Category Archives: Media

Heaven is Virtual Reality. Heaven is a fantasy. This is heaven.

Imagine this:

Sometime in the future, everyone on the planet decides to live in a utopian virtual world [think Second Life 100 years from now], however they don’t access that world via a computer screen and keyboard.

The physical body would be stored away on life-support. Everyone would be tube fed the perfect amount of energy, fat, vitamins and minerals; delivered in a constant stream throughout the day.

We would have electronic messages sent right into our brain so our eyes wouldn’t have to be open. Smells, tastes and touch would all be created in our brain or spinal cord. The mind would be free to escape the physical disabilities of real life; the paralyzed would be able to walk, no one would have AIDS or bird flu. We could all choose to live our lives however we chose, free from the constraints of real-life.

In a utopian virtual world, where resources are unlimited, would we have to buy products and services, would we have to work to earn currency, and how would goods and services be priced?

Some other questions:

  • In the absence of work, what would we do all day?
  • What would we talk to our friends about?
  • Would we be immortal?
  • What value would life have if we were immortal?
  • Would there be a government; someone to make decision about the world?
  • How would that government be chosen?

How would heaven be different to this utopian virtual life?

If every ‘good’ person goes to heaven for eternity, there must be quite a few people up there. Just like in a virtual world, they won’t need physical things like food, water, medicine, money, and they won’t need to go to work to buy things.

  • What would these people do and what would be their purpose?
  • How would they feel fulfilled?
  • What would their dreams and aspirations be?
  • What would they talk about with their friend and family?
  • Maybe they will decide to learn and gain knowledge and wisdom. But, for what purpose?
  • Maybe they will decide to play sport or compete against each other. But how will teams be chosen?
  • Will there be rules and regulations for competitors? Who will make these rules?
  • Would they compete for a prize? What could the prize be?
  • What if I am really passionate about my team and someone says they’re rubbish? Could I dislike them?
  • Would there be arguments? How could arguments be resolved?
  • Would music, art, movies, entertainment or literature exist in heaven?
  • If I was passionate about writing theatre, film, music or poetry, could I continue with that in heaven? Could I share my work with an audience, maybe in a theatre? Who would perform my work? How would they be chosen over the many others who wanted to perform? Who built the theatre?
  • How would someone passionate about food or wine get on?
  • What if my whole family was here except my very lively and entertaining gay sister and her caring partner? Their two adopted children are here though, forever without their parents.

Heaven is a fantasy. This is heaven.

My Wikipedia Prank

My Wikipedia spam lasted 20 days.

My strategy: I posted on the List of Awareness Ribbons page on Wikipedia on the 18 September 2007. I suggested that wearing the green and blue ribbon was a symbol of support to people with ‘centophobic tendencies’. I referenced this fact with a link to

This sneaky addition was removed on the morning of 8 October; 20 days later. My prank was quite clearly spam and yet it still remained for 20 days. While the List of Awareness Ribbons page isn’t necessarily a hugely popular page, you would wonder how long it would take for less obvious changes to be corrected. I just hope no school children (or from my experience, university students) were reading this article during this time period.

Why did I do it? Because I wanted to know how efficient Wikipedia is. Tell me about your experience with Wikipedia. Do you love it?

Interest rates rise to 6.75 per cent

The Reserve Bank of Australia has lifted interest rates to an 11-year high of 6.75 per cent.

My question is: if the economy is going so well and both parties are suggesting that they are experts at managing the economy and keeping interest rates low, why are they both making huge election promises?

Answer: it wins votes.

But surely the Labor party could gain some ground on the question of their ability to run the economy, by ‘spending’ less on tax cuts and suggesting that the Liberal party’s sweeteners are economically irresponsible. Dah!

Meanwhile, I saw the interview John Howard did on 9am with David and Kim last week. This discussion was more influential than any other thing I have seen in the past year – even more so than a couple of Lateline interviews I’ve seen and the debate. If you like Howard, I would be spreading this one around!

A quote I had to share

A quote I just had to share:

It is sheer magic that I should be able to hold a one-sided conversation by means of black (and pink) marks on paper a webpage with an unknown person halfway across the world. Talking, broadcasting, writing, and printing are all quite literally forms of thought transference, and it is this ability and eagerness to transfer and receive the contents of the mind that is almost alone responsible for human civilization. (Beatrice Warde, Graphic design and reading: The crystal goblet. 2000.) – my alterations.

So don’t be centophobic. Go forth into the world, and share the “contents of the mind” with others.

Dancing with the Stars – Ep.5

Nearly two million Australians (1,906,000) watched Corinne Grant get booted off Dancing with the Stars last night. I do like Corinne but I don’t think she’s a dancer. She gave it a go, so good on her.

The real news is the ratings though. Channel Seven achieved the top five rating programs for Tuesday night. Home and Away (1,409,000), Today Tonight (1,385,000), Seven News (1,367,000) and All Saints (1,306,000), and of course Dancing with the Stars. For a two hour program, DWTS is a huge winner for Channel Seven compared to, for example, half an hour of Kath and Kim.

