According to a reader of Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish, the US government is charging it’s citizens in Lebanon for the priviliege of being removed from that country and being left in Cyprus. Where they’ll have to sort out their own accomodation and flights back to the US.
Nice of them isn’t it. To be so concerned about their citizens that they are offering to remove them from a war zone for a FEE. Not like all those other governments who are already getting their citizens out for free.
Originally by Rachel from More Tomorrow on July 18, 2006, 8:07am
How to blog – and keep your job
After reading that article, I started thinking about all the various bloggers who got sacked after their employers found out about their blogs.
How hard could it be to make sure that you didn’t mention your work? Or if you were talking about your work, not to mention names and place or any identifying features?
I don’t know. I’ve not yet been in the position where I’d be blogging about work. I don’t write about topics that I don’t want the world and her dog knowing about in any of my blogs (are blogs and livejournals the same thing?), and any vaguely sensitive topics… say pictures of my family (especially the younger members)… would go in a friends-locked livejournal post. That way, the audience is limited to a smaller group of people I don’t expect to be sharing the content with all and sundry.
So when I finally get some kind of job, or temping work, I guess I’ll get the chance to find out.
Originally by Rachel from More Tomorrow on July 21, 2006, 8:45am
Digital switchover a mystery to many:
Analogue TV signals will start to be switched off in two years’ time, but a third of UK TV viewers are still unaware of the switchover.
A survey by Digital UK found that awareness has grown by 13 per cent since the launch of the Digit Al campaign, voiced by Little Britain star Matt Lucas.
But that still leaves one-third of people who have not heard about the digital switchover.
Perhaps surprisingly, awareness is highest among the 65-74 age group, and lowest among 16-24-year-olds, fewer than half of whom know about the switchover.
Could it be that the 16 to 24 age group watches the least tv and this is why they don’t know about the switchover? I know certainly that I (and I happen to fall in this particular age group) don’t watch anywhere near the amount of television I did ten years ago. It’s a combination of getting some sort of life, the internet being more interesting and television getting more rubbish. Every couple of days, I check out the tv guide to see if there’s anything I want to watch on. Generally, it boils down to “Is Doctor Who or programmes of a similar genre on?” or “Is a film I want to see on?”. And usually the answer is no.
Especially when the alternative is cheap dvds from Play.com, catching up with friends, fiddling with my websites (somehow I have accumulated a vast number) or reading a book (something that I somehow seem not to have as much time to do now). It’s not as if I download things to watch either – all I have downloaded is the entire series of Space:Above and Beyond which I’ve not been able to find on dvd and some episodes of Doctor Who, that I’ve already watched on tv and am waiting for cheaply priced dvds of.
So… I’ve not seen much of the tv advertising of this switchover… and I’ve not seen much in the way of other kinds of advertisements.
Another thing about this age group is that most of them could well be bogged down in exam and studying hell. At 16 I was doing my GCSES, at 17 AS-levels, 18 was A-levels and from then till just recently, my life was a marsh of university work and exam cramming. They have different priorities. Going out and seeing your mates rates far more highly than staying in and watch telly. On the other hand, the 65 to 74 age group could well be the group that stuck inside and have tv as a large source of contact with the outside world (I am being a bit pessimistic here). Faced with the loss of the primary source of entertainment and information, I think I would probably find out more about what was going on and how I could deal with it.
Eventually, I suppose, I’ll do something about sorting out Freeview for the house. However, there’s no urgency to it.
Originally by Rachel from More Tomorrow on July 21, 2006, 9:00am
How paedophiles prey on MySpace children
It’s difficult to know what to say to the Daily Mail’s usual reaction to anything that could indicate change or newness (the “OMG WE MUST STOP IT” reaction). So mostly, I’m just going to go through some of the article and comment on it.
The experiences of Alice and Lucy should send a chill down the spines of parents across Britain. Got a teenage child? Then it’s more than likely that over the weekend they will be using one of these so-called social networking sites, be it MySpace, Bebo, Friendster or one of many others.
Probably MySpace actually. The rest of them haven’t taken off in the same way as MySpace, which has also been embraced by various corporations, media outlets and musicians as a way to pimp themselves out.
