Julian Assange & Wikileaks

So I haven't made my mind up about Wikileaks latest release. I believe Wikileaks is hugely important and yet I see some valid criticisms about the cables release. But that's ok, because you don't have to immediately have an opinion about things. At the moment I think the good outweighs the bad. If only because whenever a member of the government tries to use the argument "if you've done nothing wrong you've nothing to hide" we can reply "so you support wikileaks?"

But I reserve the right to change that opinion. In politics thats called flip-floppig and frowned upon. In science it's just being sensible.

Nevertheless I've seen a few interesting links around (mostly via reddit) that I would like to share.

1) The Internet Archives copy of Julian Assange's old blog

Assange's blog is only a few years old and makes interesting reading. My current favourite quote being:

Wed 03 Jan 2007 : Witnessing

Every time we witness an injustice and do not act, we train our character to be passive in its presence and thereby eventually lose all ability to defend ourselves and those we love. In a modern economy it is impossible to seal oneself off from injustice.

If we have brains or courage, then we are blessed and called on not to frit these qualities away, standing agape at the ideas of others, winning pissing contests, improving the efficiencies of the neocorporate state, or immersing ourselves in obscuranta, but rather to prove the vigor of our talents against the strongest opponents of love we can find.

If we can only live once, then let it be a daring adventure that draws on all our powers. Let it be with similar types whos hearts and heads we may be proud of. Let our grandchildren delight to find the start of our stories in their ears but the endings all around in their wandering eyes.

The whole universe or the structure that perceives it is a worthy opponent, but try as I may I can not escape the sound of suffering. Perhaps as an old man I will take great comfort in pottering around in a lab and gently talking to students in the summer evening and will accept suffering with insouciance. But not now; men in their prime, if they have convictions are tasked to act on them.

The first part of which hits home with a great deal of pain. I type this whilst people starve, or are tortured, or denied medical care and I do so little about it.

I find it interesting how, at least in my opinion, The Internets collective response to such a blog would have been cynicism, criticism and accusations of being 'emo' and self-indulgent. When instead it is the thoughts of someone with the conviction to change the world.

2) A TED talk by Julian Assange on why we need Wikileaks.

Haven't watched this yet, but I'm currently downloading it for tomorrows commute.

3) Sarah Palin wants to hunt Assange like a terrorist.
Or at least according to the star. She's a wonderful person.

Crop Circles

The standard argument for crop circles is so preposterous that it borders on a straw man — that they are too complex to have been created by humans. The fact that crop circles are almost always documented by ELECTRONIC EYES being wielded by people flying inside GIANT HOVERING METAL BUGS so that the believers in humanities inadequacies can talk about them via A HUMUNGOUS INTERCONNECTED NETWORK OF MILLIONS OF TURING COMPLETE MACHINES is rather conviently forgotten. Hence this little comic.

EDIT: This image is currently the top post on skeptic board over at reddit. Here is the comment thread which includes some great discussion on what oil is made from. I will be needing to update my pic I think.

You've no doubt noticed the complete lack of action by myself here on the site, or on Twitter. Real life has not been kind recently and so I've not been left with any time or energy to write. The cause of this absence would make a good post in itself, but I would rather wait till events settle.

I've always tried to hold myself to high standards on this blog, but at the moment that means writing nothing at all. So I'm trying a new approach. I will attempt an update every sunday or monday - but it can be as silly and throwaway as this one.

Better than nothing I guess?