otago massacre

this pamphlet predicts your future by ophalm
July 20, 2009, 6:00 am
Filed under: student life | Tags: , , , ,


the other day at student health while in the waiting line to get my colon evacuated after a particularly brutal night on the cough syrup I noticed a charming wee pamphlet


is my drinking ok? they’re probably talking about alcohol and not robotripping, so I do the quiz. it’s not fun like a facebook quiz because the end results aren’t “the vegetable you have the most in common with is – pumpkin” or “what ex shortland street star do you wish to date – robyn malcom” but they are “serious”

what kind of questions do they ask? questions like “how often you wake up needing a drink?”, and how often do you wake up feeling guilty after drinking?”. now that question is unfair because I always wake up from a drinking session feeling guilty regardless; but maybe that’s because of my answers to “how often are you unable to remember the night before?” combined with “how often do you injure someone as a result of drinking?”

anyway, come to the end of the pamphlet, the finishing line


and it reads like a horrorscope. “your drinking will cause you problems” and there you have it. our future predicted. it’s pretty gloomy I reckon. what about the fun times I have causing problems?

as a slightly serious note, the “problem” with this test, is while it might point out some issues, it’s just not realistic. according to another page the maximum drinks for one session is six (men) and four (woman) and during one week is twenty one (men) and fourteen (woman). those numbers are probably based on evidence. but asking students to not have more than four/six drinks in a session just causes a laugh. I know it’s what should be happening, but the theory/practice gap is so large that it’s pointless. but they can’t really advocate drinking more than that and saying thats ok….

maybe we should just smoke weed instead. if I have six beers and a fat bowl I feel pretty alright and if it’s good enough for me it’s good enough for our children

freedom and darknets by ophalm
May 5, 2009, 9:03 pm
Filed under: philosophy, politics | Tags: , , ,

posted by ophalm

I’m a bit keen on freedom and liberty. not surprisingly privacy is also strongly linked in with those concepts. some people think that “if you aren’t doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide”.. those are the kind of people who are all for the cctv cameras in the octagon. it might reduce crime, but so would other methods that didn’t require making records of normal people doing normal things.

recently I read this article from here and here is some of it

The most common retort against privacy advocates — by those in favor of ID checks, cameras, databases, data mining and other wholesale surveillance measures — is this line: “If you aren’t doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?”

Some clever answers: “If I’m not doing anything wrong, then you have no cause to watch me.” “Because the government gets to define what’s wrong, and they keep changing the definition.” “Because you might do something wrong with my information.” My problem with quips like these — as right as they are — is that they accept the premise that privacy is about hiding a wrong. It’s not. Privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect.

Two proverbs say it best: Quis custodiet custodes ipsos? (“Who watches the watchers?”) and “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Cardinal Richelieu understood the value of surveillance when he famously said, “If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.” Watch someone long enough, and you’ll find something to arrest — or just blackmail — with. Privacy is important because without it, surveillance information will be abused: to peep, to sell to marketers and to spy on political enemies — whoever they happen to be at the time.

Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we’re doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.
We do nothing wrong when we make love or go to the bathroom. We are not deliberately hiding anything when we seek out private places for reflection or conversation. We keep private journals, sing in the privacy of the shower, and write letters to secret lovers and then burn them. Privacy is a basic human need.

A future in which privacy would face constant assault was so alien to the framers of the Constitution that it never occurred to them to call out privacy as an explicit right. Privacy was inherent to the nobility of their being and their cause. Of course being watched in your own home was unreasonable. Watching at all was an act so unseemly as to be inconceivable among gentlemen in their day. You watched convicted criminals, not free citizens. You ruled your own home. It’s intrinsic to the concept of liberty.