In the space of the past 12 months their popularity has exploded, with 61 per cent of British 13 to 17-year-olds now logging on to them. Without paying a penny, users are able to create their own web pages on which they can write anything they like and post pictures of themselves for just about anyone in the world to see.
Inevitably, through a combination of their parents’ ignorance and the teenage desire to appear cool and streetwise, photos are often more soft-porn than school portrait while the profiles are littered with references to drink, drugs and sexual boasts.
The danger for young people mostly comes from parents’ ignorance, denial that their child is maturing (and becoming interested in drink, drugs and sex) and possibly also a lack of openness in the relationship between parents and child. Not that I’m any kind of an expert. It’s no surprise that there are references to drugs and sex – when I was at school most of the 14 and 15 year old girls were regularly getting drunk and taking part in sexual activities. And this is in a school the Daily Mail would be proud of. During either GCSEs or A-levels, one of my friends, a smart, intelligent girl, was drinking orange juice and vodka at school, during school hours – partly I guess from the slow pace of the lessons and the mindnumbing stupidity of some of our fellow classmates.
With such rich pickings on offer, it’s perhaps hardly surprising to learn that experts fear they are becoming a paedophiles’ paradise. At any one time, say police, as many as 50,000 sexual predators are online.
Of course, they’re not all on MySpace. Some of them lurk in other places. At least MySpace tries to do something to protect their younger users.
Consider, by way of example, the following statistic: one in 12 of the eight million children with internet access in this country has gone on to meet someone after they first made contact online. Frightening.
OMGOMGOMG Time to PANIC OMG.
How many of those children met their online friends whilst with their parents or whilst with a group of their own friends? I certainly would never have dreamed of meeting anyone on my own. Perhaps it’s just an indication of the good relationship I have with my parents, but they always knew what I was doing. I accepted that my parents wanted to protect me and so invited them along to meet my new friends. In fact, some fellow fans of a band I like are envious that my dad has seen this band more times than they have! Parents should be aware that their children will want to meet people that they met online. It’s like wanting to spend time with friends they meet at school. And parents should take responsibility for their children and make sure that they don’t go hanging out with thugs, murderers and rapist. Oh wait, kids today are the thugs, murderers and rapists. I guess I’m getting cynical in my “old” age.
Equally worrying is the fact that even if they do not want to meet, so free are children with their personal information that a determined individual could find their school, e-mail address, phone numbers and home address within a matter of minutes.
Only if the child is stupid enough to put that information online. And the child stupid enough to do that, has not been properly educated by their parents. It’s not that hard to find anyone’s address and phone number, and with a little digging even more information about them – providing they’re registered to vote, only there doesn’t seem to be any outcry about that (although I do admit that your average adult isn’t in the same vunerable group as a teenager).
Joining this online community takes a matter of minutes and requires little more than an e-mail address and the minimum of personal details. Once set up, users are encouraged to download photographs of themselves, to create their own profile and to customise their site with music and video.
UPLOAD. Not download. It’s stuff like this that annoys me and tends to damage the credibility of the author, especially when it’s something so basic as the difference between uploading and downloading.
Only last month the reality of the situation was highlighted when Lee Costi, 21, a student from Haslemere, Surrey, was jailed for nine years for having sex with girls of 13 and 14 whom he had ‘groomed’ on online internet chatlines.
I would have thought that the 14 and 13 year old girls who mugged a man they had groomed on MySpace would have been mentioned, but of course the Mail is only interested in sex and preying on children. I am truely surprise at the lack of mention of the story about the 16 year old american girl who tricked her parents into getting her a passport and then tried to run off to Israel to marry the 20 year old man that she met on MySpace – getting as far as Jordan before she was caught. Oh, but that’s neglect on the part of the parents and not the dangers of the big bad internet.
At much the same time, the headmistress of Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School in Kent hit the headlines after banning her pupils from using the website Bebo.
Linda Wybar spoke out after discovering that 700 pupils had signed up to the website and that many had put revealing pictures and personal details on their pages.
I doubt they all signed up from school. In fact, they probably mostly signed up from home. Nevertheless, the headmistress (as the name suggests) was in charge of a school. What was she thinking, not having measures in place to keep most of the internet out of the reach of her students? I remember being at school and we had a SchoolsNet service providing out internet connection as well as filtering out any sites which weren’t appropriate.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, created two months ago, said it would be examining community websites.
