Sikker Internet Dag – Tag Internettet Tilbage

taginternettettilbageI dag er det Sikker Internet Dag kloden over. Det havde jeg nær overset, fordi det også er Tag Internettet Tilbage-dag, en begivenhed, der forhåbentlig sætter sig større aftryk end Sikker Internet Dag plejer at gøre.

Mange, fx den britiske premier-minister  David Cameron, har fuldstændig misforstået, hvad et Sikkert Internet vil sige og har indført filtre i England, som skal forhindre fx børneporno. Det gør de naturligvis ikke, for kriminelle elementer er drøngode til at komme uden om de altid forældede metoder, det offentlige bruger til den slags. Til gengæld forhindrer de adgang til en lang række sider, der er sat i verden for at rådgive børn og unge om sex, prævention og seksuelt overførte sygdomme. Sk*de smart, David!

Jeg har sagt det ca. 100 gange før, men siger det gerne igen: Et sikkert Internet for børn er det samme internet, som resten af os bruger. Det er BØRNENE, der skal uddannes til sikre brugere, det er ikke internettet, der skal være indhegnet og have blød asfalt.

Et indhegnet internet med blød asfalt er det, som mange politikere over hele verden ønsker sig. De dækker sig bag snak om terrorister, kriminelle og porno, men i virkeligheden vil de gerne overvåge os 24/7 og kontrollere, hvad vi må se og ikke se. Ikke alle politikere er lige drakoniske i de tiltag, de ønsker at sætte i værk, men de vil alle gerne gøre noget. Prøv at lægge mærke til, hvor utroligt lidt ivrige politikere i hele Europa har været for at bakke op om Edward Snowden!

I eftermiddag kl. 16 går vi ud i regn og slud og protesterer inderligt mod politikernes planer om at lægge begrænsninger på Internettet. Det burde du også gøre.

En af talerne ved dagens demonstration er i øvrigt Karen Melchior, EU-parlamentskandidat for De Radikale. Og hun mener det faktisk, når hun siger, at hun vil kæmpe for Internettets frihed i EU-parlamentet. Prøv at spørge din egen EU-parlamentskandidat, hvad de synes. Deres svar er oftest forblommede og dækker enten over uvidenhed eller over støtte til mere overvågning (kombinationen er heller ikke ukendt). Har du ikke tænkt dig at stemme, fordi EU ikke rager dig, så tænk igen. Det rager dig rigtig meget – ikke mindst hvis du er optaget af overnationale emner som fx nettet.

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Censorship not needed

when millions of people willingly watch this brainwashing TV-station every day (it’s a mash-up obviously)?

Watch the whole video, then sit back in your chair a minute and try and recall what the Republicans have called Ms. Clinton, Ms. Pelosi or Ms. Sotomayor. If you don’t recall, google it. Or use my new pet search engine Spezify. I was directed to the video from here – a link I found on Twitter, posted by @sharonKONE.

That censorship luckily becomes more and more difficult for the horrible regimes around the world is shown by this excellent article in the Washington Post.

For all the people out there who struggle to hear our voices and who struggle to make their own voices heard over the clatter of the propaganda machines and the short, short memory of the Western press, we really owe them to qualify the news we read/watch/hear and check our sources. We’re the ones who can!

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#Iranelection

What’s with the # (hash-tag) you ask (if you’re not on Twitter). The above is the key word for any tweet about the Iranian election and the ensuing unrest.

Just read someone saying “You can’t trust all tweets about Iran”. No! Did anybody really think so? Can you trust anything fully? I don’t think so and I find this Iran-twitter-revolution thing totally fascinating and a great leap forward WITHOUT necessarily believing every tweet I get about the goings on there.

