December 2005 Archives

Going downhill fast

31 December 2005 | Permalink
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Having lived all my life in Western democracies, it's easy to forget that freedom of speech is by no means guaranteed, even in countries that claim to be democratic. To me, it seems unimaginable that a democracy can charge someone with insulting the nation's character, although it's worth remembering that even in the heart of Western Europe, you can still be put on trial for saying the wrong thing (for the record, I have nothing but contempt for Irving and his views, but I think that for the state to decide what may and may not be said is a greater threat to freedom than the revisionist posturings of Irving and his kind). Unfortunately, much of the world doesn't seem to share my astonishment.

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Sic transit

New York, NY, USA -- 20 December 2005 | Permalink

I confess that I had expected that the city-wide transit strike might be a rather more dramatic affair. Perhaps it was my memory of the first day of the blackout in 2003, when the streets of Manhattan filled up suddenly with disoriented office workers all trying to work out what had happened and how to get home. Perhaps it was the minor sense of urgency created by being kept awake by police and news helicopters most of last night. Perhaps it was a permanent lingering desire for some occasional not-too-major interruption in the daily routine to provide a topic for conversation and material for photographs.

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Sony on the street

New York, NY, USA -- 05 December 2005 | Permalink
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This doesn't seem to be a good year for Sony. As if installing a rootkit on their customers' computers hadn't generated enough bad publicity, now they're drawing fire for a stencil and graffiti campaign.

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