Heading towards catastrophe

February 11, 2013 § 1 Comment


The economist and philanthropist, Gareth Morgan, is right. There are simply too many cats in New Zealand for the native bird population to prosper. The concentration of cats in our cities is completely at odds with an idealised view many New Zealanders have of their country as one that is clean, green and natural.

Morgan has started a campaign to make New Zealanders think again about being a cat owner. His website Cats to Go sets out the arguments as to why cats are menace to native fauna – not just birds, but skink, gecko, frog and insect species.

In 2011, New Zealanders owned 1.4 million cats and that number corresponded to one in two households owning at least one cat. On his website, Morgan quotes studies that show cats have contributed to the extinction of nine native bird species and raised the risk of losing another 33 native birds.

But for suggesting that people should think again about being a cat owner, Morgan has become a lightning rod for cat lovers, many of whom are in denial that their little Tiddles is a pathological killer of native wildlife.

It’s interesting that some of the reaction has come from people who seem to be in complete denial that their cat is a top of the food chain alpha predator because, apart from dogs, cats have no natural enemies in New Zealand.

One of the arguments used by the cat protection lobby is that cats also control rodents but as this science blog post points out, with fewer cats, we humans would simply raise own game to keep the numbers of rats and mice down, as we already do with possums and stoats.

Morgan’s position has also been subject to a number of distortions, some funny memes, Facebook pages like this one and this one.  But he never advocated for the destruction of pet cats but makes a case for destroying feral cats – as we already do to rabbits and possums – because he argues that the trap, neuter and release (TNR) programme employed is not effective in preventing the carnage caused by cats.

The science is unequivocal. As this study shows – and this one and this one – cats are responsible for an enormous slaughter of small birds and animals. The danger is that cats are killing off the native birds at rates that are higher than they can replenish their populations or even grow their numbers.

If Morgan’s campaign gets people thinking about whether they will replace their ageing moggy when it finally passes on and hangs up its claws or to choose to have only one cat, that’s got to be more compatible with efforts being made by the Department of Conservation, local authorities and dedicated individuals who are working to protect New Zealand’s natural wildlife.

For the record, I feel it is necessary to mention that our household has a cat. She is lethal to the local rat and mice population. But she has brought home the occasional silvereye, weta and skink. I’ve come around to the pleasure of native birds because our home in Wellington’s Aro Valley has become a drop in centre for these guys.  That these three kaka or native New Zealand bush parrots are in our neighbourhood is tribute to the work done by the Zealandia wildlife sanctuary.

Zealandia provides a safe, predator proof environment for native birds – a kind of fenced land ark which is repopulating the surrounding Wellington suburbs with birds that filled the pre-1840s tree lined natural landscape.  The kaka, tui, morepork that are seen and heard on a daily basis in our immediate neighbourhood have only been made possible because they are able to breed in complete safety from cats and other predators within Zealandia’s fortified 225 hectare valley.

As Morgan’s Cats To Go website puts it:

Imagine a New Zealand teeming with native wildlife, penguins on the beach, Kiwis roaming about in your garden. Imagine hearing birdsong in our cities. Sure, we are seeing more tui and kereru these days, thanks to some good work on rat and possum control in some areas. But many other species are still endangered; such as the cheeky kaka, beautiful kokako and curious weka. These birds once ruled this land. Some species can’t coexist with cats and rats at all, such as mohua, saddleback and robins, so they rely on a few pest free refuges for their survival.

The call to reduce cat numbers in New Zealand has caught the eye of a number of international media outlets, including The Guardian, The New York Times, The Telegraph, The Atlantic and online websites like Russia Today and Boing Boing. While Morgan is described as a cat hater by Boing Boing, none of the others beats this indecent, over-the-top report from Taiwan’s tabloid NMA animation studio video. Enjoy but remember this is a bizarre and entertaining distortion and not an accurate reflection of the arguments.


Media freedom in China goes south for the weekend

January 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

The news out of Hong Kong is that the Southern Weekend newspaper strike is over. It ended quietly and some kind of agreement has been reached with the journalists angry at having their independence threatened by provincial propagandists in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.

It’s a no brainer to see how this brush fire over freedom of expression had the potential to become a conflagration for the Chinese authorities. Journalists generally stand shoulder to shoulder with their colleagues around the world, especially those who, by and large, believe in protecting the independence of their profession from controlling governments, big business and other powerful influences.

