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August 31, 2006

Sold your phone lately? Or checked your antivirus program lately?

So, you erased the information as the manual said? Seems like flash memory on phones is a little bit more resilient than you'd want it to be in this situation. Also from MSNBC today:

  • Write an e-mail that actually gets read -- one (opinionated?) person's view on the matter.
  • I'm glad my only potentially difficult encounter with a cell phone company (Vodafone New Zealand) over a billing issue (I was happy to pay the money in this case, I should add, so there wasn't a dispute there) wasn't hard to solve -- one phone call and I never (as they promised) heard back. Apparently it's no fun at all in a certain other place. Mirroring that, credit reports aren't either.
  • Last up for me, there's a debate about the ethics of creating variants of viruses for a consumer test. This is an interesting one -- I can see how creating variants can help antivirus vendors develop better heuristic logic and so on, but it just doesn't seem right.

I've also had a bit of an enlightening day on some new sources of volumes for scanning from for the Section 27(1) books today. If it comes to something, I'll write again.

August 30, 2006

Hospital services in 1973

While going through my Project Gutenberg clearances last night, I noticed I'd forgotten about scanning another book I'd got cleared -- the March 1973 tome Services for the Mentally Handicapped: Third Report of The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Hospital and Related Services. I recall submitting this royal commission report for clearance as a test case for (what should be) Section 27(1)-compliant texts, especially given that it was just 19 pages.

The other reason I think was the use of 'the mentally handicapped'. From what I can tell, it appears the more acceptable term nowadays is 'people with intellectual disabilities'. From a changes over time perspective, it's interesting.

I'll write again later once the scans are cleaned up.

Access is starting to dry up for scans of parliamentary papers, so I'm not sure what I'll be able to do next. At this stage, I'm thinking of doing huge 455-page March 1977 behemoth that is Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion in New Zealand: Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry, if I can think of a way to easily scan a large volume. At least I'm not likely to even risk a fraction of a chance of destroying the spines of one of the many volumes of the AJHR -- I've found a reasonably good looking standalone copy of this report. Having a quick skim through it, there's even a chapter on the consequences of refused abortions (the procedure being practically illegal in New Zealand at the time, if I recall correctly). Egads. It's distressing stuff, the whole report.

It's great to be able to put up recent stuff in to Project Gutenberg. It's not just 'classic' texts in the pre-1922 copyright sense of the word -- for me, it's more that some of the texts I've put up are damned hard to get hold of (the irony for me is that I wanted to read some in a hurry).

On a related note, while in the Official Publications section of the VUW Library today, I was told by the librarian in attendance that the Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives (sometimes I've also seen it variously as Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives of New Zealand and Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives of New Zealand for whatever reason -- fortunately practically everyone calls it AJHR, though) has been renamed New Zealand Parliamentary Papers. (That is, she said, unless I wanted subject group I -- which as those eagle-eyed will know are select committee reports. Most of what I grab is in subject group H, or 'reports of commissions and committees of inquiry'.)

August 28, 2006

Abortion in New Zealand in 1937

Well, in 1937, it was illegal in New Zealand.

Apparently I've forgotten that I've had the McMillan Report, or 1937's Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Various Aspects of the Problem of Abortion in New Zealand, available in scanned form for some time now. Having forgotten to send it through PG DP, it's now on my queue of things to send through. (Note: I'm guessing given the topic, some discretion would probably be advised with regards to reading the report.)

To sum up the report, the committee concludes that economic issues, unmarried mothers, 'fears of childbirth' and 'changes in social and moral outlook' (page 26).

As to solutions, it suggests that 'full publicity' should be made of the facts laid out in the inquiry (page 28).

It suggests that with regards to contraceptives, that for the 'problem of the unmarried mother' things might be resolved by banning the sale of them to 'the young' (page 27). This is an interesting mirror of the Mazengarb Report's conclusions 17 years later, following the start of the post-war baby boom.

Whether you think abortion is an abomination (or a mortal sin, perhaps), et cetera, or that it's a case of a woman's choice, or any view along the continuum, really, reading a report like this is conjunction with others makes interesting reading in charting the change in social attitudes over time. It helps knowing the past, methinks.

This adds on to the list of reports that I've scanned that I want to write a review of and or write an expanded analysis of. Anyone else want to try before I find the time? I don't mind if I'm beaten to it, though I'll try to find the time to write one of my own either way. Let me know if you want to -- I'd favourably consider linking to it.

August 25, 2006

1955's Mazengarb followup ready for proofing

For your Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders proofreading pleasure, and sooner than expected, too, that 1955 followup to the Mazengarb Report, the Report of Juvenile Delinquency Committee, is now available for proofreading on Distributed Proofreaders. You'll need to log in (and if you're new, register) first to proofread some pages. (If you still can't access the proofing page for the book, just manually search for it on the site.)

August 24, 2006

More! More! More!

