Although I now have two cats (Mao and Bruce), I was previously opposed to keeping pets because I felt that it was unethical to subject another sentient being to a life deprived of freedom.

Recently, my thinking is more along the lines of:

  • Both are rescued cats that would have been put down otherwise.
  • And (more importantly) freedom is defined in degrees, and absolute freedom is impossible.

Unlike cats with collars, we like to think that we are free. The truth is that numerous factors limit your freedom. Some are natural (eg. humans can’t fly), a number are psychological (eg. you’re scared), and a lot are circumstantial (eg. you have no money).

I’d define personal power as the ability to affect the limits of your freedom. This often mean making yourself or others work to facilitate what you want to do. On the other hand, collective power is the the ability of a group to extend everybody’s freedom.

Technology can bring great collective freedom. Advances in medicine and telecommunications potentially empower everyone beyond their natural and circumstantial limitations. Unfortunately, technology can also be restricted and controlled to benefit only a few. Similarly, money seems to often only bring power to individuals and groups, rather than all of humankind.

To many, life is a struggle to improve your level of freedom, and money is a straight-forward path to power. I think this is why so many people work hard to earn money. It affords them some self-determination, so that they can live without so many basic concerns.

Control of money often equates to control of freedom, and the more that you control the freedom of others, the more you can demand for yourself. I think that this is why there are those that seek control of money (not just acquisition of money, but control of the financial system).

Freedom should never be taken for granted. It’s important that we recognise our desire for reasonable freedoms, and that we contribute to securing these freedoms for others. Unnecessary imposition upon the freedom of others is reprehensible, but unfortunately all too common.

As evident throughout history, collective social power is usually the greatest form of power. We can all play a part in affording greater freedoms when unified by common philosophies and committed to standing our ground.

Home Price Guide

While trying to gauge the level of decline in the local real estate market, I came across this handy suburb snapshot feature on

You search for an Australian suburb and it provides you with some high-level statistical data such as:

  • Median price:The middle price of all properties sold as ranked from the most expensive price to the most affordable price.
  • Auction clearance rate: The percentage of properties sold under the hammer or prior to auction compared to the total number of properties listed for auction excluding properties not reported to APM but including properties withdrawn from auction.
  • Days on market: The average length of time a property takes to sell from the initial published advertisement to the exchange date of sale.
  • Discounting: A measurement on how much (expressed as a percentage) vendors are having to take off their intial asking price to make a sale.

The discounting numbers are most interesting to me. For example, I found that apartments in Victoria Park have been selling for 23% less than the asking price. That’s really puts the asking price in perspective when browsing for housing.

This information seems to be presented more objectively than what appears on the REIWA website and (I always get the impression that they are trying to upsell the current market).

April avatar

My photo “Tokyo Tower by night (1 of 3)” recently won the Metallic Lines Challenge meaning that it will be the April avatar for the Just Lines group on RedBubble:


Yay! 😀

I really like the Abstract Realism and Just Lines groups. I didn’t really know about abstract realism prior to joining RedBubble and checking out all the groups available. I just liked photos that removed their primary subject from overt context, and it turns out that there is a term for that.

For more of my work, check out my RedBubble profile page. I have a lot of stuff still to upload; Hopefully I’ll find the time to pu a few more up tomorrow.

Weekend links

Much like other people, I usually start the day by opening up my feed reader, flicking through headlines and opening up interesting stories in new tabs in my browser. I then peruse the tabs, closing them after I read the stories or if they are too disinteresting.

I leave the interesting tabs open so that I can blog about them. This usually works out pretty well, with just a few tabs to choose something to blog about. However the tabs have been piling up, so I decided to just post a whole bunch of links. Here goes!

I’ll have to post more about Yoshio Ishii in future. Rock, Paper, Shotgun and JayIsGames seem to share a fascination with him. Aside from his games, I’m particularly interested in his motion graphics work which he clearly labels:

This is not a game. In addition, not interactive. This is motion graphics movie. [Yoshio Ishii]

Awesome stuff! (Here are a few examples). I’m sure that there are other people I know who would like this stuff.

Work day

Today was a “work day” with little internet browsing and no gaming; I’ve got a lot to do for the upcoming exhibit, personal projects, and local industry evangelism!

I finished writing the first draft of the Perth Games Industry Report (based on the local industry survey that will run until next Tuesday). Clearly, the report is based on current results, but it should be easy to update when the survey is closed.

Thanks to Paul from Black Lab Games for providing an excellent foreword to the report. It’s a little nostalgic (which is endearing) and shows how far we’ve come in the last few years.

The plan for work next week includes:

  • Final version of the report (online and hardcopies sent to key people in the industry, government, and educational institutes)
  • Forward plan to implement practical measures to grow local industry (based on survey results)
  • Construct all pieces for art exhibition and put together an artist statement and profile

I guess writing it here makes me accountable for it! 😛

Australian Government webpage blacklist leaked

The Australian Government maintains a secret list of ‘banned’ webpages. Australian ISPs that host webpages that contain hyperlinks to banned webpages face charges of AU$11,000 per day.

This post on Slashdot includes a good summary with links to related news articles. Today, the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that the blacklist has been leaked.

Electronic Frontier Australia (EFA) has a media release on the story. The EFA’s No Clean Feed campaign website includes information on how you can protest internet censorship in Australia.

Note: The EFA website is currently down, so here is a copy of the media release (taken from my RSS reader):

Electronic Frontiers Australia today hailed the leaking of the government’s secret internet blacklist as a “wake-up call for Australians concerned about secret censorship”. The blacklist, which appeared on the whistle-blower site Wikileaks, is compiled by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and distributed to the vendors of approved internet filters, but is otherwise secret.

“The leaking of the list has confirmed some of our worst fears,” said EFA Vice-Chair Colin Jacobs. “This was bound to happen, especially as mandatory filtering would require the list to be distributed to ISPs all around the country. The Government is now in the unenviable business of compiling and distributing a list which includes salacious and illegal material and publicising those very sites to the world.”

The blacklist, which EFA tried unsuccessfully to obtain under Freedom of Information laws, was expected to contain not only some sites publishing illegal material involving minors, but also a majority of sites that were blocked for other reasons. Nevertheless, an examination of the list by EFA has turned up a few very surprising additions. YouTube videos, a MySpace profile, online poker parlours and a site containing poison information were present, as well as many apparently harmless sites such as that of a tour operator and a satirical encyclopedia.

“Now that we have seen the list, it is clearly not the perfect weapon against child-abuse it has been made out to be,” said Jacobs. “Many of the sites clearly contain only run-of-the-mill adult material, poker tips, or nothing controversial at all. Even if some of these sites may have been defaced at the time they were added to the list, how would the operators get their sites removed if the list is secret and no appeal is possible?”

The leaking of the list on Wikileaks is ironic, as ACMA this week confirmed that another Wikileaks page containing a similar blacklist from Denmark is now on their own list. It is therefore presumed that the leaked ACMA blacklist will itself be blacklisted.

“Controlling the spread of information on the internet is not as simple as some in government would like to believe,” said Jacobs. “The leaking of this blacklist is a timely lesson in this, and we hope the Government will take this to heart before imposing a filter on the entire country.”

Update: ABC News story. No comment yet from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Update: reddit discussion thread.

Update: Statements from the ACMA and Stephen Conroy (Minister for Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy) assert that the leaked list is not the government blacklist (although it suggests that the blacklist is a subset of the list hosted on wikileaks).