Just Look Up

If I was an atheist, man.

Every so often, I see atheists having a bonfire party, religious people getting upset, or religious people having a bonfire party and atheists getting upset. Given my beliefs and thoughts on religion, I find this quite saddening.

A degree of understanding and respect, even for people you deeply disagree with, can be very beneficial to you. Firstly, you’ll find other views less confusing, but mainly this is a great tool for helping the people you disagree with, change themselves.

When you take the time to sit down with people who hold different views and opinions, when you seek the common values that you all agree with, and then take your time to understand the other side’s point of view, you can really make an impact.

For me, the Atheism vs Theism arguments look a bit like this:

From F7U12
From F7U12

So when I find fundamentalist/evangelical atheists getting their knickers in a twist, or  fundamentalist/evangelical religious people doing the same, I just sort of tune out…

XKCD 774: "Atheists"
XKCD 774: “Atheists”

In my mind, evangelical Atheists and fundamentalist Christians have a lot more in common than they think they do.

You may also enjoy “If I were a religious man“.

Happy Valentines Day – xkcd loves you!

Woo, it’s Valentines day!

(also known as “single people be lonely day“, “puke at people’s facebook status day“, “don’t try to eat out at a this evening resturant day“, “bad colour schemes day” and a plethora of other things!)

xkcd can, once again, neatly sum up my take on it:

The worst resolution to the Valentine Prisoner's Dilemma when YOU decide not to give your partner a present but your PARTNER decides to testify against you in the armed robbery case.
(c) xkcd 2012 - CC-BY-NC 2.5

This is what I was thinking again and again:

I don’t want to be a consumer tool or and Inconsiderate jerk.

Of course, once you’ve got to that point, you’ve already overthought the whole thing, panicked, and stapled your hand to your face, again. Gah. I must stop doing that!

Megaupload vs the world

For those of you that don’t know, Megaupload is an American web service that lets you send large files across the internet

Why do these services exist? XKCD explains:

Every time you email a file to yourself so you can pull it up on your friend's laptop, Tim Berners-Lee sheds a single tear.
File Transfer © XKCD

Sadly, but not unusually, XKCD is spot on – and that’s the reason that over the past few years Megaupload has gained a large following – racking up more registered users than the population of Russia.

Recently, in the United States, big media lobbying organisations have been trying to paint the company in a bad light; the company is frequently vilified by the RIAA and MPAA as a rogue site “dedicated to destroying their business models”.

It was therefore an incredibly PR coup for Megaupload when they released a track last night where P Diddy, Will.i.am, Alicia Keys, Snoop Dogg and Kanye West sang their support to the site – #megaupload was even trending on twitter for a while.

Now you might have thought this blog post would end here. Megaupload score massive PR coup. Lobbying organisations back down briefly, and then continued sustained attack. But no, it was much more entertaining.

In response to the video, Universal Music Group (UMG) issued a DMCA Takedown request to Youtubeclaiming the video contained copyrighted content that they owned.

Megaupload has filed a counterclaim with Youtube pointing out they “own everything in this video. And we have signed agreements with every featured artist for this campaign”, but the video still remains offline and Megaupload accuses the lobbyists of using “dirty tricks”.

Several things are certainly clear:

  • Megaupload have scored a PR Coup
  • UMG have secured the campaigns success by invoking the Streisand effect
  • I suspect the story will not end here

Anyhow, what is this video that’s causing all the controversy?

Here it is:

What is the most useful thing you will do towards a future career when you’re young?

And the ten minutes striking up a conversation with that strange kid in homeroom sometimes matters more than every other part of high school combined.

This XKCD cartoon strangely captures essence of most of my complaints with the way ICT and technical subjects are taught in schools.

For me, it was a extensive number of weekends trying to make various different project work and multiple evenings getting to know the right people in the tech industry – thanks to the vibrant north west technical communities.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that school/college/university is completely useless if you want to go into tech – being able to articulate oneself in writing is a particularly crucial skill which is a lot tougher learning elsewhere but as far as I’m concerned any technical skills taught are unlikely to ultimately be be as useful as that one bit of hacking you did when you were bored a few years previously.