All right, I'm putting 1955's Report of the Juvenile Delinquency Committee (or, the Mazengarb Report) through PGDP finally. I've had the scans available for viewing on the S27(1) and PD Page as scans for some time now (since 10 February 2006, it seems). I've just forgotten to put it up for proofreading and formatting.

I'll, going to plan, do a write-up of my impressions of it next week after I finish part of an essay. The key thing to remember for me when doing an analysis will be to remember that I'm looking at a followup to the Mazengarb Report. I'll look forward to it when I find the time.

[Update: well, finding someone at PGDP to run it through an OCR package took less time than expected, so now the report is now available for proofing. Enjoy!]

August 19, 2006

Analyses of some of those morality reports I've scanned

Thank goodness we've moved on from the dark days of the 1920s here in New Zealand where we'd been implored by a ministerial inquiry to take drastic measures to stop certain groups of supposed degenerates from reproducing (eugenics, anyone?) and making more babies. The question is begged, then, who are the degenerates you want to stop? Sounds very suspiciously to me like a proposal to have some really bad stuff happen.

So, thank goodness then that someone's written an analysis of 1925's Mental Defectives and Sexual Offenders: Report of The Committee of Inquiry Appointed by the Hon Sir Maui Pomare, KBE, CMG, Minister of Health. My favourite part of Dana's posting:

One of the main problems? Those pesky mentally defective girls!

There are many cases of mentally defective girls, liberated from institutions in New Zealand for the purpose of engaging in domestic service or other work, returning afterwards the mothers of illegitimate children, probably also mentally defective. Unless such are to be maintained for years as wards of the State in institutions, should they ever again be allowed their liberty unless they undergo the operation of sterilization?

[um, why put the onus on the girls? What about the men who impregnated these girls?]

That's just sad. Surely men have some responsibility. Not to mention the use of the word 'girls' as opposed to 'women' or even 'ladies'.

Really, the whole thing is just great if you need a primer before reading the report. Do it. Now. Yet, this said, it's also sad reading. Personally, I'd advise discretion.

Someone, in the NZ Listener, has written a response to them on what he thinks was the trigger for my perennial favourite, the Mazengarb Report (or, of course, the Report of the Special Committee on Moral Delinquency in Children and Adolescents of 1954). I like Keith Ross's insight, but I think it doesn't take in to account that the two incidents (the 'Petone Incident' and the murder) were pretty much reported on in the media in the same week; two days even, if my notes are correct. I'd say it were an amalgam of reasons and or triggers, but I like how Keith puts it.

I like his quote from the report about the increase in newspaper purchasing by schoolchildren. I give those kids credit for knowing where to go for information! Seriously. Heh.

August 14, 2006

So, it was of some use

It seems someone else has actually been reading the Mazengarb Report, otherwise known euphemistically as that Report of the Special Committee on Moral Delinquency in Children and Adolescents, after all. Looks like Russell Brown in the NZ Listener (in the July 29-August 4 issue) has linked to the Project Gutenberg edition.

Of all of the texts I've scanned and arranged to be proofed on DP, this one's still my original and all-time favourite. It's got moral panic written all over it, albeit in hindsight.

I also recall writing the original version of the Wikipedia entry on the Mazengarb Report that is linked to as well. I -- or someone else, it doesn't really matter ultimately -- must get around to expanding that some time. It needs some expansion of the report conclusions to really be of use, methinks.

Going back 29 calendar years earlier, I also see that the DP effort on 1925's Mental Defectives and Sexual Offenders: Report of The Committee of Inquiry Appointed by the Hon Sir Maui Pomare, KBE, CMG, Minister of Health (or simply put, the Mental Defectives and Sexual Offenders report) has made it to PG. Enjoy. Maybe. It makes somewhat chilling reading, depending on what perspective you take.

Making it easy

Sure, some smart person cleaned the wrong house, but have they got the message that it isn't such a smart idea to hide a key?

Not to mention I'm now scared of running web applications that might get hacked.

On another note, last month I recently had a trip to Dunedin via Christchurch. The view on the way back was rather nice. Pity the airline (Origin Pacific) appears to have met an unfortunate demise. Sigh.

Here's a view from the plane on my recent trip from Christchurch.

August 5, 2006

'Free', again

One thing that pleased me about Movable Type 3.3 was that licensing terms were reverting back to free for personal use without any blog or user restrictions. Hmmm. Cool. Oddly, I still remember previously when it had a similar personal licence.

August 2, 2006


No, not that Christian music festival, but the fun 1980s hand held game. I wish I'd still had my copy of the game. It was rather good fun -- when the button batteries were fitted.

I never had a copy of Donkey Kong, though.

August 1, 2006

Goldenhorse and Avril Lavigne

OK, I didn't know that, at least according to Pandora, that Goldenhorse's cover of I'll Never Know (on She Will Have Her Way: The Songs Of Tim & Neil Finn) is 'similar' to Avril Lavigne's Complicated (on Let Go).