Darren Barefoot
Darren Barefoot


Thinking Chaos, Thinking Fences

All speech, written or spoken, is a dead language, until it finds a willing and prepared hearer. -- Robert Louis Stevenson

31 January 2003

Apparently the Vatican is mulling over who should be the patron saint of the Internet. It's about time. As some of my readers know, I keep a glow-in-the-dark plastic angel, a plastic Buddha and a small clay Ganesh nearby my PC. I think they help in times of improper shutdowns and blue screens of death.

10:45:14 PM    comment []

The good folks at IBM have apparently screwed up royally. As the Toronto Star reports:

IBM has lost a hard drive containing the records of 180,000 clients of an insurance company. "Vital information such as name, address, date of birth, social insurance number and mother's maiden name can be used to access financial accounts, open new bank accounts, transfer bank balances, apply for loans, credit cards and other financial services," Co-operators chief executive officer Kathy Bardswick said in the letter this week. .

Oy vey, people. The public makes a contract with a company when it provides personal information. That contract is probably the single most important transaction a consumer makes with a given company. This is an alarming breach of trust.

10:41:54 PM    comment []

The dodgily-named InfoAnarchy.org is reporting that:

According to an AFP report (German derivative work thereof), the Finnish music industry is asking kindergartens to pay about 20 euros per month in royalties for singing and performing copyright-protected songs. Marja-Leena Karjula of the national copyright agency Teosto is cited: "Royalties have to be paid for every work that is performed outside of private homes." In a similar vein, last year the Finnish music industry had forced taxi drivers to pay royalties for music played while driving (because passengers might be listening!).

I'm not particularly religious, but there's a special place in hell for people who make small children pay for the right to sing. I have strangely fond memories of assemblies in elementary school of singing along to songs projected up on a big screen with an overhead projector. I wonder, is Woody Guthrie spinning his grave every time some toddler belts out the Canadianized version of "This Land is Our Land"? Or who owns the rights to Mr. Loucock's favourite tune: "That's What I Learned in My School" (link has Girl Scouts version, but you get the idea)?

10:36:43 PM    comment []

I read this fascinating article on dumpster diving. I didn't realize it was such a cottage-industry. What's even more interesting that the article is a link it includes to a Usenet group: alt.dumpster:

today was my first time diving, i had a very lucky day. i found a pocket book with 22 dollars in it, 11 records, a cassetee rack, a box of old bottles, a clock, and some cookie sheets

I guess it's kind of like urban beachcombing.

10:26:21 PM    comment []

Those kooky Australians:

Ski resorts arenít just playgrounds for the rich and idle. Relying as they do on the natural environment, itís not uncommon for true ski aficionados to also do a nice line in conservation awareness.

Such is the case at the Australian ski resort of Mount Buller near Melbourne in the countryís south. Operators at the resort have recently completed trials that convert human waste into pristine, pure white, ski-able snow.

While this will no doubt gross people out, I don't really see anything wrong with. Waste water like this is used for many purposes in our culture--why not make some snow with it too.

10:19:25 PM    comment []

In a surprising move, the Irish government has ordained that, by January, 2004, all restaurants and pubs must be smoke-free. This is remarkable for a country that is more or less run out of a pub. A poorly-ventilated, musty pub with low ceilings. What's more is that the move has generally been welcomed. Irish people are notoriously anti-establishment and skeptical about government intervention of any kind. My friend Tom says its because "we're peasant people". My friend Sarah, predictably, has a lot more to say on the subject than that.

My (URL-less) friend Keith says that recent events have indicated that the Irish prefer the stick to the carrot. Witness the recent introduction of penalty points for driving offenses (the Irish are appalling drivers--it's like living in Bangkok, only with less respect for pedestrians) and the plastic bag levy (15 euro cents per plastic bag from a shop). I'm with Keith on this one.

10:16:47 PM    comment []

© Copyright 2003 Darren Barefoot.



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