September 26, 2007

Back already

Sometimes I wonder if I do forget that I'm back in the United States. Proof that I know I am, though:

  1. The first reason is that I visted Stanford University.
  2. I also visited Tempe, Arizona, which is incidentally one of Lower Hutt's sister cities. So here's a random photograph from Tempe.

I'll put up some more photographs soon, and hopefully I'm allowed to make some announcements on what I'm doing next for my book scanning work.


September 14, 2007

All together now...

... it's that time again, kids!

Vote early, and vote often! (Whomever you vote for doesn't bother me that much. And no, I'm not saying vote multiple times and get yourself done for electoral fraud. I hear it's not particularly nice to get caught doing that.)

February 9, 2007

Accident compensation

Who do I have to thank for New Zealand's compulsory accident insurance system and several other social rights laws? Sir Owen Woodhouse, of course.

February 4, 2007

Nailing jelly to the wall

Tried nailing jelly to the wall? Don't bother, the advice would appear to say.

It'd appear the exception is to be found in concentrated jelly cubes. Which, last time I checked, one can't find in NZ. Those just stick to the wall, but can be nailed, anyway. But, as the advice author says:

This is called "cheating".

Another reminder, after going to see the Vagina Monologues for WMNST 205 last night: I should be studying, I should be studying, I should be studying... [instead of looking at articles on nailing jelly on a library laptop!] Anyway, the play was an interesting empowerment of women's sexuality -- because it took not only a positive look, but also a multicultural look at sexuality, including, well, rape.

Not a bad week overall, then. Lots of study has been done. Yay!

But there's still more to do.


January 9, 2007

All I came here for was the snow...

...And one week later, it's still not come. (Though a free t-shirt was given to me by the bank I signed up with, but no jokes on it about snow.) Which I'm told wasn't expected to happen.

Unless I was mistaken, there was a flurry earlier, but hardly enough for me to call it my first romp in the snow.

Even New York City's got the same issues. I picked up the dead tree edition of Saturday's New York Times to find on the caption of a photograph titled With Mild Winter, the City Revisits Fall Fashion and the Record Books:

Karen Flagg with her 3-year-old son, James, on the swings at the Bleecker Street Playground in Greenwich Village. New York City, basking in warm weather, hasn’t gone this long without snow since 1878.

The article is also online.

Other stuff from the same paper, and online:

December 20, 2006

Things not to do -- or, at least, avoid -- at graduation

Last week's fun times at the Victoria University of Wellington and Victoria University of Wellington College of Education graduation ceremonies were interesting. Notes:

  1. If in doubt (or in possession of a hunch) about whether any of one's students or academic staff colleagues are graduating or not in a particular ceremony, book a seat and gown anyway.
  2. You'll possibly want to avoid being at the front of the staff procession.
  3. To repeat it, in text: avoid being first in the staff procession in to the Wellington Town Hall.
  4. If you are, enjoy being the last out.
  5. If applicable, try to ignore the fact you're going on leave for four and a half months to go on an exchange with VUW to Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA, US.
  6. Pack them bags!
  7. Bags, what bags?

(Disclaimer: It's actually not bad at all being first in -- and last out -- at graduation. But, my point is, it's definitely interesting in a good way.)

That's probably enough for now. More later after I've packed. See you in two weeks, Penn State!

(Which, while I'm at it, I should memorise the VUW and WCE mottos in case it comes in handy at PSU. WCE even had two at one stage, I recall (one Māori, one Latin, I believe). Then again, it'd more time to collect them, being nearly 20 years older than the rest of the university and all.)

And yes, see you all back in Wellington in mid-May. Sniff.

December 8, 2006

Hinemoa's story is now/not available for proofreading

Well, you'd better hurry if you want to go to Project Gutenberg's Distributed Proofreaders website to help proofread Rev Henry James Fletcher's Hinemoa: with notes and vocabulary. (Why bother to mention it? It's the first book on the DP site with Te Reo Māori claimed as the primary language.)

So far, it's looking like it will have the fastest first round proofread cycle I've ever seen on the site of anything I've uploaded (not counting a book that was around 5 pages or so I previously uploaded).

Or, if you don't want to proofread it, you could just download the PDF scan of Hinemoa instead. The whole book comes with a glossary (the book appears to be pitched as a textbook for English-speaking learners of Māori language and culture) and some sort of quick summary of the story in English; methinks one would find the entry on the Hinemoa story in the 1966 edition of the Encyclopaedia of New Zealand also useful.

(It's not the only other book in PG or DP that I can find that's in Te Reo. You'll find Edward Shortland's Maori Religion and Mythology floating around DP at the moment; it doesn't claim Māori as the primary language. That appears to be the only other one I can find right now on either website, however.)


November 1, 2006

Bedtime reading -- two unrelated stories

I really must have some odd reading tonight. Again, I've included very small fair-use (hopefully) snippets that hopefully summarise each.

  1. Penn State Live: Can school bullying have deadly consequences?

    Studies back up Carney's assertion. A Secret Service report published in 2000 on fatal school shootings since 1974 found that more than 75 percent of all school shooters had experienced ongoing peer bullying. According to the report, the attacker often had felt "persecuted, bullied, threatened, attacked or injured before the incident. Many had experienced longstanding and severe bullying and harassment, which some attackers describe as torment."

    Many experts agree that educators bear some responsibility for the school conditions that set the stage for deadly violence. In her 2001 study, "Adult Recognition of School Bullying Situations," Carney and colleague Richard Hazler tested whether teachers and other school personnel could distinguish between bullying and "other forms of youthful play or fighting."

  2. MSNBC: China says North Korea to rejoin 6-nation nuclear talks.

    Chief envoys to the negotiations from China, North Korea and the United States held an informal meeting in Beijing on Tuesday and agreed to resume the six-nation talks, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its Web site.

Yeah, I'd say I have some odd reading tonight. The first one goes within my academic area of research interest, though.

October 31, 2006

MySpace to use recognition software to block copyrighted multimedia

The NZH has grabbed from Reuters a report that MySpace wants to use new technology to stop users from posting unauthorised copyrighted music on the social networking website and oust frequent violators of its policy. OK... I guess there must be no one at all that'd be able to claim fair use rights nor claim that they were licensed, then, and that anyone that uses so-called copyrighted music or videos must be doing something illegal and have something to hide -- or so this scheme appears to assume. I'm not necessarily disputing such an identification system, but what if someone does honestly and in good faith try to claim fair use or licensed use? What mechanisms would there be to claim fair use or for licensed uses to be noted? I'd need to know more information before I passed judgement on such a scheme.

Sigh. It'll be interesting to see the answers. :)

October 30, 2006

Another asthma cause

Over in New Zealand, are you concerned about the condition your home with regards to asthma? In the New York City suburb of South Bronx, I've no idea about environmental conditions in housing, but one newly-identified asthma cause is truck exhaust.

Two other snippets I've found in the New York Times today, with two sentences from each that summarise them:

  1. US Jobs Shape Condoms' Role in Foreign Aid -- Britain, Ireland and Norway have all sought to make aid more cost effective by opening contracts in their programs to fight global poverty to international competition. The United States, meanwhile, continues to restrict bidding on billions of dollars worth of business to companies operating in America, and not just those that make condoms.


  2. What Do Women Want? Just Ask -- More companies, in the United States and elsewhere, have realized that they overlook women at their own financial peril. The companies are realigning their marketing and design practices, learning to court an increasingly female-centric consumer base that boasts more financial muscle and purchasing independence than ever before.

October 29, 2006

Lots of hands, lots of disinfecting gel sort of stuff

Two more stories before I head to bed, both unrelated to the other:

  1. What's next? If politicians use disinfecting handwash stuff to clean their hands after shaking hands with crowds, perhaps it'll be disinfecting lips after kissing babies next.

  2. Archbishop defends faith schools (BBC) -- it's surrounding the controversy of a plan compelling new state-funded faith schools in England to take up to 25% of pupils from outside the religion.

    It's interesting as I recall there's a similar provision for 'non-preference students' in New Zealand's state integrated schools, pretty much most of which are Catholic. As far as I know, many if not all of these schools have a non-preference quota in their integration agreements, given though that I've never actually read any of these agreements.

Student loan company cancels conference

Enough about prepaid credit cards for now. I might keep of the topic for a long time. On to some education-related issue... and thank goodness I have only ever got a New Zealand student loan. It sounds as if the United States student loan situation is a little bit, well, odd, possibly characterised by a conference that was cancelled by a student loan provider.

October 21, 2006

It's the telly -- no wait, it's the programmes they watch... no wait, it's...

Whoever said New Zealand's biggest threat was a moral decline? Maybe even a moral decline thanks to dodgy television programmes and dodgy films? (And with that, dodgy by whose standards?) Anyone thought of all those screens of varying descriptions wasting childhoods? Sometimes it isn't totally the blame of the media or the programmes carried on the media -- it's the use of the media, too, to some extent.

The NZH also run an intergenerational comparison on the abovementioned topic.

Of course it's dangerous to get blinded by one factor, so I won't venture more in to this particular debate.

Other things -- I'm planning a study trip at the moment. For those that don't already know what, I'll mention it if (and once) all the details fall in to place. And Klaatu's Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft is currently playing on my station. Hmmm. I liked the Due South version that they did; it just seems to sound different now.

New on is my take on the 'new' tabbed browsing feature in IE7. It's all right, but tabbed browsing did take a while to get added as a feature (for those our there not having been pestered or nagged by Windows yet to install IE7 yet -- if you're using the operating system at all, I've left the original message window available). Loading third-party solutions (OK, so one was engineered in the form of Microsoft's own Windows Live Toolbar) just isn't my cup of tea for tabbed browsing.

It's a pity that I find Firefox's memory leaks in its current releases on some of my systems at home a little bit too much.

October 12, 2006

Is 30 people big enough for a sample?

While I was writing up my final assignment draft for the university year, I spotted an article on MSNBC about dress style and fertility:

A study of young college women showed they frequently wore more fashionable or flashier clothing and jewelry when they were ovulating, as assessed by a panel of men and women looking at their photographs.

“They tend to put on skirts instead of pants, show more skin and generally dress more fashionably,” said Martie Haselton, a communication studies and psychology expert at the University of California Los Angeles who led the study.

I can see the point of the research, but as usual it raises the question for me that, OK, money might be a constraint, but 30 for a sample of, uh, people being tested seems a little small to me.

(If you can't be bothered wading through digital rights management hoops for an earlier version of the paper, bothering to Google comes up with a proof version in the author's online papers list, DOI code doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2006.07.007. If you don't mind wading through, for an earlier similar paper from the same journal, prod your favourite web browser at DOI code doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2005.10.006 via your favourite library journal database or link resolver for some reading.)

