Thursday, December 17, 2009


Homer Simpson is article of the day on English-language Wikipedia twenty years to the day the first full-length episode was broadcast.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New UK Space Agency

The UK will have a new space agency, though the model has yet to be decided.

Why Human Rights Matter

61 years ago today the United Nations General Assembly adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Slightly over three years earlier, the Allies had liberated Europe, including the concentration camps at Auschwitz, Belsen, Buchenwald and Dachau.

Nowadays, it's not unusual to hear someone mocking human rights legislation, perhaps agreeing with Gene Hunt that "Human rights are for human beings". Certainly it's sickening to see a criminal who's gamed the system to get off scott-free or with a light sentence, but we must be beware getting rid of something we only miss when it's gone.

Even without genocide there are the horrors of the industrial school system in Ireland (which was seen as a system for reforming children with criminal pasts - only 6% were in the system for that reason), the migration of children to Australia, (many were told their families were dead) and human trafficking, such as that carried out by snakeheads (those who died in the Morcambe Bay disaster had been trafficked.

But the truth is that any one of us has the capacity to behave barbarically - either deliberately out of prejudice, pettiness or unaware as those who thought the industrial schools were doing good. We can all help or harm - try to keep an open mind, understand how society works - both our own and others and try to strengthen transparency, accountability and democracy.