I was a bit disappointed with the ratings for Heroes on Thursday however (1,223,000) but for 9:30pm I’m sure that’s reasonable. I’m totally a fan of Heroes!

Also while I’m on the topic of television, I’m actually thinking about getting a HD digital set-top box so I can watch the new HD channels by Ten and Seven which are to be launched before the end of the year. From what I’ve read, Seven’s schedule seems to be a bit of a rush job, but Channel Ten’s offering looks quite good.

Side Note: if you like Channel Seven you can subscribe to their Jaiku feed for updates. Jaiku is one of Google’s latest purchases and is now only available to current subscribers. If you’d like to join Jaiku post a comment below (I’m going to be mean and only offer these to people living in Oz – so prove it!).

Vote for me! Democracy is dirty…

The documentary was called “Vote for me!” and was part of SBS’s week examining democracy, which they have called “Why Democracy?”.

And what did we see in this documentary? (If you watched the show, please comment; I hate talking to myself!) We saw Chinese children exploiting the weaknesses of the other candidates. We saw them canvassing their classmates for votes, and offering positions in exchange for votes (for example, ‘Deputy Monitor’ – clever!).

We saw parents writing speeches for their children and suggesting tactics for them to use – “Did he say he’d vote for you? Well, ask him in the debate who he is going to vote for, and if he says you, you can say he isn’t confident because he isn’t even going to vote for himself, and if he says himself, you can say that he is a liar because he told you that he’d vote for you.” We saw parents manipulating their children – “You can’t give up! You said you wanted to be President, and now you want to give up in the class monitor elections?!”

These children were eight and learning about democracy in a Chinese primary school. As I sat their, somewhat appalled, I couldn’t help but think how amazingly accurate this performance of democracy was. (Side Note: Australian election just 6? weeks away.)
So what is democracy? In my opinion, it’s about having a rigorous debate and then having an election where everyone gets an equal vote. We have this lovely, righteous view of democracy but it really isn’t all that pretty when you really step back and examine it.

In this election for classroom monitor, the kid with the rich parents ultimately won the race. Maybe he won because he exposed his friend as a decent, selfless liar or that he already had two years experience as prefect, or maybe it was the last minute sweetener!

Final thought on the documentary: my three arguments:

  • Democracy in Australia can be improved. Especially the donations to political parties which limit the ability for small parties to participate, and the outrageous spending on advertising.
  • If this is what children and teachers in China think that democracy is about – debates and name calling and conspiracy and strategy – maybe we need to work on that! Although I accept that these elements are present, democracy is really about the public debate (and the openness of that debate), that anyone can lead the country and that we all have an equal vote. On a side note, maybe my/our perception of socialism or utilitarianism is also somewhat un-reflective of the principles of those ideologies.
  • On a less serious level, maybe children shouldn’t be exposed to the nitty-gritty of democracy! Note to teachers: concentrate on the equal voting and positive campaigning (we want to know why you would be great at the job!).

A non-post

I haven’t blogged for over four weeks!

I just don’t feel like I have anything to say at the moment.

It is interesting how for the first six-months of this year I was really interested and willing to give some of my time to write on this blog, and then I just stopped. It is like something happens and you don’t have the same motivation to write about current issues and events. I mean I still think about the things I blogged about like religion, advertising, politics and media but I just don’t have the same drive to spend time writing my thoughts and opinions down.

Interesting phenomenon. It probably has a name like ‘blogging fatigue’, or something and has been studied down the minute detail.

Maybe I think my opinions don’t matter. If my blog is for me, and not for a wider audience, why should I publish my ideas rather than just think about them? Or, if my blog is for a wider audience, why write down my thoughts if I don’t know who is reading them and what they think about them? I have had only a few comments on my blog this year, is it really worth the effort for one comment. Where is the conversation, the dialogue?

Who really cares; I stopped blogging. One day I will start again., 30boxes, Jaiku etc.

So I have been joining a heap of social networking sites lately (I don’t know why I bother, no one ever visits me).  One of these sites was It has probably been around for ages but I just discovered it. It listens (scrobbles) the music you play on your computer and then matches you with other people who have the same musical tastes. Great idea, because unlike other web-radio-station-things, it doesn’t mean you have to be streaming songs off the internet for it to recognize them. The interesting thing is that on many social networking sites you gain ‘credibility’ or coolness or whatever on how many friends you have or how many posts or comments you make.

However is different. You get ‘credibility’ by listening to more music. Which is super great!

I’m weird!

I also joined twitter and 30boxes a while ago but the 30boxes sites has been down because of traffic and the Twitter IM thing is never online to IM so that is helpful. Anyway I discovered Jaiku > Basically the same as Twitter except different.

This is a really crap post but I have to keep my public entertained! I only have three assignments to go before the end of semester, so hang in there! Please forgive me.