September 11, 2006

Mazengarb Report recommendations

When I wrote the original Wikipedia article on the Report of the Special Committee on Moral Delinquency in Children and Adolescents, I didn't include the recommendations -- I just summarised the conclusions. I've now written a summary of the recommendations as well. Enjoy. As it is Wikipedia, anyone now within good reason has cause to edit them. Have fun...

Continue reading "Mazengarb Report recommendations" »

September 8, 2006

Now, if only...

...Google Maps had street level coverage of my street. (Now, if you don't want my mini-essay which I wrote for my own amusement, you may want to skip straight to the thoughts I have on my latest batch of scanning for S27(1)'s scanned books collection. Hehe!)

They do do street maps -- it's just got no satellite imagery at street level for my suburb and then some: a good chunk of Lower Hutt is missing from the coverage (at time of writing).

With the new address to location translation on offer, it would be nice if the, uh, hole (no pun intended) in coverage were fixed. (Incidentally, the Windows version of the Google Earth client isn't much better when looking at Lower Hutt [see also below]; it appears to currently use the same data set as Google Earth for Lower Hutt -- you could also try these same coordinates in Google Maps if you can be bothered.) If it were, maybe I could put together some nice mapping stuff.

But then, there's a million other mapping websites with New Zealand coverage around, with at least one with apparently better street level aerial coverage (as in no holes in coverage, actual image quality being another matter -- hey, at least it's consistent!), and most that I use for every day purposes are developed in and for the local market here. That's not to mention the city council's property information database has really good images of individual properties. Some, though, concentrate on street maps as opposed to aerial maps or satellite imagery, but make up with their trip planning features (two, Metlink and Yellow Pages, claim they do walking directions, too).

I wonder if I should re-learn some programming to get myself away from all the stuff I'm doing for graduate school for a nice little bit of recreation and perhaps do a localised mapping thing (Jabber map stuff sounds like an idea here) for amusement.

Anyway, here's what Google Maps currently looks like to me with its gap in street level satellite imagery coverage when I search for Lower Hutt. Here's a closeup of what Google Earth sees of Lower Hutt at the moment -- note the change in detail. Now, here's the extent of the gaps in street level coverage of Lower Hutt in Google Earth at the moment; it's currently the same as Google Maps.

And, another book scanned

On other matters, I scanned another book today. Yay for high speed multifunction photocopiers that e-mail on stuff in PDF! Which while I'm on that subject, I've done the same for a few other books that will be released on to Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders on September 20 as birthday texts for proofing.

I'll announce what those ones are closer to the day, but in the meantime, I've scanned A Plea for the Criminal (1905). It's a response (and on first skim through while scanning it, a critical response) by an ordained minister to a book I got through PG earlier that sounded to me like something on eugenics, and that went by the name of The Fertility of the Unfit (1903).

I'm debating if I want to have images up as I've done so previously, or just have the PDF (that the photocopier spat out at me) available -- or both. Feedback would certainly be appreciated on this. (Thanks in advance!) If someone wants A Plea for the Criminal before I get around to properly posting it online, let me know and I'll either email it through somehow, or actually get around to posting it. I blame grad school for my lack of alacrity. Heh.

It doesn't mean that my attempts to find additional sources for material to scan (legally, of course) that is Section 27(1) compliant is bearing some success, necessarily, or even at all -- I do hope it does -- but I have found some stuff that should keep me occupied while I do look for things more relevant to my grad school study and research -- though today's scanned book is very much related in some aspects (say, related to the eugenics stuff someone found in a text I'd also scanned and put through PG).

ibiblio server move

The wonderful folks (ibiblio) that host Section 27(1), the dr-fun-changes mailing list, this diary you're reading right now, the SCM e-book editions, and even some teddy bear satire (which I must admit is not really being updated at the moment, partly due to worries over chewing up ibiblio's precious disc space), are having some stuff happening from Saturday, 9 September at 10am (NZST) until Sunday, 10 September at 10am (NZST). Apparently there may be some interruption in service; mail will be down for a wee bit and I won't be able to post, but the site should stay up.

One more time, thanks people for the hosting! Trying to host lots of scans of books to show the publisher's original intent (something I don't think a formatted e-text like what Project Gutenberg do) is rather (though methinks for the value of the intent, not unreasonable or overly onerous) disc intensive (not to mention slightly more demanding on bandwidth and traffic if you get the Slashdot effect or even a comparatively minor 'Public Address effect'), so everything's appreciated. :)

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 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.

July 20, 2006

More books soonish

Hot on the heels of finally getting my Jabber server back up, I'm settling on a few possible books to put on the S27(1) and PD Books pages. At this stage, it'll possibly be some of the documents surrounding An Act to specify the circumstances in which contraceptives and information relating to contraception may be supplied and given to young persons, to define the circumstances under which sterilisations may be undertaken, and to provide for the circumstances and procedures under which abortions may be authorised after having full regard to the rights of the unborn child (or, the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977 for short). The related Royal Commission inquiry report might be a bit of a push with my current time commitments, so I'm considering a look primarily at the select committee reports instead. I am, nonetheless tempted to try scanning the Royal Commission report. Time will see! :)

I'm still also looking in to some 1950s-era stuff (such as Mazengarb's report, of course, but I think at this stage that I've covered the vast majority of what I'm interested in.

May 5, 2006

Privacy and soft drink

Which have nothing to do with each other, but off MSNBC's news website, happenings in the US:

From the latter:

The phone records are generally acquired by the resellers through fraudulent means and would not be admissible in court as evidence, but they are still helpful as an investigative tool, say officials familiar with the investigation.

The alleged use of the customer records by law enforcement officials could raise legal and ethical questions, as it would circumvent due process and years of established laws protecting consumers from random eavesdropping on electronic communications.

And, on a random note: The Style Contest for Movable Type, Typepad and LiveJournal.

April 20, 2006

Germany Agrees to Open Holocaust Archive

Also from the New York Times -- Germany Agrees to Open Holocaust Archive:

The accord ends a nasty diplomatic dispute between the United States and Germany. More important, officials at the Holocaust museum said, it will open the documents to historians and researchers, whose access has been blocked because of Germany's strict privacy laws.

"Sixty years after the end of the war, it's time," Arthur Berger, the Holocaust museum's senior adviser on external affairs, said after Ms. Zypries pledged that Germany would work with the United States to make the documents available. The 11-nation commission that oversees the archives is to meet on May 16 in Luxembourg.

Reading through, though, it appears the treaty under which the archive operates as part of the Red Cross will need some tough work on getting the signatories to agree to the changes. I hope it turns out not to be a difficult task; having the documents in the open will be a great step forward.

March 13, 2006

Going to Blog Hui 2006

Yeah, I'm going to Blog Hui 2006.

I'm also presenting there (Blog Hui, that is) too -- look for From Eternity to Here: Or, Starting One's Career (though I see it's Informing Learning Through Diarising on the conference programme). It's about an example of informing one's career through online diaries. Uh, I mean blogging.

February 17, 2006

North American schools' iPod usage

Older stuff out of the NYT, but nonetheless, something coming from the United States about using iPods in the classroom for podcasting. (Full referencing available on your friendly ProQuest licence. Or, page G4, Late East Coast Edition, 25 January, 2006, if you're lazy.)

Spending $50 to save $40,000

Yes, it's called 'a high school promising to pay pupils who don't wag this year $50'.

Apparently it's one possible way to save on throwing some of them in prison later on.

January 20, 2006

Who'd threaten elderly relations for money, anyway?

It'd appear that some heartless individuals are forcing elderly family members to give them money. Losers.

Elsewhere: Google resists demand to reveal search terms part of a government probe of online pornography.

January 16, 2006

Leaks and new-ish methods


  • Perhaps this is another type of leak?
  • It's apparently the 'suck it and see' method: The number of people coming to New Zealand on temporary permits and later taking residency is on the rise, according to latest migration statistics. The "suck it and see" approach is leading to more successful settlement, says the Immigration Service.

[Listening to: Fall to Pieces -- Avril Lavigne -- Under My Skin (03:29)]

January 15, 2006

Hygiene, privacy and crystals

All right, a few links to pass this Sunday by...

  1. Hygiene: at least the parents in this case (so far, anyway) aren't blaming the early childhood education centre involved...

    Dr Brieseman said authorities considered closing the centre, but most of the exposure that was going to occur had already happened.

    The difficulty with a childcare centre was that preschoolers generally were not hygiene-conscious.

    I thought the last bit was a little obvious? But nothing a bit of teacher modelling of best practice can't at least attempt to correct, anyway.

  2. Privacy: AMERICAblog just bought General Wesley Clark's cell phone records for $89.95.


    Liberal, conservative or person-on-the-street American... it doesn't look good.

    Either way, nice tool for 'concerned' parents...

    (Spotted via David Farrar.)

  3. Crystals: Rakon could be the poster child for New Zealand business.

Back to the regularly-scheduled programming of women's studies- and Bear Committee satire/humour-related diary entries next week. I've had enough 'holiday', methinks.

[Listening to: dig Jazz -- Australian Broadcasting Corporation]

December 16, 2005

Some photos already!

And, less than half an hour later, there are some photographs on Flickr. Enjoy!

Here's a selection. More commentary later; I'm in the Launceston reference room of the Tasmanian State Library right now.

Tiny Albert eats Hungry Jack's/Burger King.

Hobart, Tasmania from Mount Wellington.

A cruise ship in Hobart harbour.

And, finally, a toilet sign that I think could be rather badly misinterpreted. Sadly. :(

Toilet sign, Highway 1, Hobart to Launceston.

See you all in a few days! :)

November 23, 2005

Upcoming new site

After a bit of discussion back and forth about my honours research project, I've decided to do part of it as a student-run website on women's studies. I've sorted out a domain name and at the moment I'm sorting out hosting. If you're interested in contributing links and short thoughts of women's, sexuality and gender issues now and again diary/blog style, drop me a line and I'll keep you in the loop. (I reserve the right to edit contributions for grammatical clarity and for markup validation purposes, but I won't edit the substance of contributions, unless a sane law court threatens me with jail or something like that. Which I'd imagine would be rather unlikely.)


November 19, 2005

It works!

Well, the link resolver function in EndNote 9.0.1, once again. EndNote 8.0.2 managed to break it quite spectacularly. Sigh. At least I can use it again, but now I'm wondering if using VUW's Journal Finder service would be much easier. But I have set up the link resolver stuff already, so I may as well use it.

November 2, 2005

More advertisements!

I've published more photographs of advertisements mostly targeting women from around Wellington. The prize for oddest element would be a morning-after pill billboard that has a radio station's web address in the corner. Then there's the Dove Firming 'as tested on real curves' billboard on Lambton Quay. But this text on a billboard I saw on Willis Streethad me kind of speechless. I'm not sure what to say.