For if we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness. We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that — either now or in the uncertain future — patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us, by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once-private and innocent acts. We lose our individuality, because everything we do is observable and recordable.

is this something we need to think about? surely as we grow up we need to be aware of these things, because when people don’t protest governmental decisions to do away with rights, freedom and privacy; those rights are lost.

and as part of this I’m thinking of what it would also be like for otago university to have a dark net running. something where students could anonymously log onto a darknet and share information, talk to one another, not scared of any kind of authority.. maybe I’m a bit paranoid.. I don’t think I am but it’s something that should be considered?

it happened (aka conservatives are rude) by ophalm
April 30, 2009, 11:44 am
Filed under: horrible, politics | Tags: , , , ,

posted by ophalm

I accidentally watched the news. I saw some article about boot camp and sending young children there to make tshirts for middle class white teens. in fact here are a couple from stuff here and here

but this post isn’t so much about that as it is about conservatives, those dirty fuckers. but the boot camp fiasco highlights the issue, and it’s timely with the recent posting about political correctness by an evidently uninformed young person

the gist of the boot camp article is that national in all their privileged wisdom want to sentence young offenders to boot camp for a while, help straighten them out. on the very surface this seems like a good idea I guess. but then we start getting some more opinions and facts coming through:

“We found no evidence whatsoever that it does anything other than to prepare young people to live in a military world, not be good family members,” Chief Families Commissioner Jan Pryor said. “In some instances they have been shown to increase offending.”

oh yeah..

Unicef’s Barbara Lambourn said the bill pandered to “populist and ill-informed pitchfork-and-torches mentality” and said harsher punishment increased the likelihood of reoffending. It also breached United Nations conventions. “…Children’s rights are being knowingly disregarded.”

uh huh..

Putting children in the criminal justice system also left them vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse and “put them in the company of their peer group which is just ideal for teaching criminality”.

on the news article on the ‘vision there was something along the lines of “those who work on the coalface, the youth workers say that this is a terrible idea”..

but what’s national doing? going ahead with it anyway. and this is to me what conservatism is all about. see we’ve got these priviliged white people who see a problem, and thinking back to their oppressive roots (being the oppressor) they conceive of the harshest way to deal with the problem within the realms of vaguely keeping human rights intact, because they generally believe that if something is bad people will avoid it and therefore crime will be stopped etc etc etc.

yet all the studies, evidence and opinions from those that are relevant say that’s not the way. they say we need a more reasonable approach – which probably requires more work and grace – that actually results in positive change, not just retribution. but conservatives just don’t give a fuck about any of that stuff and go ahead anyway.

and you can apply this theory to almost any attempt of social change that conservatives do. drug policies instantly jump to mind; “if we make the punishments for doing drugs harsh, people won’t do them and society will be saved” only anyone who has a clue realises that it doesn’t work. there is a problem in our society with drugs, but laws aren’t going to fix it, it’s a health issue.

I used to sum up conservatives (vs liberals) like this: conservatives want society to suit them and liberals want society to suit everybody and yes it’s a massive generalisation but it fits.

what’s most offensive of course is that the majority of the population is ignorant enough to vote conservatives into power every once in a while – and why? because the conservative approach of keeping themselves in the good and everyone else in the suck appeals to a large proportion of society who (believes) that it will keep the status quo with their privileged lifestyle.

a bit ott maybe? /rant

do you value piracy? by ophalm
February 17, 2009, 8:26 pm
Filed under: entertainment, horrible, politics | Tags: , , , , ,

because soon we’re about to lose our right to it

this is the law being enacted on the 28th feb

Guilt Upon Accusation
“This would force the termination of internet connections and websites without evidence, without a fair trial, and without punishment for any false accusations of Copyright infringement. As former Minister Judith Tizard stated, they will “cut off anyone who might be breaking the law”. This law, called Section 92, is so far-reaching that accusations can cut off a hospital or school’s internet connection without a trial.

this is serious shit. it’s probably going to go ahead despite all the people that stand against it. you might lose your internet connect because you might be using it to break the law. none of this “innocent until proven guilty” shit.

what can you do about it? sweet fuck all really. here’s a link to the foundation of people who want to change this and a way of telling people you care via a ‘blackout’ scheme which is about blacking out your facebook image. is this going to achieve anything? probably more awareness but I have no faith in the ability of our government to give a shit about what the people want so while it’s a good awareness scheme, I don’t think it’ll change anything. that’s a shame really, rights are taken away from us every year and no-one stands up and when they do nothing happens.

once again society turns to crap. not that it’s ever been better, but you know. just don’t say you weren’t warned