admin on December 11th, 2008

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

ozatheist on December 11th, 2008

Seeing as I’m suffering from writers block (see last post) I thought I’d post another picture.

This is my Christmas Tree, which is hanging upside down from the ceiling. Why? Why not?

upside-down-tree1

Tags: ,

ozatheist on December 11th, 2008

writers-block

I think I’m suffering from writers block. I’ve got 3 drafts backed up and I keep finding new things to write about, but I struggle to put into words what I want to say. I also seem to be lacking enthusiasm at the moment.

Have any of you other bloggers suffered from writers block and/or lack of enthusiasm? Hints and tips to get over this would be appreciated.

Tags: ,

ozatheist on December 9th, 2008

When someone decides the picture on an album cover is offensive and adds it to a black-list then everyone suffers. from Wikipedia added to child pornography blacklist

Wikipedia has been blacklisted by a British online child pornography watchdog, causing almost every internet user in Britain to be blocked from contributing to the site anonymously.

The British Government-backed Internet Watch Foundation blacklisted Wikipedia over an article on the 1976 album Virgin Killer by German heavy metal band Scorpions.

At issue was a screen shot of the album cover, published with the article, that featured a naked, young girl with her genitals obscured by a simulated tear in the photograph.

After hearing of the blacklisting, Britain’s six main internet service providers blocked their users from accessing the article.

Here in Australia our government is considering having mandatory ISP filtering, unlike the UK where it is not compulsory. But as can be seen if something is considered child pornography then most operators will also consider it such, quite likely to avoid being seen as being soft on child pornography, it then becomes a matter of self censorship. Having seen the offending picture I can see how it could be considered child pornography, but then again I thought Bell Henson‘s pictures were as well.

The problem with the ban is that now all users appear to wikipedia as one of six users (the six ISPs blocking the site), so if just one user gets banned then all users on that ISP will be banned from modifying wikipedia. This may seem a bit innocuous but think of the consequences.

One person complains to the watchdog (and in this case it was only one user), the site gets blacklisted, all users on those six ISPs (about 95% of home internet users) now appear as one of six users. Lets say six people, one on each of the six ISPs, purposefully get themselves banned by wikipedia, then just about every internet user can no longer edit anonymously. Then using an alternate ISP these nefarious gang of six edit various wikipedia sites, the rest of the populace now finds it difficult to correct these edits. These new entries come

I know I’m probably being a bit paranoid and ‘conspiracy theorist’ here, but it just shows how easy it could be, if mandatory filtering was in place, for a small group of people to wreck  havoc on the internet for everyone else. Worse still, in Australia you might not even know it had happened, as the government doesn’t have to expose which sites have been black-listed.

1984 anyone?

In more political correctness gone wrong, comes the story of the man who has been convicted of possessing child pornography, and then lost his appeal. The offending matter?  A cartoon of Homer Simpson having sex with Lisa Simpson. Yes folks a cartoon! The judge (where do they find these people?)  stated:

the word ‘person’ included fictional or imaginary characters …,”

and

“… The mere fact that the figure depicted departed from a realistic representation in some respects of a human being did not mean that such a figure was not a ‘person’.”

feckin’ genius this judge, even most four year olds know the difference between a cartoon and a person, but not our ‘learned’ judge.

There are a few other bloggers covering this and they have come up with some, at times quite funny, extrapolations of this ruling. How far could this go?

Tags: , ,

ozatheist on December 8th, 2008

It appears the religious are afraid of nanotechnology, but then a lot of them are afraid of any science.

Tags: ,

ozatheist on December 4th, 2008

Bad Ass Popes – the six most awful Popes, via Five Public Opinions

Soft toys for boys – teach your child how to conduct Mass, via Nullifidian

Proposition 8 the Musical – satirical look at Prop 8, via Matt’s Notepad, via Pharyngula

Tim Minchin is funny – and doesn’t mind saying what he thinks about religion, via Sean the Blogonaut

20 Unusual Churches – say what you like about the religious, they build some amazing churches, via Stumbleupon

From the same site as above comes the following road sign:

M Yass

M Yass

Yass is a town in rural New South Wales, Australia.

No Clean Feed video – Priceless, via efa_oz on Twitter

Infallibility - The Catholic church explains how it infallible (yeah right!), found when researching for the comment I made at Five Public Opinions (see above). The two main proofs of the churches infallibility:

  • Proof from Scripture
  • Proof from Tradition

Such great proofs </sarcasm>

Tags: , , , , , ,

ozatheist on December 4th, 2008

Austin Cline at atheism.about.com wrote two articles titled: You Might Be an Uncle Tom Atheist If… and Avoiding Uncle Tom Atheism.

I was going to provide my take on these articles but others have already beaten me to it. VJack at Atheist Revolution asks Who’s a Real Atheist? and is already creating some interesting debate.

Personally I think Austin has some good points, even if some of his terminology and analogies are a bit off the mark.

Tags: , , , ,

ozatheist on December 3rd, 2008

One of those is Tracey Treasure. I haven’t been reading her blog all that long, but yesterday I decided to award Tracey the Daily Dose Award because hers is one of the blogs I regularly read and enjoy doing so. As I do with as many other of my favourite blogs as I can (if you are in my Atheist Blogroll in the sidebar consider yourself one of them).