By their curmudgeonly nature, journalists hate interference and, most of the time, this works well in many countries as a check on abuses and corruption. The news media exposes corruption, waste and abuses of power and that in turn makes governments and corporations more accountable and transparent.  That’s the theory and often the practice.

It is also one reason why the News International phone hacking story in Britain is so shocking.  Instead of holding those in influence and power to account, it was the media that were committing a terrible abrogation of their responsibilities.

But that’s not the case in China where the Southern Weekend, a reform leaning newspaper that has carved out a reputation for integrity and independence, has been at the centre of a censorship row since last week. While it may be the latest in a string of clashes it has had with the authorities, for Southern Weekend, this is arguably the most important so far.

Here’s a New York Times article to help sketch you an idea of the newspaper’s crusading pedigree. That article is from ten years ago. It was breaking stories through its investigative journalism then, and has been a constant thorn in the side of the provincial Guangdong government.

Guangdong is not just any province. It is a key economic driver of the Chinese economy. Home of the Cantonese speaking diaspora, if Guangdong was a nation, it would be on a GDP basis the 13th largest economy in the world.

What happens in Guangdong matters a great deal to the rest of China. And news of any unrest, as in the case of the Wukan village strike, soon reaches Hong Kong and the news media there, unlike many of its counterparts in the rest of the mainland, is free to report it.

When the Guangdong propaganda ministry instructed its Communist Party representatives within the Southern Media Group (the company that owns the Southern Weekly) to publish a pro-government New Year editorial in the newspaper on January 3, it was duly done. But it was printed without the agreement of the newspaper’s journalists who rebelled after the fact and went on strike over what they viewed as an egregious breach of the newspaper’s editorial independence.  Look here for a detailed breakdown from the University of Hong Kong’s excellent China Media Project on what went down after the editorial was published.

News of the strike and protests then sped through Chinese internet. There’s also been some spill over on Twitter which some Chinese netizens access by circumventing the Great Firewall. The Southern Weekend journalists may even have been emboldened to strike because of the support shown by many Chinese internet users.

In what has become a very familiar scenario in a much bigger struggle over information, the so-called ‘sensitive keywords’ are being scrubbed from the Chinese web by China’s state censors and by self-censoring micro-blog platforms.  Check out the China Media Project’s Data Journalism Lab for a rundown on what is getting censored on weibo (a direct Chinese translation of the word micro-blog).

It’s all a bit like whack-a-mole. I have previously written about the war for information that is being waged on the Chinese internet.  Blogging, micro-blogging and mobile telephony have exploded the old information monopoly once completely owned and controlled by the state. Information on the internet now flows from many to many and it’s a very different information environment from when the government was able to broadcast information in the legacy media landscape that existed before the internet.

As an aside, there is one common tactic that Chinese netizens use to circumvent the censorship – the use of homonyms.  In Mandarin, Southern Weekend is nanfang zhoumo which is abbreviated to nan zhou. A homonym (same tones but different characters) for the abbreviated name of Southern Weekend is southern porridge and this innocuous phrase is doing the rounds on Chinese micro-blogs.

Photos of the demonstrations outside the Southern Media Group building in Guangzhou can be found by searching under the hashtags #nfzm and #nanzhou.

These two men have placards urging the protection of news media freedom.

The striking journalists and supporters did not have it all their own way. Here’s a counter demonstration by a group of Maoists.

If the news today is accurate, the fixers have had their day and the embers of rebellion are being dampened down. A truce is in place and the Southern Weekend has resumed production.  But for a while, the state authorities had a migraine and the authorities in Beijing were starting to get the headache too. The Southern Weekend showdown – and an associated kerfuffle at the Beijing News – is happening at a time of political transition for China. The country’s new paramount leader, Xi Xinping, is taking over from the incumbent, Hu Jintao, and it’s a sensitive time for China’s leadership. Once upon a time in China, it was possible to kill the rooster to scare the chickens but the internet makes it so much harder to clean away the mess and close the cooking pot.

Rest in peace, Nirbhaya

December 31, 2012 § 3 Comments

Anti-rape demonstrators in New Delhi.

Anti-rape demonstrators in New Delhi.

