Scratched

Nice feelings

Unlike other podcasts I’ve listened to, Hookturn shows or maybe properties is a better word? seem designed in the sense that they are focussed with any extraneous parts removed. The first Hookturn show, The Nudge isn’t just about design, it’s about "being better designers". That’s a pretty important, and interesting, difference.

from “You should be listening to Hookturn.” in A Blog by Ben Kraal.

Sometimes people just get it, and when they do, it’s a really nice feeling.

Legitimate outrage

In 2012, when Sri Lanka’s human rights record was reviewed by the UN, the Australian government told the Sri Lankan government to eliminate all cases of abuse, torture and mistreatment by police and security forces. Two years later, we are directly returning asylum seekers to those forces.

via “Sri Lanka is a refugee producing country. Here's why” by Emily Howie in theguardian.com.

At the very least, as a country we should not be handing people back to their oppressors. Either as a nation we value human life or we don’t. Either we are willing to help or we are not.

Of course there are nuances. There are ways to help and there are ways to not help.

What the government has done in this situation is the opposite of helping and so much worse than the absence of helping. We know that these people are likely to be harmed and we handed them over into that situation.

Our government has lost site of what it means to be human and to have humanity.

Humanity shouldn’t end at one’s borders (no matter how obscurely you define them, or migration zones or whatever boundaries you put on your country).

You can hear Emily Howie discuss this topic in greater detail on the first episode of Devil’s Avocado: ‘Regugees, Asylum Seekers and Boat People’

It may as well be a picture of me.

He is a fun loving guy really funny and can make anyone laugh.He is very quiet at first and seems shy but when you get to know him you will fall in love.He has very good style and always looks handsome.He also always smells really good :

via Urban Dictionary: josh.

I have nothing else to say.

Humans, death and nuance

This tweet was retweeted into my timeline. I took offence but didn’t engage with the author or the retweeter because no mind was ever changed on Twitter. What once was a service to tell people what you were having lunch has become a service to further confirmation bias and justify outrage.

I took offence because three teenage boys were kidnapped and murdered and I don’t believe an expression of sympathy should ever be used for political points.

I took offence because there is, deep within this tweet (so deep that the author could easily argue plausible deniability), a sense of antisemitism. There is the suggestion that Israel gets different treatment not because of its strategic position as a diplomatic ally in a troubled region or because of the scientific and technological advances it has given the world, but because it is controlled by Jews.

I live in a secular world where I continue to face the argument that criticising Israel or declaring oneself to be “anti-zionist” is not the same as being an anti-semite. Semantically this argument is correct. People should have the right to disagree with the zionist philosophy and they should have the right to question the actions of any government. I wish the world were as straight-forward as that.

I feel no affinity to Israel as a country. I have family there and they are lovely people. Many people I grew up with moved there. I visited Israel when I was 15 years old and, while I understood its importance in my heritage, I didn’t love it in the way that I love Melbourne or New York.

Yet when I see a tweet like the one above, I am offended because it brings with it a hatred of Jews that smells vaguely of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a text that breeds hatred of Jews through the false argument that as a people we control governments, media, banks, etcetera.

As simple evidence we only need to see the replies that the tweet received:

There are more.

The ease with which we can broadcast our opinion or rebroadcast someone else’s has removed the time required to think about what we are actually saying and the impact that may have.

What happened to three teenagers in Israel is a tragedy for their families, their friends and the people in the area who may discover acts of terrorism around the corner. Our society differentiates between terrorist and military acts. The USA’s society does too. There are also laws around what governments can and cannot do within the bounds of military acts and there is protocol on how other countries’ governments should react when one country’s military acts outside of those laws.

It is very rare for USA’s President Obama to name other nations’ dead civilians in any situation, but he has expressed condolences to Palestinian people after actions by the Israeli military:

We also express our deepest condolences for the deaths of Palestinian civilians in Gaza yesterday. We stress the importance of calm and urge all parties to do everything in their power to prevent further violence and civilian casualties.

From the Office of the Press Secretary of the White House

The teenagers found murdered in Israel also held American citizenship, so it’s possible he saw a cultural difference there.

But it doesn’t matter. This blog post isn’t going to change anyone’s mind. The way people think about death, politics and discourse has not changed for hundreds of years. We keep hoping for a better future but do humans actually have the capacity to make it happen? Probably not as long as we keep avoiding debate by hiding behind a 140 character limit.

Life Achievements and New Directions

Needing a new direction, he gained his commercial pilot’s license, hoping to become a flight instructor, but eventually took a job at a large bookstore.

As of 2007, he began DJing weekly at a Dallas music venue, Lee Harvey’s, located in the Cedars neighborhood near downtown. According to their calendar, December 19, 2009 may have been the last time he performed there.

