Sep 102007

A recent post on the OpenStreetMap Talk mailing list pointed to an article in MIT news about an interesting experiment called “Wiki City Rome“. The project, developed at MIT, started two days ago and uses anonymous data from mobile phones and other wireless devices to “illustrate the city’s pulse in real time”. The MIT news article explains:

By looking at a city using a “real-time control system” as a working analogy, the Wiki City project studies tools that enable people to become prime actors themselves in improving the efficiency of urban systems. In coming years, the Wiki City project will develop as an open platform where anybody can download and upload data that are location and time sensitive.

This is a superbly exciting experiment, and it echoes a dream that I have had ever since I began contributing to the OpenStreetMap (OSM). Continue reading »

Aug 202007

After lunch today I dropped into the University Co-op bookshop for a quick browse around. I happened to pick up the recently published political biography of Kevin Rudd, and glance through a few pages. Discussing Rudd’s rise in popularity within the Labor party, the author pointed out that many of his fellow Labor MPs were disappointed that he sometimes agreed with or complimented government action.

Rudd sometimes appeared more focused on achieving the correct policy, rather than engaging in political opportunism. (p191)

I’ve heard similar complaints about previous opposition leaders, and I find it very disappointing. It seems that people have a mysteriously distorted view of good politics: they apparently expect good conflict, such as will be fun and entertaining to watch.

Surely the best path for the nation (and indeed, the globe) is to learn to value “correct policy“. We should be glad of the occasions when our government gets it right enough for the opposition to agree. Sadly, it seems obvious to me that our current government is placing a far greater emphasis on self-benefit than on pursuing correct policy.

Aug 132007

A few days ago I posted off my Micah Challenge Postcard to Prime Minister John Howard. Although I have not had a lot to do with the organisation, I think that Micah Challenge seems to be well worth the support. After all, Micah 6:8 has long been one of my favourite Bible verses:

“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God”

There is, however, a catch involved when we in the West are called upon to help “make poverty history”. Ghandi saw the dilemma, and when asked whether the then newly independent India would follow the British pattern of development he famously replied

“It took Britain half the resources of the planet to achieve this prosperity, how many planets will a country like India require?”

Last week I attended an interesting public lecture at ANU on the climate challenges associated with world development. Continue reading »

Jul 132007

People are wondering about Global Warming. A little over a year ago, Al Gore raised the profile of this issue by presenting the implications of climate change in “An Inconvenient Truth“. For many, the discussion has already turned to finding ways that humanity can survive the inevitable.

Some, however, are not at all convinced. Last night the ABC aired Martin Durkin’s film “The Great Global Warming Swindle“. Not having a TV, I did not watch the film, but today I attended a public response given at ANU by three environmental scientists. Here is a basic summary of notes I took. Continue reading »