Girl available for only $3.50. [Vodafone advertisement on a bus, Willis Street, Wellington.]



There is always some good measure of hope, somewhere: North and South Korea agreed on Tuesday to compete as a single team for the first time at the 2006 Asian Games, and at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, a South Korean official said. crash

Just when I'd nearly finished migrating content from to ibiblio, greta needs a complete rebuild. Which is probably just as well, anyway. Most of the web content that fits ibiblio's collection policy has already been moved, such as the teddy bear satire and humour websites and the dr-fun-changes mailing list.

And in the process, some new content has been added to what was migrated from greta, such as some photographs related to women's studies topics.

I hope they're of use to some people. Enjoy!

Meanwhile, for old times, of the content that's probably gone from her that (most likely) won't be migrated to the rebuilt greta is an entry in a previous incarnation of this diary, tph, from 12 October, 2003:

A quote on Maurice Sendak’s supposedly wild ‘stance against literacy’…

Spotted on an English lecturer’s door at WCE:

What is the significance of Max standing on the books on the first page of Where the Wild Things Are? Is this a stance against literacy by the author? — Signed two satisfied SCKEL 102 graduates.

On another related topic, check out the English Exemplar sheet I Was Sad When My Cat Died. Hrm.

With some luck, the rebuild of greta will be completed by mid-December.

Hopefully sooner, though, of course. :)

October 26, 2005

Things to read later

Note to self -- read these things later, especially the online diaries story...

[Listening to: Sk8er Boi -- Avril Lavigne -- Let Go (03:24)]

Oh yeah, and I got the album Let Go last week. Not bad... maybe I could do research on female artists and singers and implicit messages related to feminism for honours instead. :)

October 19, 2005

False passport used to get $180,000 mortgage

I haven't seen this before: False passport used to get $180,000 mortgage.

And I hadn't heard of something like this before either: a person that watches a staggering 17 hours of television a day.

October 15, 2005

What girls really want is a cellphone

From the pages of the NZH: fun things with statistics and kids. Apparently what school-age girls really, really want is a cellphone.

And here's an interesting sort-of one: One in five cellphone owners spent more than $50 a month sending text messages.

I wonder what the heck kids spend $50 of text messages talking about?

September 29, 2005

Nikster moves home

Sorry, no new photo shoot, as it only involved a pile of tarballs transferred over SSH and the usuall tinkering with a text editor. But to cut the story short, after poking through ibiblio's collection policy, Nikster's pile of humorous photo shoots have moved from to

(At least I wouldn't consider it a vanity site, anyway. It's mostly a pile of satirical cuisine and travel reviews. When I remember to put in captions.)

The main collections, though, are the Section 27(1)-related materials. I haven't had much time this term to scan and upload any new books, but with my plans to start honours next year studying the books, things should get rather interesting.

September 16, 2005

Body moulds

Here's something fun and cool, methinks: pregnant mothers getting body moulds of their pregnant form.

September 7, 2005

Texas struggles to cope as refugees hit 250,000

NZH: With still more refugees pouring in every day, Governor Rick Perry issued an appeal to counterparts in other states to take some of the pressure off Texas.

Also -- Garden gnome used in fight: A fight between two men in the backyard of a Masterton house turned bizarre when one of the men hit the other with a garden gnome. Right...

September 1, 2005

Lower Hutt youth centre opening party

Well, the youth centre's official opening party, anyway. To cut a long story short, here's some photographs of the place just after the party was over. It looks pretty good, and of course it turned into another of those Bear Committee impromptu meetings.

Anyway, here's a set of highlights from the set.

Little Albert Kenby-Bear at the Secret Level opening party. Move Bar at Secret Level. View of Move Bar at Secret Level, from the High Street window side. The raised stage area at Secret Level, with one of the pool tables in the foreground. Some of the large chess pieces at Secret Level. The Move Bar menu. Completely non-alcoholic, too. The Move Bar coffee supply. At the top of the stairs to Secret Level. The view from Secret Level, northbound along High Street, from Move Bar. Look for this sign when visiting Secret Level.

In short, it's a bloody good place. Go use the facility when it's available (most days during the week, I understand) and you're free. It's for all you youth and young adults out there in Lower Hutt. While I don't work there, it'd be good to see y'all there if I'm around, of course. :)

July 24, 2005

Marriage is the most dangerous social institution!

Ouch! Well, guess whom this is from, without Googling?

At present marriage is easily the most dangerous of all our social institutions. This is partly due to the colossal ignorance of the public in regard to sex, and partly due to the fact that marriage is mainly controlled by lawyers and priests instead of by women and doctors. The legal and religious aspects of marriage are not the primary ones. A marriage may be legal—and miserable; religious—and diseased. The law pays no heed to the suitability of the partners, and the Church takes no regard for their health. Nevertheless, the basis of marriage is obviously mating, or sexual intercourse. Without that there is no marriage, and with it come not merely health and happiness but life itself. Cut out sexual intercourse, and society becomes extinct in one generation. Every generation must, of necessity, pass through the bodies of its women; there is no other way of obtaining entry into the world. Hence, it is clearly the duty of women to understand precisely the processes involved, from beginning to end.

With the lower animals sexual intercourse is desired only seasonally, and only for the purpose of reproduction. With the higher animals—man and women—sexual intercourse is desired more or less continuously throughout adult life, and desired much more for romantic than for reproductive considerations—that is, for the sake of health and happiness rather than for the sake of procreation only. A few women, and still fewer men, have no sexual desires. To them sexual abstinence seems more natural than sexual satisfaction. But for the majority of mankind and womankind—for all normally healthy men and women—there is this continuous desire to be happily mated.

Yup, it's our friendly Ettie Rout, kids! In the above, she's writing in that great 1922 classic Safe Marriage: A Return to Sanity, from the S27(1) bookshelf.

It's interesting from any viewpoint how she gets quickly to her views and ideas on certain things. That's the first two paragraphs of the introduction above. The first five sentences, and especially the fourth, are quite telling in this regard.

[Listening to: Breathless -- The Corrs -- In Blue (03:29)]

July 18, 2005

More electronic books!

All right, so they're not Section 27(1) books. But if you're finding that your copy of the CD World Student Christian Federation Asia-Pacific Library: Archives and Resource Materials Since 1974 shows up too many pesky security errors thanks to Windows XP SP2, you might want to try a copy I've installed at

(I've done a preliminary copyright clearance of sorts in the last week -- I see also that it's already up at -- if the link is still available this time tomorrow, my double check worked out fine.)

July 16, 2005

Australia: Penultimate Harry Potter hits shops

ABC: Penultimate Harry Potter hits shops. Has some videos that might be interesting.

July 14, 2005

Music for minors

Not a new idea, but nonetheless, a North Shore pub manager, wants to have teenagers in his pub on Saturdays for concerts.

July 8, 2005

Bad taste?

Oh dear, again. It looks like the Evening Telegraph goofed.

This is the front page of the said newspaper, saying 'TERROR ATTACKS ROCK'.

That's not to say by posting this I'm doing so in bad taste -- far from it, I don't see anything funny in the above. I see the non-realisation by a newspaper that their design when folded at a news stand could be misinterpreted badly is not good.

In that spirit of horror at the event, certainly sympathies from me to everyone in London and around the world. Yikes. This was big.


Government action unlawful in Unitec case

NZH: It means last night Unitec in West Auckland was able to celebrate a crucial victory in its six-year battle with the Government over its tertiary status.

June 28, 2005

Plagiarism statistics

Apparently the numbers are on the rise -- not because of increasing instances, but due to increasing detection rates.

June 27, 2005

Friday night at Jet Bar

Wine glass and lamp shade, Courtenay Place.

Wine glass and lamp shade, Courtenay Place.

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Ah Kit.

Friday night, downstairs, over at Jet Bar in Courtenay Place, Wellington.

In unrelated news, Judgments of the Court of Appeal of New Zealand on Proceedings to Review Aspects of the Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Mount Erebus Aircraft Disaster and Safe Marriage: A Return to Sanity got posted to Project Gutenbery today as 16130 and 16135 respectively. Yay! The Section 27(1) pages will also get updated this week with the links.

June 26, 2005

Booklet provides guide to Territory sexuality laws

ABC News Online: The Darwin Community Legal Service has produced a guide to the law for gays, lesbians and bisexuals in the Territory. Pity that it's not on DCLS's website, yet.

Across Darwin, in the post-vote count it appears to still be the biggest landslide in the grand electoral steeplechase. Ever. Good for some, but bad for others, alas.

June 25, 2005

Rats! Lines Companies! Rodents! Telecom!

So, it was a rat, after all, and lines company contractors. And now it's time for Telecom to talk compensation for themselves. This will be fun for them.

And there's little demand for business DSL upstream speeds faster than 128? Someone tell me that Telecom are joking. Really. They must be.

June 23, 2005


Didn't one of the Nationals' previous deputy prime ministers also resign from the Australian federal cabinet for family reasons?

Over in Europe, Spain's gay marriage bill is apparently secure to pass, despite the upper house rejecting the bill.

June 21, 2005

Award for sexual health awareness programme

The No Rubba, No Hubba Hubba programme has won an Asian regional award for a television advertisement.

Incidentally it's interesting to see a reworking of the advertisement to take into account other sexual orientations that are out there, which I've seen screened on television channels recently. It's also on the site's video and audio clips page.

More books!

Two new books today. For your reading enjoyment, Mental Defectives and Sexual Offenders and General Assembly Library: Report of the Chief Librarian for the Year 1924-25, both from 1925, have been uploaded. All right, so the latter is only four pages long -- and that's counting the blank back cover page -- but it has some remarks between the lines partly of humorous interest, and of historical value, anyway...

As usual, both will be going through DP, in due course. At least Mental Defectives, anyway -- I suspect of course that the library report may be a bit short!

June 18, 2005

Marriage, civil unions, religion, solo parenting and families

If you're not busy pondering new theories on time travel or reading a paper on using RPC ports, the NZH has a good set of articles on marriage, civil unions, religion, solo parenting and family generally today.

  • How solo parents became a political football: Forty-one per cent of Pakeha babies, 55 per cent of Pacific babies and 76 per cent of Maori babies were born last year to unmarried parents.
  • Don't turn children into the scapegoats: political parties are being warned not to punish the children as they grapple with policy to offset one of New Zealand's most common and growing family formats -- the sole-parent family.
  • Young women flock to NZ: ever wondered why some ethnic groups are represented in New Zealand more by women than men? A new study has found that New Zealand has a higher ratio of women to men in the peak childbearing ages of 30 to 34 than any other industrialised country, with 9 per cent more women than men.
  • New Pope takes swipe at Labour's civil union law: The Vatican's news service reported that he made the comments specifically about New Zealand at a speech to seven new ambassadors to the Holy See.
  • Tamaki becomes a Bishop today: apparently 3000 people showed up at a ticket cost of $55 (in other words, of course, giving around $165000 in revenue). Yikes.
  • Underdog-fighter scrubs up: Sue Bradford says she discovered through politics that there were people in the world like her.

