Showing posts with label Australian society. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australian society. Show all posts

Monday, June 2, 2008

Aussie crime-buster: arrested, innocent

This nicely-dressed clean-shaven 51-year-old Aussie guy is Mark Standen. Yesterday, in the fight against organized crime, he was Australia's top cop.

Today, he has been arrested, suspected of master-minding a scheme to import chemicals enabling the production of millions of dollars of narcotic stuff known as ice. It goes without saying that, for the moment, this Aussie drug cop is presumed to be innocent.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Education... for what purpose?

An article in today's press reveals that Australian universities are ranked by foreign students as the third best in the world (just behind the UK and the US) as a preferred location for studies. This was the conclusion of a report produced by an independent research service called the International Graduate Insight Group, based in London. In view of the identity of the essentially English-speaking clients of this organization [display], this conclusion is hardly world-shaking. In fact, it smacks of what the French call nombrilisme [from the word for navel], which designates the pleasant activity that consists of acquiring narcissistic joy by admiring at length, and in depth, the beauty of one's own navel.

A distinguished member of Australia's academe stated that the study was "a positive reflection on Australian education". I don't wish to squabble with that point of view. But wouldn't it be more meaningful to evaluate Australian education, not through the opinions of foreign students, but in terms of the annual number and quality of brilliant graduates joining the creative and productive work force in Australian science, industry, technology, business, etc?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Australian Internet censorship

Is Australia an adult nation?
It's so long since I lived in Australia for an appreciable length of time that I prefer to refrain from stating my hasty and uninformed personal opinion on that interesting question. But I've just heard about a Labor project that would consist of blacklisting various websites whose content is judged to be dangerous for the angelic minds of Aussie kids.

In the above sentence, the banal adjective "various" is significant, in the sense that only a random sampling of such websites would appear on the blacklist, for the simple reason that websites grow like weeds in your backyard, and you can no more blacklist all the offensive websites of the planet than you can eradicate noxious plants. The authorities can do little more than bow down symbolically to a lobby of wowsers and do-gooders who know fuck-all about the technicalities of contemporary communications of the web kind.

For almost two years, my personal email communications with Australia have been plagued constantly by some kind of a fuckwit blacklist maintained by Big Pond, designed to prevent the delivery of messages emanating from the French national ISP [Internet service provider] named Orange, ostracized as an alleged producer of spam [an absurd accusation].

In spite of all my efforts, I've never succeeded in eradicating this annoyance, and making sure that all my French emails would be delivered systematically to my relatives and friends in Australia. Often, I had the impression that trying to solve a problem of that kind was like attempting to nudge the Australian Way of Life. That's why I decided to create this blog, so that my relatives and friends in Australia would be able to see what I was doing and thinking in France. So, now that my blog is a thriving offspring, well over a year old, Antipodes says: Thank you, Big Pond fuckwits!

Today, when I start hearing talk about projects to censor the Internet in Australia, I'm itching to answer my opening rhetorical question, at the start of this article. For the moment, I'll force myself not to do so.