The ACMA debacle just gets worse

What the frak does online poker have to do with child pornography? Nothing. Nothing at all. This is just one example of how stupid, wrong and frakking disgraceful the whole blacklist exercise is.

As I told a couple of Labor Party stalwarts (including a former ALP MP) over lunch last week – Rudd was supposed to be the good guy. At least where the ACMA blacklist is concerned, he’s turning out to be more appalling than John Howard. I wouldn’t vote ALP in a pink fit after this experience (mind you, I’ve never voted ALP in my life) and I doubt many digital folks who voted for the ALP in 2007 will make the same mistake in the next Federal election.

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Less than a week after the federal government’s URL blacklist was leaked and caused a furore over the status of online betting company Betfair, Australia’s poker industry is now in the firing line over the number of legitimate poker sites that could be banned by the filter..
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Twitterfast Update

I’ve been receiving emails from people asking “what happened to your Twitterfast”? The posts that you’re seeing from me in Twitter are automated posts from Friendfeed which keeps an eye on my blogs, delicious bookmarks, Facebook posts, Flickr uploads, etc. I haven’t posted directly to Twitter (except asking for help on uStream last night) for 36 hours and it has been HARD. I have the impulse to post to or check Twitter every few minutes. Just nonsense stuff really… about thoughts I’m having, people I’m talking to, where to catch a bus, plugging sites I’ve discovered, etc. Nothing terribly important or special but it does really make me notice how much I rely on Twitter every day. As I was discussing with some folks in a meeting today, Twitter is really my primary search engine for so many things. I’m finding living without it pretty difficult.

Back in 2001, I gave a series of CIO breakfasts for Microsoft. One of the things I talked about was a rating system I had for evaluating new technologies and services in my life. It went something like this:

Rating 1: If it disappeared tomorrow, I would hardly notice.
Rating 2: If it disappeared tomorrow, I would notice but could happily live without it.
Rating 3: If it disappeared tomorrow, I would feel the absence but would cope.
Rating 4: If it disappeared tomorrow, I would feel the absence and proactively look for a replacement.
Rating 5: If it disappeared tomorrow, I would go to war to get it back.

Where is Twitter for me right now? Somewhere between 4 and 5 I think.

New Research Confirms Some NLP Theories

Interesting results from recent research done in Germany which seems to indicate that certain kinds of mental “states” assist us to remember data. For example, when asked to categorize words as pleasant or unpleasant, the test subjects had much better recall than when they were asked to categorize words as having two syllables or more than two. With words that were successfully recalled, researchers noticed “an increase in theta wave amplitude in the medial temporal lobe, beginning 250 ms before word presentation.”

BEFORE word presentation! So the brain was in a certain “state” before the word was presented. This reminds me a lot of Tony Robbins’ stuff. He talks about using NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) techniques when you are learning a new activity to put yourself into the right “state” for learning. I wonder how many educators consciously use techniques like this in schools?

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A team of researchers from Germany now show that the activity which immediately precedes an event is also important for memory formation. In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they report the identification of a signature brain state which occurs just before the appearance of a visual stimulus and predicts the successful encoding of it. The findings point to ways in which the process of memory formation could be enhanced.

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Why I’m Having A Twitterfast

I love Twitter. Too much.

Late last night, I was driving home from having a beer with a couple of old school mates and realized I was checking Twitter on my iPhone WHILE I WAS DRIVING every few minutes.

I don’t like feeling that I’m addicted to things. I gave up drinking alcohol for 12 years (from age 18 to 30) because I felt like I had a problem with it. And with Twitter, I’ve been feeling lately like I NEED to check Twitter. Like I’m missing out on something if I don’t check it or tweet something every ten minutes. It’s an urge. A need. It’s physical. I’d love to see an fMRI scan of the hypothalamus when people are using Twitter. I’m sure some people have a greater addiction to activities that generate increased dopamine (one of the neurochemicals associated with pleasure and motivation) than others, and I know I’m one of them. I get easily addicted to short-term activities that give me a burst of quick pleasure and I want to train myself to develop better impulse control. And I’m starting with Twitter.

Over the last ten years I have fasted a number of times (ingested nothing but water) for a week to ten days when I’ve felt like my diet was out of control. Every time I’ve done it I have found that it re-calibrates my thinking about food for pleasure versus food for nutrition. I’m hoping a Twitterfast will accomplish the same thing. By the way, when I used the term ‘twitterfast’ last night I thought I was coining it but apparently it’s been around for quite a while. 🙂

IN the meantime… if you haven’t watched Bill Gates’ talk from the recent TED conference, watch it now. I was stunned to learn that more investment goes into finding a cure for baldness than a cure for malaria.

