Saturday, June 17, 2006

Soca Warriors' "hymn"



So I found this on YouTube. I have no idea where this came from. It's pretty awful, tinny "pan" music and all, especially compared to the defacto anthem - Maximus Dan's "Fighter" which is below:

Thursday, June 15, 2006

T&T vs England

My lord... it took us nearly 2 minutes to touch the ball in the match. And then at 2:10, a very weak shot to Shaka Hislop. There's 15 of us squeezed into a small room with a 32" TV - we have to beat our previous colonial masters!

4:30 in -- 86 minutes to go... that's all we have left. But then a shot on goal - Shaka with a very unothodox save - TWICE!!!
6:45 - Carlos Edwards marking Crouch - he's been moved to right back!

What are our tactics? Free kick very badly taken. That might have been our best chance... did Dwight take a shot or was it a pass?

England counter attack -Beckham missed by a mile!

OK - took a break - Dwight down with a very low blow. I'm distracted ... we're singing and clapping the Shaka song. Shaka Shaka!!!
Now - the song is London Bridge is Falling Down... or is that premature, especially on the Queen's birthday. A New World Order here today?

Nil-all at half time - but by rights we should be ahead by one - England's Terry cleared it off the line with the keeper nowhere in sight! 3 defenders to scramble Stern John's header off the line - I so expected it to be in the back of the net!

Rooney comes in - is England so worried that they will risk the rest of the world cup just to avoid a draw agaist little T&T? But the wisdom here in Woodbrook, is that - We can't worry about Rooney - we are Warriors, not Worriers!!!

Finally!!! England gets a yellow card - we've been held to a higher standard all along.

England looks really worried! Beenhakker, our fave Dutchman looks very cool. He's even good at singing calypso!
We're looking composed, we have it together. The English look a bit worried and flustered. I wonder why... we haven't scored...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Chris Birchall: Four years ago I was down the pub watching England

Chris Birchall still can't really believe that he's playing in the World Cup for Trinidad and Tobago, against England. But our guys have nothing to lose - just to go out there and have fun and play good football. All the pressure's on England - think there's some old Empire pressure as well?

Visited countries

Saw this very cool map tool on Caribbean Free Radio. So here's my map of places I've been. I obviously need to travel more out of my own hemisphere!



create your own visited countries map

Guardian Unlimited Football - the most tasteless commentary!

Guardian Unlimited Football | World Cup 2006 | Group B: Trindad & Tobago v Sweden
This is a terrible, tasteless, fascinating and ultimately absolutely hilarious liveblog of the match between T&T and Sweden, which ended in a nil-all draw, prompting massive celebration in T&T, and many reports of our 'victory", not least by our very own FIFA VP - Austin "Jack" Warner. And he has his second biography out now - a book called "From Zero to Hero". Yes, it's published by my very own employer - Media Net Publishing.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents

Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents
Reporters Without Borders has produced this handbook to help them, with handy tips and technical advice on how to to remain anonymous and to get round censorship, by choosing the most suitable method for each situation. It also explains how to set up and make the most of a blog, to publicise it (getting it picked up efficiently by search-engines) and to establish its credibility through observing basic ethical and journalistic principles.

Internet-censor world championship

Reporters sans frontières - Internet-censor world championship

This article is both interesting and terrifying. It lists (and discusses) censorship of the Internet worldwide. The repressive regimes that censor access to information for their populations have managed to both eat their cake and have it - they get many of the economic advantages of access to the Internet without the inconvenience of the concurrent liberation of the ideas, hearts and minds of the population, and the demands for freedom that this brings. Some of the censorhip tools are very technologically advanced (such as in China) and one can argue that the state of the art (knowledge and development) is beign served, but to what end?

Friday, June 09, 2006

House rejects Net neutrality rules

Read this article and you can see why I'm steaming. Now, the US has effectively drawn the battle lines - developing countries NEED net neutrality in order to be able to effectively access the Internet for develpment and economic purposes. Some Governments already consider some US activity on the Internet as tantamount to econmic warfare on their developing economies - how much more so now, when the US has effectively said - we don';t have to treat everyone equally - we can discriminate, and give some people better access than others.
Lets see how the rest of the world takes this. ICANN's MOU is due to end in September and the IANA contract has been put up for rebid. The .com agreement hasn't yet been approved by the DoC. The management of the Internet is in a difficult and uncertain place now. I hope it works out.

Article by Declan McCullagh
House rejects Net neutrality rules | CNET News.com
The U.S. House of Representatives definitively rejected the concept of Net neutrality on Thursday, dealing a bitter blow to Internet companies like Amazon.com, eBay and Google that had engaged in a last-minute lobbying campaign to support it.

By a 269-152 vote that fell largely along party lines, the House Republican leadership mustered enough votes to reject a Democrat-backed amendment that would have enshrined stiff Net neutrality regulations into federal law and prevented broadband providers from treating some Internet sites differently from others.

Vision 2020 - education in a mess

I had an interesting email exchange with Raul Bermudez at 3:30 am today. He sent an email referring to a Minister's pronouncement on the Trinidad and Tobago Vision 20/20 plan - supposed to make T&T reach Developed Nation status by the year 2020.

