Behave yourselves

March 13, 2008

I have just taken the difficult step of deleting a few comments. I am very happy for my blog to be a forum for people making quite strident comments – as long as others know these aren’t necessarily my opinions, hence the recent disclaimer box. (Some of them might be of course …) Also I do recognise that the option of being anonymous can make it easier to say things that you genuinely feel need saying. I am sure readers are able to calibrate appropriately.

When things get just slightly too personal however, its not healthy; and allegations of actual misconduct (rather than misjudgement) shouldn’t be made unless you have evidence, and are ready to disclose that through the proper channels. Otherwise its getting rather close to libel, innocent people get hurt, and it would be better for me, the respondent, and the accused parties not to go down that road.

I have also deleted some comments relating to the original inappropriate comment, even though these mostly stated that the comments shouldn’t have been made

Nuff said. I hope.

Protecting the good citizens of China from the moral cesspit that is WordPress

May 23, 2007

So.. the reason I have not posted for a week and a half is that I have been in Beijing, where WordPress seems to be blocked. I couldn’t even read my own blog. Blogger on the other hand, seems to be fine. I guess this is to do with the deal Google did, but what did WordPress do wrong ? I also got Brit-news withdrawal symptoms, as BBC News was blocked, but CNN wasn’t. (Doesn’t this just make you trust the BBC ??). Even on the CNN site, when I did a search for “China News” I got a list of links which somehow didn’t work….

So I tried other sites. Wikipedia in English – nope. Wikipedia in French – ok. Technorati – nope. Digg – ok. Bad Astronomer and Astronomy Blog – just fine. Guardian – ok. How they decide to ban the BBC but the Guardian is beyond me. I kinda doubt that the Guardian has done a special deal. Maybe they are just too small beer, whereas everybody has heard of the BBC and is out looking for it.

IVOA Exec having dinner in Beijing. Anyhoo. Despite the techno-censorship I had a fine time. The people are great and the food is fantastic.
I was at the twice yearly “interoperability workshop” of the International Virtual Observatory Alliance.

Its all about standards, standards, and standards. And just a smidgeon of politics. Oh and did I mention standards.

This year’s fashion is SOAP bashing. We are all fed up with writing WSDL and want to be a bit more RESTful. Ultra-geeks nod knowingly. Regular astronomers and others, nod patronisingly, as if understanding perfectly well but having better things to do.

St Lawrence about to be martyred on the Grid. Found at So anyway. I am a semi-geek. It was fun but hard and the politics and personality clashes got a bit intense. All I will say is that more than one person has pointed out to that St Lawrence was martyred on the Grid.