My Thoughts on Israel

I’ve been reading, and getting into lots of debates, about Israel lately. The whole conflict over there hasn’t been one that’s taken a lot of my attention over the years, although it’s one subject I’ve always been aware I should take the time to educate myself on. I thought I’d try to condense my current thoughts about it here and hopefully we’ll be able to have a constructive and polite discussion about it.

Let me handle the usual complaints up front – no, I am not an anti-Semite. I have Jewish friends. I greatly admire many Jewish people, past and present, from Seinfeld to Einstein.

Nor am I anti-Zionist. I completely understand and sympathize with the desire of the Jewish people to have a land of their own where they can live without the fear of oppression, where they have a sense of self-determination.

On the other hand, I can totally sympathize with the feelings of the Arab people of Palestine. for 1000 years, they were occupied at various stages by the Christian armies of Europe, the Ottoman Empire, the British, Egyptians, Jordanians and now Israelis. They have lived on this land for 1000 years and, up until Britain took control in 1917, represented 90% of the population. Surely they too have a right to self-determination and to the land their families have lived on for so long?

It seems to me that the offer that the partitioning of Palestine is pretty difficult to justify on a moral basis. After all, the Palestinian Arabs weren’t the people who had been oppressing the Jews for the last 2000 years. It was mostly the Christians of Europe. Most recently, it was Christian Germany under the Nazis (yes, they were Christians). If the United Nations felt like the Jewish people deserved a land of their own, surely it would have been much more morally justified to carve out part of Germany for them? It doesn’t matter much that the Zionists WANTED Palestine – it wasn’t morally justified to punish the Arabs of Palestine.

So when we look at the anger and violence committed by the Palestinian Arabs (and their supporters in the other Arab countries) against the Jews “invading” (in their eyes) their country since 1917, we have to see it as they see it if we are truly to understand their position. They see the Israelis as invaders and they (the Arabs) are trying to defend their homeland against an occupying army.

The other factor in all this is that, rightly or wrongly, the UN *did* vote for the partition. Therefore, under international law (which I agree with), the Arabs should abide by the decision and take only lawful measures to fight against it if they feel (as I do) that it was immoral.

However, if we accept that the UN has the power to decide such things, then Israel also needs to abide by the UN’s resolution in 1976 that Israel should go back to it’s pre-1967 borders. This is also a resolution that both Hamas and the Arab League have said they will support and, with it, will recognize Israel’s right to exist.

So – I am not anti-Semitic or anti-Zionist, I am pro-peace and pro-justice.

However, like in all things, I don’t claim to know everything about the subject, so I’m happy to be corrected. All I’m interested in is getting to the truth.

Can anyone tell me where I am misguided or wrong?

GDay World 366 – Dr Peter Ellyard on “Mining The Sky”

Today I had the pleasure to catch up once again with G’Day World regular Dr Peter Ellyard, futurist, environmentalist, and author of “Designing 2050: Pathways To Sustainable Prosperity On Spaceship Earth” which is published by TPN TXT. Buy your copy now!

Designing 2050

I chatted with Peter today about the recent IPCC report, Kevin Rudd’s emissions trading scheme and whether or not we are all doomed, as George Monbiot is suggesting. Peter told me that our politicians and media are focusing on the wrong thing. We shouldn’t be just thinking about reducing emissions, we should be talking about MINING THE SKY.

As always, I just loved talking to Peter. He never fails to inspire. He’s now on Twitter (I gave him a crash course today), so make sure you follow him. And we also have a Facebook group for Peter call “The Future Makers Club“, make sure you sign up for that as well.

If you are a journalist, blogger, twitterer or podcaster and you’d like a review copy of Designing 2050, please email me.

Peter Ellyard

My Guest Post on Mumbrella

Tim Burrowes, formerly the editor of B&T Magazine and now the guy behind the excellent mumbrella blog about media and marketing, invited me to write a guest post there today. Excerpt and link below.

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Guest post: If you want an independent media start supporting it

As Mumbrella reported earlier this week, The Podcast Network, headed by Cameron Reilly, is facing a funding crisis. Here Reilly – who presents G’Day World, Australia’s first podcast – argues  for the importance of an independent media in a rapidly changing landscape.

cameron reilly1 | Guest post: If you want an independent media start supporting it | opinion | MumbrellaFor years I have debated Australian journalists and newspaper editors trying to explain that the writing was on the wall  – not because of a technology shift but because of an economic shift enabled by technology. In every debate, I was told “we’re going to be here forever”.