Saturday, February 16, 2008

Nanotechnology... "powerdressing"

There are some cool interesting things on the BBC website about technology. One of them is about a new development in nanotechnology that harnesses the energy from small vibrations and win. You can weave it into clothes and use the energy generated from walking around to power small electronic devices (!!)- and more...
Check it out!

So I wonder what things will be like in fifty years.....

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Full text: Apology to Aborigines

In case you missed it...
The following is the historic formal apology given to the Aboriginal people of Australia by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on behalf of its parliament and government.

Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were stolen generations - this blemished chapter in our nation's history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia's history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.

For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.

We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.

A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.

A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.

A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.

A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.

A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.

The motion was passed by the Opposition- although Brendan Nelson's speech was a bit less elegant , certainly it had much less dignity - and occasionally off the point.

I especially took offense to his descriptions of obscene sexual violence that is 'happening in every NT Aboriginal Community' ( as found by the Little Children are Sacred Report)- it seems so out of place and shocking - I have heard it peddled as a kind of 'media porn' and certainly the Opposition Party seems to use it consistently it to justify the Intervention Policies.

The Public turned their backs on the screens at times when Brendan Nelson spoke.

But Rudd's speech was wonderful. I enjoyed it and will spend the day thinking about it....

What are your responses?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Symbol of Hope? or a "Meaningless Exercise"

I just read this commentary by Roger Sandall regarding tomorrow's Apology to the Stolen Generations. It is interesting that so many people are thinking about these things right now and discussing them -- everyone everywhere, it is becoming a public open matter of interest.


"I'm sorry. In fact I've been sorry for 40 years. Back then, a young Anmatyerra man came to my caravan one night. I was making a film on a godforsaken cattle station in the Northern Territory, and he needed something because of the pain. He kept repeating the name 'Ian Jackson'. There was no-one called Ian Jackson anywhere that I knew so I asked him to come in and explain, but he wouldn't - or couldn't because of his discomfort.

I felt bad. Apologetic. I probably said sorry. Then the man went off into the darkness, driving an old truck toward Mt Denison. As I lay awake that night I realized he was trying to say 'injection'. He needed antibiotics. I never saw him again.

What makes me sorry is the state of Aboriginal health. What makes me sorry is the state of Aboriginal education. What makes me sorry is that instead of moving on from that night 40 years ago things have got steadily worse. Today, tens of thousands of people in outback Aboriginal communities not only cannot speak usable English, they can't even read the dosage on their bottles of medicine.... [continued]".


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

We were waiting for it....

'Coalition backs Stolen Generation Apology' ( ABC news Australia).

So Brendan Nelson bites the bullet... well sort of. I have seen the phrase 'in principle' floating around a bit lately. My local MP, an Independant for New England, also sent around media release stating he supports such an apology 'in principle'.

I looked up 'in principle' and it means 'with regard to the basics'. I wonder what these basics are, or is this just a euphemism for 'ok but no monetary compensation'. A kind of caveat that means one can agree in theory, without have to actually agree, and hence deal with the consequences. I hope perhaps that Brendan will agree 'wholeheartedly' when he sees the 'exact wording' of the apology. It is so interesting watching this complex dance unfold, each step so carefully placed.

For a wonderful commentary see Anggarrgoon's post the anatomy of an apology.