Thursday, October 19, 2006

Webdiary Temporarily Down

I edited some comments on Webdiary at about ten o'clock last night. On coming back to the site ten minutes later, I found not only the comments for current pieces had gone missing, but also those for articles in the archive.

With any luck normal services will resume asap. In the meantime it's sad to see the site in a coma.

I've only been involved with Webdiary for eighteen months. I'd been emailing Margo Kingston the odds and sods I'd been finding about Halliburton for a while when she invited me to do a piece and gave me some coaching on how to go about writing this. After this Margo and Hamish set me up a blog on The first entry became linked from the blog page of Halliburton Watch, and I've been added many of my newer posts to that link. It's become a diary of what I've been observing, and has this week arrived at a hit total of 10,000. Some of my pieces have also been published as news by Halliburton Watch, in particular those relating to Scott Parkin's shameful deportation and the identification of corrupt practices in Ausaid.

If it wasn't for Webdiary and the sibling team-supreme Margo Kingston and Hamish Alcorn I would 've been battling to get the word out. This applies to many other people in similar situations.

These days, as MK and Hamish pursue other activities there's a few volunteers keeping the site going, a trickle of donations covering running costs. The site often hosts over sixty comments a day on various subject threads, and is still a meeting place to thrash out ideas. Every now and then it shows a glimmer of becoming a gestalt, a group mind working on projects together.

I'm sure Webdiary will one day be the force in citizen journalism that Margo envisaged.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Parable Of Prognostication

It was April and the Aboriginals in a remote part of northern Australia asked their new elder if the coming winter was Going to be cold or mild. Since he was an elder in a modern community he had never been taught the old secrets.

When he looked at the sky he couldn't tell what the winter was going to be like. Nevertheless, To be on the safe side, he told his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the tribe should collect firewood to be prepared. But being a practical leader, after several days he had an idea. He walked out to the telephone booth on the highway, called the Bureau of Meteorology and asked, "Is the coming winter in this area going to be cold?" The meteorologist responded, " It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold."So the elder went back to his people and told them to collect even more wood in order to be prepared.

A week later he called the Bureau of Meteorology again. "Does it still look like it is going to be a very cold winter?" The meteorologist again replied, "Yes, it's going to be a very cold winter." The elder again went back to his community and ordered them to collect every scrap of firewood they could find.

Two weeks later the elder called the Bureau again. "Are you absolutely sure that the winter isgoing to be very cold?" he asked. "Absolutely," the man replied. "It's looking more and more like it is going to be one of the coldest winters ever. "How can you be so sure?" the elder asked. The weatherman replied, "There are reports that the Aboriginals are collecting firewood like crazy, and that's always a sure sign.

-Forwarded by Chip