Politics

reaching out

  • Russel Davies painted his laptop to work as a blackboard. I think the acrylic casing for the iBook makes an excellent whiteboard too.
  • Friend and mentor Cong Yu just got an honorable mention in the SIGMOD Dissertation Award:
    …Two other nominees receive Honorable Mention recognizing their outstanding work on theoretical foundations and development of algorithms with great impact on important practical problems: Cong Yu, for his dissertation on “Managing Complex Databases in a Schema Management Framework” at the University of Michigan, and, Nilesh Dalvi, for his dissertation on “Managing Uncertainty Using Probabilistic Databases” at the University of Washington.

    It’s interesting to see the hiring trends : the Award was won by now-MSR researcher Ariel Fuxman. Nilesh and Cong are both Yahoo! Researchers.

  • Natalie Du Toit’s “wonderful story of courage, determination, discipline, hopes and dreams”, becoming the first amputee to qualify for the Olympics.
  • It’s not every day that the White House asks you to become a Vampire Slayer.

appu ghar is closing down

India’s first amusement park, Appu Ghar is closing down. This is sad. I admit that many of the rides there were either broken or dated the last time I visited it, but it’s still a big part of my memories, just like every other Delhiite. The land will apparently be used to extend the Supreme Court and Metro Rail facilities. I don’t care for the court, but if the metro folks could just implement a loop) in their train tracks through the place, I would be very happy.

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Flickr mobs

An interesting story has panned out at Flickr, which involves the stealing of a independent artist’s image by an agency, a flickr comment posted by the artist calling fans to send letters to the agency, the censoring of that comment by Flickr, culminating in the world calling Yahoo! Flickr the biggest known evil dictator censorship company since the prehistoric times. Here’s my view, sent as a letter to the artist:

——
Dear Rebekka,

Here’s something you wrote at the end of your letter:

So i encourage everyone that has been displaying similar landscape photos on flickr to look at their site and see if they see something suspicious.
It would also be pretty cool if as many people as possible would send them angry letters, (address them to info@only-dreemin.com ) but that’s just if you feel like it;)”

The first line is ok. The second line, you are actively calling for a mob to do wrong things. And if you look at reddit.com and digg.com, this is exactly what they are doing. In other words, that last line of yours has spurted a mob of angry people to send death threats to a company. Thousands of blog articles now are talking about how Flickr is a censoring company, how Yahoo sucks. Competitors with similar sounding names are voicing attacks to market their own product. And the funny thing is that most of these articles and opinions are either baseless or are completely false. And they were instigated by you. Using flickr.

Sending death threats to a company is wrong, even if they are caught stealing. The right way is to report them to the police.

However, this is not what your fans did. Furthermore, they did it based on your call for arms. And this sentence of yours was hosted at Flickr. In turn, this means that Flickr supports that sentence, that they are all in favor of harassing and sending angry letters.

While I can see that you are a talented photographer, and that it was very wrong to steal, you seem to have (knowingly or unknowingly) used your fame to fire a mob war. Note that you have used Flickr as your platform, and that they are just as responsible for letting you do this as you are.

Which is wrong — Flickr is a photo sharing site. It is not a union for photographers or a place to launch mob wars. All they did was stand by their own convictions of being a photo hosting site, and not your personal podium for war mongering.

Prior to this, I have NEVER heard of any censorship or willful harm done by Flickr to anybody. You seem to be an odd case, and I think it is in some part, if not all, due to your inciting messages which were taken too seriously by the internet.

I think it would be advisable to think about your actions in conjunction with Flickr’s actions, and then form an opinion on the service.

Also, I think you owe the crowds you have infuriated a message, telling them what you think of flickr, since they are right now burning down a beautiful community.

Regards,
Arnab

Note: I am an infrequent flickr user, and have been a user of their services since Ludicorp’s Game Never Ending times. I have very I am in no way associated or sympathize with any of the parties involved, and only care for the reduction of mob mentality on the internet. Hope you understand me and have read all of my email.
——

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chewing gum flavor song

Chanced upon this gem of a song in my collection. It’s called Does your chewing gum lose it’s flavor, by Lonnie Donegan:

Oh-me, oh-my, oh-you
Whatever shall I do
Hallelujah, the question is peculiar
I’d give a lot of dough
If only I could know
The answer to my question
Is it yes or is it no

Does your chewing gum lose its flavour
On the bedpost overnight
If your mother says don’t chew it
Do you swallow it in spite
Can you catch it on your tonsils
Can you heave it left and right
Does your chewing gum lose its flavour
On the bedpost overnight

Now the nation rise as one
To send their honoured son
To the White House
The nation’s only White House
To voice their discontent
Unto the Pres-I-dent
To ask this burning question
That has swept this continent

Does your chewing gum lose its flavour
On the bedpost overnight
If you pull it out like rubber
Will it snap right back and bite
If you paste on the left side
Will you find it on the right?
Does your chewing gum lose its flavour
On the bedpost overnight

Here comes a blushing bride
The groom is by her side
Up to the altar
As steady as Gibraltar
The groom has got the ring
It’s such a pretty thing
As he slips it on her finger
The choir begins to sing

Does your chewing gum lose its flavour
On the bedpost overnight
Would you use it on your collar
When your button’s not in sight?
Put your hand beneath your seat
And you will find it there all right!
Does your chewing gum lose its flavour
On the bedpost overnight

interesting poetry

Found this somewhere, randomly:

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

The wikipedia has some interesting details about the lines.

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Tag Soup

Here's a List of all the tags(categories, labels, whatever you call them) used at arnab.org:

honoured

phpDbxAdmin:

phpDbxAdmin is a tool to make the administration of a DBX database easier.

People are starting open source projects to build on top of one of our babies... neat!

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