Today Facebook users in Australia were greeted with this message if they tried to share articles from some Australian newspapers.

Facebook notice for Australian users sharing restricted news content.

Why is this happening? The answer, as is usually the case when the internet is being broken in Australia, is Rupert Murdoch.

Last year Murdoch’s news company News Corp lost US$1.5bn. They are losing money on Newspapers, as people turn to the internet for their news, and they are losing money through Foxtell, their subscription TV service, as people are moving to internet streaming services for entertainment.

The internet is a huge threat to News Corp, and, like any other…

On February 5th, 2020, democracy in America ended. On that day a man who had already gotten away with rape, fraud and money laundering before he was elected president, realized he now had the power and authority to commit any conceivable crime, and face no legal consequences. He added Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress to his list of crimes for which he has received no punishment.

The Republican party also learned something on that day; that they were free to cheat in an election, and could do so and still retain the support of their followers. …

People don’t change their minds, or their behavior, until they experience personal suffering. The recent Australian bushfires may be the event, or at least the beginning of the events, that cause Liberal-National coalition voters to change their minds and realize that they’re voting against their own safety.

Aftermath of the 2003 Victorian bushfire (Wikipedia)

When the fear of losing their house in a fire outweighs the job-security they get from supporting the coal industry, or the satisfaction they get from torturing refugees, then they’ll change their vote.

However it won’t make any difference. They’ll still lose their house in a fire if they live in a rural…

March 29th 2019 — The UK leaves the European Union.

January 2020 — The Scottish people, determined to return to the European Union, vote to leave the United Kingdom and form The Republic of Scotland.

HMS Victorious in the Clyde estuary. (Photo: LA(phot) Mez Merrill/MOD)

February 2020 — Vanguard class submarines carrying the United Kingdom’s entire nuclear arsenal request permission to dock at William Wallace Naval Base (previously Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde) in Scotland. Massive anti-nuclear protests are held at the base and the submarines are refused permission to dock. As there are no other naval bases in the British Isles capable of receiving the Vanguard class submarines, and…

Australia’s recently passed ‘Assistance and Access bill 2018’ allows the Australian government to compel a company to decrypt your private messages if they are stored on a computer in Australia. If the company is providing an encrypted messaging service (such as Apple’s iMessage) that they are unable to decrypt, then the Australian government can compel them to insert a backdoor allowing them access to your private messages.

What could possibly go wrong with that?

13 countries have the death penalty for atheism. 10 countries have the death penalty for homosexuality. …

If your solution to a problem requires someone else to change their behavior, then your problem isn’t really solved.

There are many large scale problems facing humanity which appear to require the combined effort of many individuals, and even co-operation between governments. I would like to argue that, where possible, a technological solution is preferable over a social one because making people change their behavior is almost impossible.

Let us start with an example of a successful technological solution. When it was realized that CFCs in our aerosols and refrigerators were interacting with and depleting the protective ozone layer in…

Evidence should be the deciding factor in an argument. If the evidence is on your side, then surely your opponent will concede. Often this is not the case, often the two sides of an argument will interpret the same evidence in ways which appear to support their own beliefs. How can this happen? Let us examine an imaginary trial for a new medical treatment…

The inventors of “The Treatment” believe it provides relief from the symptoms of a condition we’ll call “The Condition”. So they commission a trial to prove it works. They gather 1000 patients who have The Condition…

Conor O'Kane

Thoughts on ethics, science and the hypocrisy of humanity.

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