Saturday, June 17, 2006

FEAR AND LOATHING IN CYBERSPACE:
Bad IT Monkeys, Helping Africa Help Itself, and Chinese Democracy Problems NOT Linked to Axl Rose

THEME MUSIC:
Ministry of Disinformation [MP3]
The Cold Archives Experiment, June 2006

Note - The CAE is a quasi-scholarly endeavor (ha!) designed to test the limits of open source audio production software. And, well, the ladies just dig information scientists with a flair for downbeat noise art.

How to Hide the Tiananmen Square Massacre from a Billion People...

Yahoo censors more online content than other search engines in China, according to one watchdog group.

According to a Reporters Without Borders report, 97 percent of search results returned from the official Yahoo China portal linked to "authorized" content.

Eighty-three percent of results returned by Google China linked to authorized content, while 78 percent of links recalled via MSN China were officially sanctioned.

The organization reportedly tested the search engines using a list of subversive words and phrases believed to be restricted by Chinese authorities.


Apple Jacked, From Sea to Encrypted Sea
Denmark Finds Something Rotten in the State of Media Players

Former PC/current Geek-Gadget giant Apple has found itself under constant attack recently, with everyone from European governments to human rights advocates questioning the company's business practices.

France and Norway launched legal attacks earlier this year on the company's iTunes Music Store.

According to a report filed earlier this week by PC Magazine's Mark Hachman, Denmark and Sweden are gearing up to help turn these attacks into a multi-national war.

Apple will, one way or the other, be racking up some major legal bills in the near future simply to protect its DRM policies and legal contracts with the music industry.

Apple's iWoes don't just stop in Europe, either.

The U.S. International Trade Commission will reportedly open an investigation into possible patent infringements involving the iPod's navigation system.

Singapore-based Creative Technology Ltd. filed the complaint with the ITC, claiming one of the patents linked to their Zen media player was violated by Apple.

Apple has reportedly filed a counter-complaint.

And the iSweatshops allegations?

Who'd a thunk it?


No Matter How Many Charity Concerts He Gives,
Bono Can't Write Songs in Dinka:

Using Literacy and Language as a Peacemaker in the Sudan

As the politics of warfare begin to cool in war-torn Sudan, the world's focus must change as well.

For years now, citizens of the world have been calling for an end to one of Sub-Saharan Africa's bloodiest conflicts.

With well-intentioned activists in the West grabbing the headlines, it's easy to overlook the ideas being produced by, well, Africans.

For instance, New Sudan Vision editor Mading de Ngor Akec de Kuai produced this utterly stellar piece that takes a holistic look at the links between the loss of indigenous identity, postcolonial Africa, language, literacy, and the rebuilding of a continent.

I'd hate to break it to a lot of Industrialized World activists, but the people of the Sudan are the only people who can truly fix the Sudan. It won't be international peacekeepers, Western-based charities and action committees, or celebrities who change the way Africans think.

Sure, putting on concerts that raise money and publishing editorials that raise awareness of African issues are meaningful acts. But it's important for Westerners (including myself) to realize that outside compassion does not equate with speaking for a continent, especially when speaking the Queen's English.

Mading's commentary is a reminder that, yes, Africans can think for themselves and, yes, the Western World helped create many of the problems in the region, through colonialism, political manipulation, and resource exploitation.

Mading is himself a member of the Sudanese diaspora, a college student living in Canada. Before anybody calls Bono, I'd recommend reading what Mading and other Africans have to say.

Africans have minds, mouths, and can speak for themselves.

* * *
And on that note...

Celebrities and Africa...hmmm....

It sure was nice of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt to raise the profile of the nation of Namibia, but I'll start reading the tabloids when they quit publishing this Brangelina garbage and start talking about the Namibians who welcomed the couple with open arms.

Are you a desperately-spoiled housewife, overly obsessed with Brangelina? Well...how about dumping those subscriptions to People and Us Weekly, saving those pennies, and planning the next family vacation around a trip to the Kavango Region? While Mr. and Mrs. Pitt's child will receive nothing from your purchase, your tourist dollars could sure help out a lot of children.

Or why not skip the stupid fucking t-shirt and support distance education initiatives for Baby Shiloh's countrymen?

Um...

Have I ever mentioned that I totally fucking hate America's obsession with Infotainment?

* * *

The responsibility of any compassionate citizen of a More Developed Nation is to support the natural progress of our brothers and sisters in Less Developed Nations - and vise versa.

Progress cannot be forced; it is grown like fruit on a vine.