On a related note, there will be some more scanning of S27(1) books next week.

June 15, 2005

Court finds in favour of school over playground accident

ABC News Online: The High Court has dismissed an attempt by a schoolgirl to sue a Catholic primary school in Canberra after she was injured on a flying fox.

Thank goodness we have the ACC in NZ...

The family of the schoolgirl argued St Anthony's had been negligent in its duty of care.

But the High Court has found in favour of the school, saying it had a well known hands-off rule, which barred children from touching each other during playtime.

[Listening to: 702 ABC Sydney -- Afternoons with James Valentine]

June 12, 2005

Pope rejects condoms for Africa

BBC: Aids in Africa should be tackled through fidelity and abstinence and not by condoms, Pope Benedict XVI has said.

June 8, 2005

Abortion legal moves

From the NZH yesterday: Court case a bid to raise abortion issue, says MP.

Court action claiming that too many abortions are being allowed is a pre-election bid to raise the focus on a divisive issue, says Health Select Committee chairwoman Steve Chadwick.

The anti-abortion group, Right To Life New Zealand, has filed legal action in the High Court at Wellington against the Abortion Supervisory Committee, saying it has misinterpreted the law and allowed too many pregnancy terminations.

It appears it's mostly a matter of viewpoints as to whether or not the law has been misinterpreted on the part of the Abortion Supervisory Committee -- for example, the ALRANZ's Margaret Sparrow calls it a final attempt.

Whatever views are involved, it does look like an attempt to politicise the issue again.

June 6, 2005

A Tyrannosaurus rex fossil's surprise: she was ovulating

NYT: Until now, distinguishing the sex of dinosaurs has been impossible without well-preserved pelvic bones.

  • Unsolved Mysteries, by David Greenberg: With the unmasking of Deep Throat, one of the 20th century's biggest political mysteries has been solved. But other riddles about Watergate linger.
  • Hal Holbrook Saw a Torn Man: The world now knows that Deep Throat is Mark Felt. But for many, Deep Throat will always be Hal Holbrook, the actor who portrayed him in the movie All the President's Men.

June 4, 2005

Smoking banned in Indian films

From the ABC:

[Listening to: Radio New Zealand International]


Tobacco companies designed cigarettes to appeal to women's desires to be thin and healthy in ways that went "far beyond marketing and advertising", say health researchers.

So says the New Zealand Herald -- apparently some cigarettes were especially created to target the female image, whatever that means.

And more on Mark Felt (from Reuters) can be found.

May 25, 2005

I'm a big boy now, says solo shopper Roscoe, 3

From the New Zealand Herald: I'm a big boy now, says solo shopper Roscoe, 3. Truth is stranger than fiction, it seems, of course.

May 24, 2005

Christian porn filter seen as censorship

From the NZH: Christian porn filter seen as censorship.

Anti-porn software developed for schools by a company with links to fundamentalist Christians has been criticised for blocking students' access to leftist political forums and websites on sexuality and health.

Education Minister Trevor Mallard approved the Watchdog Corporation's CampusNet filtering software last year, as part of a $9.5 million package to help schools screen out hackers and objectionable material such as pornography.

I wonder if my Section 27(1) and public domain books page will be next? :)

A neutral thought here: perhaps it's better to not block information sites so students can get both sides of arguments, so they can research these views? Perhaps doing so, and providing some teacher guidance anyway for any Internet access, would help students form balanced and fair assignments and personal world views and opinions?

May 23, 2005

New Zealand faces up to a diverse future

From the NZH and the Herald on Sunday: Coping with the great Kiwi identity crisis and New Zealand faces up to a diverse future...

New Zealanders are obsessed with it, intellectuals are fascinated by it and migrants are giving it a new twist. Amid all the gnashing of teeth over the great Kiwi identity crisis, what seems to endure is a love of the land and laissez-faire egalitarianism.

We are, we believe, a society free of classes but stingy with emotions. We don’t like tall poppies, but we’re resilient, laid back, and multicultural.

Yeah right.

Immigration is changing our national identity, and according to academics, despite our claimed tolerance, we don’t like it much.

These articles have some relevance to the future of youth in terms of changing ethnicity statistics and tolerance and acceptance issues.

May 22, 2005

Final presentation

I have (if I have added my papers -- courses, if you will -- and points right), I have the final assessment piece for my major tomorrow. There are some ancillary bits such as a literature review and reflection to also do that are due on 27 May, but other than that, I am done.

May 20, 2005

Student political activism on blackboards

Student political activism at Victoria University of Wellington.

Student political activism at VUW.

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Ah Kit.

I don't know about other universities or colleges other than VUW, but here (well, at least everywhere at VUW but the former WCE, it seems), but here, there's a lot of blackboard (not usually whiteboards, oddly) political graffiti in lecture theatres. Otherwise notices about gatherings and 'advertisements' for commercial websites are put up, but I find it's usually political rants. Anyway, this was a rather odd one to turn up to at a GEND 101 lecture; I'm sure any pun wasn't intended. Ugh. From what I gather, it was probably written yesterday (Thursday) about student aid in the 2005 government budget presented at Parliament yesterday. I guess after the student protest at Parliament earlier this week people weren't too hopeful for all the youth undertaking tertiary study.

May 16, 2005

College Libraries Set Aside Books in a Digital Age

From the New York Times: College Libraries Set Aside Books in a Digital Age. Some shades of Cambridge High School anyone, but perhaps at least in a more positive (and, well, American, geographically, as opposed to New Zealand) setting? And to imagine if VUW tried this... and to think of the digital rights management costs, especially with those non-one-off licence payments! Still, the basic principle shows much promise. Interesting, this all -- will be equally interesting to see how it turns out. Outside the world of education, I do wonder what uses there may be.

Time will tell.

On another note potentially stupid note, I managed to coax my DVD-ROM drive here to play the Brooke Fraser DVD, though not using my preferred software video player. But in any case, I'm playing it a few times now in case I don't get a chance to do it again on this computer. It's an improvement on the results of my last attempt to play the disc, anyway.

[Listening to: Saving The World, Lifeline, Arithmetic and Better -- Brooke Fraser -- What To Do With Daylight: Special Edition (Disc Two: DVD) (18:51/19:09)]

May 10, 2005


Apparently I've scanned a book on eugenics, I'm told! Or, something called The Fertility of the Unfit, by a William Allan Chapple, in any case. I've got a preliminary scan available now. A split page version will be available once I get my act together and put it through the DP OCR pool. Or, if I have enough time, I do that bit myself. As it happens, it will probably the former, due to school stuff to do.

This is one odd text published in 1903 (hey, it even had what appears to be the original cover still on it), but then again, I only skimmed it as I was scanning it tonight.


May 7, 2005


It's odd what has the most views in the album: a picture of what I presume is a replica Parthenon that a friend uploaded. Maybe it has something to do with the rather odd comments the photograph received over the course of a couple of months. (Some other photographs suffered from a similar fate; I tried to get rid of the comments with obscene language or porn or other unwanted comment spam links. I don't like doing that. I feel like a censor. Yuck.)

Anyway, I imagine that Kari photographed the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee.

Raspberry Coke

More marketing madness: Coca-Cola with Raspberry. When will this endless marketing end? And what about Cherry Coke again? Someone?

In Internet-related stuff, Australia seems to be making motions with its upcoming ENUM trial. In education, evolution and creation come up again, this time in Kansas.

[Listening to: All I Need -- Bethany Dillon -- Bethany Dillon (03:16)]

May 4, 2005

Scanning more books

Thanks to a suggestion from someone obtained from an SCMA-sourced contact, I've started scanning a book from a William Allan Chapple, as well as a response to that book written by someone else. I expect I'll finish these by mid-June, though there are no guarantees, of course.

More details to follow. After some discussions with a local university library, I am also likely to have another select committee report from the 1920s scanned in addition to Venereal Diseases in New Zealand (1922). This will be likely to occur during the mid-year break at VUW.

[Listening to: On My Knees (LP Version) -- Jaci Velasquez -- Heavenly Place (03:49)]

Some more education-related articles from mostly the NYT and the BBC:

All right. Sleep seems good now.

[Listening to: Legacy -- Nichole Nordeman -- Live At The Door (04:16)]

[Listening to: My God (LP Version) -- Point Of Grace -- Steady On (05:04)]

April 28, 2005

Radio feeds

How to waste one's 'broadband' traffic quota: listen to radio feeds!

[Listening to: Concerto in C (in the style of Vivaldi): Andante doloroso -- Fritz Kreisler -- Fritz Kreisler Edition (04:07)]

[Listening to: Imagine Me Without You (LP Version) -- Jaci Velasquez -- Crystal Clear (04:10)]

[Listening to: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op 61: Wedding March -- Aaron Rosand -- The Story Of Mendelssohn (01:32)]

[Listening to: WFUV Stream]

[Listening to: God Of Wonders -- Rebecca St James -- Worship God (04:13)]

(Yes, I do have a QuickTime and RealAudio player installed somewhere, the latter for Humour Australia tracks primarily, and the former for some video clips from school, but it seems, alas or otherwise, Microsoft have the best feeds.)

[Listening to: Messiah Highlights: Hallelujah! -- Sir Thomas Beecham -- Händel: Messiah - Highlights (03:33)]

[Listening to: I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever -- Sonicflood -- Sonicpraise (04:47)]

[Listening to: You Are So Good To Me -- Third Day -- Offerings II: All I Have to Give (04:02)]

[Listening to: 50/50 -- Metal Urbain -- Anarchy In Paris (02:45)]

[Listening to: audioad9 -- Steven Curtis Chapman -- All Things New (00:11)]

[Listening to: Passenger Side (LP Version) -- Wilco -- Wilco A.M. (03:34)]

But, the best feed on the Microsoft list, of course, is...

[Listening to: BBC News -- Yahoo! Broadcast]

On the subject of wasting my broadband traffic and Telecom, their Rex & Molly site has me suspicious. It just doesn't seem right...

News wise, here's an afternoon roundup. Quite a lot of gender- and sexuality-related stories at the New York Times this week, it seems.