There are a number of reasons why:

  1. The people inside Iran can’t always get news verified before they post. Each Iranian tweeter values his or her own sources and tweets what he/she finds credible. When things get very heated, they might tweet something that is exaggerated or will later turn out to be false. That doesn’t discredit these people entirely!
  2. People outside who’re trying to make sense of tweets from inside are well-meaning people (mostly). They want to support the people inside Iran by RT’ing (re-tweeting, means forwarding) their messages to their own group of followers. Also called viral power.
  3. Apparently there are (this is NOT verified) government officials in Iran trying to infiltrate Twitter by posing as Mousavi-supporters. One must have one’s bullsh.. guard up.
  4. And then of course there are all the people here in the West who loves a “good story” more than anything. And in this particular species’ view, a “good story” is one with lots of blood and misery. They will exaggerate anything they hear and in no time stories will be blown out of proportion. This is something which also happened before the web, if I may just remind the Luddites out there.

So no, you cannot believe anything you read on Twitter, on my blog, in the Daily Mail (particularly not…), in the Times, on BBC Online or anywhere else. You must apply your own critical sense. After a while you realise that it is more often true what you find on BBC Online than what you read in the Daily Mail. OK. Now you know this. It’s still not a reason to now believe everything that’s on the BBC website. What you do know now though, is that when it makes sense to check something you read in the Daily Mail against what’s on the same subject in the Times, the other way round will only rarely pay off.

If you want to join in, start by reading the always sensible but engaged Cory Doctorow’s advice on how to go about tweeting #iranelection. Another trustworthy source of news from Iran is Andrew Sullivan on The Atlantic. The most web-forward British paper is The Guardian, a journo there is live-blogging.

And – green is the colour of hope in Iran, so get out the greens!

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There's nothing a brain scan won't reveal

Science:

Activity in Caudate Nucleus (a part of our brain) predicts our choices. That’s another part of our brain that seems to be moored in the hunter/gather era of humanity, because the study shows that the brain pushes our choice towards the one with the largest perceived reward.

This is funny! Apparently, there’s very little you can’t see on brain scans. For instance, you can predict blunders! Seems like life would be different (easier?) if we could walk around with brain scanners on our heads all the time…

When romantically inclined, we don’t want to follow the crowd. It’s the other way ‘round when we’re scared.

IQ:

A brain scan can show IQ?

Children:

When discussing how we bring up our children and feminism issues with friends and family I’m always arguing that 1) We must answer questions about sex when put to us by our children, in an honest and close-to-the-truth way, according to their age. If we don’t they’ll know how to get the information from other sources, which might not be as credible. They WILL get the information! And 2) that men and women will never be equal as long as the porn industry is as skewed as it is. When boys and girls see the average porn flick or magazine, they get a sadly stereotypical impression of sexuality. Finally a programme on Channel 4 (and not just yet another study by a feminist psychologist) shows how youngsters get their “knowledge” about sex: Porn. Think about that, parents, before you snub another sex-related question from your children out of misplaced modesty.

Told you so… Extra-curricular activities and good social skills in high school will benefit you later in life.

This story was all over Twitter yesterday. When your toddler doesn’t respond to your REPEATED instructions, it’s not because they’re not listening. They’re just storing it for later. What I don’t understand then, is what happens with bigger children? Maybe they are just storing the instructions for MUCH later?

Health:

Education slows down the spreading of HIV in Sub-Saharan countries. Read the interesting description of how, in the beginning of the epidemic, the disease spread fastest among educated males, because they had more leisure time and money to provide them greater access to commercial sex workers. Notice this new euphemism for prostitutes… Where did that come from?

A cure for Herpes. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Politics:

Why is it that politicians from all over the Western world aren’t queueing to scold Putin and his puppets for these killings? Russia actually claims to be a democratic country and wants a place among the world’s leading nations!

For a nation that embraces countries like China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan etc. it’s about time they loosen up towards Cuba.

Food:

Recipes on Twitter… I’ve just added a host of twittering chefs to my stream. Inspiration is everything when you’re the one left to do the everyday cooking!

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Procrastination

is another word I like a lot. My dear old Dad, bless him, has often said that the word procrastination defines him. I think that’s rather unfair, really. Except for the Mr. & Mrs. Perfect out there, we all do it! So there goes, Dad, I never bought it!

