I'm in the future. Like hundreds of years in the future. I've been dead for centuries.
Oh, lovely, you're a cheery one aren't you?

Tuesday, December 13

World

Sydney Riots

I wasn't going to write anything about this, because I know little more about the events themselves than what has been reported on the news. And I'm not a resident of Cronulla or Maroubra; I live way up on the northern edge of Sydney.

But when it comes to something like this:

The violence started at Cronulla after about 5000 people gathered at the beach, many were chanting racist comments and waving Australian flags.

The rioters then moved on to other beach suburbs, vandalising cars and targeting innocent individuals.

I really have to comment.

What happened at Cronulla Beach was a protest against ongoing harassment and intimidation by Lebanese Muslim street gangs that turned ugly under the influence of alcohol and stupidity, never a great combination.

The second part was an planned attack by the street gangs, not by the Cronulla rioters. That's some really amazingly bad reporting on the part of Sky News, but the BBC is hardly any better:

Thousands of young white men have converged on Cronulla Beach in Sydney, Australia, and attacked people of Arabic and Mediterranean background.

...

By Sunday night, the violence appeared to have spread to a second beach suburb, Maroubra, where men armed with baseball bats reportedly attacked cars.

With no indication whatsoever that we are talking about two entirely different groups.

Put not your faith in the media, for they are lying weasels.

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Monday, December 12

World

A Brief History

I keep losing this thing - I've posted it on other blogs when the subject came up, but I've never posted it here, so every time I need it I have to spend five minutes Googling first.

So, here it is:

A BRIEF HISTORY OF FRANCE SINCE THE REVOLUTION

1789-1792 Period of increasing strife, culminating in French Revolution (technically, the first of many French revolutions)
1792-1804 Chaos (also known as the First Republic)
1792-1795 The Convention
1795-1799 The Directory
1799-1804 The Consulate
1804-1815 Empire of Napoleon I
1815-1830 Restoration of Bourbon monarchs.
1830 Revolution
1830-1848 Louis-Philippe rules as King of the French. (Yeah, they had a revolution and ended up with another king.)
1848 Revolution
1848-1852 Chaos (also known as the Second Republic)
1851 Napoleon III kicks the bastards out
1852-1870 Empire of Napoleon III
1870 Revolution
1870-1940 Third Republic - which, for France, doesn't suck too badly
1871 Attempts at restoration of monarchy fail
1871 Paris Commune
1877 Attempts at restoration of monarchy fail
1940-1944 German occupation, Vichy government
1940 British sink French fleet, French actually fight back for first time in WWII
1945 France rescued by U.S. and Britain
1946 Attempts at restoration of monarchy fail
1946-1958 Fourth Republic
1958-present Long slow decline (also known as the Fifth Republic)

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:15 AM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Life

Into Hot Water

I have hot water!

Let's see:

The electricity was disconnected.
The gas was turned off.
The hot water system (which is one of those crappy "instantaneous" ones) requires both gas and electricity. The gas supply was turned off at the hot water system as well, and the electrical outlet was a good 18" away from the end of the power lead. Nice design work there, guys. I'm too stupid to unwind the power cord from the top of the heater. Or maybe it was just more obvious to my brother, who's a couple of inches taller than me.

Anyway, fixed now. I have hot water again. All I need now is to get my washing machine repaired, and then sleep for a year.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 12:26 AM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Saturday, December 10

Life

The Fun Never Stops

So there I am, heading into the bathroom to wipe off the sweat that comes when you have spent the day shifting eighty boxes of books from the top floor down into the garage in 30 degree heat. And I reach for the wash cloth, and I get a handful of AAH GIANT SPIDER GET IT OFF ME GET IT OFF ME!!!!!!

I think the spider had much the same reaction, and it bounced off the wall and ran under the sink. I hosed it down with bug spray and captured it in a cotton-bud box. Long legs, medium-sized body, spiky hairs: a huntsman, which is pretty harmless, and probably the most common large spider around here.

They can get pretty big; fortunately, mine wasn't quite the size of this one: more...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 05:28 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Life

At Least Somebody Knows What They Are Doing

So eventually I got the keys, went 'round to the new place, looked around. It's even smaller than I remembered. I looked at it briefly and went for the other unit instead, and then I waited... And waited... And waited... For five weeks.

And since I have to move by the end of the year and Christmas is only two weeks away, I had to go for the unit I didn't want. They're in the same complex, but of 16 units, 10 have nice balconies, 12 have attached garages, four have gardens with gates so you can get in without going through the house, and two have nice views overlooking the... Well, it's a swamp, but it's a nice swamp.

My unit has none of those. It's the runt of the litter, but it costs as much as the others. Which I guess is why it was available.

What it also doesn't have is electricity. Something the real-estate agent also didn't mention.

The only redeeming factor was Energy Australia. I called them after five on a Friday afternoon, and they will have the power on tomorrow. Thanks guys.