And that fruit always tastes better when it's homegrown, plucked fresh from one's own garden.

16 comments:

LibraryTavern Liz said...

Oh, I am so sick of hearing about Brangelina. I don't give a shit where they conceive, deliver, or raise their children!

I know you have pretty eyes said...

Okay man. you said to post what i feel so here goes.

this is why i spent a lot of time reading your blog last year. you really saved my ass from hating mylife. all my life i've been told i'm pretty, that i should just go with the flow and that no guy wants a girl smarter than they are. I think about this kind of shit all the time but - well - you know what Miami does to women.

Yeah I'm smart and I'm hot and godamit I deserve the BEST. You are so fucking right.Just apply it to yourself too and don't settle. I don't know what I was expecting but you are GORGEOUS in personand I don't care what you say, you're a very cool guy ;-)

You are an awesome guy Jason. I know I must've looked like a total freak this afternoon, but I just wanted to introduce myself and to say thanks. You were ten times better to me than any boyfriend I've ever had at MU. It was so cool to know that there are nice guys out there. Really you don't know how much that means to me, and I know that it probably means a lot to other people as well.You have a big heart a big brain and thats AWESOME!!! Every guy at Miami should read your blog b/c this is what women want...somebody to talk to them like they're not stupid.

and thank you btw for telling me you thought i was pretty even though I KNOW you were just saying it.


Sorry if I embarrassed you too. You were the best part of my trip, hands down :-)

Ms. Monkeythong said...

Are you a desperately-spoiled housewife, overly obsessed with Brangelina? Well...how about dumping those subscriptions to People and Us Weekly, saving those pennies, and planning the next family vacation around a trip to the Kavango Region?

Ah, c'mon Jason, do you think anyone with a People magazine subscription would read your blog?

Gonna take a lot of pennies to go to Namibia....

cooper said...

You're right about Bono, but if it helps feed a few starving children or save a couple of premature twins due to financial support from the humanitarian perspective so be it. I hope the celebs are not fleeting on this though.

I agree Africa has to help itself but at this point history is dictating the destiny of innocent human beings in the Sudan.
Many people were responsible for that history and many people have to help make it so that history stops dictating current policies and events.
It is time for Sudan to step up certainly, but it is time for us to strong arm them and put them in a head lock....past time.
The people who are suffering are not the ones that get to make the choice; it would be different if they were.

Smurf said...

The song was great Jay! ANd you always find interesting things ...

Voodoo Child said...

"Singapore-based Creative Technology Ltd. filed the complaint with the ITC, claiming one of the patents linked to their Zen media player was violated by Apple."

No shit? Creative's the one I prefer, but I wonder which patent they were able to secure before iJobs was able to?

The ZenFo Pro said...

Liz:
Yeah, it's kind of sickening. I had to finally vent a bit about it when I saw one of those damned tees this weekend...

I Know (What YOU did during Reunion Weekend ;):
Hey thanks. And no worries.You saved me from a bit of tedium this weekend and, well, you bought me lunch.

As for embarrassment, there's no need. I'm actually getting to appreciate random folks stopping by the office b/c of the ol' blog. I'm still a bit speechless, however.

Lol...yeah, guess the profile pic does make it a little easy to figure out where I work, and, well, the name badge doesn't hurt.

It's nice to know that there are non-trad. MU folks and alum who read - it's refreshing, actually.

Keep in touch :)

MM:
Hey, ya never know... ;)

Cooper:
Humanitarian efforts are nice, but sadly it's become a catch-all phrase for any Westerner with a God Complex wanting to play adopt-a-region. As for saving a few kids, well, the only ones we'll ever hear about are those wheeled out before the cameras by Western charities as part of a marketing campaign.

I'm very cynical, naturally, of Western-led NGOs and charities because, yes, they feed into the very neocolonialist mentality - let's help those poor Africans because they can't help themselves. And looking at some of their budgets, it's downright appalling the percentage of "humanitarian" funds that ever end up helping people on the ground.

As for strong-arming the janjawid and Sudanese military, well, talk about history dictating policy. We (the West) have tried that with mostly band-aids-on-bullet-wounds results for more than 50 years. Attempts to strong-arm corrupt regimes has led to, historically, one of two results - further distabilization and/or further reliance on Western aid. While it may help in the short-term to pressure the warlords, it will not eliminate the root causes of conflict in the Sudan - and the Sudanese must be the ones driving the cart here.