Although I in fact have been really efficient today I started the day procrastinating. While David took Dane to school, I browsed through the news over coffee and stumbled over a couple of odd pieces. I managed to control myself and NOT start blogging about them first thing, but to DO WHAT I HAD TO DO first. Which was homework for my last course of this my last semester of my BA in library- and information science. The course is about building large websites (=corporate portals) and is quite techie, which suits me just fine. But because academia is academia (can’t think of a better explanation, sorry!) most of the texts are 7-8 years old. Which is perfectly OK if your subject is ancient runes or hieroglyphs or even if it’s WWII. But I just find it very, very hard to believe that the best stuff available about the building of portals and content management was written 7-8 years ago!

However, it’s done and my conscience is clear! So now, off to the odd pieces. There was this good one about how to tackle a project and get it over with, quickly. I needed that one! And this sad article from Washington Post about how Bush has rewarded his cronies:

Less than two weeks before leaving office, Bush made sure the senior aides shared a new assignment, naming them to an obscure World Bank agency called the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

One of the Guardian blogs has a very thought provoking post about what to do with that Afghan fellow, who’s clearly guilty of something, but who’s been tortured so badly that he’s been reduced to a head-case? The post is by seasoned Guardian journalist Michael White.

Those of you who know me personally will probably know that I was always a fierce advocate of the MMR vaccine. A “scientist” published a paper linking the MMR vaccine to autism. It was just the one paper, but it had all the ingredients of A STORY in the press. And it became huge. Suddenly everybody knew a child with autism who’d had the MMR vaccine. The fact that ALL children back then had the vaccine, also children with autism didn’t get in the way of this scaremongering story. When it was revealed that the “scientist’s” data were falsified and that there is NO link WHATSOEVER between the MMR and autism, this wasn’t at all A STORY. So there was nothing, or almost nothing, about this in the media that people actually read or watch. Which led to a huge drop in children who’d had the MMR. And now we see the result. A veritable measles epidemic. Try reading about measles and think that if it hadn’t been for that “scientist”, but primarily if it hadn’t been for the media who never seem to take responsibility for anything, all these children and teens wouldn’t have to suffer the dreadful complications to measles. The illness would most likely have been extinct! Here’s the story from the Sunday Times.

Sunday morning I read an article (no, not an article, an excerpt from this book) that truly scared me. The writer James Lovelock states that we’re too late to save the planet, so all we can do – as Brits – is to save ourselves from the hungry hordes, fleeing their over-heated or flooded homes! It came much too close to the article about the honey-bee I read only a week previously. Have we really come to the brink of our own extinction? And why are we all sitting back doing next to nothing? Probably because it’s just too much for our brains to handle! What I found even more scary than the prospect of living on a diet of strictly local produce and not enough of it in 2030, was his suggestion that we need a “strong leader” like Churchill to guide us out of this mess – democracy is no good in such dire straits. I shiver to even write it!

On a less dire note, here are some recent tech news. Amazon has launched a new version of the Kindle. I still want one and I still can’t have one. There’s no news about when this lovely gadget will be available in Europe. It’s something to do with the difficulty of finding an agreement with our multiple phone companies. Hmfff. I want it soon, and so, I think, does my husband. Look here how many books I’ve bought inside the last 3-4 weeks. Admittedly some of them are for course work, but as you can see, not all of them!

Which one should I start reading first? Dont say Jakob Nielsen, please!
Which one should I start reading first? Don't say Jakob Nielsen, please!

Here’s a funny one – I bet my oldest son will like it. It’s about bragging of your World of Warcraft skills in your resumé… I would say it depends on the job, really, if it’s a good idea or not!

Speaking of games, here’s an odd piece. I don’t play myself, so the thought hadn’t even occurred to me. But of course – in games that are so life-like there would have to be pregnancies. And it’s fun to read how they go about the deliveries etc. Thanks to Torill for the pointer.

Oh me, dinner is served, says husband. That’s so nice, I have to go! Sorry for this messy, messy post…

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Double standards

Picture from after the attack of UN run international school in Gaza. Picture from BBC.
Picture from after the attack of UN run international school in Gaza. Picture from BBC.