Update: +10 points for organising the connection on a Saturday. -20 points for not actually recording the reconnection request in the system. -20 points for insisting that the power was already connected when I called to complain on Saturday morning. -10 points for closing at 12 PM sharp on Saturday, two minutes before I located the main switch box with the tag on my unit's switch saying that power had been disconnected.

+10 points for organising a free emergency reconnection on Saturday afternoon. +10 points for doing it in less than an hour.

So, -20 points for the week. Must try harder.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 03:26 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Rant

Scenes From A Real Estate Agent

Them: So here are your keys: Front door, sliding door, letter box, windows.

Me: What about the garage?

Them: It doesn't have a garage.

Me: more...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 03:21 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Thursday, December 08

Life

Packing Or Unpacking?

I'm moving house again. Not by choice; I won't go into the vermin bastard scum-sucking pig-dog details. Anyway, it's the usual last-minute scramble, and I was called away yesterday to tend to a sick Linux box, taking five hours out of my schedule, which was not really very helpful. Hence the comparison below.

Five weeks after it was supposed to be available, New New Pixy Central still isn't available, and I've had to move into a different and less suitable place. Bah and humbug. The only plus with the New New New place is that it has air conditioning in the main bedroom. Considering what just happened to the weather here - the cold spell broke and temperatures jumped 10 degrees overnight - air con is actually a big consideration.*

At least this time I will have internet access available at all times, thanks to my shiny new(ish) notebook and its shiny new wireless internet adaptor. And I seem to be doing better than last time, when the scramble was not so much last-minute as last-minute-plus-two-days. That wasn't fun.

Anyway, my empty boxes are calling to be filled with books. I shall return.

* I checked, and the maximum temperature in Sydney jumped from 26C on Tuesday to 39C yesterday. I thought it was kind of warm...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:03 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Rant

What's The Difference...

Between a broken Linux server and a real-estate agent?

If you spend half your day arguing with a broken Linux server, there's a chance you will persuade it to do what it said it would.

Between a broken Windows server and a real-estate agent?

You're not allowed to kick real-estate agents.

Some Translations From Real Estate Agentese

The property is available now.

The property is not available.

The buyer is confident he will settle this week.

The buyer is living in dream land.

I will call you this afternoon.

I will not call you this afternoon.

I will definitely call you this afternoon.

Not only will I not call you this afternoon, I have instructed the receptionist to tell you I am out.

The papers will be ready for you to sign at 9 o'clock on Saturday morning.

We have no idea when the papers will be ready for you to sign, but we will keep that a secret until 4:30 Friday afternoon.

Everything is in order for you to move in.

Sometime next year. Probably.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 06:37 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Wednesday, December 07

Blog

Australia's Best Blog

Singing Bridges:
Echoing the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which was freed from material constraints when the resonant frequency was struck by the wind.
Translation: It fell down.

Warning: Australia's "best blog" is a godawful pile of leftist crap. Follow link at own risk.

(via Australia's best blog that isn't a godawful pile of leftist crap)

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 12:47 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Tuesday, December 06

Geek

No Pajamas For You!

Pajamas Media has a Blogjam (that is, a chat or web forum thread) on who should control the internet, featuring none other than moonbat wannabe internet thief, Peng Hwa Ang:
Professor Dr. Peng Hwa Ang is specialised in censorship and regulation of the Internet.

In his capacity of internet expert, Professor Peng Hwa Ang has consulted for the Singapore government and the UN's Development Programme - concerning the Digital Opportunities Taskforce Report in 2001.

Peng Hwa Ang has been involved with the Bertelsmann Foundation in a series of projects looking at Internet self-regulation, self-rating and filtering. He was part of an "expert group", that met several times to develop internationally-accepted seal of self-ration that was robust to criticisms by civil libertarians.

Peng Hwa Ang has published more than two dozen academic papers and book chapters and edited three books in the area of media law and policy with a special focus on the internet.

He is especially known for his work on content regulation and censorship of the internet. He has presented his work in that area before more than a dozen countries.

Given that background, it is little surprise that Dr Ang sees the UN as the best organisation to control the Internet. Never mind the fact that it is working just fine as it is - as far as the people who use it are concerned.

Dr Ang:

Control is probably not the best word for this given how loaded that term is. Governance is the better word. The internet needs governance in the same way that the most critical things in our lives need governance--air, water, traffic, education, healthcare, etc. Look at how we are communicating. We have to coordinate our time, how we type, what we type. If there is no coordination--a form of governance--we cannot get this blogjam going. All we would have is a jam.
All of which is complete nonsense. The Internet is not a system that needs governance, much less control. It is a system of independent networks connected by mutual agreement. And that's all that's necessary.

The Internet works not because of some governing body, but because the component parts of it have come tovarious arrangements. Huge numbers of individual arrangements. There are standards, but the way the Internet works is highlighted by the name of those standards: They are called RFCs, or "Requests for Comments". They are not handed down by a governing body; rather they are passed around by the users of the Internet who think they may have a good idea. And they become de facto standards because the more people follow them, the more useful they become.

