Stilgherrian is joined by Snarky Platypus, who’s recently returned to the socials after a two-year break, for a long conversation about everything from food to conspiracy theories to stupid names for Sydney suburbs. Quite a lot about food, actually.Continue reading “The 9pm Bad Nasi Goreng Makes the Merlion Sad with Snarky Platypus”
This man’s name is Mick Kinley, and he’s shrugging with indifference at allegations that safety equipment is deliberately removed from the lifeboats used to return asylum seekers to Indonesia. But that OK, he’s the acting chief executive officer of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).
I’ve never met Kinley. I know nothing of his work apart from this incident. But do we really need any further context? The bureaucrat in charge of maritime safety is challenged over what sounds like a breach of maritime safety, but, you know, “Whatever.”
I believe this is what’s called the banality of evil.
Hang on, I’d better scroll back a bit…
Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB) is the Australian government’s grand-sounding name for the grubby process of intercepting any boats at sea that contain asylum seekers and returning them to Indonesia. They’re put into standard orange lifeboats towed behind our ships, and once they’re within a certain distance of Indonesia they’re cast off and left to find their own way hone.
But as The Guardianâ€™s Paul Farrell reported on 7 May, safety equipment is removed from those lifeboats beforehand — ropes, scissors, knives, a mirror, fishing line and even buckets.
On 27 May, Kinley was questioned about this in the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee by Senator Stephen Conroy, who was clearly unimpressed. You can read the transcript — the relevant exchange starts on page 86 — but you should really watch the video to see the body language for yourself.
Actually, it’s worth picking up the story a little before that video starts, on page 84…
A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets and in the media and so on and so forth.
- Fairfax’s hypocritical web ‘spying devices’ beat-up, for Crikey. The “spying devices” in question are tracking cookies. Nothing new there. But the story was on the front page of the dead-tree slices. Why? Apparently politicians’ websites use tracking cookies. Shock! Horror! And Fairfax uses even more of them. Hypocrites.
- Senate to re-open bloggers versus journalists, for Crikey. A lightly-edited version of my blog post on the same topic.
- Indonesian e-commerce held back by uncertain laws, for Crikey. Based on material presented by leading Indonesian legal academic Dr Sinta Dewi.
- Patch Monday episode 64, “The info commissioner’s fight: Govt 2.0”. My interview with the new Australian Information Commissioner, Professor John McMillan. The new Office of the Australian Information Commissioner came into being on 1 November and represents a significant change to the way the Australian Government will be handing its information — especially given the Declaration of Open Government earlier this year.
- On Monday I spoke with Fiona Wyllie on ABC Radio’s Statewide Afternoons and the Fairfax tracking cookie beat-up and a father who installed a radio jammer to kill the internet so his kids wouldn’t spend so much time online. Alas, there is no recording. That’s a shame. It’s not often you’ll hear me giving parenting advice on the radio.
- I learned how to use Google Site Search by plugging it into the Fender Australia website. It’s fairly straightforward, but it quickly shows you the problems with how your site is constructed. As an aside, if you’re a web developer visiting that site for the first time you’ll be horrified to see that in many places it uses tables for layout. That’s because the site was originally built in 2001 and has just been re-skinned a couple of times since. It’s also maintained manually, all 950 pages of it. There’s little business case for a major overhaul — the numbers are not compelling — but we’re planning to build a proper modern database-driven site early in 2011.
Most of my day-to-day observations are on my high-volume Twitter stream, and random photos and other observations turn up on my Posterous stream. The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.
Stilgherrian’s links for 20 January 2009 through 24 January 2009:
- VPNOut: “VPNOut provides secure and anonymous VPN access that can break through firewalls.” And past censorship.
- Apple’s 1987 Knowledge Navigator Video | YouTube: A remarkable “concept video” looking at how we might use computers and the Internet in “the future”, i.e. now.
- EGovernment nets most callers: survey | PS News: A Department of Finance and Deregulation survey has found more Australians now contact the Government via the internet than they do by phone or in person.
- Cursebird: What the f#@! is everyone swearing about?: Apparently on Twitter I swear “like a George Carlin Wannabe”. I’m ranked 355th in the world, putting me in the very top percentile. I wonder what the stats would look like for Australians only?
- 7 Steps To Build A Startup From Scratch With No Money | YoungEntrepreneur.com Blog: What it says.
- Dark Dungeons | Chick Publications: This book from a well-established evangelistic Christian publisher, points out the evils of role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.
- Obituary: Sir John Mortimer | guardian.co.uk: Geoffrey Robertson’s obituary of Sir John Mortimer, creator of fictional lawyer Rumpole of the Bailey and a decent lawyer in his own right. Apparently in his youth Mortimer “encountered with interest the bookshop-owning lesbians who had taken opium with Cocteau, and a prim, elderly lady who had, in her youth, urinated regularly upon pioneering sexologist Havelock Ellis.” Goodness me.
- Schapelle Corby Tour: “My name is Eddie Hutauruk and I have been running tours in Bali for over 8 years. Schapelle Corby Tours is our latest venture, and is fully respectful of Schapelle and her situation… Schapelle Corby is a convicted Australian drug runner, and my tours allow people to see Schapelle in her cage at Kerobokan Prison in Bali. Tours can be arranged for most days of the week and pick-up is possible from most Bali hotels.” Very clever.
- Folk Devils and Internet Safety | DaithÃ mac Sithigh’s blog on cyberlaw & media law: Another view on the report of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force which said, amongst other things, that the risks of bullying online are far more important that worrying about the rare instances of adults soliciting for sex.
- A chat with Fake Stephen Conroy | ZDNet Australia: What is says. Rather amusing, I reckon. And no, I am not Fake Stephen Conroy. But I have my suspicions about who it really is…