White Wash

There has recently been some controversy over the replacement of the word “Nigger” with “Slave” in a new edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. What I don’t get is how people think that “Slave” is any less offensive than “Nigger” sure the word has many negative connotations but those connotations stem from the time of slavery. The word “Nigger” was used as a catch all name for all people of Afro-Caribbean origin, regardless of the status of their freedom, replacing it wholesale with the word “Slave” implies that you are assuming that they are equivalent , which they aren’t.

Not to mention the fact that when Twain wrote Huck Finn he chose his words very carefully, it’s a satire of the way people thought at the time, yada yada yada. Anyway where does it go from here? Well the comic above shows how other works could possibly be re-edited by the ultra politically correct brigade.

Via  Bors Blog.

Saudi Arabia Bans Blogging Without a Licence

Words cannot begin to describe my disgust at this, Saudi Arabia has passes new “rules” which prohibit posting content online without a licence. I’ve not read the actual policy document, but my interpretation of the article is that this cover a wide range of sins from blogging to posting to forums and even posting to sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

In order to obtain this licence, which is valid for three years, you must be a Saudi who is at least 20 years old and be a high school graduate. You also need to provide documents that “Testify to your good behaviour”. What a crock of shite! No one under 20 can have a Facebook profile? That defeats the purpose of Facebook…

I need to get a hold of the actual document because I might be breaking Saudi law right now, I am an unlicensed Saudi blogger and I am writing a blog post about how I dislike this law, heavens! Although I doubt they can enforce it outside the kingdom… ( I hope…)

There are apparently people speaking both for these new regulations and against them:

From Arabic Network For Human Rights Information:

“It is not a regulation to regulate the activities of electronic publishing as they claim, but rather a set of measures to seize freedom of publication on the Internet,”

“Authorities will not be able to stop expression, the snowball has started to roll and no one can stop it. The siege imposed by the Saudi government on citizens will not succeed in killing ideas, opinions or stopping information and news from flowing.”

From Asharq Alawsat (Tariq Alhomayed, editor in chief):

“What the Minister did was right, for who said that freedom comes without responsibility? Don’t they say that the field of publishing is a door wide open?”

“Whoever wants to write, be published, and criticize others, must do so with credibility, and a firm stance, rather than hiding behind a computer screen in order to defame someone, spread ugly rumors, or promote social division under a false name and then they have the audacity to say: let me exercise my freedom!”

Saudi Arabia apparently has one of the highest number of bloggers in the  Arabic world, Facebook use is rife across all ages and Twitter usage in Saudi has apparently sky-rocketed in 2010, so this is the perfect time to instate these new laws just as the country is starting to see reform they try an knock out the instrument of that reform.

I’m not a political blogger, I never thought I would be but this is almost enough to make me one… This just makes me angry and you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. Not that I am threatening to do anything aside from continue blogging.

The question is when I next go home to visit my family, do I maintain radio silence? Do I bite the bullet and get myself licensed? Or do I become an outlaw and become a rogue unlicensed blogger? I might get a mask… And a cape…

Via Firetown

Also:

International Freedom of Expression Exchange

I don’t like where this is going…

Apparently a group of Dutch researchers are suggesting we should stop farming cattle and instead move onto farming bugs…

Scientists in the Netherlands have discovered that insects produce significantly less greenhouse gas per kilogram of meat than cattle or pigs. Their study, published in the online journal PLoS One, suggests that a move towards insect farming could result in a more sustainable – and affordable – form of meat production.

I know that people all over the world are more than happy to eat insects, but to be honest it’s not really my thing. I know it’s probably just a cultural bias, but it’s a cultural bias I like. I like steak… You aren’t going to get steak from a bug, unless it’s a really big bug… and even then…

I can see the logic behind this though and in a world where people aren’t as squeamish as I am there are probably a huge number of benefits, for one you can eat bugs whole, chitin and all, there are no bones and pesky internal organs that you have to clean out, so there is less waste, pretty much the whole bugs body it edible.

I do have one question which doesn’t seem to be addressed in the article, pound for pound they may produce less greenhouse gasses, but what is the comparative nutritional value of insect meat to bovine/mammalian meat? If I have to eat more bugs than I do cow then I’m going to be even less happy about it.

Also given the scientists reasoning for the reduction in emissions:

The scientists attributed the decrease in emissions to the insects’ more efficient use of food. Because they aren’t warm-blooded, what insects eat is aimed directly at body growth rather than maintaining a stable body temperature.

Are we not just as well eating reptiles, fish or shrimps (Which I guess are just water bugs)? They are all cold blooded too, and are slightly more aligned with what we are used to eating…

I immediately thought about a bleak future where all people ate was bugs because the environment couldn’t handle the pressure cattle farming had put on it, which made me think of the Futurama episode with the Buggalo, as pictured above.

Meat producers should replace cattle with insects, scientists say.