Dr Ang:

The key concern, not mentioned at all in the piece, is this: the US had and technically still has oversight of the internet’s root zone system. What does it mean in practice? Well, just before the US went to war in Iraq, the domain name of Iraq—.IQ (or country code Top Level Domain ccTLD) disappeared from cyberspace. In other words, if Yahoo then had wanted to register its domain name in Iraq, it could not register Yahoo.com.iq. This was the unspoken fear of MRW at WSIS: that critical infrastructure and services for an information age laid on the internet could be shut off if the US, for any reason, decided to do so.

The story of why that happened belongs to the X-Files unless someone like Seymour Hersh digs it out. The official and public version is that the person who managed the .IQ ccTLD was jailed for unauthorised sale of computer parts to Syria and Libya. In other words, the US Government did not shut off the .IQ. It’s just that the person in charge could not go to office to turn it on. Will we ever know the real reason?

You just gave us the real reason. The story of the .iq domain is well documented (Warning: Contains facts, but also absurd levels of anti-American bias) and none of it reflects on the US at all.
It is therefore disingenuous to describe what was done at the Summit as an “internet grab”. The US did not have to do an “internet grab” because it already had the internet in its hands.
The US built the Internet.
It is important to note that the United Nations is not Kofi Annan. Neither is it 10, 20 or 30 countries. It is an institution made up of almost all the countries on the planet that has done good work on healthcare, education, development etc. I speak not from the experience of someone in Singapore because the UN is invisible to many in Singapore, but from talking to others in the region. The oil-for-food programme, as Mr Annan admits, should not have come under the UN. But I can understand why it did. Only the UN has the credibility as a third-party to be acceptable by Most of the Rest of the World (MRW).
As a citizen of the rest of the world, Dr Ang, I can tell you that you are hopelessly misguided. The UN is completely corrupt from top to bottom; the Oil for Food debacle, and the even worse debacle of the investigation into Oil for Food, has proved this beyond doubt. The fact that there are organisations that would be even worse as Internet governors - the governments of China, Cuba, and Iran come to mind - does not mean that the UN would be anything short of disastrous in that role.
I've had some people email me that they would (a) not trust the UN to watch over $5 much less my/our internet and (b) if they want their internet go build "their own damn internet".
You should listen to them.
I happened to meet Bob Kahn walking about the resort town of Sidi Bou Said near Tunis and he said that it is quite easy to set up a parallel internet universe aka "their own damn internet".
Indeed it would.
My replies have been that (a) the UN is made up of governments and forced to make a choice most people trust their own governments--and therefore the UN--than the USA and (b) building "their own damn internet" is the worst possible outcome for everyone because everyone loses, with the USA being the biggest loser should that happen.
That's an interesting assertion, Dr Ang. Would you care to back it up?
To sum up where I'm coming from:

1. The internet needs governance for its next stage of development. That is, it needs coordination, exchange of best practices, laws and policies (and other expressions that substitute for control if one does not like it) to bring it to the next level. There are mischiefs to be cured. Hence a need for a forum.

No it doesn't.
2. The process, especially at the international level, has to be open and inclusive. That is transparent. And inclusive of countries (multilateral) and inclusive of diverse groups (multistakeholder).
Since your proposal is unnecessary, and indeed actively harmful, the way you go about the process is of little interest.
3. Developing countries also need help and some serious money into the Digital Solidarity Fund--managed in a transparent way--is essential
When said developing countries have representative governments with universal suffrage and are actively working to stamp out corruption, then it will be worthwhile giving them aid to build up their Internet infrastructure. Until that day, not a penny.

Dr Ang, you seem not to have the faintest idea of what the Internet is and how it works, which one would think would be a drawback given the role you have assigned yourself.

The Internet is the network of networks. Individual networks, owned and controlled by individuals, corporations, governments and other groups, are interconnected by mutual agreement. There is no central body controlling the Internet. There is ICANN, which plays a central role in managing certain mechanisms, such as the allocation of IP addresses and the management of the top level of the domain name system.

But IP address allocation is decentralised. ICANN assigns blocks of addresses to internet providers, who then subdivide those blocks and hand out smaller blocks to their customers, who can then subdivide them further. And the routing of IP addresses is not controlled by ICANN, but by mutual agreement.

The situation with domain names is even further from what Dr Ang claims it to be. Anyone - anyone - can set up their own domain name system. I have. It's great. Anything under my mu.nu domain resolves directly without me having to type in the "mu.nu" part. I have created my very own nigh-inexhaustible supply of TLDs. Of course, no-one else uses them, because the mutual agreement is missing, so their utility is limited to saving me some typing. Most people who set up a network do basically the same thing, creating their own little set of TLDs. That's how DNS works, that's how it was designed to work. If you don't like it, you can set up your own. What you can't do is steal the existing one.

There's a dicussion going on at Protein Wisdom which has a better signal-to-noise ratio than such things often do. How long that state lasts now that Jeff's resident moonbat troll has arrived is an open question.

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