Thursday, January 19, 2012

When the lights go out

It would appear that the protests by various internet A lister's yesterday (like Wikipedia) over the proposed SOPA and PIPA legislation in the USA has had at least some of the desired effect. 8 of the main backers of the bills have withdrawn their support included a couple of sponsoring senators. This is really good news for those of us who value freedom of speech, this legislation was poorly conceived, badly worded and utterly out of touch with the way people use the internet for business and pleasure in this modern age, it would be like putting the onus of responsibility for every reckless driver and vehicle accident onto Ford, General motors and BMW etc.

For those in power I have a humble recommendation regarding how to deal with privacy laws and media legislation, it goes like this, take a look at what Rupert Murdoch rabidly supports and do exactly the opposite, you won't go far wrong sticking to this simple rule.

In other news I've been watching the excellent BBC mini-series about star-gazing over the last few nights, Dara O Briain and Prof. Brian Cox do an excellent presentation job (for a comic and a physicist!) especially when you consider the number of props they have to use and the number of cut-away segments to far flung locations the program has, it all flows pretty well keeping the engagement level high. Not only did they discover a new exo-planet via crowd-sourcing the analysis of a bunch of observation data (an amazing outcome!) but they also got the small town of Dunster in Somerset to switch off all it's lights to get a better view of the sky. The effect was interesting, not just from the point of view of the darkness but also the interest it generated in science among the population there, something that perhaps other communities could consider doing to enliven school science projects everywhere!

No comments: