Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/06/14/letters_1406/
3dom and demokracy rule in cyberspace
Lessons in international spelling
Letters In non-evolutionary news this week, people have been getting upset about a whole range of things, from eBay selling Live8 tickets, Microsoft's co-operation with Beijing in silencing freedom-loving bloggers, Air France, and Cat Stevens.
What wondrous variety.
Let's kick off with Saint Bob, who got very angry about people selling their free Live8 tickets on eBay:
Annoying though this is, it was pretty damn obvious it was going to happen. Perhaps, before launching his lottery, Geldof should have talked to eBay and tried to obtain agreement that they would not list the tickets, rather than asking them to implement restrictions retrospectively, and threatening them with a boycott....
I fail to see how this is enriching oneself on the impoverished.
The tickets were given away, the poor lose nothing. It is not as though ticket sales are being lost, as they were not charged for in the first place. Being altruistic is one thing and I applaud the gesture, but expecting other people to be the same and force this upon them is wrong. Ebay is just a medium, and I applaud their choice not to bow down to one man's opinion of self-righteousness.
Besides, Ebay is bigger than Bob.
Next, the US' terror watch list seems to have a few errors, duplicates, missing names and so on. This rather bothers the Justice Department, and they said so in a zillion page report:
I have been very much involved in the Anti-Terrorist lists (because of my job) since they started to gain a lot of attention. It is interesting to note that from the very beginning names were misspelled or simply incorrect. I have just had a look at the lists again, and note that the same spelling mistakes are there. This isn't IT. This is simply incompetence.
Are they working themselves up to an apology to the former Cat Stevens, I wonder ?
China, home of freedom of expression, somehow managed to persuade Microsoft to ban the words 'freedom' and 'democracy' on certain areas of its MSN Spaces blogging service:
That article made me laugh. How many times has this very website used the word ‘pr0n’ to beat various word filters?
Methinks 3dom and demokracy will continue to rear its ugly head unabated.
>> ... banned the use of the words "freedom" ... <<
So how on earth will Americans refer to what we in the UK call "chips", now ?
And rather more worryingly:
As long as they don't succeed completely I don't have a problem with it. If they do, there's going to be a lot of governments who think this is a good idea and can The Beast guard the lair in their country?
The trick here is to teach the Chinese the noble art of the euphemism. freedom = self-guidance protest = refreshing difference of opinion democracy = direct participation independence = self-sustainment [and derivatives]
In the same way nobody who reads a press-release accepts the face value, so can the Chinese learn how to use newspeak to get their message ac cross. In the end, the Chinese government is going to be forced to stop language being used because it can be massaged to the point of absurdity in order to get the point across.
"In a bid for self-guidance, the Taiwanese government organised a refreshing difference of opinion on a massive scale, warmly inviting China to allow Taiwan to be self-sustaining and allow the people to directly participate in government".
That wasn't so hard, was it?
Rumours abound about whether or not the US is likely to abandon its biometric passport plans as the reliability of the technology is called into question:
However its unlikely that the Home Office will come to the same conclusions on reliability and cancel their ID scheme as theirs is a religion.
And finally, more lessons in international spelling:
"Especially since "Air" and "France" are English and not the french equivalent"
Reminds me of the apocryphal story about the American legislator who stormed, "If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it's good enough for me!"
At the bottom: "Do tell, then, Mark or Owen. What is the French for France? Tut tut..."
Ahem, you could've added: "... and what is the French for Air? Zut, alors!"
As an aside: some years ago, here in Canada, there was a kerfuffle between an ad-hoc group called "Les Gens de l'air" and our Ministry of Transportation. French-speaking air traffic controllers wanted to be able to talk to airplane pilots in French, when possible. At the time, the rule was English only! The were eventually given permission to do so.
Over the course of this tempest in a teapot, there was an long, dreary exchange of letters-to-the-editor in the Montreal Gazette newspaper between two curmudgeons.
One gentleman eventually asked: "What are French pilots going to shout to the French controllers over the radio when they run into trouble? "Jour de mai! Jour de mai!"?
The reply was swift and deadly, the very next day. "Evidently, you do not already know this, sir, but they ARE calling for help in French: "M'aider! M'aider!".
I still chuckle..
More on Friday. ®