Saturday, August 16, 2008

Disappearing trick

As everybody knows [well, let's say, everybody with a good Catholic education], a strange event once took place on August 15. Mary took off skywards, literally, clothes and all, in what must be classified as the second case in world history of gravitational escape... not counting the flight of pterosaurs and phoenixes, and setting aside the hordes of angels and other heavenly creatures such as fairies, pixies, winged sprites and Irish leprechauns, goblins, hobgoblins, witches on magic broomsticks, etc. As everybody knows, prior to the so-called Assumption of Mary, there had been the equally spectacular Ascension of her son.

Compared with such happenings, the disappearing trick that occurred yesterday in the website of a high-quality Australian newspaper was a trivial stunt, but it's nevertheless interesting. Unless I happened to have been momentarily bewitched (which is not impossible, but rather unlikely), I claim to have witnessed with my own eyes a fascinating article, of a highly critical nature, on Australia's defense system. Now, this is an interesting topic that I've already mentioned in my blog:

Australia's submarines, 26 December 2007 [display]

Australian arithmetic, 2 January 2008 [display]

Expensive, aesthetic and nasty, 21 January 2008 [display]

I made a mental note of yesterday's article, saying to myself that it might be a good subject for a blog article... in spite of the fact that, these days, I no longer have much to say about my native land. Well, today, when I tried to find this article, I was surprised to discover that, overnight, it had completely disappeared into thin air, leaving no traces whatsoever.

In a neighboring domain, I have a trivial but significant Australian anecdote to relate. There's a web forum that gathers together Australian bloggers. A few weeks ago, I submitted a short calmly-written post concerning a question that has often interested me, particularly since my trip to Australia in 2006. Why does a supposedly prosperous nation such as Australia, with immense riches in the earth, continue to suffer from a relatively underdeveloped infrastructure (roads, railways, bridges, telecom, defense system, etc) ? I imagined that, since bloggers are supposed to be talkative and well-informed folk, I would get some worthwhile factual answers to my question. What I wanted to learn, in a nutshell, was the amount of tax from mineral sales that is actually invested in the Australian infrastructure. Alas, a forum moderator sent me a polite email to say that they were not prepared to publish my post.

Your discussion related to infrastructure comes very close to crossing the line relating to what is fair game on the Forums. We do not allow political discussions. I encourage you to steer readers to your blog if you wish to start a discussion in this area. I do not think that it would take long for any discussion along the lines that you have started to get political.

Will there be medals in Beijing for catching up with China in the time-honored game called censorship?

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