A spokesman said: “Young people have been putting information there which could easily identify them. We don’t want them to do that because where young people go online, so do paedophiles.
“We will be seeking new safety features from the operators. It’s not a question of closing them down. We’re trying to stay ahead of those who go online to exploit children.”
It’s not just the operators who should be targetted though. The main victim of this group’s campaign should be the obviously negligent parents of today’s youth. If it didn’t cause harm to the teenagers, I would say that parents who fail to keep up with their child’s interests and don’t take the time to be fully appraised of these things actually deserve something bad to happen to them. Would you let your 14 year old loose on the roads with your car? NO! Then why let them loose on the internet without some kind of supervision? Of course, for anyone over the age of 14 now, it’s probably too late – ideally, a parent should be the one introducing their child to the internet, pointing out the dangers, using appropriate measures to block sites that they shouldn’t be looking at and sharing the good experiences that can also come with using the internet.
Back on MySpace and a quick search of the site shows there is much work to be done. Take, for instance, the profile of one 15-year-old girl. She is pictured wearing a low-cut black top and minuscule shorts.
In another shot she is on all fours; in another, taken from above, she shows off her cleavage. Not only does her profile give the city where she is from, but the name of the school she attends.
The “taken from above” shot is a typical MySpace style photo because it hides the fact that you might be a bit tubby and generally ends up overexposed to hide your spots. I’m not surprised that they found this kind of picture… 15 year olds today aren’t the innocent angels that they may or may not have been in the past. Partially a result of maturing younger, being spoilt and being given more freedom to do, say and wear what they please, girls this age are interested in getting attention and use sex as a way to do it. And when the examples of “successful” women include people like Victoria Beckham, Jordan and Lindsey Lohan, as well as a harem of other celebrity women who use their “sex appeal” and bodies to draw attention to themselves, are plastered all over magazines and newspapers…then how can we really be surprised?
I know that I was and still am careful about what information about me finds it’s way online. Well before these social networking sites appeared there were still newsgroups, chat rooms and message boards where young people congregated to chat to each other, and I met friends there that I am still in regular contact with nearly 8 years later. The best thing to do is make sure that teenagers are properly educated about the dangers out there and all their clothes replaced with burquas. Seriously. I’m sick of being able to see 14 year old girl’s underwear being flashed out of the low-riding hotpants that their mothers have probably bought them. But you know, I’m getting old and out of touch with what’s acceptable for kids today.
I think that should I have kids, I’ll be the one that introduces them to the internet and hopefully I’ll have a good relationship with them that would allow me to share their online experiences.
Of course… I’ll be monitoring their internet use via sneaky hidden technological means anyway and snooping on their email – but that’s because parents are supposed to be doing, keeping tabs on exactly what their kids are doing.
Originally by Rachel from More Tomorrow on July 22, 2006, 4:24pm
I just read an interview by TechDigest with one of the founders of Egg, the internet bank. It discusses the subject of who might have your personal data – things like your address, date of birth and name as well as other data that might be held by various companies.
In Britain, the Data Protection Act allows you to ask any company for the data they have on you and they have to respond to your request within 40 days. Tom Ilube, one of the founders of new company garlik, says “We decided to create a large-scale consumer-facing company that will help people understand what’s out there about them and how to manage it.” According to TechDigest:
Initially, this will boil down to a service that rounds up all the publicly-accessible data on a person, including their credit file, but also the records kept by private companies.
This all strikes me as very useful. I’m only 22 and just out of university, but I’ve been hanging out online for about 7 years and in that time I’ve done a fair amount of buying stuff online and signing up for websites and things. Not only that, but I shop in regular stores too! Now, I don’t have a credit card because I’m not yet entirely comfortable with spending money that I don’t already have – but I’m sure various companies must have information on me from my limited dealings with banks and building societies. Add to that various competitions I’ve entered over the years and there could be loads of companies that have my personal data, even though I tick the boxes that say that my information can’t be passed on to other companies. It’s all very interesting and I’m curious to see who might have data about me.
Originally by Rachel from More Tomorrow on August 4, 2006, 8:37am
Generational impacts of adoption – Harlow’s Monkey
Blogger Harlow’s Monkey discusses her being adopted, not knowing her biological family medical history and how that has affected her own daughter.
Sometimes, I think my unknown medical history is the most damaging feature of being adopted.