The Toowoomba “waste of money” Chronicle

The Toowoomba Chronicle (the only local, daily Toowoomba newspaper) notifies readers of happy stories using a happy face. Basically, it allows people to select the news they would like to read based on whether it is ‘positive/happy’ or ‘bad/negative’. Is it just me, or does anyone else think this is a little ridiculous?

I am very interested what other people think about this… What is the purpose of this? Do you agree with it?

The Toowoomba Chronicle also allows readers to SMS in Letters to the Editor. Which is fine in theory, however the editor doesn’t edit any of the text messages. The letter therefore goes to print like this:

“Good.Friday. The.Day Jesus Christ Died.4 Us…Living near the park hearing loud thumping music from the so-called Gospel Festival on a day that should one of reverent, respeSctful and quiet remebrance. Really disgusts me.” – Doylo brother,phillip street

Or like this:

“I live in bridge st near holberton st and I can hear so called music from agmf this far away from queens park what must people who live nearer park have to suffer for 3 days come on tcc and others time to move it” – no author submitted

Obviously I can understand what these people are trying to say but couldn’t the editor add some punctuation and fix a few errors (newspaper readers are not the most technology savvy people) before this rubbish gets put in the paper.

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World Swimming Championships – Uh oh

SMH: Tribal Mind reports:

They were breaking records and faces at the World Swimming Championships last night, but most Australian viewers didn’t want to know. Channel Nine’s devotion to the water was able to earn it only 23.3 per cent of the prime time audience, putting Nine in an unprecedented third place behind Ten on 23.5 per cent and Seven on 36.3 (ABC 12.0, SBS 4.9). Thorpie is sadly missed.

What Australia watched, Tuesday
1. Dancing with the Stars Seven 1.856m
2. All Saints Seven 1.576
3. Seven News Seven 1.448
4. Today Tonight Seven 1.307
5. Nine News Nine 1.276
6. NCIS Ten 1.255
7. A Current Affair Nine 1.204
8. Home and Away Seven 1.167
9. The Biggest Loser Ten 1.162
10. The Simpsons – 7:30pm Ten 1.142
11. The Simpsons – 8:00pm Ten 1.100
12. ABC News ABC 1.007
13. World Swimming Championships Nine 0.976
14. Deal or No Deal Seven 0.883
15. Ten News Ten 0.878
(OzTAM preliminary estimates, mainland capitals)

Will Nine cancel its Swimming Championships coverage or push it back later in the night? Or will they continue to put a program on in prime time that attracts less people than the ABC news. Oh my god – what have they done? I wonder if it is doing this badly in Melbourne. Do they have to keep it on due to media sponsorships?

I am having a wonderful week watching Channel Nine do so badly. What a gift!

Four Corners: You only live twice

I have heard about this ground breaking internet community and have studied virtual communities at university, however the story on Four Corners last night did reveal issues that I had never thought about, including:

  • How would a virtual Stock Exchange work within Second Life? However later I also thought that the real world stock exchange is pretty much virtual anyway – people buy and sell shares of a company, which give them no say about how the company is run and they don’t see any profit from the company (unless dividends are paid).
  • I had also never thought about the law and order problems – Do laws exist in the virtual world? Are real world laws applied to the virtual world or are laws only defined by the EULA? Should real world police enforce laws within Second Life or should the game developers cover the cost?

In the next few months and years more people will be entering virtual worlds and you would think that crime would follow. Do you agree with this – would people in a virtual world commit crimes? Why?

LG TV’s display a certain distaste for Channel Nine programs…

Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Television manufacturer LG has failed to determine the source of a glitch in some of its televisions, which caused them to freeze when screening Nine Network’s programs, despite being notified of the problem three weeks ago.

The manufacturer said 10 models in its television range were affected, but that as far as it was aware, the problem only occurred in Sydney and Melbourne.

(Several readers – responding to this story – have reported the problem in other cities, including Brisbane and Perth.)

A statement released by LG this morning said “LG has become aware that occasional ‘freezing’ problems were experienced with selected TVs when viewing particular network digital programming in metropolitan Melbourne and Sydney over the weekend”.

But upon further questioning an LG spokeswoman admitted “LG became aware of of the issue three weeks ago, [but] did not have any data streaming recorded and therefore were unable to trace the problem”.

LG is getting some very bad press about this, including these two comments from LG customers:

I too have been affected. Funnily enough I reported the problem to them 6 months ago when I first bought the TV. Pretty crap that they won’t even advise customers directly when it’s fixed.

  • Posted by: Clark Kent at March 19, 2007 10:57 PM


It seems that the problem lies with both channel nine and lg, the problem usually occurs between 4pm and 5pm and on HD 90. Quick recovery is:

1 Unplug the power and coax (antenna) leads.
2. plug the power lead back in only
3. Do a auto search tune.
4. Plug the coax lead back in again
5. Do another auto search tune again.

FIXED, until the next time…:)

  • Posted by: matt at March 20, 2007 12:31 AM

More comments can be found at SMH: Mashup Blog.