UK : computer-generated images of child sex abuse to be illegal

A good discussion topic for ethics.

BBC

Drawings and computer-generated images of child sex abuse would be made illegal under proposals announced by Justice Minister Maria Eagle.

Owners of such images would face up to three years in prison under the plans.

The Obscene Publications Act makes it illegal to sell or distribute photos of child abuse but it is legal to own drawings and computer-generated images.

Ms Eagle said the proposed move would “help close a loophole that we believe paedophiles are using”.

The plans are part of the government’s response to a public consultation exercise carried out last year.

The government has acknowledged that paedophiles may be circumventing the law by using computer technology to manipulate real photographs or videos of abuse into drawings or cartoons.

Advertisements

New book – Undercurrents

My good friend Helen Leung always has lots of interesting things to say about queer culture and HK cinema. She has just published a new book:

Undercurrents: Queer Culture and Postcolonial Hong Kong
University of British Columbia Press, 2008

Sample chapter

A paperback edition will be available in July, 2008.

An Asian edition will be available in October, 2008 from Hong Kong University Press.

Texting Improves Parent-Teen Relationships?

A good exercise for discussion regarding media reports of statistics:
– how significant is the effect being reported?
– what is the sample size?
– what might be the margin of error?

http://news.digitaltrends.com/news/story/16392/texting_improves_parent-teen_relationships
By Nick Mokey
Staff Writer, Digital Trends News

A survey commissioned by Samsung suggests that over half of American teens and their parents would say that text messaging has improved their relationship.

It’s rare that technology actually gets credit for improving parent-teen relations rather than purported serving as another generational divide, but Samsung claims text messaging has actually moved the two groups closer together. According to a survey commissioned by the Japanese mobile giant, teens report better relationships with their parents since picking up texting.

The results show that 53 percent of teens who text would credit texting with improved parental relations, while on the other side of the relationship, 51 percent of parents who text would make the same statement about their kids, and say that they communicate more often with them than before. If it seems that the results are skewed because only a small percentage of parents actually text with their kids, think again: the survey also found that 68 percent of parents text with their kids.

Besides the surprising results suggesting improved parent-teen relations, the survey also turned up surprising data about the sheer volume of communication kids are carrying out via texting. On average, it found that teens send 455 text messages per month and receive 467, an average of 15 sent and 16 received daily. For their part, parents send 84 and receive 96.

The survey, carried out by Kelton Research, included 300 American kids between 13 and 19, and 500 American parents with kids between 13 and 19.

香港小四學生閱讀能力2006年排名第二

明報2007年11月30日社評

昨日有兩項最新的調查研究結果顯示香港學生的質素位居世界前列,一點也不遜色於其他先進國家和地區,我們感到欣慰之餘,應該想方設法使這些好質素在整體社會落地生根,使之成為香港的珍貴資產,從而加強本港整體的競爭力。政府和社會各界須共同為此付出更大努力。

根據一項有45個國家、地區參加的《全球學生閱讀能力進展研究》顯示,香港小四學生的閱讀能力,在2006年排名第二,僅次於俄羅斯,亦較2001年的排名高了12位。今年香港小四學生不但在整體排名上大躍進,在高層次閱讀方面,排名更是第一名。所謂高層次閱讀,是指學生所閱讀的書籍,不是消閒或是資訊性的,而是有批判性和學術性的書籍,情或許顯示香港小四學生思維上有點早熟,卻也說明他們的質素甚高,讀書已經超乎消遣或打發時間,而是追求學問,對於約10歲的孩童而言,這是十分難得的。

但是我們把視野從學校移到社會,這幾年,讀書風氣卻未見濃烈。相反,在地鐵所見多是把玩電子遊戲機之徒。若與讀書風氣較盛的內地、台灣和日本比較,香港確實有點自慚形穢。

本港的社會團體、傳媒機構等,不時都有舉辦活動,推動讀書風氣,但是效果不彰。例如本港每年的書展,都出現人山人海場面,但是一年趁書墟一次,是否反映趁墟的人都鍾愛讀書,答案是否定的。今年7月間,有機構做過一項《香港人愛閱讀還是愛書展?》的調查,以上門形式訪問了4500多名年齡介乎15至64歲的市民,發現只有不到三成在過去12個月內,曾經閱讀書籍(不包括報章及雜誌),閱書群主要是30至39歲,15至17歲者僅佔一成,即是10個閱讀書籍的人,只有一名是在學青少年。此情况與10歲小四生閱讀能力居世界前列的情况,完全不匹配。

Spontaneous Altruism by Chimpanzees and Young Children

doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050184

“People often act on behalf of others. They do so without immediate personal gain, at cost to themselves, and even toward unfamiliar individuals. Many researchers have claimed that such altruism emanates from a species-unique psychology not found in humans’ closest living evolutionary relatives, such as the chimpanzee. In favor of this view, the few experimental studies on altruism in chimpanzees have produced mostly negative results. In contrast, we report experimental evidence that chimpanzees perform basic forms of helping in the absence of rewards spontaneously and repeatedly toward humans and conspecifics. In two comparative studies, semi–free ranging chimpanzees helped an unfamiliar human to the same degree as did human infants, irrespective of being rewarded (experiment 1) or whether the helping was costly (experiment 2). In a third study, chimpanzees helped an unrelated conspecific gain access to food in a novel situation that required subjects to use a newly acquired skill on behalf of another individual. These results indicate that chimpanzees share crucial aspects of altruism with humans, suggesting that the roots of human altruism may go deeper than previous experimental evidence suggested.”

