Category Archives: current affairs

Corrupt CDs haven’t gone away

It's been a while since corrupt CDs have been in the news. But they haven't gone away… For those who don't know, record companies are intentionally breaking the CD standard, introducing errors, encryption and low quality alternative versions to try and prevent CDs being ripped on users' PCs. This ignores the fact that we all have a right to make a copy of the CD for personal use (such as on an iPod) and that these technologies actually break many non-computer CD audio players. It's another example of the music industry getting it horribly wrong and treating their customers like criminals.

The Campaign for Digital Rights latest update on what the record companies are up to highlights how bad the issue is getting.

More terrorism than ever? Actually, no

An excellent comment piece in yesterday's Guardian by Prof. Justin Lewis highlights the paradox of declining terrorist attacks amidst ever growing media coverage of terrorism. Unfortunately the online version doesn't have the little graph that accompanied the print piece but it's still worth a read.

Of course media coverage is never going to be simplistically correlated to how often something occurs. Nevertheless Prof. Lewis' piece is useful in reigning in an excitable media stuffed with 'terrorism analysts' whilst also calming governments who are getting themselves in a sweat over the matter. Yes terrorism is an important and real threat, but so is global warming, and the greenhouse effect has more predictable risks than fevered imaginings of terrorist plots.

Election Manipulation?

What with Taiwan's close election result after an attempted assassination on the President being disputed and much being made of the Socialist's surprise win in ]Spain's general election][3] just after the bombing in Madrid, are we seeing a terrible new method of electoral manipulation? Possibly, but it's a high risk strategy, nobody can ever be sure how an electorate will respond to such extreme actions. In the end resorting to violence undermines whatever political arguments the terrorists might want to make.