“The US Supreme Court has upheld a law forcing public libraries to filter out internet pornography in what is being seen as a victory for attempts to protect children from obscene content.”

“The [coalition of libraries, library users and website operators] said the software filters prevented library users from accessing information on subjects they had a legitimate right to know about – eg breast cancer, homosexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, gay rights and family planning.”

“Digital freedom campaigner the Electronic Frontier Foundation released a new study on Monday that suggested that popular filtering programmes blocked tens of thousands of web pages that had no offensive content.” (BBC)
And here’s more on why it’s bad.

Sometimes I love London. I went to the Whistlebump boat party then onto DTPM on Sunday and tonight I went to hear Tim O’Reilly speak at the UKUUG on “The Open Source Paradigm Shift”.
One of the really interesting points he made was that we’re moving towards selling services (the things software does) rather than software itself.
He thinks Linux’s killer apps aren’t desktop or productivity applications, but google, Amazon, mapquest, etc. And these new applications are made up equally from the application code and the data held in the back-end. Without the (usually user-contributed) data, the application code itself isn’t much. In the future, ‘open data’ might be as important as ‘open source’.
He raised the issue of a “Bill of Rights” for web service users who provide the data that makes the new web services so valuable – user-provided data is the new lock-in. From other speech notes, “As we move into the world of web services, in which software is no longer distributed as either binaries OR source code, but instead performed on a remote server, what kind of bill of rights is required to protect users? What kind of agreements will provide web services users and developers with some of the freedoms that we have come to expect from open source? In short, how do we translate the open source definition to the new paradigm?”
Other points: web services are a growth area. (Lucky for me and my future job prospects!)
I didn’t take notes at the time, so I’ve been surfing around Tim’s writing and finding bits and pieces that were in the talk.
From therationaledge.com “People think open source is about licenses — but it’s more significant than that. In fact, a lot of the value of open source has been obscured by all the debate about licensing. Open architectures allow people you don’t know to invent things you haven’t thought of that work with whatever you already have.”
He thought html’s ‘View Source’ was a really important factor in the web boom and not often included in discussions of open source: “HTML is probably the single greatest testament to the power of source alone to jumpstart innovation. The “view source” menu item made it possible for anyone to see a neat feature on another web site, and immediately see how it was done. And a culture that encouraged leapfrogging (rather than blocking it via patents, copyrights, or standards committees.)” (The Architecture of Participation)

There’s a genetic explanation for being a night or morning person: “Researchers at the University of Surrey say they have found a link between people’s preference for mornings or evenings and a gene called Period 3.
This gene is one of those involved in regulating the body’s internal clock. It comes in two forms – a shorter and longer one. ” (BBC)

“According to Scott Handy, director of IBM’s Linux solutions marketing group, Linux has now matured sufficiently to be hailed as an “industrial enterprise-class Internet server for web applications”” (register.co.uk)

“Tony Blair has defended himself against Tory charges that he “ripped up the constitution in a matter of hours” in last week’s controversial cabinet reshuffle.
The prime minister told MPs the shake-up represented “essential acts of constitutional modernisation” which would eventually be welcomed.” (BBC)
Right idea, totally wrong way to go about it.

“Seeds may be a bigger danger than pollen in allowing GM crops to escape into the countryside.

Genes from commercial sugar beet turned up in wild plants growing more than 1.5 kilometres away, according to scientists at Lille University.
It suggests GM crops are likely to jump the confines of any buffer zone imposed.” (BBC)