For every humanitarian-driven crusade to "fix" Africa, there's still nothing compehensive that provides solutions to building self-sufficent, economically and politically stable free societies. It's what I call "Save the People Today, Damn Their Development Tomorrow" paradox.

It's why so many African regimes are now turning to China - one of the world's biggest human rights violators - for help. Why take America's surplus rice and have to deal with all that "you can't massacre your own people" shit, when Bejing will build factories, farm equipment, and infrastructure, thus helping to pacify dissedence, all for mineral rights? After all, the chance to accumulate wealth trumps human rights...look at the good ol' U.S. of A. We've willingly relinquished some our rights to make sure we can still upgrade those Dells, buy shit on Amazon, and not have to do without our TiVos.

Lord, I could go on...but I'm not ;)


Smurf:
Hey, thanks! I try....helps when I'm office-bound all weekend ;)

VC:
Yeah, not a fan of iPods. Shoddy technology designed to make a quick buck. The patent infringement case apparently involves the media navigation system.

Anonymous said...

As for strong-arming the janjawid and Sudanese military, well, talk about history dictating policy. We (the West) have tried that with mostly band-aids-on-bullet-wounds results for more than 50 years. Attempts to strong-arm corrupt regimes has led to, historically, one of two results - further distabilization and/or further reliance on Western aid. While it may help in the short-term to pressure the warlords, it will not eliminate the root causes of conflict in the Sudan - and the Sudanese must be the ones driving the cart here.

Hello friend!

Im from the same part of the globe as the Sudan and I must say that is always something that bothers me about foreigner aid to Africa. We have rights to selfdetermanation and we should not be treated like pets. Noone wants to see blood but sometimes it must happen sadly. Europeon intervention is a big reason Africa is so far behind and Developed peoples need to understand. For Sudan and Africa to be free we MUST BE THE LEADERS of our own freedom.

This is a nice essay.

Sincerely,
Adjatay

Anonymous said...

http://people.monstersandcritics.com/article_1173771.php

Ms. Monkeythong said...

From CNN:
After Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt was born May 27 in a private Namibian clinic, her parents donated $300,000 to Namibian government-run hospitals to help other babies in the impoverished country.

To their credit. And much more than I could do, to be perfectly honest. it would take more than a few magazine subscriptions for me to be able to pay for a trip to Namibia.

I've got a better idea -- cancelt that People subscription, stay home and donate the money and your free time to your local food bank.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Anon/Adjatay:
Hey, thanks. Appreciate it.

Um...taking a stab at this...Cameroon?

Anon 2 (April?):
Hey, thanks for the shout-out! Much oblidged :)

MM:
Or cancel the subs and split the differences.

The ZenFo Pro said...

And uh...

[INSERT WORK-RELATED POSTING RESPONSE HERE]

The Now Deleted "Anon" [aka prison-sex fearing colleague here in Oxford]:

Hardy har har.

Um...yeah. Track IPs for just this reason.

The "go get 'em tiger" was a dead giveaway, dude.

See, we definitely have to hit the bars...er...Alcohol Resource Offices...here in Oxford before you hit the road for the new job :)

[END WORK-RELATED POSTING RESPONSE]

Anonymous said...

So what do you use to make your music?

The ZenFo Pro said...

Anon # 4:
Actually, I use Audacity 1.2 to mix and edit. In earlier CAE projects, from my grad school days, I combined old-fashioned turntablism with an earlier version of Audacity, but now I mix completely in digital media.

I'm not in a place where I can actually recall all samples used, but Ministry is a mash-up of a classic Led Zeppelin drum sample, a sample from the band Ministry, White Zombie, an audio clip from the 1950s sci-fi film When Worlds Collide, a Biohazard/Onyx sample, a few white noise clips, and I believe a sample of a Nation of Islam speech. And, well, you may even hear a hint of my voice, slowed down to app. 200% of its normal speed and the pitch altered (that satanic sound in the background.)

Whoa. That really is a lot of layers... ;)

Hope that helps. I used to be meticulous in documenting samples...probably need to get back to that practice, to prevent lawsuits and such.

Anonymous said...

If you're still interested in the turntablism bit, you might want to check out TerminatorX, which is a realtime software synth specifically designed to simulate turntable scratching. http://terminatorx.org. If you check the
http://terminatorx.org/scratches.html page, you might see a familiar name.

Glad to see you're using Audacity though. I'm trying to get Audacity installed universally here, but I don't know how that's progressing.

jf

Anonymous said...

buh, sorry about the non hyperlinked hyperlinks.
terminatorx.org, there, now I go forth and sin no more.

jf