There’s been anger, sadness and shame in India over the ordeal of a young woman who was raped and critically injured by a gang of men on a bus in the capital, New Delhi. This shock reached an apogee on Saturday, December 29, when the unnamed 23 year old medical student died of her injuries in Singapore 12 days after being attacked.

The outpouring on social media has coalesced around a number of hashtags on Twitter including #delhigangrape, #delhirape and #braveheart. The Indian news media have christened her Amanat, Damini and Nirbhaya. Each of those names have been trending and now one of the most used hashtags is #RIPNirbhaya.

The Times of India says it started the trend to call the young medical student Nirbhaya which in Hindi means ‘fearless’. The other translation is ‘braveheart’ and she’s being called India’s braveheart which lends itself to being another of the trending hashtags used to express the grief and rage of many Indian Twitter users.

Facebook which is used by 60 million Indians has also been a venue of similar sentiments. This Times of India article shows just how many Indians have taken to the Internet to demonstrate their feelings and another TOI report says many Indians have turned their social media avatars to black in sympathy.

One tweet aggregator and tracking website, Twee.dot.co, says #RIPNirbhaya tweets ranked seventh in the world on December 29 when the word from Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital where she was being given specialist care was that she had passed away. The news burst onto Twitter and within hours, using Trendsmap, it is possible to see where the majority of #RIPNirbhaya tweets were originating.

As seen in the screen grab below, taken early on Sunday morning New Zealand Time, the main sources are the major cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Also featured are Hyderabad, Chennai and Calcutta.

Trendsmap image of #RIPNirbhaya hashtag tweets in India.

Trendsmap image of #RIPNirbhaya hashtag tweets in India.

Here is a sampling of some of the tweets.

There are tweets from celebrities, prominent media figures and even foreign diplomats. The actors, Shah Rukh Khan, Sonam Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan, the tennis player Sania Mirza, the cricketer Yuvraj Singh, and the CNN-IBN television anchor, Sagarika Ghose, are among those that tweeted their tributes to the young woman.

If the reaction on Twitter and other social media platforms is representative, this crime that has convulsed India is to become a rallying point for changing attitudes in what is ostensibly a chauvinistic and patriarchal country. As one woman protestor told the BBC World Service, the movement sparked by this terrible news story is not just a protest but a revolution.

Many fair-minded Indians will be hoping that this crime will be, in the words of one Indian commentator, an inflexion which marks a turning point towards achieving a society that eventually values baby girls as highly as boys. This in a country where ultrasound and foeticide are commonly practised to ensure the greater likelihood that a baby is a boy.

In India, sexual harassment is commonly known by the euphemism ‘eve teasing’ which makes it seem almost a playful activity.  But the death of the young woman that has galvanised Indian society has shown the phrase to have a sinister edge and shone a spotlight on the issue of sex crimes – most of which go unreported in India for a range of reasons. These include the reluctance of victims to report rape because the authorities are unresponsive and if the case goes through the legal system, it may be years before it comes to trial. Even then, conviction rates are woefully low.

Perhaps #RIPNirbhaya will go some way to changing India’s sexual inequality despite the depressing reality that there are untold Nirbhayas who will remain far from the public gaze. But for a short time at least, the news media will be looking to tell their stories and the government will be keen to demonstrate its willingness to listen.

Postscript:  Since I wrote this, Google India has created its own tribute.

Selling Obama to Generation Youtube

December 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

President Obama takes a conference call coordinating the response to Hurricane Sandy.

President Obama discusses Hurricane Sandy with officials (via the White House)

Two campaign advertisements help explain why Barack Obama won re-election last month. I don’t think they tipped the balance his way but the two fringe dwelling endorsements of Obama below are ingenious, neat and witty, and they say much about how and why the Obama campaign needed the youth of America.

The videos – one with the actor Samuel L Jackson who is an indisputable cool guy in any young person’s hero/anti-hero canon and the other by the comedienne Lena Dunham who is the hip young creator of the TV series, Girls – show how ways of reaching the youth vote is now critical to any masterplan to win the White House. It’s a lesson the Republicans haven’t got yet.