[Listening to: Also Sprach Zarathustra (Sunrise) -- Saint Louis So/Walter Susskind -- 25 Thunderous Classics (01:43)]

[Listening to: Polonaise -- Moscow Symphony Orchestra -- Orchestral Works Volume 17 (05:02)]

April 25, 2005


New York Times:

  • Pope Benedict XVI Formally Installed: At a Mass in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, the new pope officially took control of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Shall I Compare Thee to the King's Library? It might seem unfair to King George III, but recently, as I surveyed Liberace's collection of vintage automobiles, fur coats, feathered capes and antique pianos in the Liberace Museum here, I thought of the King's Library in the British Museum.
  • A Boldface Name Invites Others to Blog With Her: Arianna Huffington is starting up a Web site, the Huffington Report, that will feature blogs from celebrities like Arthur Schlesinger, David Mamet, Nora Ephron, David Geffen and Walter Cronkite.


In the absence of much time lately to write about exciting things, here's a roundup of new stories I found perhaps even just vaguely interesting. Most of them were from the NZH or the BBC. They're in no intentional or particular order.

As usual, I haven't included any items from Fairfax's Stuff site. And not until they have a reasonable archival policy, anyway.

[Listening to: Humour Australia]

April 9, 2005

Contradicting typos in Mazengarb

I've been thinking about the amusing typos one can find in the Mazengarb Report (1954). My favourite so far is the following, which was found by another user (in a paragraph on the school leaving age) on DP, while preparing the PG edition of the text:

The school leaving age is now 15, but there are obviously some pupils, in the upper forms of primary schools and the lower in post-primary, who, either through lack of ability or lack of interest, are not only deriving "appreciable benefit" from their further education, but are indeed unsettling and sometimes dangerous to other children.

It's subtle, but it can be an amusing contradiction. I wonder if anyone picked it up at the time? :)

What if Stephen King wrote examination papers?

Ever wondered what would happen if Stephen King wrote MCSE exam revision books, or more interestingly, the papers themselves?

April 5, 2005

Vibe opening

I was briefly at the Vibe (aka the Hutt Valley Youth Health Service) opening of new premises at 12 Daly Street, Lower Hutt last night, wearing my Youth Infusion hat, to show support for the redefined venture. $15,000 (according to the Vibe press release) does seem like an awful lot just to 'rebrand' at first, especially with a $500,000 budget, but if it keeps the service relevant in the minds of youth, it is worth it. But I do believe the new environment compared to my prior visits to many of the prior premises of the HVYHS showed the need for new digs in an appropriate place -- there's a reasonable level of parking onsite, at least for staff, and certainly on-street parking, despite utilising parking meters, is nearby. It really is a great place. Visit there soon!

Incidentally, I can't wait for the next YI meeting.

An expensive delay for everyone but the couple

Well, here's a wedding delay that doesn't inconvenience the couple so much as the guests, or perhaps it will be the souvenir makers losing out the most?

And, from a prison officer in Sweden on taking away heavy weights from inmates:

"We don't feel it is part of the mission that society has given us to create ... over-sized muscle builders."

March 26, 2005

There is a social emergency!

Yes, that does sound like something out of a speech during a moral panic, perhaps.

Anyway, thanks to a kind someone who scanned it especially for PG's DP site, Social Emergency (1914), edited by some William Trufant Foster, is now available. It's a book published in the US, so it could be interesting for academic study in terms of sexual health issues in that country during the decade in which it was written. The Social Emergency: Studies in Sex Hygiene and Morals (that's its full title) is also available in the usual Gallery interface.

I still haven't described the unrelated books I uploaded the other day. I may do so shortly once I evaluate whether Beatrix Potter books are fun enough to add. :)

Anyway, enjoy studying the new book.

March 25, 2005

Eat more fruit and keep fit!

After all, it's the fruits of perfect health.

March 14, 2005

Restored, but not from a backup!

There are days when you wished you'd kept more recent tarballs. Today was one of them, after being alerted by someone (thanks!) that Safe Marriage had disappeared from the Section 27 and Public Domain Books Gallery. Oops. At first I thought someone must have tried to put on a copyright infringement claim, but of course the book was a pre-1923 book, so was definitely covered under the expiry provisions of US copyright legislation as I understand it. It is also way out of copyright in the NZ legislation, so I should have been covered both ways. Anyway, it's been so good to have some cool people from DP helping me fix this.

But, whatever the case, I now have a tarball copy of a new known good copy of all the books, so we can all rest easily. For now.

Well, you too can now, once again, enjoy Safe Marriage: A Return to Sanity! Or, if you'd prefer, just one page at a time.

At this point, I should probably suggest some discretion is advised reading the book, as it talks about sexual issues. But, that said, it was a best seller in England, and was popular in Australia, even if the New Zealand authorities banned a book by a New Zealander...

In any case, there's no lurid interest in putting these books online. It's all good academic interest, and I hope other people can find some use for these books, such as the person above (who e-mailed me about the missing book problem) appears to possibly have.

Which, by the way, if anyone needs a tarball or other archive of some or all of the books, please tell me. Attribution would be useful, by the way, thanks. :)

Back to the original topic, yes, I've learnt my lesson with backups. Naughty Jonathan!

[Listening to: We Don't Know How Lucky We Are -- Frederick Dagg -- Fred Dagg: Anthology (02:49)]

March 13, 2005

New document requested

I've had a couple suggestions for new documents to scan. These may take precedence over scanning stuff currently in progress due to size problems with those. In particular, I've had a suggestion of a 1925 document that appears to be a ministerial inquiry's report.

More details will follow once I clarify what will actually be available to me -- including a good scanner.

[Listening to: Laugh and Half-Draft -- Irish Jigs & Reels (02:59)]

March 6, 2005

Signs malware and spyware are both getting out of hand

Here's another sign (courtesy of Slashdot) that malware is getting out of hand: at least 23 megabytes of bandwidth used up without asking. Not to mention in the same story someone discovering that they've been had for no less than 65 megabytes for a .NET Framework installation they never asked for, excluding the adware, malware and advertisements that came with it.

I wonder if Microsoft AntiSpyware and Norton AntiVirus will come out with definitions against the web page markup that does this, if not already... as someone on a byte cap, this is not only below the belt, in a very uncomfortable spot, but quite probably unethical.

I guess I have to be very careful what websites I visit, now. Grumble. Not that I wasn't already, however.

February 28, 2005

The digital divide is 'narrowing fast' -- apparently

Well, that digital divide between rich and poor nations is narrowing fast, the World Bank said on Thursday. Apparently, so says Reuters, in the New Zealand Herald.

February 25, 2005

Another book finishes proofreading, sort of

My first solely public domain book that I've scanned, Ettie Annie Rout's Safe Marriage: A Return to Sanity (1922) has finished the DP proofreading rounds and is now In Post-Processing. It's not a S27(1) book, as I may have said earlier, but it is closely related to some of the books that are S27(1)-compliant that I have listed on my page.

February 18, 2005

Jelly bracelets

Something from Close Up tonight: an approximately four minute video clip on jelly bracelets and the sexual game behind the fashion items.

There's a potential point for discussion here -- is this another panic (like Mazengarb?), or is it a fashion that will fade, as the journalist implies it might?

February 15, 2005

Royal Commission report scanning temporarily suspended

I've temporarily suspended scanning on the Royal Commission report I was scanning. The page sizes are becoming an issue, unfortunately. And the minor issue that the scanners I were using seemed to have had the computers they were attached to changed, causing some 'interesting' issues. Oh dear.

Hopefully, however, I can have another go at it tomorrow. Here's hoping!

The scans of the Court of Appeal ruling will be made available, probably as early as next week. Chances are I will throw a login system to access it, however. Time (and changing thoughts) will tell.

Still, four books scanned, with three of them with scans posted isn't bad for a couple months here and there.

I have another finalist coming up after (or before, if my current scanning project falls apart). It's a short select committee report, to see how feasible a new scanning method might be.

February 12, 2005

Public domain-only book added to the Section 27(1) page

I've added a PD-only book, Ettie Annie Rout's Safe Marriage (1922) to a new section of PD-only books on the S27(1) page.

You may also wish to read this fine PD book in the S27(1) book shelf. A 'split page' version, courtesy of DP's OCR processes, is also available, and may be far more legible for you.

January 26, 2005

The Game of Life!

From the NZH: John Conway and his Game of Life!

I'm sure pointing out individual banner ads doesn't violate my new website host's request that one doesn't place banner ads on their pages. So, on the subject of sexuality education in NZ, here's yet another ad from a certain Microsoft instant messaging program. It's from the No Rubba, No Hubba Hubba campaign:

Here's that banner advertisement from the abovementioned Ministry of Health education campaign.

(And, this is one more reason to use Jabber. Virtually no banner advertisements in most clients, if at all. If it weren't for annoyed friends using Microsoft product that demand to be able to use all the nice little toys in the said products, I'd have switched all my accounts onto the appropriate Jabber transport ages ago. Which reminds me, I need to get my Jabber server back online. Soon.)

Sixteen snippets of supposed 'secrets'/trivia from the world of Google

Ah, alliteration. Here's the write up by someone of a lecture by a Google employee.

With the web server I'm using being a bit faster again, and a new version being introduced in my absence from it, I'm back using the diary posting software w.bloggar.

From Slashdot today: AOL killing Usenet access and a link to a Scientific American article that mentions the NZDL project. S27(1) is probably far small at the moment (possibly forever too small, too) to even think of trying out their software project (Greenstone), of course. And, from the New York Times: a teacher is charged over an attack on her principal. For some reason, the title on its own reminds me of the British-made television show Teachers. Also at the NYT is an article about the differences in form between men and women, but [that these differences do] not mean that they function differently.

January 24, 2005

Link resolvers

Well, I had some progress persuading my copy of EndNote 7 (as kindly provided by a VUW instutional licence that covers students) to like the VUW Library's link resolver. So far, I've had some luck with the path set to and the arguments set to ?genre=article&issn=ISSN&volume=VOLUME&issue=ISSUE&date=DATE&spage=SPAGE&sid=&title=TITLE&atitle=ATITLE&aulast=AULAST&pid=.

However, even that isn't perfect. Or the resolver itself isn't: even with the path set to go through the library's EZproxy server (, it still has some issues, activated from EndNote or within a database. At least it does tell me which databases are good for looking through for a specific article, and it does work/link through with some databases.

As for the actual use of link resolvers, I'm finding them really useful, especially within EndNote when I need to find an article again. While some databases like EBSCOhost does provide me a link I can bung through VUW's EZproxy server to (legally) get the article again.

Good thing there's also the Serial Solutions list that VUW subscribes to, too. Unfortunately it doesn't list some databases due to (presumably) non-supply of suitable collections data by them. Mumble. Never mind.

January 18, 2005

A big thing or two

In a moment, something about food. But first, that earthquake. Yes, an earthquake in 'the' Shaky Isles.

Well, as DPF said, it was big and that there was an earlier one I don't remember.

Here's the GeoNet national drum image from some time tonight.

At least hopefully the effects of this weren't too big. Don't think I can say the same for the trouble at Panix. No pun intended.