The Gaza conflict makes me even more angry than so many other international conflicts. I think what makes me fume is that America supports Saudi Arabia so strongly, overtly and unconditioned – America that claims to be on a “Nation Building” & “Democracy Exporting” Crusade. Palestine is definitely more democratic than any little bit of desert in Saudi Arabia! And think of the Sauds who were allowed to leave the US during the flying ban after 9/11. And consider that there’s every proof you’d want that it’s the Saudis who finance most of the religious madmen in the Arab world and thus more or less pushed Hamas into power. Because at the same time as supporting Hamas and all the other religious nutters, they – and the US and Israel – have done everything to discredit Fatah. It simply defies belief that the whole world is standing by and idly watching this!

Today’s story about the Israeli “proof” that they only shoot at “legitimate” targets – the Youtube video with the “missiles” being loaded onto the truck – is probably only scratching the surface of the deception the Western press gladly falls for.

A Washington Post story from right after the Hamas take-over.

Here’s evidence of Saudi Arabia financing terrorism, which was delivered to the American senate in 2003.

Here’s some back ground information about Saudi Arabia, Wahabism and terror financing from the Independent.

Wikipedia’s article about Wahabism (state religion in Saudi Arabia). And here about the House of Saud, who rule Saudi Arabia.

A bone chilling story from Vanity Fair about the US deepening the crisis in Gaza.

I could go on, but I won’t.

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Waiting in trepidation

Ive even got the tea cosy out...
I've even got the tea cosy out...

I’ve settled down now in my sofa with everything within reach and BBC News on the telly. My computer is at hand and so is my Iphone. Luckily most of the key states are on the East coast, which means the results will be in around 1 am. Should one or some of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio go to Obama, then I will almost certainly go to bed, assured that America will have a president who will unite rather than divide come January. That’s what he’s been promising all along and I choose to believe that he will do his best to deliver that. I remember reading an analysis of his political statements in The Atlantic back in December last year, thinking that this man could recover USA’s standing in the rest of the world and make an end to the aggressive foreign policy we’ve witnessed for so many years now. And won’t that be something! I really and truly love America – it’s such a fantastic country. It would be so nice to also harbour some respect for the man in the White House.

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A president's legacy

In the latest issue of The New Yorker, Pullitzer-prize winner Steve Coll has an extremely insightful article about what defines a great president. Particularly after the fact. Oh yes, the ability to keep your cool in a squeeze is important, but long-lasting reforms are what really make a president’s legacy great.

On this important day, why don’t you read this article while waiting for the results to tick in tonight?

Here’s an appetiser:

The accumulating failures in the country’s health-care system are a cause of profound weakness in the American economy; unaddressed, this weakness will exacerbate the coming recession and crimp its aftermath. A large number of the country’s housing foreclosures in recent years appear to be related to medical problems and health-care expenses. American businesses often can’t afford to hire as many employees as they would like because of rising health-insurance costs; employees often can’t afford to quit to chase their better-mousetrap dreams because they can’t risk going without coverage. Add to this the system’s moral failings: about twenty-two thousand people die in this country annually because they lack health insurance. That is more than the number of Americans who are murdered in a year.

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Here's another couple of reasons why you should vote for Mr. Obama if you're an American

Christopher Hitchens with whom I agree on very little, but who’s intelligence I most certainly admire, has this column on Slate. The below quote is his finishing lines. Before that he argues very convincingly – read it yourself!

This is what the Republican Party has done to us this year: It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just “people of faith” but theocratic bullies. On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity.

I received a message on Facebook from my old friend Lone Skovgaard about the power of being FOR something rather than being AGAINST something else. It is a very relevant point. So let it be noted that I’m

  • FOR a raised standing for America in the world √
  • FOR less aggressive meddling in other countries’ affairs √
  • FOR every American’s right to basic medical treatment √
  • FOR a tightened access to weapons in the US √
  • FOR intelligence and compassion in the White House √
  • etc…
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24 hours

Sarah Palin is meeting how many? foreign leaders in 24 hours? I forget. And I suspect she will too. Very quickly.

