Archive for April, 2008

Ranting on Religious Freedom and Human Rights (part 1?)

At the moment I’m writing on my thesis about weather or not we need religious freedom. Is it a viable freedom or should we just be done with it and enjoy our rights to free speech and freedom of thought? I still have not reached a verdict, as, due to slightly to many personal problems, the process is painfully slow at the mo’. Anyway, there are plenty of problems concerning this freedom as it, philosophicaly speaking, contradicts a few other “rights”.

The most obvious one is that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights beginns by stating in article 1:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Then article 2 continues with:

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”

Thus it stands to reason that it is meant to be a universal declaration, just as the title claimed. BUT, then they go on to state in article 26.3: “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”

Well what is is point?, I hear you say.

I’ll tell you what it is. Article 18 states:

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

Now, given that everyone is entitled to the human rights, and that everyone is thusly entitled to freedom of religion, thought and belief, how can parents still have a prior right to choose their childrens education. Isn’t that a complete violation of the previous statement?

Now, I am pretty sure this is not gound breaking news per se, but it still makes clear a problem: the logic of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights doesn’t hold up. Why is that a problem? It can, in a worst case scenario undermine the entire attempt at upholding the rights. Especially in this day and age when it is starting to become unclear where the greater threat lies; at the terrorists side of the table, or with our own politicians trying to “solve” the problem by removing basic human rights?

I think it’s time for something we haven’t seen in a long time! It’s time for the liberals to stand up and defend the rights they have been fighting for for close to 300 years. And I don’t mean that as in the political parties calling them selves liberals, I mean all people who believe that they have a right to be the way they are as long as they are not activley hurting anyone, and that that right extends to everyone else. Otherwise the craysies of the world will win, and it wont matter if we have freedom of religion, because we will most likley be forced to accept one of three things: Christianity, Islam or socialist atheism. I am not judging any of the three, I am merley stating that a lack of free choice in this question is not desirable. I don’t think ‘militant’ atheists have a right to force people out of religion, nor look down on religious people as lesser surch. But neither do religious people have that right!

Well, anyway, that was just a little rant that didn’t go anywhere special I guess. I just needed to think aloud for a bit.

May caffeine never elude you in times of need!

Thobias

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A room to your self

Do you ever find that the world is closing in on you and you are not focusing quite as well on the task at hand as you should? As a student and aspiring writer I find this a lot, and I’ve been looking around for a solution to this problem. Well there is one which actually manages to solve most of them. WriteRoom from Hog Bay Software.

WriteRoom is a fully TextEdit compatible text editor/word processor with a very nice feature. A fully customisable full-screen mode. It completley blocks out the hustle and bustle that is every day internet/computer life.

Writeroom main screen, green text on black

I can’t even begin to tell you how useful this feature really is. The tag line for it is ‘Distraction free writing’, and that it is. You can customise everything from background transparency to the look of the curser and what font to use, so there are plenty of option.

The only downside I’ve found so far is that as a student/academic writer I often need to use footnotes, since my department requires this. To do that I have to switch to something like Nisus Writer Express, Mellel or Pages. This is a problem for all apps based on the Apple cocoa textedit base. This is a problem in light weight word processors such as Bean as well. Now don’t get me wrong, that selection is nothing short of amazing, but, they do not offer the clutter free soothing feeling of WriteRoom.

Now let me end with two cool quotes, the first by Mr Merlin Mann of 43folders.com:

“It’s a primitive application, to be sure — I suspect completely by design — but it may be just what the doctor ordered if you need to get your head out of your butt and put some words on the page. I can see myself spending a lot of time in WriteRoom.”

The other being by the fantastic Neil Gaiman:

“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.”

May your consentration never fail you again!

Thobias

Internet Radio

As a modern internet person, I’ve more or less stopped listening to the regular radio. This is not for any particular reason more than a serious lack of interesting content… But we do have internet radio! Now, with the advent of podcasts, the allure of internet radio might have diminished somewhat, but none the less, it is still around. Now, in this post I am not intending to address the problems, nor the free services you can get via SHOUTcast or iTunes, the independent channels, such as Pagan Radio Network, nor paid-for services like Live365.com. No, today’s subject is AOL Radio.

Now, before you object and rant about the staidness of AOL, hear me out. AOL Radio contains over 200 free radio channels with really very little commercial breaks. These can be accessed either via their web-client or through their app. It seems though that they are meaning to get rid of the app over time, which is to bad, since it is really nifty. It still available here though.

Now, all you have to do is get you self a free AOL/AIM screen name, enter the info and off you go! Hours and hours of free, streaming music, fun, talks, news etc. I have no problem with streaming via my 2 Mbit/s connection, so it should work well even on slower connections. So go on, it will cost you nothing but a dent in your pride at being associated with AOL. But you know, if it weren’t for the name, AOL could be really cool. Actually…

May your downstream never faulter!

Thobias

Reviews coming up soon! But a little something.

Well, two nice  things happened this week in the world of web. First Firefox 3 Beta 5 was released. So far I’ve only played with it, but having used most of the betas, I have to say, it looks good, it’s fast, compatible and reasonably stable on my system (Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.11). The ultimate test has turned out to be the Web 2.0 version of Yahoo! Mail. This site has not worked in the early betas and was very unstable even in beta 3, but now it’s actually useful!

I haven’t been able to try it  out as much as I would have liked, but so far I am impressed. This is the first version of Firefox that seems actually useful on a G4 system. Firefox 2 was to much of a memory hog for that. I hope to be able to return to Firefox 3 later when I’ve tested it more thoroughly, but for now it is a very pleasant experience. But, web compatibility is still not excellent, not necessarily due to Firefox though. Which brings me to the second thing.

EverNote finally sent me an invite to the closed beta and I am looking forward to try it out, I just got it though and have not been able to do more than a few things like: realise that the client software requires Leopard, that the web thing doesn’t work with Firefox 3, but according to Evernote it should do shortly. Evernote seems really cool and I’ll be returning to this app.

All the best to you!

– Thobias

Liberalism

Being a proud liberal, albeit in a European sense, I had a good laugh at this Colbert video. That guy is amazing.

Till next time,

Thobias

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.comedycentral.co posted with vodpod