Wednesday, 10 October 2007

You can't make a video without breaking wowsers.

Hands up all those who remember the Goodies episode where they start off being asked to produce an S-E-/-\ education film and get pilloried for mentioning the word "gender", then end up with Bill going mad and blowing up the BBC?

Think anything's changed?


"THE BBC is in more hot water with parent and media groups branding its HIV awareness video disgusting and degrading." (Courier Mail)

HIV is disgusting and degrading. Your point?

In all honesty, there are two ways to get HIV: unprotected anal sex and sharing needles. The odds of contracting HIV through vaginal sex are about 1 in 5million. Gay rights and drug education groups have done an extraordinary job of raising awareness of a public health issue which really only impacts upon poofs and druggies, and I admire them greatly for it. I also applaud the BBC for producing a video featuring "GI Johnny and Captain Bareback".

Now tell me exactly how you are going to teach sexual health and safe practices without mentioning sex? Huh?

Get it through your neanderthalically thick skulls that abstinence programs don't work.(I apologise to anyone of Neanderthal descent who might have felt offended by that sentence).

Monday, 8 October 2007

T9 in a J2ME environment: Grrrrr....

A small rant:

I happen to like T9 predictive text. Of all my mobile-owning friends (strange to think that there are people, software engineers even, out there who still don't own a mobile phone), I stand alone. I find that using 10 keys to select from 26 letters can work, and work fast and well. Oh sure I have proof-reading errors, but that's not the technology's fault.

So I have been using T9 in java text editors (I'm even trialling a free-trial-period commercial app, just to see if it works any better than the cruder, free one I'm using). And I am not a happy man.

I thought at first it was the program, which didn't really make sense to me. It didn't make sense because, guess what, it wasn't the program's fault.

It might be Sun's fault, it might be Samsung's fault (probably is, actually), but: It's broken. Sometimes it will work, with 95% of functionality (you can't go back to a previous word, select it, and then change it, which is stupid and ridiculous). Sometimes it just won't work at all, and you get non-predictive text. Sometimes it will give you random letters from the keys pressed, with no dictionary rhyme or reason behind them. Sometimes you get the first half of the word random, and the second half predictive, but what good is that?

I am feeling very miffed. Let down, even. I have a phone which, cleverly and ingeniously, cripples every cool thing I think I can do with it. I swear it's actually malicious.

One thing ABC News Online gets consistently, horribly, infuriatingly, WRONG

No links, and not enough detail.

I want, when looking at a news item on a news organisation's website, to be able to click from that page to more information: The home page of the organisation mentioned in The article, perhaps, or the original press release. Failing that, I would like to be able to google it with the information provided in the article, without having to guess. Time and time again, this I cannot do with ABC items.

What's so infuriating is that when I find the press release, I sometimes get that information. A good press release writes the journalist's article for them, so that they chose to use your information and so that they don't get anything wrong.

The journalist should not choose to remove everything that is actually useful information, just so that they can show that they've done something.

Make note: Intolerance is not discrimination - in fact, it's frequently the only non-discriminatory response available.

I have to say that my attitude regarding tolerance towards religion has changed a fair bit in recent years. I have become, in essence, quite thin-skinned towards any philosophical organisation which preaches intolerance, bad science, or bafflingly stupid denials of reality from flimsy foundations such as "we have a book which says that it's the word of a god who hasn't bothered coming back for a while now..."

I have heard, in recent years, of Christian medical practitioners doing things like refusing to provide abortions or even morning-after pills because they put their religious beliefs in front of their Hippocratic Oath. And they shall be known as "ass-wipes".

And now this, and I have to say that I'm not really surprised:

Muslim medical students prefer to fail exams rather than examine female patients or have anything to do with alcoholism. (Times Online)

My opinion is: Fail them. They have applied for study in a position which, they surely knew before they applied, would require them to do things that would be contrary to their faith, or that would assist other people to do things that would be contrary to their faith if not their patient's faiths (if you follow that sentence structure). To get all religious: As ye sow, so shall ye reap. Or: You made your bed, now lie in it. If you can't fill the basic standards of the job, don't do it. We all have to bend to keep going. It's all very noble to take a stand like that, I'm sure, but I'm positive that it's also very, very, stupid.

For fuck's sake, at what point does a country with a constitution that separates church and state (sort of: The Queen is the head of the C of E, after all) say: Enough. Your church will not impact upon the running of our state. If you can't play a role in civic life without allowing your church to disrupt that role, you can't play it at all. By all means take part in public debate: Run for parliament, lobby for change, but follow the rules.

This is part of a larger argument, which covers the treatment of immigrants whose culture leads them to behaviour which violates existing statutes, and again, my response is: You came here, you broke the law, deal with it. If you spit in Singapore, you're in trouble. If you make Nazi gestures in Germany, you're in trouble. You have an obligation to obey the local laws: To do, in Rome, that which the Romans do.

And to do in Australia that which the Australians do. You can't be married to more than one person at a time, you can't beat her if she goes out in public unaccompanied, you can't rape the locals because they weren't dressed the way you think they should have been dressed.

If you want to practice medicine without seeing naked female flesh (weirdo) or having anything to do with alcohol (which makes me wonder: Are you prepared to dispense medicines which have an alcohol base? Or use alcohol wipes to sterilise skin? Or use alcohol to sterilise instruments? Or use thermometers which contain alcohol?), then find such a country and move there. If the local environment doesn't suit, find one that does.

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