How is it possible in a democracy to keep a candidate to such an important job away from the press? I do believe everybody would find it quite OK, if she doesn’t know the name of the president of Belgium or whatever. But in one of two interviews (one on one) she’s given, she didn’t know what the Bush Doctrine is? And I remember that her “boss” McCain named the German chancellor Vladimir Putin… How can the Americans choose to vote for her, when they haven’t even heard her answer some of the questions, which must surely be on their minds?

Anyway, I don’t really have time to elaborate and I’m sure you’d rather I didn’t, so here are links to more qualified deliberations elsewhere: Washington PostInternational Herald Tribune, The Times.

I’ve read a lot about the bailing out of banks and other financial institutions lately. It is very difficult to form an opinion! But I think I’m getting there and tomorrow I’ll let you in on my thoughts!

But now I’m off to the movies with a group of other women (neighbours) to see – The Women. It’s got horrible reviews and it looks more than a little silly. But I’m sure we’ll have a good laugh.

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Double standards

I was recently enlightened on a new blog on The Times’ page. It’s called Alpha Mummy and it’s full of good stuff. Some pretty clever writers who do a lot of reading, off line and online.

Here’s on the double standards women political candidates are subjected to. It’s the Tonight Show again. I’m afraid I find him very, very funny. He must have some fantastic researches to always find just that clipping that gives his current victim away. And the fact that he always lets them give themselves away. He just sits there, leering…

Here’s an entirely different post about influential and infamous women from ancient times till now. If I tell you that both Lucrezia Borgia and Carla Bruni are mentioned, will you click through?

And here’s an article written by an American Republican woman in The Times, which more or less answers the question I asked a couple of days ago. What are the not-so-religious etc. Republicans going to vote now? The sad answer probably is: They are not. Since they can’t bring themselves to vote for Mr. Obama, they’ll just stay home and do nothing. And if McCain/Palin win, they can sit on their high horses and say that they didn’t vote for them. No, but they didn’t vote against them either.

On the day – may it never come – when Mrs. Palin is president of the United States and wreaks havoc of all the remaining things we love about America, what will these people say in their defense?

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Boing Boing

I’ve had this Internet directory on my roll for quite some time, but it’s not really until today that I’ve found anything other than curiosities on it. When I looked through it today though, there seemed to be a lot more substantial stuff or maybe I just haven’t paid close enough attention earlier.

This post is about the tendency we all have to embellish a good story AND about how willing we are to believe what we see/read/hear if it “sounds right” or suits our own beliefs. I wonder if that has become worse with the Internet or if it’s always been like that. Think of H. G. Wells and The War of the Worlds.

Here’s about the suspicious and hostile treatment you get in the US immigration – in this case in JFK. On our journey we experienced unpleasantness many times, but luckily nothing like this. We joked about the fact that the only nice immigration officer we met, while in the US, was in fact Canadian…

And here’s a story – or rather a video – that puts what I wrote above into perspective. Should one really believe that this can happen to anyone – ANYONE – in London, here in wonderful, democratic UK????? It sure looks very authentic, but I just don’t want to believe that this could happen to me next time I venture up to London!

The next one is little more than a curiosity, but since it’s about John McCain, I will not hesitate to bring it to you: Here’s the quote from McCain’s own website:

It may be typical of the pro-Obama Dungeons & Dragons crowd to disparage a fellow countryman’s memory of war from the comfort of mom’s basement, but most Americans have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who suffered on behalf of others.

Although it’s not written by McCain himself (how could it be, he’s just learning to surf the Internet as we speak), it’s still ON his website. A Dungeons & Dragons fan promptly had this t-shirt designed:

The guy who designed it has several cool t-shirts to offer actually. Check this for a cool motif:

Now, where was I? Oh yes, politics, that’s right. There’s also a couple of pointers to stories about people arrested at the Beijing games for drawing attention to Tibet. Brave and admirable people, they are!

And now to something completely different. This is a Danish blogger I’ve been following for years. She has just recently posted one of the most exquisite photo series I think I’ve ever seen on a blog and I really must share it with you! It’s called Laundry. Here’s just one photo from the series:

Thank you, Lisa!

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