megpie71
megpie71
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October 2018
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Another update

So, yesterday I attended my first O-week event for my upcoming university return - a Parents, Partners and Friends thing. I also stopped off by the student assistance van to pick up my orientation pack (complete with free temporary parking permit; complimentary lanyard and subject-area-specific timetable, and a checklist to help with the immediate stuff. Hooray.

The uni campus is a lot bigger than it was the last time I studied there (back in 1989 - 1990) - approximately double the size, most of it heading south. However, it's been designed with an eye to the weather - there's lots of trees, lots of shade, and lots of open space to sit and think in. Of course, there's also the cheerful thought that the weather it's been designed with an eye to is the warm weather (of which we get lots) rather than the rainy stuff (which is comparatively rare, and getting moreso... which is worrying). What this is likely to mean in winter is I'm going to be doing a lot of rushing around with a brolly, and huddling below verandahs.

The other thing about this campus is that at least half of it is built up a hill. The other half is built down it. This means there's multiple levels (and "ground level" is a somewhat tricky term to use when you consider that for one building alone it can mean entering on the third floor, the second floor, the main floor, or a sub-floor) and lots and lots of stairs. My knees aren't particularly fond of stairs - I have to approach them carefully, one knee complains when I'm going up, the other one complains when I'm going down. I forsee a lot of careful work trying to find ramps (which don't make my knees complain quite as loudly).

Of course, this time around, if I can't find a ramp, or an accessibility point, I'm more likely to be pointing this out to the accessibility folks. I've decided this year is my year to join the effort in bailing out the ocean with a teaspoon, and improve the situation for marginalised persons of all varieties.

In other news, check out this wonderful tribute to XKCD as performed by any number of blogging luminaries. Made me smile, made me laugh, made me weep happy tears.

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Current Music: Boomdeyada, boomdeyada, boomdeyada, boomdeyada
Musings on Australia Day

Tomorrow is Australia Day. On 26 January 1788 (in the Gregorian calendar of Western Europe) the landmass now known as Australia was invaded by a group of boat people. Since permission to land was not granted by the existing occupants of the landmass or the traditional owners of the area where the landing occurred (and has yet to be either sought or received by any of their subsequent descendants) it would be reasonable to describe these persons as illegal immigrants, and the persons who organised their transportation to this landmass as people smugglers.

If you look at things from this perspective, the current Australian fusses about border protection seem just a tad hypocritical. (Not that anyone in the Liberal party is going to stop and consider things when protecting folks from the yellow/black/red/[insert $OTHER here] peril is perceived as being such a sure-fire vote winner).

More below the fold )

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Current Mood: philosophical philosophical
Current Music: "Down Under" - Men at Work.

Murdoch warns Google: it's time to pay

News Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch has launched a stinging attack on Google and other on-line entities for stealing content.

At a conference of World Media Executives at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, Rupert Murdoch has taken aim at search engines like Google as internet parasites.

According to the News Corporation Chairman, the so-called "aggregators" on the internet steal content from tradition media organisations and, he says, the time has come for them to pay for it.

"If we do not take advantage of the current movement toward paid-for content, it will be the content creators - the people in this hall - who will pay the ultimate price and the content kleptomaniacs will triumph," he said.


Let's see - "the current movement toward paid-for content" is being generated mostly by News Corporation, which, if I recall correctly, is the corporate media entity largely owned by Mr Murdoch's family. News Corporation also controls large shares of the media markets in Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and several other countries, the most notorious branches of which are the Murdoch tabloid newspapers (such as the UK "Sun" and approximately half of the major metropolitan daily newspapers in Australia) and the Fox News cable channel in the United States (commonly nicknamed "Faux News", because of the lack of resemblance between life as reported by their so-called "journalists" and the consensus reality of the majority of human beings). Do I sense perhaps the petulant foot-stampings of an old man who is terrified the global media empire he's spent a lifetime building is being threatened by the content aggregators, who collect into one space not only the Murdoch empire's view of the world, but also all those other views as expressed by people who aren't part of the News Corporation conglomerate?

After all, if people can choose to see multiple pictures of the same event (or multiple views from many different sources) they might just start to realise things aren't the simple black-and-white over-simplifications of Mr Murdoch's beloved format. If people can pick and choose from dozens of news sources in a single page, they might start asking questions about some of the articles from News Limited. Questions like "why is this news?" (for example, why are we being constantly told in the Murdoch press about the private lives of soi-distant "celebrities"; why do we never hear about "causes" without a so-called famous face to attach to them; why are the bedroom games of the British royal family such an all-consuming matter etc) or "why is this such a scandal?" (Famous star comes out as gay; female celebrity gains or loses weight; celebrity couple divorces) or even "why aren't we hearing about X?" (media conglomeration; media gatekeeping; corporate censorship; corporate abuses of power; non-capitalist economic theory; challenges to right-wing prejudices; shall I continue?). The news aggregators offer a view of a bigger picture, rather than the small-minded, small-world images Mr Murdoch wants to keep selling us. They offer a picture of a complex world, one where people aren't just one thing or another, but might be both at the same time, or even something completely different.

The news aggregators threaten Mr Murdoch's livelihood, just by offering a diversity of links to a variety of stories. They take away his control over the shaping of opinion, and threaten his ability to offer up a world where everyone is just like him: white, wealthy, upper-middle class, educated, heterosexual, cisgender, Christian, Anglo-Celtic and male. What the news aggregators threaten isn't the rights of people to create content, but rather the assumed right of Mr Murdoch and his social equivalents to dictate how the world looks to the rest of us. They threaten Mr Murdoch's privilege - and how dare they do that?

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Current Mood: cynical cynical
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