Off on a jolly^W important conference

As part of my penance (and my sins must have been many), I look after the perl we ship in Solaris (yes, I admit it, it's my fault - whatever it is). However along with the heavy responsibility comes the opportunity to go off on various high flying conferences and talk to lots of other Important Open Source People like myself.

However, I've given all that up, and instead I'm going to YAPC::EU tomorrow in glorious...
Belfast. I'm also singing for my supper, in that I'm giving a talk on how we use perl to help in the development of Solaris. My manager will be happy (Hi Allan!) as instead of an expensive flight to Portland to go to even more expensive OSCON he gets off with a 130 Pound air fare (57 Pounds less than it costs to go to Watford on the train) and a paltry 65 Pounds for the conference fee. The reason that it is so cheap is that it is a grass-roots conference, run by the perl hackerati, for the perl hackerati. It's also cheap so that we can spend the bulk of our money on beer (only joking - honest!)

Actually I'm really looking forward to it, the perl crowd are a great bunch and I'm really looking forward to meeting up with my friends (well most of them - Some of the Finnish contingent wimped out this year - you know who you are ;-) IRC is OK, but you can't beat 'facetime' as it is so inelegantly called. Hopefully I'll have caught up on all the scurrilous perl gossip by the time I come back!

Categories : Tech, Perl, Work

The US kills civilians and children on camera, then lies about it

Yesterday, a US Bradley fighting vehicle was attacked and disabled in Baghdad. Three hours later, when a crowd of curious onlookers (including children) came to look, two US attack helicopters came back, rocketed the Bradley and machine gunned the crowd, in the process killing at least 13 and injuring about 60 others. One of the people killed was a TV reporter recording a report at the scene. The US military them proceded to tell several different versions of what had happened, all of them clearly contradicted by the graphic TV coverage of the poor reporter who was killed. According to the BBC:

"In the first explanation of events offered by the US military early on Sunday evening, the helicopter was said to have blown up the wrecked Bradley "to prevent looting and harm to the Iraqi people".
Since when has rocketing and machine-gunning civilians kept them from harm? The original BBC News report can be found here, and the TV coverage is here - warning, it's pretty disturbing. I remember all the furore the US kicked up over the massacre in Tiananmen Square, how is this any different?

And I wonder just how much coverage this received in the US press? Virtually zero, as far as I can tell. I've searched for 'Mazen Tumeisi' - the name of the journalist who was killed - CNN - nothing. Washington Post - nothing. Fox News - nothing. Google News - one paltry hit from a non-commercial site - they don't even pick up the BBC story. If I didn't know better, I'd say censorship is alive and well in "The Land Of The Free". What's even more ironic is that in the last week the US has been heaping opprobrium on North Korea for not reporting the huge explosion that happened in the north of the country - once again, how is the US news blackout of this event in Baghdad any different to the actions of the North Koreans?

Shame on you, USA, shame on you. And shame on us for supporting you in the first place.

Categories : Personal