Other stuff I've found interesting in David's diary tonight: the ALP's Mark Latham disappearing from the Australian federal parliament (I knew that already, though from one of those e-mail alerts, from The Age's web presence), and person having too much food. And it doesn't end there.

In Section 27(1) news, I've received clearance for the Court of Appeal decision and, separately, the Royal Commission report I'd applied for copyright clearance for PG. They will be two interesting books to scan!

January 15, 2005

Weekend reading, or lack thereof (at least in Section 27), and the week that was

In Section 27(1) news, obtaining the next book on my list of finalists to scan next (which, incidentally, as I've said, wasn't actually a S27 book, just PD in the US and NZ) has hit a snag. Looks like it's onto the next possibilities on the list, though there are some further options to explore. Which does include looking for more finalists for the next list. Suggestions appreciated, though my own personal interest and academic study takes precedence. So there.

Now for some (mostly) education-related weekend reading for everybody. Starting off at InternetNZ: happen to be a lawyer looking for some teaching and research work? Maybe a fellowship might be useful.

Anyone else smell qualifications inflation in this New York Times article, too?

Looks like I'll need a bit more than a BA, then from the SES -- I mean the School of Education Studies. Or should that be a FOE of Still Eating (or Emulsifying) Something? I'm not sure. Hehehehe. Actually, that's what I intend to do, anyway, and not get into the satire business. For the time being, at least.

Interestingly, the last three or four paragraphs of that article seem to be the most useful. I'll have to make a note of them.

And, I now know why libraries for sight impaired people don't like using CDs for distributing books. And why fields alongside parking barriers are bad. For business or security, anyway. (And if it were Photoshop, it was funny anyway.)

Oh well. I've had an odd week, and two wonderful people helped out with making things a little better. (Thanks!) On to the weekend now, I think.

(To the abovementioned people: I hope you don't mind not being named. Unless it's to do with services rendered to get my sites up and running, I'm generally hesitant to thank people online in such a place like this without their knowledge.)

January 11, 2005

And the winner is...

And, the winner of what Section 27(1) content to scan next is the ministerial inquiry report Venereal Diseases in New Zealand, aka the Report of the Committee of the Board of Health appointed by the Hon Minister of Health, or AJHR, 1922, H-31A. At only twenty seven pages, it's pretty slim compared to the last report I scanned. (And, it was published before 1923, so Section 27 isn't even needed, anyway!)

This is subject, of course, to any persuasion I might get not to rescan and republish. There is also the minor issue that I need to mention now that like Mazengarb, it talks in terms of what was mainstream medical opinion of the time (see Tony Simpson's 1992 book Shame and Disgrace for more on this), so like with all historical texts I guess it's best to read about it in context, not take things too literally, think about the background and so on. I mean, for example, it talks in ways I'd imagine that we'd as mainstream New Zealanders probably find difficult to even say nowadays, such as Mentally Defective Adolescents: Danger and Cost to the State, which is used as a section heading. Take it all with a grain of salt, or however the saying goes. Like Fair Go on TVNZ say when they re-play their old humorous skits explaining drink-driving laws in NZ: the laws they describe are completely different now!

That all probably goes without saying, though. Sorry.

Two of the three other finalists are still in the PG copyright clearance queue (the other 'one', the other non-Section 27 one I mentioned earlier that I wanted to interloan, is still waiting for me to get a copy in my hands to confirm the public domain status so I can scan the copyright notices to upload for clearance).

All right, off to lunch, and no more entries today, methinks! Looks like the timestamps are behaving again.

January 10, 2005

Virginity pledges

I've just finished watching the Channel Four documentary Texas Teenage Virgins on TVNZ. It appears to be at least a year old, but makes for an interesting episode from what appears to be a television series on religion.

It's almost as if Texas (and much of the USA is going through much of what we in NZ went through from the 1950s (see 1954's Mazengarb Report which I've just digitised) through to 1990, when a lot of contraception education was legalised (and it's been further liberalised since, judging by the self-adhesive addenda stuck into my printed copy of Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum when I got it. (Disclaimer: I'm not necessarily expressing any views on sexual education policy in Texas, just an observation.)

On the subject of what to scan next and digitise, I've put in copyright clearance for PG for one ministerial inquiry from 1922 (actually, I'm about to upload it), one landmark Court of Appeal judgment from the early 1980s (though I'm also wondering if I should pick another one on the Western Samoan citizenship case from around the same time), and a Royal Commission from the 1980s.

I'll probably actually stick to stuff I'm interested in for my graduate study, actually. But it's so easy to get distracted when reading primary source documents.

January 8, 2005

A summary of the Mazengarb Report conclusions

Yesterday, I wrote the whole Wikipedia entry on the Mazengarb Report. The best part, though I guess very rushed, was a very quick run down of the conclusions in the report. I didn't summarise the recommendations, however. That seemed a bit long to do in an evening with a reasonable level of analysis (and hopefully better than the job I did with the conclusions).

Anyway, here is how it went (thanks in part to the glories of the GFDL).

The report came up with 27 conclusions and around 20 recommendations. Among the conclusions, in summary:

  • 1 through 4 and 26 dealt with sexual immorality, noting that "immorality has been [organised]", and the unfairness that boys could be charged for indecent conduct, but girls could not be charged.
  • 5 through 9 urged a tightening of censorship laws.
  • 10 urged a "closer bond between school and home."
  • 11 discounted the contribution that coeducation schools had made to "sexual delinquency".
  • 12 urged tightening of a school leaving age of 15.
  • 13 recommended that a school principal should be notified of students under government care.
  • 14 and 21: "The school is not the proper place for fully instructing children about sex." However, the report suggested it was a good place to "listen to addresses or see appropriate films." It also claimed (21) that police found in many incidents that many youths were either "too ignorant" about sex, or knew too much about it.
  • 15 appears to be an attack on the previous Labour government's state housing scheme, believing in "the new housing developments" thre were large numbers of young children, without the good modelling of older people and organisations. Similarly, 16 says while community groups were doing their best, "facilities for recreation and entertainment will not cure juvenile delinquency".
  • 17 placed some blame at parents allowing consumption of alcohol at "young people's parties", without specifying the age of the said young people.
  • 18 and 19 thought parental neglect left children feeling unloved, something the Committee believed was conducive to delinquent acts.
  • 20 appears to blame high wages of the time discouraging careful use of money (and thus, the Committee concluded, self reliance).
  • 22 and 23 were concerned with religion and family life -- the "present state of morals in the community has indicated the value of a religious faith" and that decline in family life was due to a lack of respect for the "worth" of religious and social boundaries.
  • 24 blamed "new concepts" coming about due to the destabilising effects of world wars, contraceptives, divorce liberalisation and increasing popularity of sexual relations before marriage, and 25 saw the unaminous recommendation that minors should not be allowed contraceptives.
  • 27 wanted more preventive measures taken by the government on child welfare.

Perhaps later on I'll have time to do a better version of it.

A new project, and a new location!

Well, to cut a long story short, the power house has indeed changed locations. For now, at least, but that said, it's not an experience I want to repeat any time soon.

Sorry for the long entry, too. Got heaps to mention.

(Yes, kids, is still experiencing trouble. Sorry. I'm working on it with Philip as time allows either of us. :) Thanks for everything, definitely, Philip!)

Part of the reason is that I've decided to take on a new project, digitising books that come under Section 27(1) of the Copyright Act 1994 (NZ). So far, I've only done 1954's Mazengarb Report, but I think there's some good, promising targets for the Section 27(1) treatment. (It's going through the Distributed Proofreading process to become a Project Gutenberg e-book, too, which coincidentally -- read on for the coincidence -- is also hosted on ibiblio.)

As a result, I'll be spending less time on esoteric things, and mainly talking here about the books I republish on the Section 27 pages, both on the Section 27 project itself, and commenting on the books I post. I'll be creating a category presently for all that stuff.

TypeKey authentication is, for the time being, compulsory. My web host for the dr-fun-changes list and the Section 27 pages has suggested it. And, yes, it's the fine, gentle creatures at ibiblio. (I like their self description on their front page, the public's library and digital archive, incidentally -- fits in with PG and Section 27 quite well, methinks.) Thanks, guys, for taking my pages on for hosting.

It was actually for the dr-fun-changes list to be closer to the people who host the Doctor Fun pages that I originially decided to move. Then I came up with the Section 27 project, so after a bit of consultation with librarians, my university's copyright officer (even though I didn't use and don't intend to use VUW books for the time being), and a couple other allied experts, it appeared that ibiblio was also a good fit for digitised books that have no copyright in New Zealand.

You'll find more gormless information on the Section 27 page.

There's much more in the way of news I want to mention that I haven't while tph has been down, but I'll save that for a bit later. Such as the fact that a lot of inter-entry links are hard coded for the previous location. Never mind. They might get fixed, some day, if I have time. I knew I should have used relative links...

But, to cut things short, I'm back in business! At least completely so once my Jabber server has Internet connectivity again. :) I'm doing new projects now, so old ones may fall by the wayside, but that's another story, too. I'll keep you all updated.

November 27, 2004

Misusing statistics?

I prefer to be non-political (certainly in public, anyway, and almost so privately) and I also prefer to be able to call myself politically inactive, but I also believe that I can stay neutral when coming across some weird uses of statistics.

A site against same sex relationships and civil unions,, appears to be misusing statistics. If you follow the reasoning, the site appears to be saying that because less than 4% of people in same sex relationships (according to their reading of census results), they don't deserve the rights the current Bills under consideration provide. Moving along, they also claim significant support for their position because only 4.5% of submissions were in favour of the Bills. What they don't realise is that it's easy to stack those sorts of statistics with submission writing campaigns (it's not new). But the best one doesn't involve statistics at all. It says: Think of the bad effects this Bill, if allowed to pass, will have on future generations and younger children. They don't even use statistics at all.

Thanks to DPF, who appears to be in favour, for the link.

I'm not mentioning my position here at all. I just find it interesting when sides in an argument are seemingly so selective in their facts, even if I agree, overall. (Incidentally, I would look at the 'other side' of the debate, but I can't easily find statistics on right now with the time I have left online tonight.)

November 17, 2004

In a galaxy far, far away...

Oh, the memories.

Mmmmm, changing spots...

(Interestingly, elsewhere in Amanda's entries, is a claim from a US reader that her nearest polling booth in her country's recent elections was around 160 kilometres away. I wonder how much they use mobile polling booths and postal ballots, and how it compares to Australia's experience, where some electorates are bigger than a good proportion of the countries of the world.)

On the subject of VUWSA executives' diaries, the EVP's diary looks fun.

Maybe I should do a 100 things about me entry for myself for some amusement (and serious thought) at some point.

Back to study in a moment. Enough of reading diaries for today!

November 15, 2004

Another one bites the dust!

