Monday, 28 May 2007

Where the bouncers have gaydar.

I have to say I kind of like this. But how exactly are they going to enforce it?

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu, I tell thee!

When I was an undergrad at the University of Tasmania there was a Students for Satan society, which would have been much more entertaining if they had actually done anything.

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu would have been so much cooler.

Unusual moments of media goodness

In my brain-space time-out over lunch today I indulged in my usual fairly brainless exercise of reading the Courier Mail, a paper that gives front-page news status to the latest mess from the Brisbane Broncos and thinks that we need whole pages devoted to celebrities.

Today, I was presently surprised.

In today's paper I found:

An opinion piece which started by telling the story of an ordinary man who made millions of dollars using the power of The Secret. Oooookayyyy...... Luckily, there are still journalists with a healthy sense of sarcasm. The secret to making scads of the money with The Secret? Charge people scads of money to come to seminars where they can learn all about it.

In the comics, the day's edition of Beyond The Black Stump. A character goes to a crystal-ball gazer:
"You know, I don't believe in all this hocus-pocus."
"Oh? Well what brings you here?"
"It's the curiosity, really."
"That's okay, Frank. It's everyone's curiosity that makes me a fortune."

Truer words were never spoken.

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man has better health cover.

It is now forty years since Australians (at least, those eligible to vote at the time) registered a greater than 90% yes vote to start considering those blackfellas who were here first as human (I thought the inter-breeding would have resolved that one), under the same federal laws as the rest of us, and included in the census. Which, overnight, did something quite major to our population figures.

Since that time... Well, let's say we're still working on it. And I am not, repeat not going to get into arguments about what, how, who, what responsibility the indigenous community holds, etc. I'm just not going to do it.

But I will say this: Something hasn't worked in the area of health care. My favourite eye-opening moment occurred many years ago, when I found out that Community Aid Abroad ran programs in Australia. As in: the same programs they were running in those very photogenic starvation-riddled communities in Africa. Here. In Australia. Where they get money off Australians to run programs in Africa. And, it turned out, over the fence that way about 1,000km.

And every time you turn around, there's another life-expectancy statistic that shows a worse disparity than there is 'twixt black and white in the USA.

Or this. Not only is CAA working in Australia, but the Fred Hollows Foundation has to as well.

I don't care why, I don't care how to fix it, I just wish to say: Not bloody good enough.

Are the electrodes comfortable, sir?

For those who haven't noticed, an Australian, George Forbes, has been sentenced to death in the Sudan, convicted of killing a Ukrainian engineer. I am going to wave aside the pathological (is that the right word for evidence that comes from pathology?) evidence that said engineer committed suicide. Perversions of justice are a dime a dozen in this country, depending upon whom you speak to, so perversions of justice in a traditionally war-torn country like Sudan should come as no real surprise.

No. What baffles me is this. Yes, that's right, after much lobbying he's been moved to a UN hospital due to deteriorating health. This is on par to the condemned man being allowed a final hearty meal of his choice, or an execution not being carried out because the victim, sorry, convict, is not healthy enough. Death penalty. Death. Cause of. Causes, in fact. Directly. Ill-health prevents execution of sentence. Huh?

I'm sure I've heard the arguments for this before, but for the life of me I can't remember what they are. I'm pretty sure it had something to do with not causing undue suffering, but let's ignore the psychological suffering of fore-knowledge. Unless that's part of the punishment.

But I go around in circles.

In this actual case the issue is complicated by a pending appeal, so okay, there is an obligation (you would hope) of duty of care to the prisoner until that is resolved.

My actual opinions on the death penalty are mixed, and there are grey areas where I will happily refuse to be pinned down just now, but the double standard which says "We will take care of a prisoner's health (but not, heaven forbid, their psychiatric heath), right upon until the point we kill them" still makes me scratch my head in bafflement.

Here's a suggestion: Have the case. Have the allowed periods of appeals. Have a re-trial if you have to, just to make sure. All the time, take good care of them because they are, after all, your guests. Then kill the poor bastard (or bastardess). Don't put them on death row for seven years while they write five books, embrace Jesus (why? In the hope they can emulate history's most famous Jew and come back?) and get used as case studies in legal classes at the nearest Uni.

If you would like a really good argument on why the death penalty doesn't work as a deterrent in USA but it appears to in Saudi Arabia, read Savage Spawn by Jonathan Kellerman. In fact, read it anyway.

Enlighten me: Are these countries in favour of euthanasia and abortion as ways to avoid unnecessary suffering as well? Hello, America?

Bit of a Post-Script: It suddenly occurs to me that there was an episode of House in which the eponymous doctor was called to death row to see to a prisoner who was about to be executed. He got the prisoner transferred to the hospital, cured him, and sent him back to death row. Much philosophical arguing about the whole point. I believe House's point was: He's not the state, he's a doctor, he has a duty to the patient.

Which is admirable, and fair enough. But the state needs to work out what it's attitude is, and tidy the whole process up a little.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Oooh..... Pretty....

OpenSceneGraph has the prettiest compile output messages I have ever seen.

Edit: Unless it's cmake doing that. Hmmm, hadn't thought of that...

However: If OpenThreads is in the OSG SVN tree, and gets compiled automatically as part of the whole shebang, please stop telling people that they need to download it as well. You'll only confuse them.

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