Make a Difference

Day: March 31, 2009

Has Abu-Sayyaf Already Killed Its Hostages?

The deadline of 2pm Tuesday has passed with no further word on whether three Red Cross workers kidnapped by Philippino terrorist group Abu-Sayyaf are still alive.

The terrorists demanded the withdrawal of government troops from ‘their’ territory on the island of Jolo or the hostages would be killed today.

As Philippino Senator Richard Gordon has said, there is no glory or bravery in murdering people who have come to the Philippines to help.

My parents lived in the Southern Philippines for a few years, and Kathy and I visited them there. It is a beautiful country with beautiful, hopeful people. It was dangerous when we were there, and obviously is dangerous still. I have enormous respect for people like my parents, and these Red Cross workers, and aid workers in Iraq and Afghanistan, to name just a few, who accept this danger as the price of bringing new hope to impoverished people, and people who have already been victims of violence.

Please pray for safety for the hostages and hope for their families, and an end to the torture and murder of others as a means to an end.

World’s Largest Laser, Annoying Grammatical Error

Interesting news about the world’s largest laser becoming operational, and especially the hope that this will generate enough energy to achieve ‘fusion ignition.’ This could be an important step on the way to the use of fusion as a cheap clean energy source.

See my earlier post on cold fusion for more on the wider impact, including economic impact, of fusion technology.

But what happened here: ‘The facility, the size of a football field, comprises of 192 separate laser beams…’ No it doesn’t. Nothing ‘comprises of‘ anything.

The word comprise includes the ‘of.’ So it could be ‘composed of 192 separate laser beams’, or it ‘comprises 192 separate laser beams.’ Not some sort of horrible hybrid. If you don’t know how to use a word, don’t use it.

At least he spelled ‘separate’ correctly.

More News on Conficker

Also known as Downadup.

As I noted earlier, so far the worm has not caused any damage, except for giving scareware makers another way of cheating people out of their money, and well meaning friends sending annoying email warnings. But the worm is set to check with its masters on April 1st. If it downloads new instructions then, it could become nasty.

If you are already infected, get your anti-virus to run a pre-Windows start-up scan.

If you are not infected, and way less than 1% of computers are, just make sure you have all Windows updates, and that your anti-virus software is up to date, and you will have nothing to worry about.

Family Dies as Police Prevent Rescue

That must be one of the dodgiest headlines I’ve seen for a long time.

The house was on fire and burning dangerously. Police stopped neighbours from entering the house. The chances are that anyone else entering the house would also have been killed. Can you imagine the fuss if police had let neighbours enter and they had also died?

One of the first things we learn in ambulance training is that you can’t help anyone else if you are injured yourself. If you get yourself into a situation where you need to be rescued you are adding to, not reducing, the risk to others. The loss of life was tragic, but I think police did the responsible thing.

Mind you, if it was my neighbours, or a neighbour’s child, and I really thought I could help, even if it meant endangering myself, I’d like to think I would still go.

For a different perspective on this, see John Ray’s Political Correctness Watch.

Talk About a Storm in a Theacup

Kiwis clash over whether there should be an ‘h’ in Wanganui or not? I don’t think so.

I was in Wanganui at the time this issue was being debated. There was very little acrimony, and most locals, both Maori and more recent arrivals, agreed that the spelling of the name Wanganui should be retained rather than add the ‘h’ to make it Whanganui.

This NineMSN story is not right when it says early settlers made a spelling mistake. The Maoris had no written language. What is now written ‘wh’ at the beginning of Maori words was a way (invented by Europeans) of indicating that the word should pronounced with an aspirated ‘w’ – like that at the beginning of the word whistle. It is now commonly pronounced as an ‘f”, but this is whrong.

In any case, the name of the place has always been written Wanganui, for as long as the name of the place has been written. To change it now would just be a silly ‘PC’ decision which even most local Maori don’t agree with. So I am pleased the Wanganui Council has decided to leave it alone.

Teen Prostitute Paid With Chicken Nuggets

This is sad. Some ratbag by the name of Ronald Gander and his equally disgusting girlfriend (who is not named and does not seem to have been charged) lived in an expensive inner city apartment. They decided a teenage student living with them should prostitute herself to help pay the rent. She had run away from home, and they threatened to evict her if she did not produce sufficient income. She was not allowed to keep any of the money she made, and the only bonus or payment they gave her was an occasional box of chicken treats.

The sentence – two and a half years suspended after nine months, in other words, nine months in jail – seems woefully inadequate to me, especially considering Gander already had a criminal record and was on parole at the time. And what must the girl’s home life have been like if that kind of treatment was preferable?

New Idea is a Sleazy Rag

In latest inventions by New Idea magazine (your celebrity news!) Bec Hewitt, wife of Australian tennis player Leighton Hewitt, is accused of having an affair with ‘minder Mark,’ a ‘special kind of guy’ who is a fitness trainer from Dallas.

Minder Mark is actually Bec’s brother. Bec and Leighton said:

The article is plainly intended to create the impression that Bec Hewitt has entered into a romantic relationship with ‘Mark.’

It is unashamedly designed to generate public interest and increase sales.

The truth is: there is no ‘Mark’. The person depicted in the photographs is Shaun Cartwright, Bec Hewitt’s brother.

 ‘Mark’ is a complete fabrication by New Idea.

There is no former fitness trainer from Dallas associated with Bec Hewitt or the Hewitt family.

No quotes were given to New Idea by Bec Hewitt or friends. The quotes are complete fabrications.

Check their website for more. Good to see Bec and Leighton standing up to these bullies.

Australia’s Minister of Defence Must Answer Questions

Andrew Bolt points out that Chinese born Australian business woman Helen Liu is a leading member of organisations dedicated to promoting the Chinese military and Chinese re-unification (which means the absorption of Taiwan).

Joel Fitzgibbon has lied about the extent of his links to her, and the gifts he has received from her. He is Australia’s Minister of Defence. The Opposition should, must, keep asking questions about this.

Fitzgibbon may genuinely have forgotten how well he knows Ms Liu, his visits to China with her, the functions he attended with her, and the gifts he has received from her. In that case he is an idiot and cannot be trusted with the Australia’s defences.

Or he lied about them. In that case, he thought he had something to hide. If he thought he had something to hide, he probably did.

© 2023 Qohel