Never fight a land war in central Asia…

Kabul Kids

Image by mknobil via Flickr

A quote form The Princess Bride that still resonates with truth. Maybe more politicians should have sene that classic and paid some attention.

The media has been engrossed in the saga of Qantas quite understandably – greedy execs! evil unions! country to hostage! weary travellers! sound bites! tension! outrage!

Perfect camera fodder.

There was, however, other main stories happening. One tragically huge one.
Three young men were gunned down, shot in the back by an Afghani soldier, someone they had treated as a comrade, someone who they believed they were helping train to defend his country. It sadly turned out his idea of that defence and theirs were polar opposites.

The lack of media involvement with this sad case, overwhelmed by the more media glamorous, and,  to be fair, quite genuine upset of the travellers, does question how much consideration was given to real victims of long term suffering, the families left behind by these latest deaths. And how many more families, and how much longer are we there for…isn’t it time we stopped berating yet another greedy CEO and ask these questions for a while? The CEOs will obligingly still be opportunistic parasites, and thus will be there after we have tried to find solutions to this particular disaster.

As we mourn the death of three young men and their wounded comrades, perhaps we should be spending more time reflecting on how and why it is that they won’t be coming home. Surely it’s as important as showing us a middle-aged man angrily waving a Qantas frequent flyer card and berating the fact that he’s suck in the Qantas Club at Bangkok airport for an extra day.

via When your journey’s not just disrupted, it’s ended – The Drum Opinion (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

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Get on your bike and ride…

Out at a fun event with a bunch of mayhem custom bike madness magic peeps from our own beloved gang –  La Lengua Del Fuego (and the equally funky epic wonder grooviness that is Boneshakers). Downhill from Mt Lofty to city run. The two youngest (small lad age 8, littlest princess age 10), made it a fair way down on their custom freak tandem – then car pooled with mummy. Ms almost 17 fanged all the way down. Himself, as master of freak bikes, had loaded a trailer of fun bizarre bike options for those without, so i got to be in charge of that for a bit too.

The reality is, the car accident that gave me spinal injury took many things. The hardest one to lose was my avid bike riding ways. So as much as i adore these people, and have a blast – i am sad in some ways for what i felt i couldn’t participate in.

But my beloved, wonderful, unselfish, magic bloke, being master of mayhem and brilliance, has decided i SHALL go to the ball. He is converting a number of old electric wheelchair into a frankenbike for me, a recumbent of motorised bliss and bikeness:)

Tonight, he put together two of these wheelchairs

Wooden wheelchair dating to the early part of ...

Image via Wikipedia

and gave me – one working one! Now, while i wait for frankenbike, i have much more mobility than i had dreamt of. We just went for a ride down to the beach – three kids and himself on bikes, and me – me on pooter the scooter (he just poots along). Wonderful thing. So much freedom. Independence. Just fang down to the shop, yeah…to the beach, no probs…go for long walk with kids and larry the terrier – i am mobile woman!

So, everyday will be standard Kermit the wonder wheelchair, but for just local stuff, i can now join in:)

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Tired, tired, grumpy, tired.

Venting personal rant free of useful content : feel free to ignore if expecting usual interesting linkage. But it’s my blog, and I’ll whine if I want to – you would whine too if it happened to you;)

Hate bad nights. Trying to prepare to present at Atlanta (IEEE 802.11 Plenary) in just over a week and damned if sleep isn’t vile this week. Since giving blood last Friday (a rare group, B-, means I feel even more like I should, though of course everyone should). My iron level was ok enough to donate but it’s dipped into anaemia, which I tend to. So popping iron along with the other damn tabs I take – I can take up to 12 before getting out of bed when I include iron and Vitamin D, which I also need. Age, age, plus pain medication, and tablets to ease side effects of pain medication.

So the last few nights are exhausted battlegrounds: last night I slept fitfully 10pm – 3am, so was very tired tonight. When I managed that fitful sleep, had nightmares about being attacked by annoyed ESSIDs and angrier still BSSs (reading up on 802.11s). As i was terribly tired, i have been trying to drop off since 9.30pm. Fell asleep after 1.08am ( looked at time then). Stupid back woke me at 2.40am. Throwing heavy duty meds at it, base rate failing. Tossing and turning really sets it off.

And of course this fails to get the presentation finished – which makes me fret, so weighs on my mind to point I don’t sleep…bother! I do listen to a ridiculous amount of audio books – my comfort ones include Alice in Wonderland & Through The Looking Glass – blessed!

Ok, I’ve been sufficiently self indulgent, time to resume normal transmission…:)

(update : 4.21am – do you think in sleep blogging? Arrgghh!)

Death of this innocent means death of social innocence?

Well, indeed…this one has torn me up. That poor child. But don’t we all feel a twinge before robustly denouncing the Chinese, before claiming it would never happen here, wherever our here may be? Can any of us be totally sure?

How can I be proud of my China if we are a nation of 1.4bn cold hearts?

The death of the two-year-old run over as passersby ignored her is symptomatic of a deepening moral crisis

via How can I be proud of my China if we are a nation of 1.4bn cold hearts? | Lijia Zhang | Comment is free | The Observer.

What has been going on in Serval land?

Well, one of the biggest things happening atm, on a purely personal level, has been putting in a proposal to the Shuttleworth Foundation for funding of my deep involvement with IEEE processes, on behalf of Serval. I am doing this as part of a scholarship that will enable me to get my PhD, and (hopefully) have huge benefits for Serval. As my cofounder, and general driving force/brains trust says on HIS blog :

Serval is going to Atlanta

Well, Romana (co-founder of Serval Project) is.  And that is because she will be representing the Serval Project’s interests at the IEEE 802 plenary meeting there in just a couple of weeks (November 2011).

Romana will be putting forward use cases that reveal deficiencies in the current 802.11 family of WiFi standards for mesh and ad-hoc communications.

If all goes well, we may have the opportunity to input into a process of looking to address these issues, which is tremendously exciting for us.

via  Enabling Communications, Anywhere, Anytime.

It is called loss. It is an agony.

Having lost five children at various stages of pregnancy – i cannot share more than this woman’s story, because i can only agree. I have encountered some compassion, but so much more of a callous system, with overworked and indifferent staff. But to the very few who helped – you helped me survive my own hell. Between you and my dear support friends, i made it.

LOSING a baby through miscarriage is a traumatic experience, but one Adelaide woman says her treatment in hospital made everything much worse.

via My fight for dignity in an uncaring system | Adelaide Now.

Japanese communities post Fukushima disaster may never be able to return.

An ongoing tragedy that should have more world attention.

Thousands of Japanese forced to evacuate their homes by the Fukushima nuclear disaster are facing the prospect of never being able to return.

via Japanese communities record Chernobyl-level radiation – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

The story behind the photograph that shamed America – Telegraph

Powerful, confronting article. The sadness i feel in he whole thing is indescribable – yet i wasn’t the deluded teenager imitating adults, nor could i ever have been. Nor was i the frightened girl, masking her fear behind dark glasses and an innate dignity, born of many generations of oppression. This story makes no sense to me, yet the discrimination and racial divide still exists, more subtle in some places, overt in others. But there are islands of hope, and that has to mean something, doesn’t it? Anyway…read the story.

One was trying to go to school; the other didn’t want her there. Together, Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan starred in one of the most memorable photographs of the Civil Rights era. But their story had only just begun.

via Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan: the story behind the photograph that shamed America – Telegraph.