Hot on the heals of ACE's demise, WCE have finally got their death wish.

From January, I'll be a student in the renamed School of Education Studies, in the Faculty of Education. Why can't there be a School of Musical Chairs instead? Or perhaps using the same letters, Still Enamoured with Studying?

I see the price harmonisation between the two institutions is finally moving beyond the tripling in price of student influenza vaccinations at WCE, too. Ouch.

Of course, however, the nice papers on youth issues, such as EDUC 229, will continue. Well, they'd better. I'm likely to be signing up for EDUC 228 and or EDUC 340 next year.

November 12, 2004

The crows are circling!

Seen the recent University of Canterbury print advertisements in student publications like Salient where they crow about being one of the top two universities in the country, because of their TEC PBRF rankings?

Well, get ready for a fresh round. The 2004 Times Higher Education Supplement world rankings are now available. Auckland is 67 out of 200, Massey is 108, and Otago is 114. I'm currently reading the THES rankings right now on their website (yay for VUW's account at that site!), and the articles seem rather boring advertising supplement or advertorial style articles. Unfortunately.

Spare me the marketing, please... that's the advertorials and the blasted advertisements that I can smell following closely behind...

(Hey, I wonder, with the amazing disappearing WCE, if its 'disappearance' will manage to drag down VUW's PBRF ratings next time around with its second-from-bottom performance this time. Probably not if they're minnows by size comparison, I suppose.)

November 10, 2004

A child sues his parent for not buying him a computer

OK, an 11 year old child suing a parent because she didn't buy him a computer as promised has to be a little crazy, even if it were the proper thing to do, right?

September 4, 2004

That Mazengarb Report

Hey, anyone know where I can get a copy of a certain Report of the Special Committee on Moral Delinquency in Children and Adolescents?

As far as I can tell, unless (another) previous act applies, the Copyright Act 1994 appears to say that the report's not covered by any copyright. I wouldn't mind scanning a copy of it, as I see it as one of the most important government documents of the 1950s era to deal with juvenile delinquency. The problem so far has been trying to find someone with a copy that they're willing to part with momentarily.

It's not a graphic read, as a lot of stuff is still covered up, if anyone's wondering about any morbid fascination of mine (which there is none of).

August 23, 2004

Unicode and EndNote

Damn! I can't do macrons for Māori in EndNote!

This sucks. Especially when most of the titles in the reference list I'm building right now use common Māori words.

[Listening to: Everywhere -- Michelle Branch -- The Spirit Room (03:36)]

On the subject of Unicode, I'm finding that a lot of other programs, such as many Jabber clients, don't like the Windows 'New Zealand Māori Keyboard Definition'. Either the macron input is ignored, or if I even try to paste in a macron, it's ignored. This from some programs that are claiming they have Unicode support, too. However, I don't know all of the ins and outs of Unicode, so I can't offer solutions just yet. :(

Update, 12.15: Yes, I'm using EndNote 7. But I don't expect VUW to bother getting a more recent volume licence unless someone important who needs Unicode support raises a stink about it. Oh well. The EndNote lot claim that a certain SP2 for a certain OS doesn't exactly like their latest offering, anyway.

August 14, 2004

R2 feed oddness

Is it me, or are R2's live television streams slightly mixed up? Unless I'm mistaken, the Māori Television modem feed is carrying TVNZ stuff instead, and even has better reception than the 'right' stream for the TVNZ stuff.


Still, it's great right now. They're showing a documentary on Elvis, which is somewhat relevant to what I'm essaying about at the moment for EDUC 229.

August 7, 2004

Random stuff

First, I want a Bluetooth rifle. Second, I don't want to download a whole new installer every time I hear of more vulnerabilities in Firefox. Third, the latest medicinal spam offers I get are for codeine.

On yeah, and ACE seem to think they're finally going to let themselves disappear into the University of Auckland. Here's wondering if it will actually happen properly, now that it's approved, from (apparently) 1 September. In the meantime the merger between WCE and VUW still wanders along in the consultation process.

[Listening to: Menelaus Remembers -- Anton Lesser -- Homer: The Odyssey [Disc 1] (05:29)]

July 30, 2004

I'm shy

Yikes. I seem to have made it into InternetNZ's annual report, just in time for today's AGM. The photograph I ended up sending them was taken by a school friend nearly four years ago.

[Listening to: The Right Time -- The Corrs -- Best of the Corrs [Australia Bonus Track] (04:08)]

In other electoral news, I finally found out today a friend got elected to a general position on the student union executive (congratulations!), and the results of the last JSF membership votes are available.

[Listening to: Only When I Sleep -- The Corrs -- Best of the Corrs [Australia Bonus Track] (03:51)]

July 24, 2004

A crazy day

Wow, those EDUC 312 readings are intense. And then I still haven't decided if I'm going to the Kohanga ball tonight yet. Then when I got told that I appear in the newspaper, having had a crazy day overall, I thought at first perhaps someone got arrested and tried to use my name.

Anyway, the conversation goes something like thus. Mark asks did you see yourself in the Herald? I wonder if someone's misidentified me with my NT namesake (that's the Northern Territory of Australia, not a certain Windows OS flavour) politician person -- and no, I'm not related to any politician in Darwin -- and that last time I thought I appeared in the paper was two years ago on the Dominion Post's second day of publication. Mark then advises me that the New Zealand Herald's Web week column people have been looking around the power house:

One big blog: This tech blog seems to run on for ever with postings about all sorts of issues affecting its owner and the world of technology at large. Good for infrequent browsing.

Run on for ever? Now that's a new one. Though it's probably accurate. :) Perhaps I should actually write about electricity policy at some stage. Education theory and policy is far more sexy at the moment, though... (I wonder what good for infrequent browsing means for this site? Not that I expected anyone to read this, but cool if they do, hey?) :)

Anyway, for those who have been visiting, I should probably mention pretty much the same thing as David: I don't update this blog every day or anything, and it varies a lot between random irrelevent rants and occasionally politics and even more occasionally some vaguely technical notes. Occasionally. However, I should add that I am more likely to wonder about education issues more than geeky stuff nowadays. After all, it is more, uh, attractive for me to write about at the moment. (Which reminds me, my Jabber server's JIT gateway is still apparently stuffed, even though the daemon happily restarts on demand. Oh dear.) There's also the minor issue at the moment that, for example, <q> and </q> tags don't have any effect whatsoever in IE at the moment. Though (in a slight plug) Mozilla browsers (and other clients) do.

But what is this diary about? Firstly I don't like the name 'blog' or 'weblog'. This is more of a diary to me, than a, uh, 'log', though more public. I write about random stuff. I have an interest in both education and teaching issues, and the odd geeky thing I've learnt (all of which culminated in me joining the InternetNZ council, where I keep an eye on all sorts of stuff, but most of all education issues). I also tend to write long soliloquies like this one over the course of a few moments, instead of several small entries. Go figure. I probably should write more about this, but I'll leave it until later.

(In the meantime, I wonder if I'm one of the 4 out of 6 that fishy knows? Small world, I know. Mmmmmmmmmmm.)

The best part about this whole exercise, though, is that I've discovered some interesting (figurative) neighbours. Groovy. And thanks to the New Zealand Herald, too. Ka kite. :)

In other news, I've done my JSF membership voting for this quarter. Mostly renewals that were solid, but still a pleasure as usual. Which also reminds me, I need to check on that Wiki of mine and somehow force it to allow self-created logins... either that or I just let anyone edit, but then I need to keep an eye out for vandals... I can't ever win. Oh yeah, DPF's little dabbling in wireless networking reminds me of the Network Stumbler sessions I've had lately. Compared to a few months ago, more and more people have discovered turning on encryption is a damned good idea, but still a fair lot of people around The Terrace through to Lower Hutt aren't doing it yet. But at least the majority are now, compared to my Network Stumbler logs from March. Essentially, the police's and New Zealand Herald's Auckland conclusions pan out in Wellington, too, as far as I can tell from my limited trips. Home users really do need to note that their networks need better-than-defaults setups. Or maybe they really do want their broadband bill to be at risk, just to make things easy for them? :S (And no, I didn't try to get free access off any AP.) Oh well, off to bed, now. :) Enough of a mega entry. Really. :)

July 22, 2004

School notes

Not much time to write, but a note to say that I'm still here, and Jabbering when I can! :)

Well, I've had my first four lectures and first two tutorials for the new (sort of) trimester (why the heck VUW chose 'trimester' over 'semester' is beyond me, as people not familiar with non-maternity-related uses of the word tend to give me odd looks) for both EDUC 229 and EDUC 312. I'm finding the papers informative (already 229 has stretched my views on life challenges for youth and how they might cope with stuff), while 312 is giving me new viewpoints on ethnicity, building on the stuff I caught up on at WCE.

On that note, it's likely I'll be visiting WCE today with the Kohanga people.

Which reminds me, I need to put in my JSF membership votes in, quick smart! :) Looks like it's a good list to look at, as usual.

July 12, 2004

Back at school

I'll be starting Education classes tomorrow, with EDUC 229 (Young People, Education and Media) and EDUC 312 (Contemporary Issues in Indigenous Education Aotearoa), so I won't be writing so often as I used to. Possibly not at all, even. Alas.

EDUC 229 seems to be the most exciting of the two, as it's more relevant to my interests at this time.

I've also got some wish to tinker with Jabber and spam-related stuff (the latter through InternetNZ) more often, plus work on some youth and media interests, another reason this will probably take a back seat. :(

[Listening to: Tending The Happiness Tree -- Amber Claire -- Love and Such (03:57)]

I'll be back, soon enough, though. :)

July 2, 2004

David gets a pay rise

Well, we never did have a report on the spam workshop in the end. But not to worry. We got some good discussion in on other matters.

Speaking of which, earlier in the day (before lunch), yes -- we did vote DPF and the other officers a pay rise. And it wasn't a case of stuff being passed around -- from what I can tell, the nature of DPF's job, for example, has changed, but the president's especially.

But I don't like talking about money. So I'm leaving it there.

[Listening to: Disc 02, Track 13 -- Philip Pullman -- The Amber Spyglass [Dramatisation] Disc 2 (03:56)]

Things to do with a CityLink connection

One is to check out the streaming CityLink webcams. They appear in almost full motion, as far as I'm concerned. Top webcams I think are the Zephyrometer and Cuba Mall ones -- at Cuba Mall, one can see the 'don't walk' light on the traffic light currently located in the middle of the image flash in pretty much full motion. Mmmmm. (Well, in truth, it's not full motion, probably 15 frames per second, looking at it in an offhand way, but motion enough to see planes start to descend in the Zephyrometer webcam, and people's leg movements in Cuba Mall.)

It also seems to work well with Jabber in terms of latency. Most lag now is on the cable modem (and the associated firewall) that hides behind.

