Facebook bans breastfeeding photos

Social networking website Facebook is boldly taking the Internet into the 19th Century by banning photos of breastfeeding as “obscene”.

Look, I know Facebook is American, and America is (a) a Puritan nation at heart and (b) pig-ignorant of the fact that the other 96% of the world’s population might think differently. I mean, their own president can’t tell the difference between APEC and OPEC, between Austria and Australia. When he’s standing in it. But quite frankly, a society which thinks photos of mothers feeding their children are “obscene” has deep, deep problems.

And not just that your president is dumb as a stump-post.

The protest group Hey, Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!(Official petition to Facebook) has almost 8000 members already. And while I generally don’t pay much attention to the needs of the breeders, this one I’ve joined.

Did the PM’s office edit out “Captain Smirk”?

“On the Internet nobody knows you’re a dog,” says a classic New Yorker cartoon. True, perhaps. But we do know who owns you and where your kennel is.

The Prime Minister’s office denies that one of their own edited the Wikipedia article about Peter Costello to remove the nickname “Captain Smirk”. But IP address belongs to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet — at least it did until the reference was changed a few days after the accusation.

If you dig through all IP addresses starting with 210.193.176 you find that most of them for which data is available are front ends for a pile of government agencies — everything from innovation.gov.au and biotechnology.gov.au to coagbushfireenquiry.gov.au and search.investaustralia.gov.au. Sitting right on is the PM’s very own website.

Assigning an IP address in the middle of this block to anyone but another government agency doesn’t make sense — from a network engineering or an administrative point of view. You reckon someone’s telling porkies?

Wikipedia has since nominated the Peter Costello article as their Australian Collaboration of the Fortnight. “Please help improve it to featured article standard,” they ask. Anyone at the PM’s office wanna lend a hand? Woof.

[A more detailed version of this article was originally published in Crikey a couple of days ago.]

The Great Wall of Sydney

The Great Wall of Sydney by Trinn Suwannapha

’Pong has started photographing The Great Wall of Sydney which descended with the start of APEC — naturally bringing his own “urban abstract” eye to the game.

Police have been deleting photos from cameras, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens when ’Pong returns to The APEC Zone tonight now that GWB has arrived.

When I phoned the police media liaison unit today, I didn’t get a very clear message about what was and wasn’t permitted. It all seems to be at the discretion of the officer on the ground. To me that just says “arbitrary” and “unaccountable” — and combining that with arrest-without-charge and the suspension of habeas corpus spells “danger”.

Anyway, check ’Pong’s images — and don’t forget to click through for the full-sized beauty.

US newspapers pull “offensive” cartoon

Opus cartoon

Newspapers across the US have pulled this Opus cartoon by Berkeley Breathed, afraid of offending people. Yet as I read it, the only people it’s making fun of are people like character Lola Granola — people who jump onto bandwagons because it’s “fashionable” instead of holding genuine beliefs.

Dan Gillmor says it’s a case of puritan prudishness and political cowardice. Salon have written an editorial. Thanks to BoingBoing for the pointer.

Now watch this cartoon spread across the blogosphere faster than you can say “Danish pastry”.

Swedish Foreign Minister resigns over web censorship

In stark contrast to John Howard’s closure of johnhowardpm.org and Melbourne IT’s subsequent silence, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Lalla Freivalds has resigned over allegations that she pressured a private Internet hosting company to close a website — something which is illegal in Sweden.

She becomes the fourth government minister around the world to lose a job over the anti-Muslin cartoons which originated in Denmark.