Category Archives: news stories

Julius Malema should not have been convicted of hate speech

Julius Malema is a moronLet me be clear: I think Julius Malema is a complete tool. I can’t stand the man and I wish that the ANC would do something about him. He makes me afraid for our nation.

So I was pretty happy when I heard that he had been convicted of hate speech. But I’m conflicted. I disagree with the judgment…

Malema claimed that Jacob Zuma’s rape accuser was lying because she had not fled after the alleged rape:

“When a woman didn’t enjoy it, she leaves early in the morning. Those who had a nice time will wait until the sun comes out, request breakfast and ask for taxi money”.

I think that is an offensive, ignorant and downright deplorable statement to have made. If the ANC were at all responsible they would have fired him on the spot. They are not that type of organization and that is a problem for all of us.

That said, I really don’t believe that the state should be able to fine Malema for this statement. Anyone making statements like this should be judged by society.

When the state enforces what you can and can’t say then things start to go wrong.

There’s a little thing called freedom of speech. I think it is quite important.

The South African law on hate speech says:

No person may publish, propagate, advocate or communicate words based on one or more of the prohibited grounds, against any person, that could reasonably be construed to demonstrate a clear intention to –
(a) be hurtful;
(b) be harmful or to incite harm;
(c) promote or propagate hatred.

This is too paternalistic. Just imagine the impact on freedom of speech.

Malema should be ridiculed. The ANC should have fired him long ago. But he should not be fined by the government for saying something offensive.

National Geographic news photos of the year 2007

National Geographic has a gallery of the best news photos of 2007. Most are pretty cool – here are some of them.

This is an exhausted US soldier collapsing in his bunker in Afghanistan.

Park rangers carrying a mountain gorilla that had been shot in Congo. The rangers think that illegal charcoal traders killed this gorilla and several others.

This one shows the “shock and disorientation of the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.”

Body x-rays being used in Amsterdam’s Schiphol

Body scanning x-ray at schipholSchiphol airport in Amsterdam has introduced a new x-ray based body scanner for added security. The scanner reveals body contours and is supposed to reveal any concealed dodgy items. Apparently people are actually going for it because it speeds up the whole security process -people will do almost anything for convenience.

I know I would have this scan if it would speed things up at the security check points.

Hundreds of users choose to have their computer infected with a virus

badad.pngWired has a story about a security researcher who paid for a Google ad saying “Is your PC virus-free? Get it infected here!”

The ad was loaded onto pages 260,000 times and 409 users actually clicked on the link! That means that out of every 1000 times a site was loaded showing the link, 1.6 users actually clicked to get their computer infected.

Digg forced to surrender by a user revolt

T-Shirt with the now famous HD-DVD code

There is a well known and pretty cool site called Digg. This is how it works:

  • People submit links to articles or sites that they think are cool.
  • Then other Digg users either vote for the link (they Digg it) or against the link.
  • Those links with more votes rise to the top of the list and are viewed by more and more people.

Digg can generate enormous traffic and when smaller sites get ‘Dugg’ their servers often go down due to all the traffic.

Recently someone posted a link to a code which could be used to unlock new HD-DVD encryption schemes. The HD-DVD companies were rather chipped off about it and threatened Digg with legal action if the link was not removed. So the Digg management team got worried and started removing all links to the unlock code.

What happened then was cool, scary and a significant first: people noticed their Digg entries being deleted and fought back! Soon Digg users were going NUTS and posting hundreds and hundreds of links to the unlock code. Thousands of people became involved and links were posted faster than they could be removed. Eventually Digg realised that their site had been taken over by the user community – they had a choice:

  1. Basically shut Digg down and really anger the users
  2. Change their mind and allow the links

So they surrendered. The co-founder posted the code himself and said:

“After seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be.
If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.”

They made a brave and perhaps foolish choice. It’s a win in the war building up against censorship – and a significant point in the history of the web. The code is probably going to become an icon of the anti-censorship movement (see the T-Shirt above).

Also see a BBC news story about the whole thing.

There are now more than 1.2million sites referencing the code! You can check the current Google count by going to this link. The AACS reckons they are going to sue each of those sites! Idiots…

Debt nails the world’s oldest company after 1428 years of operation

First temple built by Kongo GumiThe world’s oldest continuously operating business recently ended its impressive run of 1,428 years. Japanese temple builder Kongo Gumi, in operation under the founders’ descendants since 578, succumbed to excess debt and an unfavorable business climate in 2006.

After such a long and successful history, what went wrong?  Easy, they borrowed too much during the 1980’s when things were great in the Japanese economy.  Then around ’92 and ’93 the Japanese economy shrank along with the value of their assets.  They couldn’t keep up with debt and went under last year.  What a pity.

Image above is the first temple they ever built (completed in 593).  Below is a snap of some workers in the early 1900’s.

Kongo Gumi workers in the early 1900’s

(via Boing Boing)

Can you say “wrongful imprisonment”

Prison fenceCody Webb, a kid in the states was recently jailed for 12 days because of a bomb threat called in to his school. They nailed him because they had caller ID on the number he called – so they knew that he had called around the time of the threat. So the principal called the guy into the office and asked him his number. When he replied ‘she started waving her hands in the air and saying “we got him, we got him.”’

‘They just started flipping out, saying I made a bomb threat to the school.’ After he protested his innocence, Webb says that the principal said: ‘Well, why should we believe you? You’re a criminal. Criminals lie all the time.’

So, despite the fact that the voice recorded sounded nothing like him, Webb was imprisoned in a juvenile detention facility. 12 days later someone realised that daylight saving had kicked in on the night of the incident and their timing was out by an hour. Webb had called the number a hour before the incident and was actually innocent!

What a hopeless feeling for him. Nobody believed him – not even his own parents. That sucks…