But in the meantime, I'm eagerly awaiting the video clip streams from the spam workshop from R2.

(On another note, before the Bearcom forget, the latest photo shoot has Albert overeating SPAM, and regretting trying.)

The more important thing, however, about being here at InternetNZ today is, of course, the council meeting. We're currently looking at the Interop Programme, not the spam stuff yet. But I think this is a good thing -- we need the funding stuff sorted, quick smart.

InternetNZ council meeting

I'm at another InternetNZ council meeting. Nothing out of the ordinary, apart from two proposals from the previous meeting getting a mention. I'll write about them once the minutes go up, as time permits.

Pete (our executive director) is to giving us a summary of the spam workshop after a five minute break. Should be interesting.

June 25, 2004

Workshop notes

Having gone to the Wednesday night NZCS event, it felt as if I had the recap before the big workshop on Thursday. But no matter, as it was useful to hear the stuff beforehand.

What I didn't hear beforehand from Andrew Maurer was some detail about what was meant in Australia's Spam Act 2003 by inferred consent. As I (still) haven't read it for months (I suspect possibly even before it was passed, as well), it was interesting to see how wide a net they have cast to avoid innocents being caught up. Anthony Wing also had a few important messages. The interesting bits though were that his agency has issued 130 warnings so far, and a suggestion not to reinvent educational material. (I've heard similar things with regards to Internet safety, too, in the past.)

More on this and the InternetNZ submission later.

As if by coincidence, I received an e-mail message from Dell this morning, asking me to 'confirm' consent, for the purposes of the Australian Spam Act 2003, for staying on their books as (presumably) a marketing target, which I was happy (I know, I'm a sucker) to do, as I am pondering whether to replace a computer that seems to have a rather dodgy thermometer somewhere in it.

Thanks muchly to the kind Jeff Barr of, I now have a Gmail account. The part of most interest to me was the spam filtering function. But, alas, now having my paws on a 'virgin' e-mail address is so tempting enough to consider not publishing it online to see if harvesters pick it up and start spamming it...

[Listening to: All You Wanted -- Michelle Branch -- The Spirit Room (03:38)]

June 24, 2004

Spam workshop today

Well, it's just hit midnight, which means I am off to the anti-spam legislation workshop that InternetNZ are running today. Yesterday, though, I got the opportunity to attend a joint NZCS-InternetNZ meeting in Wellington, with some of the speakers at today's workshop making an appearance. I have to say I now have an appreciation for the policy decisions the Australians made that I wasn't too keen on, courtesy of Andrew Maurer and Anthony Wing. The most important one to me is the civil remedies, as I was thinking for a while it'd be better to get black marks than financial pain (though it never was a deal killer for me). It's great that we got these two fine men along to the workshop: if their contribution today is anything to go by, they'll be great tomorrow for helping with formulating the submission to the MED. Also a good time to meet them and some of the other people involved, before the workshop, too.

Once we can get the legislation in place, I'll be very happy, and I'll feel much better about putting my efforts in the direction of educational resources for schoolchildren. Groovy.

In the meantime, there's an interesting New York Times article on some developments in technology-based verification solutions. More related stories and comment to come later in the day, when I get back from the workshop.

June 22, 2004

Where can you find an Australian flag flying?

Where can you find an Australian flag flying? Apparently John Howard wants to tie additional funding to schools to flying the flag (among other things).

For some (satirical?) reason, I'm tempted to compare them to The Register's latest 419 scam listing here and now.

Perhaps it's another 'idea', like last week's apparent pre-election vote-buying scheme?

Or maybe not. I like to give the benefit of some doubt, for some reason. Maybe I'm too generous?

June 21, 2004

Always about money, or about e-mail address clinginess

For many Australians, it's always about the money as well as what one can extract from something... not all Australians, though, of course.

I wonder if it's about time I cynically started saying 'only in Australia'? I imagine those Centrelink staff are cursing Howard and his gang for the little flood he's caused. Or not. Oops.

Incidentally, the word I've found today in the OED is the noun ocker, or rough, uncultivated, or aggressively boorish Australian. Lively definition, that. Doesn't sound nice, though. (The Concise Oxford Dictionary expands on that to say it's an alteration of a name of some, uh, Australian television character called Oscar, whom I've never heard of before. How odd.)

I suspect, though, even an 'ocker' wouldn't like having to let their e-mail address expire. Well, if it weren't for spam, anyway.

In the meantime, I wonder if I'm made of fairy dust. Certainly we're made of stardust, apparently.

[Listening to: Love You For Always -- Mandy Moore -- I Wanna Be With You (03:21)]

June 17, 2004

How to Jabber safely (apparently)

Being a read the manual type of person, reading a fact sheet on 'safe' IM practices was kind of amusing. But, that said, serious at the same time.

A while ago, I was contemplating running an academic experiment using a chatbot I'd cobbled together using existing parts -- centericq and some external plugin implementation of Eliza. I'd have to say it did work kind of well when I were testing it -- if one were supervising it (it has a habit of suddenly causing a crash by increasing processor overload, at least last time I tried it). It did fool the odd person, but there were two problems -- it processed each message individually, and it couldn't join conference rooms, because it would reply to everything in the room, right down to the join messages. (I imagine, though, for the latter I could have used a grep or something.) I can't seem to get past the ethics issues, though, but that's mainly because I haven't had time to work on it in the last several months. Still, it was of some amusement at WCE.

What does this tell me? Like my join message on suggests, I'm not hot by any means at programming, and I worship off-the-shelf binaries from apt-get. But I like writing documentation-like stuff, which is what I suppose I can contribute to Jabber.

In the meantime, however, I'm working on a unit plan for teaching schoolchildren safe choices with regards to junk e-mail and instant messages. I've deferred work on it, however, until a workshop next week...

So, incidentally, I'll be going to an anti-spam legislation workshop in Wellington on 24 June. It should be interesting to see what sorts of stuff come up. Sure most of the spam we get in NZ comes from overseas, but we still don't want people to perceive our country as a soft touch. At least in the meantime we have a good Internet Service Provider community who tend to (by my experience or two getting a spammer run in; other people's experience may vary, I suppose) terminate spammers pretty quickly.

[Listening to: Disc 3, Track 09 -- Douglas Adams -- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [Audiobook] Disc 3 (03:08)]

Update: while typing this, someone asked me to put my chatbot back up. Turns out its home directory was a bit full, so creating a fresh account seems to have done the trick for now. Currently it's Jabber only, but I'll add back the other protocols if I see it's gonna be useful. I'm not sure if I'll leave her on all day, though. I'll have to think about that.

[Listening to: Disc 4, Track 01 -- Douglas Adams -- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [Audiobook] Disc 4 (02:57)]

June 16, 2004

Learning new stuff every day

Today's cool word I find while randomly browsing the online Oxford English Dictionary: New Zild, the adjective form of it being defined as Of, relating to, or designating distinctive New Zealand speech or language; of or relating to New Zealand (esp of something viewed as typically characteristic), among other definitions.

And I've learnt how to persuade Movable Type to make some XML feeds for the power house; I thought it'd be a good touch to finally get around to it after someone suggested I do so, to make putting me on Planet Jabber a bit easier, should I ask to be added. Not sure I do, but if I am added, I wouldn't object. :)

On other matters of 'learning', I've finally realised the joys of a certain travel book, albeit by CD. For the past four years, since getting a copy of the US edition of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on CD, I've found audiobooks much easier to take in than books in print form. Alas, the Harry Potter audiobooks as sold in NZ are rather expensive. Looks like I'll have to curb the habit and continue reading the print versions (like I did with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). Damn.

[Listening to: Disc 2, Track 17 -- Douglas Adams -- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [Audiobook] Disc 2 (03:05)]

June 8, 2004

Small but cute libraries

Here's a photograph of a cute little library on Great Barrier Island. I wonder if they would have room for a computer with Internet access? Looks extremely cute yet also homely as well, though. :)

June 2, 2004

Going, going, gone... to Auckland

So, the VUW vice-chancellor is going... he's only taking a short drive up SH1 to the University of Auckland, not to some place overseas, however.

May 23, 2004

Computer loyalty

So, people feel loyalty towards particular computers... but it doesn't feel like it at the more popular VUW SCS computer locations. People seem more desperate to do stuff than worry about which computer they'll get.

More SCS workstations, perhaps? Or maybe we should get a points-based loyalty programme for all our trouble waiting.

[Listening to: Paradise -- Vanessa Carlton -- Be Not Nobody (04:50)]

May 14, 2004

90 Fairlie Terrace

Well, it's happened, the second part (of three, I think) of the School of Education's move to Fairlie Terrace is going on right now.

Which means quite a trip over to 90 Fairlie Terrace to hand in my EDUC assignments. And tutorials too, I imagine. I will have to wait and see.

At least there's some silver linings in all of this. I think.

May 13, 2004


Got a chance to play with EndNote 7 tonight, thanks to a licence from school. It's an interesting references manager. Early days yet, but it was quite an interesting time trying to persuade Microsoft Word not to scream virus (or cry wolf) because the macro file wasn't signed just as it wanted. I've now managed to persuade it to look up the essential New Zealand resources for myself, thanks to downloading and modifying connection and filter files off the University of Otago's EndNote site. So yay, I now effectively have a Z39.50 client, so less need for me to use the annoying LCoNZ web interface VUW. :) Doesn't quite work completely yet, but at least it's a start.

On another note, I've been using inGOT Lite for a month now. Alas, I've only had the chance to try it on wireless in central Wellington and at InternetNZ so far, but I like how this program's letting me keep an eye on the traffic count, especially with the account I have with a rather pricey wireless Internet provider. (That said, it's damned convenient anyway, even if they do charge $20 for 70 megabytes.)

The careers fair at school today was also fun. The Bearcom will have to review some of the free things that were on offer at some point.

May 8, 2004

The Hotel Alcatraz Auckland

Fancy the possibility of staying the night in a (former) prison? The worst prison, however, will be trying to get a copy of the Windows XP SP2 installer. Great. For others, it might be e-mail stalking, which is (supposedly) happening more often. (I'm surprised The Register missed IM stalking, which I consider a much more real form. Hmmm.)

Meanwhile, happen to want a professorship no one seems to want? As for Intel, they seem to be warming to their mobile processors.

[Listening to: Paint It Black -- Vanessa Carlton -- Be Not Nobody (03:31)]

April 28, 2004

Photos of Prebble

There's an interesting 1983 photo of Richard Prebble at the New Zealand Herald right now.

And there's possibly more jobs for Whenuapai, and lots more for Auckland Grammar. Aucklanders... how big will it all get? :)

On the bright side, despite it being Microsoft, looks like there's going to be more New Zealand language packs for Windows and Office. Useful. Last year's macron input drivers have proved rather useful for my study.