Well Tracey very kindly returned the compliment and awarded me the ‘Brilliante Weblog 2008 Award‘, I feel very honoured but don’t know if I really deserve it. I will proudly display this award in the sidebar.

brillante_weblog_award_2008

Thanks again to Tracey, you have made my day.

Tags: , ,

ozatheist on December 2nd, 2008

The 7.30 report tonight discussed how the Senate is due to discuss private school funding.

A vote is expected in the Senate late tonight on the Government’s controversial $28 billion assistance package for private schools. The Coalition is resisting key elements of the bill, including a national curriculum and public disclosure of the finances of non-government schools. The nation’s top private schools have condemned the public disclosure provisions accusing the Government of a hidden agenda to cut funding, but the Government strongly denies this.

The transcript should be up tomorrow as well as the podcast if you missed it.

Of course the religious private schools are crying foul and don’t think they should disclose where all their money comes from. The interviewees came up with all sorts of lame reasons why they should be above everyone else when it comes to full monetary disclosure, but it was easy to read between the lines:

We don’t want people to find out how rich we are, because the government might not give us as much tax-free taxpayers money.

May write more once the transcript is up.

From the paper a couple of weeks ago, the private schools complaining why they shouldn’t have to disclose where their income comes from, comes this quote:

… half the present courses being scrapped and possibly prohibit the teaching of intelligent design in Christian schools.

Oh dear, the Christian schools, that get vast amounts of tax-free taxpayer’s money, might not be able to afford to teach ID, how sad. </sarcasm>

By all accounts private schools get 2/3 of education funding but only teach 1/3 of all students, how the heck is that right?

update 3 Dec

The Senate vetoed the bill last night, the main reason being stated is that the opposition are not happy with the national curriculum. from abc.net.au/news

Last night the Opposition and Family First Senator Steve Fielding combined to remove the parts of the bill relating to a national curriculum.

But the Government will not accept the amendments when the bill is returned to the Lower House.

The government wants to have a national curriculum for all schools, but, somewhat unfortunately, the curriculum isn’t finalised yet. Hence the opposition and Senator (right-wing fundamentalist religious party) Fielding are saying they can’t pass the bill not knowing what’s going to be in the final draft of the national curriculum. On the face of it this would seem a somewhat reasonable stance, however (donning sceptical hat) I don’t think this is what it is really about. (donning educated guessing hat) I would assume the government’s national curriculum is going to be conservative and aimed to ensure  students throughout Australia all get taught the same basic subject matter (reading, writing, arithmetic), I can’t imagine it’s going to have any outlandish subjects that have to be taught.

So, even though the final draught hasn’t been released, what could possibly be worrying Senator Fielding and members of the opposition? May I hazard a guess, they are worried that the new national curriculum will ban teaching ID and dedicated religious subjects? Who knows?

As Matt points out in the comments not all religious schools teach ID or Creationism, in fact some have very good biology subjects. However there are some schools that teach these subjects, or whilst teaching evolution also teach that the bible is the ultimate authority, hence confusing young impressionable minds.

Have a look at my post A Christian Education for some further information on this topic.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

ozatheist on November 27th, 2008

I got tagged by (((Billy))) for the six random things about myself meme. Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you (I did).
2. Post the rules on your blog (I did).
3. Write six random arbitrary things about yourself (see below).
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them (see below – suckers).
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog (doing now).
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up. (back at you (((Billy)))).

Six Random Things About Me:

  1. I’ve cut my head open twice in bed related incidents.
  2. I’m allergic to bee stings. Or at least I was last time I got stung (about 30 years ago) I may not be allergic to them any more according to medical opinion, but I’m not game to risk it. I’ve tried very hard to avoid bees since the last time I got stung. “Is that a balloon in your hand?” “No, it is my hand.”
  3. I’ve appeared on TV at least twice. Once in an ABC current affairs program, and once broadcast live from an event at the Adelaide Festival Theatre.
  4. My older sister and I have something in common that my younger sister and brother don’t.  (bonus point as this also reveals how many siblings I have)
  5. I wear a lot of Polo shirts, but none by Lacoste. I don’t know what that says about me?
  6. I like teasing people with half hinted at statements.  (as Fiery would say) ***snerk***

I’m tagging the following six people, however as this meme spreads it’s getting harder to find people who haven’t already been tagged. So if you have already  been tagged, or done this meme, just drop a link in my comments. If you don’t have a blog and want to get involved just leave your 6 random things about yourself in my comments.

Atheist Blogger (because we have something in common)

Atheist Revolution

Phoenix Rising (aka Fiery)

Green-Eyed Momster

Thump Thump Eyes

The Thinkers Podium (because we have something in common)

I’ve rushed this out since I’ve finally realised I’d been tagged (hadn’t checked my own blog for 2 days!) to try and beat others to my taggees. Don’t forget to have a look at the other post today about  abortion, censorship and  the atheist bus advertising campaign.

Tags: , , , , , ,