new site takes leaf outa wikileaks book

the instructions for contributing source material to this new site, Unileaks, remind me of what some have been telling us about for some time – it has come to this – surveillance is everywhere, and if you want to engage in the rights of democracy and its so-called free speech, you need to be able to anonymously contribute documents and ‘evidence’ to third parties who will guarantee that it doesn’t come back to bite you…

unfortunately, in australia, the quality of our higher education has been steadily eroded by the commercialisation and business-savvy orientation of the previous government – spruiking a right-wing, neo-liberal attitude, and whose mantra was always “let the market decide”, and who of course, was against free govt-funded education, since it would rather use taxes to pay for other things the country obviously needed more… detention centres for those who could not pay the high university fees in order to come into australia “legally”, via a market-based education economy, for example.

so now we have a debased tertiary education system, due to this user pays mentality – and students, being customers, want to get their piece of paper, and the university admins want to get more students…er, i mean paying customers…so, everybody should go to university shouldn’t they? whether they are able or not! as long as they can pay, we should take em all, and just shunt them through….everybody deserves an education!

but wait! if they really had a proper education, they might question authority, they might realise that working smarter not harder is not satisfactory, they might not accept that the economy and material well-being are the greatest good… so, it is useful to promulgate the idea of universal education -how inclusive- and at the same time, make it so piss-weak that it actually trains students to expect to get what they paid for! neat! a non-education, where you do not learn anything, you just do things in order to get marks. and, if you do not get marks, you can always complain about your tutors or lecturers not doing what you wanted them to do (since you paid for this) – even though you don’t come to lectures (some students must also work to earn money at the same time as ostensibly attending) and do not prepare for tutorials so you can complain you dont understand what is being talked about either! perfection.

and who cares that the graduates go back to their home countries (some of them) where it is discovered by one and all that they have not been trained properly at all – because australian universities have already taken their money under false pretenses, and the dean or the chancellor who encouraged this fiscally-responsible behaviour has moved on to another business deal after being paid themselves a whole heap of bye-bye and thank-you dollar for earning the uni a zillion bucks from fees, and from cutting down on teaching staff. it all makes perfect neo-liberal sense.

OK, obviously this is a little close to my socially-aware bones.
but in any case, the problem is that no one is keen to speak out about what is going on, for fear of reprisals, and the loss of job and income in the education field. employment is not secure these days in academia, and even more so in that most people are not supportive of academics anyway – hey they are fodder for jokes and disdain – we do not want to pay people for just thinking and writing stuff, why don’t they shut up and get a real job?

so, as a taste of what the world has come to, and what the site has taken from the wikileaks broo-hah-hah, a short excerpt for contributors of material follows:

If your leak is extremely high risk, you may wish to post away from your local post office at a location that has no witnesses or video monitoring.

Many CD and DVD writers will include the serial number of the DVD or CD writer onto the CD/DVDs they write. If the post is intercepted this information can in theory be used to track down the manufacturer and with their co-operation, the distributor, the sales agent and so on. Consider whether there are financial records connecting you to the CD/DVD writer sale if your adversary is capable of intercepting your letter to us and has the will to do this type of expensive investigation. Pay cash if you can for the CD/DVD writer.

Similarly, CD and DVD media themselves include a non-unique manufacturing “batch number” for each group of around 10,000 CD/DVDs made. Pay cash when buying the CD or DVD. Try to choose a store without video cameras at the register.

Although we are aware of no instances where the above has been successfully used to trace an individual, anti-piracy operations have used the information to trace piracy outfits who sell tens or hundreds of thousands of counterfeit CDs or DVDs.

If you post it to us, a good option is to encrypt the USB file/CD file and then contact us at a later date via live online chat with the encryptin passphrase. That way if the post is intercepted, the data can not be copied.

If you suspect you are under physical surveillance, discreetly give the letter to a trusted friend or relative to post. On some rare occasions, targets of substantial political surveillance have been followed to the post office and have had their posted mail seized covertly. In this rare case if you are not intending to encrypt the data and if the police or intelligence services in your country are equipped to perform DNA and/or fingerprint analysis you may wish to take the appropriate handling precautions.

Beta App Cosmos


Generated via Flame, a nifty time-waster and iamge generator driven by Flash. Found at Smashing Magazine, Bizarre Websites On Which You Can Kill Time With Style.

There’s no DESIGN link category here until now, so Smashing Magazine inaugurates it. Smashing Magazine is a terrific, really second-to-none web design resource. Among numerous strengths, there are three I find especially useful. First is its collection of external resources; second is its concentration on CSS and HTML5 and WordPress; third is the wealth of design tips and tutorials available in Smashing Magazine’s very deep archive.

Speaking of wasting time, sometimes it is useful to waste time contemplating potential time-wasters. I know of no better web site for this than The Museum of Modern Betas.

The MoMB is a site dedicated to collecting webbased applications on a beta trip. The MoMB recently turned five, currently about 9000 sites are listed.

…major, major sink. MomB tagcloud.

dan everett on language

here’s an interesting lecture on endangered languages in the anthropological tradition, and of course, it gladdens me heart that dan stands up to the chomskian idea that there is some universal grammatical criteria for distinguishing human language – and thus distinguish humans from other species (thus we should be allowed to exploit these ‘lower’ species – this is my extension, not dan’s btw)

theorising web dynamics

one of the lectures i’ve been watching recently on the video lectures site (see blogroll for link to their homepage) features a young eastern european guy who’s been working in conceptualising the dynamics of the web, the evolution of networks/ links, and how ideas or topics spread through networks.
it’s one of several on the topic of social media and theorising or graphically representing social networks, sentiment analysis, and so on. they are not as professional as those on TED, featuring presentations from conferences all over the world, and so to some extent you need to check out the ratings given by other viewers to determine whether the lecture is going to be rivetting or not…
a good resource anyway.

Practical Considerations – a response to “re: extending…”

The question of how contributions from disciplines beyond those which have formed the core of the discourse (on-list) might be received remains an open one.

I suggest that this presentation by audiologist Robert Seetow meaningfully addresses issues raised, and informs the discussion surrounding adopting and augmenting technology by the group overall.

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