Tuesday, March 20, 2018

No elephant stamp for you

Ivan the Terrible (cropped).JPG
Ivan the Terrible (1530-1584)
This is one of the most poorly written internet articles I've read in some time. It looks like the work of a primary school student. The grammar makes no sense at all, not to mention the sloppy research. I never knew that Ivan the Terrible was the Grand Prince of Moscow in the 1950s.

That would have come as a surprise to Joseph Stalin, or Nikita Khruschev, or any of the surviving revolutionaries who forced the Romanov dynasty from power in the 1917 revolution. One would hope that any student would know better than to use this site as a reference for academic work.

By Viktor Vasnetsov - This file has been extracted from another file: Vasnetsov Ioann 4.jpg Scanned from A. K. Lazuko Victor Vasnetsov, Leningrad: Khudozhnik RSFSR, 1990, ISBN 5-7370-0107-5, Public Domain, Link

Saturday, March 17, 2018

May the road rise up to meet you

Happy St Patrick's Day to any of you who might be reading this, and have any Irish ancestry. Today is a day to celebrate all things Irish, such as Waterford Crystal, Guinness, Irish Stepdance, and the great Dave Allen (1936-2005). 

Contrary to popular belief, Pierce Brosnan was not the first Irishman to play James Bond. Dave Allen actually beat him to it by 19 years. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Sweet victory

With his government languishing far behind the opposition in opinion polls, it seems almost certain that Labor will win the next federal election, due to be held in 2019. Labor's controversial plan to remove tax rebates for share dividends will reduce the incomes of self-funded retirees. The unwinnable election that Andrew Bolt mentions here was in March 1993, just over 25 years ago, and not in 1991.

In 1991, the Labor Party was mostly preoccupied with the recession, and leadership tensions between Prime Minister Bob Hawke, and his rival, Paul Keating. Keating successfully challenged Hawke on his second attempt, becoming Labor leader, and Prime Minister, in December 1991.

Labor won the 1993 election by relentlessly hammering the Liberals over their proposed Goods and Services Tax. Could Malcolm Turnbull use the same tactics against Bill Shorten's tax plan, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat? Politics never ceases to fascinate.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Pedants need not apply

If you are an IT professional and have sloppy spelling skills, and rely too much on automated spell checkers, then this could be the job for you.

Friday, March 09, 2018

The world's coolest marsupial

When Sega discontinued its hardware business to concentrate on software development, the unthinkable happened. It joined forces with its former rival, and released Sonic the Hedgehog games on Nintendo consoles. Sonic was originally created as a hipper, cooler rival character to Nintendo's Super Mario.

This isn't quite the same situation, but in today's Nintendo Direct, it was announced that The Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy will be released on the Nintendo Switch. Crash Bandicoot used to be a mascot for PlayStation. Things have changed since an actor dressed in a Crash Bandicoot costume taunted Nintendo outside their American head office in a 1996 television advertisement, shown here in glorious NTSC, and 4:3 aspect ratio.


Thursday, March 08, 2018

Guilt by association?

Some of my peers at Simmons College in Boston in the United States have published an "Anti-Oppression Library Guide." This guide is intended to inform, and provoke instruction about power structures that need to be challenged and changed to remove this oppression. A cursory reading of this guide is quite informative. I almost feel guilty by association. By virtue of my being a heterosexual, Caucasian Christian, I am automatically an oppressor.

I learned new terminology I never heard before. For example, Sanism is prejudice against neurodivergent people. Until today, I had no idea that neurodivergency was even a thing. Other phobias, such as Islamophobia, or Queerphobia, are now termed as Islamomisia or Queermisia, respectively.

The authors of this guide have deemed that using the "phobia" suffix is potentially offensive to people suffering from genuine phobias, such as claustrophobia. What will happen if, in a few years' time, the "misia" suffix is also deemed to be offensive? Will theorists need to devise a new suffix?

Whether or not this guide is addressing real or perceived problems is beside the point. I have political views, but I have never used my profession as a platform to impose them upon others. The last time I checked, the key principles of librarianship are to encourage library users to develop critical thinking skills, foster literacy in all its forms, and promote lifelong learning. This does not extend to dictating to them how they should think or behave.

It is concerning to think that some of the ideas in this guide won't stay as abstract notions forever. In years to come, when the current generation of college and university students become business and political leaders, they will become government policy.


Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Page turner

Robert Harris01.jpgFor a librarian, I don't write much about books on this blog. Pardon my indulgence, but I wish to say "Happy Birthday" to British novelist, Robert Harris. He was born on this day in 1957. I have only read his first novel, Fatherland, published in 1992. This book was so impressive, that to this day, I have not forgotten it.

Since Fatherland, he has published several other novels, including Enigma (1995), Archangel (1998), Pompeii (2003), Imperium (2006), The Ghost (2007), Lustrum (2009), The Fear Index (2011), An Officer and a Spy (2013), Dictator (2015), Conclave (2016), and Munich (2017). I must get around to reading the rest of his extensive body of work one day.

By Krimidoedel Dr. Jost Hindersmann - Own work, CC BY 3.0, Link