This website is moving! Please visit www.enchant.me.uk and update your bookmarks.

This website is moving! Please visit www.enchant.me.uk and update your bookmarks.

This website is moving! Please visit www.enchant.me.uk and update your bookmarks.

This website is moving! Please visit www.enchant.me.uk and update your bookmarks.

This website is moving! Please visit www.enchant.me.uk and update your bookmarks.

This website is moving! Please visit www.enchant.me.uk and update your bookmarks.

eurolinux.org

Make my vote count!

Stop ID cards and the database state

§ Squirrel
§ Press cuttings
§ Software patents
§ Model Transformation Tools (MTT)
§ Cuba (2003)
§ Vegetarian beer
§ Other photo galleries
§ Spitting stones
§ Chilling reading
§ Guantanamo Bay
§ Universal declaration of human rights
§ Finished reading?
§ Contact


Me, with a squirrel in Glasgow Botanic Gardens

Picture of squirrel on my shoulder, eating a nut. Picture of a squirrel on my shoulder, looking at me.


Press cuttings

I spend a lot of time writing to the press at the moment, usually about ID cards. I have gathered together some letters that have been published on a page of press cuttings



Software patents

My views on software patents are reflected in my response to the UK Patent Office consultation in 2000.

Similar views are also expressed (more briefly) in my letter to New Scientist which was written in response to an article about the European Parliament's amendments to the directive on the "patentability of computer-implemented inventions". The letter elicited this response from a patent attorney. It is noticeable in the debate on software patents that those most in favour of software patents are the European Patent Office (who are paid per patent processed), patent attorneys (who are paid per patent processed) and very large US firms such as Microsoft who wish to stifle competition from the hotbeds of innovation in the IT industry, small and medium sized enterprises (SME) and free and open-source sofware developers, who are almost unanimously united in their opposition.

There is a lot of misinformation spread about the current law regarding software patents. Article 52(2) of the European Patent Convention explicitly precludes software from being patented:

(1) European patents shall be granted for any inventions which are susceptible of industrial application, which are new and which involve an inventive step.

(2) The following in particular shall not be regarded as inventions within the meaning of paragraph 1:

(a) discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;

(b) aesthetic creations;

(c) schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, and programs for computers;

(d) presentations of information.

(3) The provisions of paragraph 2 shall exclude patentability of the subject-matter or activities referred to in that provision only to the extent to which a European patent application or European patent relates to such subject-matter or activities as such.

(4) Methods for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy and diagnostic methods practised on the human or animal body shall not be regarded as inventions which are susceptible of industrial application within the meaning of paragraph 1. This provision shall not apply to products, in particular substances or compositions, for use in any of these methods.
Article 52 of the European Patent Convention

Paragraph 3 contains the notorious "as such" clause. It is evident, to me at least, that this is intended to ensure that patents may be granted for inventions despite the fact that software may be used in them somewhere, but that the patent may not cover the software portion itself. For example, a new method of welding metals using some novel tool would be patentable even if the tool contains a microprocessor executing a set of instructions. Clearly, however, the patent could not extend to preventing others from using the same algorithms in other tools.

Unfortunately, this "as such" clause has been used as a loophole for allowing software patents. Many patents for software have been granted using this loophole, some of the more readable ones are listed at the European Software Patent Horror Gallery. compiled by the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure.


Sign Charter 88


Model Transformation Tools

MTT (Model Transformation Tools) version 5.0 .deb and .rpm packages[?] are available at Sourceforge. More frequently updated packages for testing are also available.


Cuba (2003)

Cuban flag

View of Havana Frog on a shutter at the meterological station Maria la Gorda beach

A very big thank you to Aylen and her family for taking the time to show the real Cuba!


Glasgow No Borders Network


Vegetarian food and beer

I have started creating a Vegetarian beer list. There are still a lot of beers that I have yet to check for suitability, but the list has more suitable beers than non-suitable ones, so any vegetarians who have until now decided that "ignorance is bliss" when it comes to beer might want to have a look ...
(and some have even been confirmed as suitable for vegans too!)


Other photo galleries

Belize

Belize

Brazil

Brazil

Costa Rica

Costa Rica


http://www.stopstarwars.org


Spitting stones

A question in New Scientist magazine asked:

"if you spit a cherry stone while swinging on a swing, would it go farthest if you spit it while you are at the lowest point of the swing (because you are moving so fast), or would it be better to spit it at the highest point?"

The answer is somewhere in the middle:

graph of distance attained versus angle of release

GNU Octave logo The results were plotted using GNU Octave.
The script can be downloaded from here.


eurolinux.org


Chilling Reading

Have a look at the Statement of Principles at the Project for the New American Century.

Some quotes:

"Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next."

"Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?"

"it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire."

"a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad"

"We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership."

Be certain to look at the signatories to this document, which include:

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz

the current Vice President Dick Cheney and his Chief of Staff Lewis Libby

former Vice President and intellectual heavyweight, Dan Quayle

Under Secretary, Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky

and

Governor of Florida and brother of the President Jeb Bush

This document was signed in 1997.

Before the attack on the World Trade Center.

Before the attack on the Pentagon.

Before the "War on Terror".


Guantanamo Bay

The indefinite detention without trial of prisoners by the U.S. government at the Guantanamo Bay naval base is illegal and should not be condoned by any civilised society. If there is evidence against the prisoners, it should be presented in a civil court that has appropriate jurisdiction. The prisoners have a right to be presumed innocent and to have the opportunity to challenge the evidence at a free and fair trial.

The prisoners must be granted free, unhindered and unmonitored access to legal counsel. Anything less is an abuse of power and serves only to demean the principles of justice that free people of the world hold dear.

NOBODY expects the Guantanamo Inquisition! Our chief weapon is torture...torture and fear...fear and torture.... Our two weapons are fear and torture...and ruthless lack of regard for Human Rights.... Our *three* weapons are fear, torture, and ruthless lack of regard for Human Rights...and an almost fanatical devotion to the neo-Conservative agenda.... Our *four*...no... *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, torture.... I'll come in again.
With apologies to Monty Python

Stop ID cards and the database state


Universal declaration of human rights

United Nations Charter

Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories."

PREAMBLE

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.

(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15.

(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22.

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23.

(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28.

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29.

(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30.

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

Source: http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html

Finished Reading?

Want to read something else? There are many good books on-line at Project Gutenburg; anyone who is not yet concerned about the database state that our government is intent on creating should read George Orwell's 1984. For some lighter reading, I highly recommend the short story "Flatland" by Edwin Abbot. Alternatively if you have had enough of reading, how about watching a Quicktime video of a Lego clock? Flying pig has animations of other mechanisms, or how about a bit of zen if you are feeling crafty?


Contact details

My work contact details are available from the University of Glasgow website. My public key is also available if you want to contact me securely or verify a digital signature (fingerprint: 3085 D1DD B2A8 15ED 492F E75D 7175 7737 9D10 98D3)

e-mail: geraint@enchant.me.uk

Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS! Viewable With Any Browser Bobby WorldWide Approved

This page is Bobby Approved.

Last updated at least as recently as 2008-01-21.