Here it is:

By the year 2020,
Trinidad and Tobago will be a united, resilient, productive, innovative and prosperous nation;
With a disciplined, caring, fun-loving society;
Comprising healthy, happy and well-educated people and
Built on the enduring attributes of self-reliance, respect, tolerance, equity and integrity;

in which:

Every citizen has equal opportunities to achieve his fullest potential;
All citizens enjoy a high quality of life, where quality healthcare is available to all and where safe, peaceful, environmentally-friendly communities are maintained;
All citizens are assured of a sound, relevant education system tailored to meet the human resource needs of a modern, progressive, technologically advancing nation;
Optimum use is made of all the resources of the nation;
The family as the foundation of the society contributes to its growth, development and stability;
There is respect for the rule of law and human rights and the promotion of the principles of democracy;
The diversity and creativity of all its people are valued and nurtured.


So he wrote me that:

[This is] Typical back to front thinking.

Create a society in which...

Every citizen has equal opportunities to achieve his fullest potential;
All citizens enjoy a high quality of life, where quality healthcare is available to all and where safe, peaceful, environmentally-friendly communities are maintained;
All citizens are assured of a sound, relevant education system tailored to meet the human resource needs of a modern, progressive, technologically advancing nation;
Optimum use is made of all the resources of the nation;
The family as the foundation of the society contributes to its growth, development and stability;
There is respect for the rule of law and human rights and the promotion of the principles of democracy;
The diversity and creativity of all its people are valued and nurtured.


...and perhaps by the year 2020,


Trinidad and Tobago will be a united, resilient, productive, innovative and prosperous nation;
With a disciplined, caring, fun-loving society;
Comprising healthy, happy and well-educated people and
Built on the enduring attributes of self-reliance, respect, tolerance, equity and integrity;

To pretend that it will happen any other way is wrong.

While agreeing with the back-to-front-ness of the original post, I had one major complaint. The education portion states:

"All citizens are assured of a sound, relevant education system tailored to meet the human resource needs of a modern, progressive, technologically advancing nation;"

But
They leave out the really important part of education - it's not to meet human resource needs that are dictated by companies, but to educate the population to be ready to learn life-long, to value knowledge, to respect the knowledge of the ages, to contribute in the arts, science; to foster a culture of intellectual curiosity and
rigour; to create thinking citizens with an understanding of their role in a democratic society (hint - it's not to call in to the radio, but to understand the issues and work to make our government responsive to and a servant of the people) etc

If we only "met the HR needs" - would any school teach Shakespeare or Derek Walcott? What about pure science? What about theatre arts, sports, craft, civics?
This distresses me.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

No Tolls on The Internet

No Tolls on The Internet is a very interesting piece written by Internet guru Lawrence Lessig in the Washington Post. Net Neutrality is a hot button topic, but also kind of obtuse. In order to make it understandable, it's been reduced to simplistic and alarmist sound bites - big companies will be in charge of the Internet and can charge little people way too much - we will have an Internet of the "haves' and the "have-nots" etc.
What is really the crux of the debate is whether the Internet is a public good or just another product that is marketed.
I would argue that the Internet is and MUST be a public infrastructure. It is the infrastructure on which the economies of today run and the future will run. Non-discriminatory access to Internet bandwidth is vital to development of the smaller economies of the world. I hope that the US Federal Communications Commission decides to reinstate the rules that were removed. Laws to promote Net Neutrality require a lot more though and work than they seem to have put in to date, as we don't want to strangle innovation on the Net either.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Launch of Caribbean Coalition on Women and AIDS (News, 2005-12-16) - News & Events - UNIFEM

Launch of Caribbean Coalition on Women and AIDS (News, 2005-12-16) - News & Events - UNIFEM
OK - so this launched last year, right here in the Caribbean, but it took me until now to find it - via an International site. This is such an important item, how come it wasn't more widely reported here, where it's been created, and where it is vital (as women and girls are being infected at high rates)?
Is it that local NGOs are not well trained in the use of and exploitation of local media, or is it that local media aren't interested?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Cooking with too much gas?

The rush to monetise natural gas in Trinidad and Tobago is feeling rather like the pictures and stories of the Gold Rush in California USA in the past. We're charging ahead, liquifying it at rates previously unheard of, building plants to burn it (smelters etc) doing everything we can possibly do to make money off it while the war in Iraq stumbles on and prices remain high.

But - we can't absorb it all. We are a nation of 1.3 million people. Physically, we have a land mass of under 3000 sq miles. We can't realistically take all this in without inflation, environmental stress, importation of human resources.

If we slowed down the extraction rates, (paused at Train 3 for a breath rather than going straight for 4 and 5, cancelled the smelters) we'd be in a much better position to grow the economy slowly and sustainably. But we want to "strike while the iron is hot". Which to me makes no sense in the O&G economy, as it's a non-renewable resource, and the prices aren't going anywhere. Gas is a "clean" fuel, and if we wait some, the gas prices will go up more and more as dirty fuels are phased out by international agreement. But that means that the party in power won't have unlimited sums to purchase votes to keep itself in power indefinitely. Which is a terrible way to determine economic policy.

We're pushing so fast that we can't even keep up with the human resources, so the benefits are going to imported expats. If we slowed down a bit, then we would be able to work within our resource limits (human as well as infrastructural). We'd be able to train people in
time to work in the projects that are being created. We'd be able to have a highway or mass transportation system that services an area when massive development of that area is finished and not 30 years later.

Have we looked at the buildings that are going up and transforming the POS skyline? How much will they cost to maintain and run? How many are being powered by alternative energy or are built in an energy efficient manner? What will we do with them in 50 or 100 years? We won't have cash to tear them down and build over... we may not even in the near future have enough cash to run the airconditioning!