But of even greater concern is that I don’t know if I’m at risk for cardiac problems, diabetes, cancer, or mental health disorders.
This means also, that my children will also be unable to fill out the [√] on standard medical history forms, as we recently experienced when my kids had their yearly checkups.
Again, not knowing doesn’t just affect me. It also affects my children.
I kind of know what she means, though from the perspective of the child of an adoptee rather than as an adoptee myself. While I know at least some information about my mum’s family’s medical history, I know nothing about the medical history of my dad’s biological family. This especially becomes a problem when you start thinking about illnesses that can be hereditary – for example Crohn’s Disease, which my dad suffers from. He didn’t show symptoms of having it until he was well into his forties and without a family medical history to look at, I have no way of knowing whether or not I have a similar risk of finding myself suffering from the same problem. As far as I know, with Crohn’s Disease, there is no certainty that the children of a sufferer will also find themselves also afflicted (not a great word to use, but I can’t think of a better term) but there is a higher risk of them suffering from Crohn’s Disease.
If I knew more about my family medical history, then there might be some clues as to whether I have this to look forward to in twenty years time or if I can relax a bit and not worry quite so much. I guess it would be a bit easier for my dad to find out about his biological family and their medical history being adopted within a country rather than internationally like Harlow’s Monkey.
Originally by Rachel from More Tomorrow on August 4, 2006, 9:07am
Boing Boing – Only traitors try to make us afraid of terrorists
The paper this article takes about seems to have a point. Terrorism is highly unlikely to kill me. I mean… I live in the UK and here we’ve had various terrorist acts from the IRA, Islamic militants and so on… but I’m still here. No one I know personally has been hurt. I’ve even visited Israel and missed being in the area of a bombing by a day. So why should I worry? Surely the point of a terrorist act is to frighten and scare people, to have some measure of control over them.
After the Tube bombings on 7th July last year, my mum was worried about me going places on the underground and on the train. I reasoned that if I was going to get blown up on the Tube, then there would be nothing I could do to stop it and so there was no point worrying and hiding indoors.
Originally by Rachel from More Tomorrow on August 7, 2006, 1:47pm
Young drive ‘radical media shift’
Sixteen to 24 year olds are spurning television, radio and newspapers in favour of online services, says the regulator’s study.
I can’t say that I’m surprised really. Most people in that age group would probably have grown up with computers and the internet. Personally I used to watch hours and hours of tv when I was younger, but in the last 4 or 5 years the amount I watch has really dropped off. Whether it’s because the content on tv has got less interesting, or because the content online is more interesting… I don’t know. The only time I really watch tv is when I’ve checked the tv guide (online of course) and there is something I want to watch on. I don’t watch just for the sake of watching anymore.
As for radio and newspapers… I still listen to the radio, but mostly in the car and the reception for the station I like to listen to isn’t that great anyway. Newspapers… perhaps on a train journey, or I’ll flick through the paper that my mum gets on Saturdays. I’ve always got my news either from television or radio, so the change to getting it online and from multiple sources wasn’t that much of a stretch. The Internet is quicker for news, especially you’d only really get a newspaper with the previous day’s news in it, rather than what is happening this very second.
Originally by Rachel from More Tomorrow on August 10, 2006, 2:25pm
AFI are my favourite band and have been for about 6 years now and I’m always struck by how dedicated their fans are and how much AFI seem to do for their fans. It may be because I am far more involved with the AFI fan community than I have been for any other band or musician that I have liked in the past, but thinking about the big music stars that I remember, none of them seem to do so much personally for their fans. Sure they might tour and stuff – but all musicians tour. Otherwise it’s just CDs and radio and while the music may be good, it’s not enough just to hear recordings. AFI actually concoct crazy mysteries to go with their albums for the fans to try and solve and investigate. They communicate with the fans using their messageboard, myspace and various other internet outlets. They take the time to meet members of their fan club before shows and often spend some time with the fans who stick around waiting after shows.
And I think it pays off. All the extra effort that AFI put into doing a little extra for their fans has resulted in a largely uber-dedicated fanbase who stick with them, even if some aren’t sure about the new direction their music is going in. A fanbase so dedicated that they frequently declare their love for AFI in a permanent fashion by tattooing it on their bodies.
Link to the original site