Citation: Warneken F, Hare B, Melis AP, Hanus D, Tomasello M (2007) Spontaneous Altruism by Chimpanzees and Young Children. PLoS Biol 5(7): e184 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050184

Received: February 8, 2007; Accepted: May 14, 2007; Published: June 26, 2007

曹仁超 – 投資者日記 2007-11-13

近年A股股價大漲,為中國製造唔少世界第一,可喜抑或可悲?反觀日本去年GDP達5萬億美元、中國到今年才達3萬億美元。日本1911年已完成六年免費教育,1947年開始九年免費教育,2007年日本人口48%受過大學教育。東京大學世界排名十七(中國至今六年免費教育仍未搞好,北京大學世界排名三十六、清華大學四十)。日本人不但接受教育方面全球最高,財富方面亦一樣,2005年年底日本海外資產淨值180.7萬億日圓,全球第一(中國加香港海外資產淨值只有44.23萬億日圓)。環保方面,日本森林覆蓋率達64%,係全球森林覆蓋率最高國家之一,中國只有18%,連世界平均水平22%亦達唔到。壽命方面,日本人亦係全球最高,平均壽命八十二歲(女子八十五點三三歲);仲有日本係全球收入分配最公平國家之一,堅尼系數只有0.285,日本呢方面世界第一才令人羨慕。今年日本已係泡沫經濟爆破後第十八年;反之,中國正處於泡沫經濟將破未破邊緣,真係瘦死駱駝仍比馬大,中國人應收斂一下自己財大氣粗,教育、財富、環保、壽命方面同日本人爭第一才對,不要有D小成績便吹噓不已

曾蔭權: 極端民主 = 文化大革命

「扭曲概念」的好例子。
明報 2007年10月12日

行政長官曾蔭權表示,如民主去到極端,將會變成文化大革命,人民掌握一切權力,就不能管治。

曾蔭權今早在電台節目中被及到如何在民主發展及社會穩定取得平衡時,他表示,如民主去到極端,就會像當年的民化大革命,影響穩定,不能管治,主持人追問民主不是文化大革命,曾蔭權稱,當人民掌握一切權力時,就不能管治。

行政長官辦公室發言人稱,曾蔭權的意思是想發展一個適合香港的普選模式。

立法會議員張文光批評曾蔭權將民主與文化大革命相題並論,是不倫不類,民主就是想防止獨裁的出現。

紮鐵工人

信報 林行止專欄 2007-08-28

紮鐵工人的日薪制度,是在特定時期各方可以接受的權宜安排;然而,由商會舉箸代籌,議定他們的日薪,因此難言公平,因為商人決策只會優先考慮本身的利益。事實擺明,工人的薪酬若由市場條件決定,在旺市時日薪不應止於一千二百元。何所見而云然?這是從在此期間(回歸前後)建造商及物業發展商盈利能力之高世界罕見(邊際利潤率長期在八、九成〔營業額一百元利潤八、九十元〕之間徘徊)推斷出來的。換句話說,筆者以為當時商會並無全力為工人爭取利益!非常明顯,當物業市道大旺時,紮鐵工人的日薪並非「市價」,當市道疲弱時,商會提出的卻是「市價」,工人要求改善,是應予慎重考慮的。

長話短說,解決當前紮鐵工人薪酬的困局,唯一方法是「最後用家」物業發展商稍為提高工程出價,讓建造商可以滿足工人的訴求。建造業這幾年來亦不景氣,以「主要從事上蓋建築工程、地基營造」的上市公司建業實業為例,其建築業便於二○○六及○七年度錄得赤字;另一方面,地產雖非大旺,唯物業發展商如恒隆○七年度的毛利率仍有百分之二十二點四,新鴻基地產百分之三十八點二二,而長江實業高達百分之四十點四六,這顯示它們是唯一有財力紓解當前這場足以破壞社會和諧工潮的一方。

梁振英:不應盲目追求烏托邦

RTHK 27/05 星期日 09:28

「行政會議召集人梁振英在本台節目表示,香港回歸十年來,一國兩制實踐得很好,香港人應該感到驕傲。他說,十年前市民的憂慮已一掃而空,但政府仍要處理其他性質不同的訴求,包括爭取雙普選。梁振英認為,世界上並無一種政治體制,既能反映大多數市民意願,又可制衡行政機關,同時不影響行政機關運作,因此不應盲目追求烏托邦式的政治體制,令社會忽略政治以外的社會問題。」

梁振英這番言論,跟葉劉淑儀的「一人一票不能解決所有問題」同出一轍,可算是「稻草人謬誤」。