purposes. It is not correct to say that something is wrong just because it is illegal. For example, murder is very bad and the reasons that justify it are few and serious. Trespass is not serious, and good reasons to ignore that rule exist – for example, public protest. 

“Protestors disrupt life for some people and make things inconvenient. They impose their value on the rest of us by illegally getting in people’s way. The government has been elected to make our decisions, protestors are trying to subvert the democratic process.”

You have no right to an undisrupted life, or a right to constant convenience. Please take a moment to leave your well constructed comfort zone and engage with the people around you – you live with these people. Your actions effect them, and theirs effect you. Thats means you must engage them, speak to them, communicate. You have no right to peace and quiet when others wish to disrupt for their cause…most of the time that is.

The government rule with a mandate. We elect them at regular intervals and they have the right and the power to make decisions for us for a certain period of time. We have no say in between. And while we hope that the media portrayal of our discontent influences their action, it is not guaranteed to and often will not. We now have tools to make direct democracy – voting on individual issues – possible. 

“If we vote on individual issues there will not be a consistant vision for society. As the majority sways, plans will be undone and no direction can be forged. It will be haphazard and poorly planned. Furthermore, the politically active, celebrated or  influential people, the lobbyist and vocal ones or the big media companies will have control of the system.”

That last sentence is not really sensical, but what I think its saying is that loud minority interests will be the new power elite. But that is no different to know. As for the instability, well we could continue our current system but decide that if 70% of the population have decided against a government action, or for another one, then the government must respect it. It doesn’t allow each issue to fall on 50/50 and allows governments to lead with the citizens as the check and balance. 

A survey was conducted in which 80% of the population were asked whether they supported the McDonalds or not. Of those residents surveyed, 9 out of 10 said no. 

Corporations are not people. I do not feel sorry for corporations.

 

 

Press Pause Play

“The digital revolution of the last decade has unleashed creativity and talent of people in an unprecedented way, unleashing unlimited creative opportunities.

But does democratized culture mean better art, film, music and literature or is true talent instead flooded and drowned in the vast digital ocean of mass culture? Is it cultural democracy or mediocrity?

This is the question addressed by PressPausePlay, a documentary film containing interviews with some of the world’s most influential creators of the digital era.”

Anonymous

 

Anonymous is a rhizomatic collective that utilizes its large membership to conduct internet based attacks on individuals, organisations and governments which it believes are deserving of such attacks. The collective* stands for freedom of speech and against internet censorship. They have a long list of operations, some carried out by a minority of members, that are incredibly impressive. While some of their targets are questionable, all their operations are illegal and their attacks can go beyond internet terrorism, I think I know on which side I stand in the villain/hero or terrorist/freedom fighter debate. Maybe not always, but I certainly feel empowered by their existence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_(group)

*It is difficult to use a definite descriptor for an organisation whose membership is completely anonymous, often changing and works without clear leadership.

 

Dave Meslin: The antidote to Apathy

This video is inspiring in its simplicity. It clearly identifies the obstacles to democratic engagement:

1) City Hall – Governments use incredibly boring methods for communication (compare a Nike add to a government notice) that is intentionally exclusionary.

2) Public Space – We have put a price tag on freedom of speech by selling our public space for advertising. We need to reclaim and democratise public spaces.

3) The Media – The media discourages engagement by failing to provide the information they would if they were covering a movie, book or restaurant. This reinforces the idea that politics is a spectator sport.

4) Heros – Many of our literary heros are individuals chosen to for their unique ability who start and finish a clear task they achieve perfectly. Real good change happens through collective effort, over a long period of time, is imperfect and voluntary.

5) Political Parties – Uninspiring and uncreative organisation that represent the same polling data don’t represent new ideas, so instead of being the entry point for political engagement they foster cynicism.

Obstacles 6) and 7) are about “Charitable Status” and “Elections” in a way that is specific to Canada. The concluding point is that as long as we believe our own neighbours are Selfish, Stupid and Lazy we will have no hope. In stead we need to:

Redefine apathy as a complex web of cultural barriers.

Identify what those obstacles are.

Work together to Dismantle those obstacles.