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Some thinking required

"...justice is a duty towards those whom you love and those whom you do
not. And people's rights will not be harmed if the opponent speaks out
about them." Osama Bin Laden
- - -

"There aught to be limits to freedom!" George Bush
- - -

Which one scares you more?


Mental Health

There is a series of advertisements on TV at the moment that I really
like. They deal with depression, but they do so in a very good way. They
start by showing a normal looking person as they go about their life, all
the while a narrator (which turns out to be the individual concerned)
describes all the good things that they do at work, in the community,
with their family, and then it ends with the words "...and I suffer from
depression. Don't judge me until you know me".

NZ has been very proactive in fighting the social stigma surrounding
depression. It started many years ago when the Mental Health
Institutions were all shutdown. Mental Health patients then either went
to community based care, or short term hospital based care (like
Concord Hospital's 5-West). The public weren't overly happy about this,
but none of their fears were realised. If anything, it showed that a lot of
people were locked away in mental institutions when they shouldn't
have been.

The stigma still remains, although greatly reduced as the "fear factor"
has been removed. The funny thing is, as I was brought up in this
culture, I keep wondering what it means when I call someone crazy.
Well, I suppose it just proves the saying "It takes one to know one".

P.S. I saw the first 30 mins of "Whale Rider" last night (the rest is
recorded on video). I was surprised about how much Maori language
(Te Reo) was used. I also liked the usage of a real Marae (community
building) as it brought back lots of childhood memories. I recommend it
to anyone (if you don't understand some of the words, just guess them
based on context).




I watched a movie last night that helped me put together a lot of vague
thoughts about life in the "western" world.

Capitalism, and other economic systems that rely on the economic
concept of "Supply and Demand", have a fundamental weakness. If
there is no demand then it doesn't really matter if there is supply or not.
Thus, to make the system work when there is no demand, then demand
must be created. This is why we have advertisements, to create a
feeling of need for a particular product, to create a feeling of being
"better" than the neighbours, to create a feeling of completeness having
bought all the "right" things.

But does does this achieve? Well, you can feel happy and content
knowing you are wearing the "right" things to any given occasion (like
going to church). You can show off your flash new car as you drive
down the road. I think this is what is called "conspicuous consumption",
although I have no idea what it's good for.

A thought. If the 3 major credit card companies (American Express,
Mastercard and Visa) were destroyed, what would happen to society? I
suspect that everything would collapse in on itself and we would have a
new "Great Depression". This is due to another weakness in the "Supply
and Demand" model. If you have created great demand, and plenty of
supply, but the method used to link the two (i.e. purchasing) is severely
restricted then the model fails as the cycle doesn't complete fast enough
to keep itself going.

What was the name of the movie? It doesn't really matter as it just
helped me to organise my thoughts.



Democracy in the free world

What is it with the State of Illinous in the USA. They seem to be really against allowing a 3rd party on the voting ballot. There are two ironies with this. One, President Lincoln (whom Illinous claim as one of there own) was a 3rd party candidate. Two, it's the Democratic Party that is objecting to any 3rd party representation.




I had decided that I needed to buy a cellphone. My requirements were simple, clam-shell design, no camera. With two cellphone companies in NZ, I thought this should be easy. However, as far as I can tell, Vodafone don't have any phones without a camera. So I ended up with one from Telecom, and it was a bottom-of-the-line unit. I'm lucky I didn't want GSM or GPRS as that is what Vodafone uses, or wasn't too fussed about using CDMA 2000 1X.

This really should have been easier, but apparantly I just don't understand what people want their cellphone to do....




I've been running Setiathome for several years now. After all, my free and unused CPU cycles may as well be doing something.

The Seti project is currently moving to use BOINC and their new home page gives more information on this. They are experiencing some problems at the moment as the BOINC conversion has proved to be more popular than they expected.



Information Systems and Competition

Well, as I'm not much of a Capitalist (although I'm really into Democracy), I don't really like companies quashing competition in the computer industry.

As a result, I really like Linux (don't care much about which distro, or which UI), I love Mozilla (along with Firefox, Thunderbird, Sunbird, etc...). I use cygwin and MinGW to get a unix type interface to Windows XP.


The Start....

Well, now that I've got a place, I suppose I'd better start blogging.

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