MC 900 Ft. Jesus entry in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

I’m always impressed with people who are able to gain some success but then realise that they don’t want to pursue it any further.

I wonder how MC900 Ft Jesus’s career would have been different if he’d had access to the internet-based distribution models that came about 10 years after his last album or if he still would have been disillusioned with artistic pursuits.

A Pleasure in Grammar

iOS 8 makes typing easier by suggesting contextually appropriate words to complete your sentences. It even recognizes to whom you’re typing and whether you’re in Mail or Messages. Because your tone in an email may be different from your tone in a message.

via Apple—iOS 8 – Overview.

It’s rare to see correct use of “whom” in modern marketing material. Nicely done, apple.

Spending 27 years with one mindset

A 1987 news report has surfaced showing a 22-year-old Joe Hockey protesting university fees in Sydney.

via Video shows Joe Hockey protesting university fees in 1987 | SBS News.

I’m no fan of Joe Hockey. I never have been. Sometimes I call him “Joe Cock-ey” privately because I like to be infantile at times. Also, because sometimes he acts like a cock*.

He has presided over one of the most punitive budgets in recent memory, so it’s clear he’s no fan of mine, either.

What I’m saying is there’s a lot not to like about Joe Hockey.

But I don’t think that means that we have to hold people to account for something they believed in strongly 27 years ago.

I also don’t think that we should take delight in old footage, photos or audio that exists just to embarrass someone while not actually talking about the issues.

Somewhere there is a photo of me and my brother wearing matching tracksuits AND sneakers. We don’t do that anymore. Don’t call us on it. We just changed the way we like to dress (or who we allowed to dress us).

People change their minds over time. Sometimes their minds are changed for them with briefcases over-loaded with cash. Sometimes it just takes a convincing argument or an understanding of new evidence.

So, stop the chortling about implied hypocrisy and focus back on the issue so that we can actually solve it rather than just whinge.

—-
* Please take this with the cheeky ambiguity with which it was intended (and don’t sue).

Good points made by smart people

It’s not totally hopeless: we still make great films in the form of Balibo, Animal Kingdom, Hail, 52 Tuesdays, The Babadook, The Goddess of 1967, and the occasional great TV show, and a fair amount of great music and books — music and literature being two artforms that don’t require a lot of money for equipment and personnel before you begin — but there’s no momentum to this greatness. They’re just blips in the landscape. It’s like we hit reset before each one and hope for the best.

via This week on 'This Australian Life' – Floate Design Partners.

A good point by the excellent Lee Zachariah on a blog post I wrote at Floate.

Like this if you hate cancer.

an ad from Facebook for Facebook. It shows a cancer victim and the words "The toughest battles need the best of friends."Seriously, is Facebook trying to capitalise on cancer?

This is the new economy.

People who never voted for our government took to the streets yesterday to say how displeased we all are with the government rather than speaking to the people who did vote for the government and encouraging them to change their minds.

Meanwhile, we’re encouraged to show we love someone with cancer, not by visiting them, but by connecting with them through the least amount of effort possible. So what? So Facebook can put “low-commitment compassion” as an attribute in my social graph?

Having an effect takes effort. It’s easy to walk in the streets and wear a “Fuck Tony Abbot” badge, but difficult to actually engage the opposition in discourse that tries to change their mind by showing common ground.

It’s easy to comment on someone’s Facebook status that announces their cancer is in remission with a note of encouragement but it’s hard to pick up the phone or visit and just listen to them complain about chemotherapy or just give them company in a time of need.

As humans we’re going to have to start relearning the way we interact with people and develop a system in which we think about the consequences of our actions and whether or not they fit with our actual goals.

Don’t be fooled by what is offered. There is no easy answer.

Telling me it’s raining

Screenshot from an email subscription offer.

Dear The Age,

This week’s news has been filled with reminders of your disregard for quality journalism. Why would I bother taking out a subscription to a paper that claims to be "independent" but has just committed to purchase more news imagery from Getty?

How do you define independence? My first thought is that it would have something to do with a unique voice and not just a whole lot of imagery that looks like everyone else’s.

To try to sell me a subscription this week is just plain chutzpah. Even your email shows how little you expect me to value the actual journalism in your paper. An 18 word sentence references the quality of your product while a further 57 describe the perks of being a subscriber like undefined discounts and access to "competitions, event invitations and money-can’t-buy experiences". So is the journalism also only worth under a third of those largely valueless perks?

Disregarding the ridiculousness of asking for money in exchange for "money-can’t-buy experiences", how are you intending to build any sort of confidence in your product? Your words here betray a commitment to truth. The movie tickets aren’t "free", they’re a gift with purchase. There’s a very large difference. It’s an important difference and the kind of difference that a source of news should be aware of.

Maybe you’d have a better chance trying flog something else instead. At least then I won’t have all of your piss in my pocket.

Yours,

Josh