Three “oh dear” moments and a cancer-proof rat

You know those moments when you just have to stop and shake your head? I had three of those this morning.

The first one came in a revelation about the internet strategy of Occupy Wall Street. Their social media people are beating back corporate power by… using WordPress instead of Facebook. Because apparently WordPress is not corporate.

How Do You Code a Movement? – Rebecca J. Rosen – Technology – The Atlantic.

From early on, they chose not to use Facebook, but to rely on WordPress and other open-source platforms. As Jake DeGroot, one of the movement’s web developers explained, “I think one of the major pushes to make our own is the fact that the movement is so heavily based around the check and balance of corporate power.” Relying on sites such as Facebook, they felt, placed them too much under someone else’s control.

This, by the way, is nothing against WordPress, who do an awesome job of letting people like me have sites like this (thanks WordPress!). While we’re on OWS, for those of you who didn’t see Samantha Bee from The Daily Show taking them on earlier this week (before Mayor Bloomberg genuinely took them on and kicked them out), I recommend watching this clip, it’s pretty hilarious. Note that Australians can’t watch it because Foxtel are idiots who like to fight progress. Kind of like Qantas’ workforce.

With so many in Australia who are seemingly driven to prevent new technology from actually being used, it coule be a mystery why so many people want to flee here from troubled Middle Eastern countries. Well, that is until you start reading what it’s actually like in these countries. That said, with all these debates about boat people and mandatory detention, it seems like a bad idea to actually make that move.

This leads me to my second moment, in the middle of a brilliant piece of reportage on Syria by the Guardian‘s, James Harkin:

Amid deserted shops and military patrols, one of the few journalists to gain access to Syria’s troubled central city encountered a world of guarded conversations and shadowy rumours amid the funereal silence of a military lockdown | World news | The Observer.

There have been rumours of kidnaps, he says – paramilitaries from the president’s own Shia Alawite sect who tell drivers to go down a certain road and then kidnap or kill you. You can avoid getting hurt if you stay at home all evening, but it’s no life. “If this keeps up I’m going to emigrate,” he says. “Maybe to Australia, until things get better.”

Oh dear. He has no idea what he’s getting himself into.

And the third moment? Well,  it kinda had to be an Israel one, didn’t it?

So while everyone else in the world seems to be protesting for their right to prevent members of the public from using public spaces, a few of our more seasoned protesters just West of the Jordan River figured they would take a bus from Jerusalem to Ramallah to protest the racist, discriminatory, Apartheid, neo-Fascist Israeli policy of requiring travel documents to cross borders. Hitler himself couldn’t have been so cruel.

However, Jerusalem Post columnist/editor Liat Collins pointed out a tiny fact that they may be overlooking when it comes to buses from Jerusalem.

My Word: Not-so-easy riders – JPost – Opinion – Columnists.

Shouting unimaginative slogans about apartheid, the protesters pointed out that they cannot travel freely from Ramallah to Jerusalem without the correct permits, or an Israeli-identity card.

Jews, of course – no matter what papers they are carrying – cannot travel on a Palestinian-owned bus to Nablus, or Shechem as it’s been known in Hebrew ever since the Bible put it on the map.

That, apparently, is not considered discrimination.

This is also true for the “Riders'” ride by the way — Arabs need travel documents to get to Ramallah, Jews aren’t even allowed in. Where’s this “Apartheid” now?

While I still have you here, you may be interested in an ugly rat that can’t get cancer.

There’s a problem with the colonies of naked mole rats that Rochelle Buffenstein carted down to her new lab in Texas four years ago. Unlike mice, which die of cancer by the crateful, not a single one of her animals has ever developed a naturally occurring tumor. Nor has any other naked mole rat seen anywhere in the world.

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