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the professional gadfly

I'm a technologies and solutions consultant and project manager for organisations and individuals working in curious situations, shall we say, and I enjoy a good rant now and again. This is the place for that.
Sep 29 '14
Tags: exhibit b
Sep 28 '14
it’s not a competition if everyone ends in a draw. Relax.

it’s not a competition if everyone ends in a draw. Relax.

2 notes Tags: death
Sep 19 '14
Let’s just remember that Steve Jobs started making serious money as an entrepreneur by selling Steve Wozniak’s “illegal” blue boxes, which allowed free long distance phone calls. It was a disruptive innovation that met the needs of people before they realised it was something that was possible to want. Huge, archaic companies tried to attack it instead of realising that it was the new normal. Now VOIP is the standard long distance communication source for billions of people, and it essentially is solving the same problem.
Progress always involves thwacking a baseball bat at the knees of giants sooner or later.

Let’s just remember that Steve Jobs started making serious money as an entrepreneur by selling Steve Wozniak’s “illegal” blue boxes, which allowed free long distance phone calls. It was a disruptive innovation that met the needs of people before they realised it was something that was possible to want. Huge, archaic companies tried to attack it instead of realising that it was the new normal. Now VOIP is the standard long distance communication source for billions of people, and it essentially is solving the same problem.

Progress always involves thwacking a baseball bat at the knees of giants sooner or later.

(Source: visual.ly)

Sep 18 '14
A couple of days ago I posted this anti-ad manifesto by Banksy. Seems like Zen Pencils got really creative with it.

A couple of days ago I posted this anti-ad manifesto by Banksy. Seems like Zen Pencils got really creative with it.

Sep 18 '14

guardian:

The Scottish referendum explained for non-Brits (ie most of you reading this) 

• Follow the referendum live - get the latest »

Fairly clear history, really, about the intricate lunacy that culminated in a really neat United Kingdom of sorts.

Sep 18 '14
And by surviving, I think he means enduring.

And by surviving, I think he means enduring.

Sep 18 '14
This puts today’s vote in Scotland in some historic perspective, really. Curious to see what happens if it goes “yes,” but kind of hoping for a “no.”

This puts today’s vote in Scotland in some historic perspective, really. Curious to see what happens if it goes “yes,” but kind of hoping for a “no.”

(Source: twitter.com)

Tags: scotland
Sep 17 '14
The only thing I can think of to say about the upcoming vote for a Scotland kind of free from UK has already been said better by Arundhati.

The only thing I can think of to say about the upcoming vote for a Scotland kind of free from UK has already been said better by Arundhati.

Sep 8 '14
Thanks, Banksy.

Thanks, Banksy.

Sep 5 '14
What’s interesting about this image and the series it’s part of is how it’s interpreted inside and outside of Yemen (where the photographer is from) and from around the Middle East region and then beyond that.

To quote global voices: “Eloïse Lagrenée [fr] has posted on her Facebook page a picture by Yemeni photographer Bushra Almutawakel, illustrating how women could vanish into darkness and invisibility, step by step, under fundamentalist pressure and the full niqab. It has been shared over 1,500 times.”

Anahi Alviso-Marino critiques this image and the others in the series:

"These identity experiments have made her explore herself and the political uses of her culture with the intention to stay away from orientalist representations. In relation to the potential risk of having her work being interpreted as orientalist she stresses that, while speaking from her personal experience, she tries to stay away from the beauty part of it and from exotic views of the hijab. However, it is possible to argue that her work still reproduces a visual stereotype of a certain type of Muslim woman at the same time that she tries to question this very stereotype. A stereotype of a stereotype? Neither she considers her work controversial for she hasn’t tested all the limits. While assuming that her work is more oriented towards a Western public, she also acknowledges that she still feels reluctant to the reactions people might have in her own country."

The rest of the photo series is here.
In all the links above, what I find more interesting is the reaction from Western, self described lefties, who seem to continually grapple with their own problems regarding Muslim women covering up to various degrees.
Most conservatives in the West are fairly comfortable in their own double standards. They find Muslim religious decrees on people to be horrible crimes against women, though have no problem with the cultural dictates that control a women’s behaviour so long as it comes from their own back yard.
People on the left in the West seem to face a dilemma: They champion women’s rights in their own country, but seem to find that their need to raise the banner for multi-culturalism, diversity, tolerance, anti-imperialism, etc., blocks them from applying a comparative moral/ethical standard. It adds more difficulty when (as in the photo above) there’s a woman from the "other" culture being critical about attire within that one, but to a global audience. Instead, we see comments about how this could be "offensive" to women, or they focuses on some technical detail: “she wouldn’t wear that in that way.”
All this detracts from having to engage and deal with the content and subtext of the image. They don’t focus on another possible outcome: that it could be empowering, informative or enlightening. Either reaction is possible. That’s what makes it decent art. It should make you uncomfortable and attack your sensibilities.

What’s interesting about this image and the series it’s part of is how it’s interpreted inside and outside of Yemen (where the photographer is from) and from around the Middle East region and then beyond that.

To quote global voices:Eloïse Lagrenée [fr] has posted on her Facebook page a picture by Yemeni photographer Bushra Almutawakel, illustrating how women could vanish into darkness and invisibility, step by step, under fundamentalist pressure and the full niqab. It has been shared over 1,500 times.”

Anahi Alviso-Marino critiques this image and the others in the series:

"These identity experiments have made her explore herself and the political uses of her culture with the intention to stay away from orientalist representations. In relation to the potential risk of having her work being interpreted as orientalist she stresses that, while speaking from her personal experience, she tries to stay away from the beauty part of it and from exotic views of the hijab. However, it is possible to argue that her work still reproduces a visual stereotype of a certain type of Muslim woman at the same time that she tries to question this very stereotype. A stereotype of a stereotype? Neither she considers her work controversial for she hasn’t tested all the limits. While assuming that her work is more oriented towards a Western public, she also acknowledges that she still feels reluctant to the reactions people might have in her own country."

The rest of the photo series is here.

In all the links above, what I find more interesting is the reaction from Western, self described lefties, who seem to continually grapple with their own problems regarding Muslim women covering up to various degrees.

Most conservatives in the West are fairly comfortable in their own double standards. They find Muslim religious decrees on people to be horrible crimes against women, though have no problem with the cultural dictates that control a women’s behaviour so long as it comes from their own back yard.

People on the left in the West seem to face a dilemma: They champion women’s rights in their own country, but seem to find that their need to raise the banner for multi-culturalism, diversity, tolerance, anti-imperialism, etc., blocks them from applying a comparative moral/ethical standard. It adds more difficulty when (as in the photo above) there’s a woman from the "other" culture being critical about attire within that one, but to a global audience. Instead, we see comments about how this could be "offensive" to women, or they focuses on some technical detail: “she wouldn’t wear that in that way.”

All this detracts from having to engage and deal with the content and subtext of the image. They don’t focus on another possible outcome: that it could be empowering, informative or enlightening. Either reaction is possible. That’s what makes it decent art. It should make you uncomfortable and attack your sensibilities.

Sep 2 '14
Sep 1 '14