Here Samuel Jackson narrates a campaign ad which borrows heavily from the story of Dr Seuss’ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Romney is cast as the Grinch and Jackson galvanises an all American family beginning with the kids into working and voting for Obama because it is time to ‘wake the fuck up’. Uploaded on Youtube on Sept 27, five weeks before election day, the Samuel L Jackson video has gathered over one million, three hundred thousand views.

Meanwhile, Lena Dunham evokes voting for the first time as a metaphor for losing her virginity. Pop that cherry but do it with someone you care about, not the other guy. She name drops the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act 2009 – the first bill signed into law by Obama. Uploaded on Youtube on October 25, the Lena Dunham campaign ad has had over two and a half million views.

There are 46 million people in the United States between the ages of 18 and 29. We know them as Generation Y or the Millennial Generation. These ‘millenials’ are projected to grow from 21 per cent of the electorate to a third by 2015. That’s one big bump coming through in the demographic chart. And get this; 39 per cent of all millenials identify as non-white, making them the most ethnically diverse generation ever in American history.

Past voting trends show that these young voters favour the Democratic Party. Obama’s people know this. It’s a generational advantage they have over the Republicans. They saw what happened in 2008 and would have thought long and hard about reaching the kids in 2012 who would be voting for the first time as part of their rite of passage into adulthood.

Both campaign teams are acutely aware of how social sharing is now an indelible feature of any campaign strategy. Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Youtube and SMS messaging encourages frictionless sharing. Pitch the style and message right and it will show up in people’s news feeds all over the web. The old ways of reaching youth through radio, print and television are expensive, hard to track and probably don’t even work.

Instead, make a video, make it longer than any television ad, include profanity, share it, and track its views. Social media networks are practically a demonstration of an old adage that many hands make light work.

It is now old news that Obama won another term and in the end, it all seemed to happen without a great deal of fuss. All but one of the battleground states went to Obama and there were no cliff hanging recounts and legal challenges that kept the result in suspension. How he won has been endlessly dissected. Obama mainly won because, by and large, women, Hispanics, Asians, Blacks and young people preferred him to Romney. Although the Republican advantage among white Americans increased, it was not enough to matter and Obama’s leverage with the other voter groups negated and trumped that shift.

By the numbers, the American president’s advantage among women voters held steady on 55 per cent. Among Spanish-speaking voters who are now 10 per cent of the electorate, Obama increased his support from 67 four years ago to 69 per cent in 2012. You can find this illustrated in this New York Times infographic.

And he won because the voting trends of young people favour the Democrats. Jesse Ventura, the former pro-wrestler and former governor of the state of Minnesota, gets this. He told Piers Morgan on CNN the Republicans need to change. “If you look at the demographics, the Republicans didn’t do well with young people very good and they certainly don’t do well with women so they need to look more towards positions that maybe look towards youth and more towards the opposite sex.”

While young voters still prefer Obama, it was less the case than in 2008. An economy in the doledrums, a political deadlock at a federal level and voter apathy were obstacles to a high turnout and the message of hope Obama campaigned on in 2008 was looking a little threadbare after a first term spent fighting fires inherited from the George Bush years.

Only half of young people who are eligible to vote in the United States actually vote. But Obama’s people claim that young people will turn out in higher numbers – when targeted. The Democrats also say young people are more likely to volunteer to be activists, if they are asked to. All of this makes mining the millenials such an important strategy for the Democratic Party now and in the future.

The question is whether the Republicans can effectively win this demographic group. To do so, they will need to respond to the challenge in front of them of getting more in touch with the youth of America. But we can guess one thing. The two videos above surely herald the shape of things to come in the battle to win over the Youtube generation.

Cuddly Grizzly Bear

November 21, 2012 § 2 Comments

Grizzly Bear play the State Opera House.

Grizzly Bear play the Wellington State Opera House. Photo courtesy of @fantalefm.

Grizzly Bear is an anomaly and I mean that in a really good way. The band from New York gets called indie rock but given how its music confounds and transgresses the rules of so much that is stereotypical about rock, that label does it a disservice and blinkers the sparkling music it makes.

There were times last night when Grizzly Bear sounded a bit like the Fleet Foxes, or 70s progressive rock, or abstractly jazzy with elements of Kurt Weill thrown in. But none of these tangential references are really remotely accurate. Grizzly Bear sound like Grizzly Bear and there’s no one else around who can come close to what these guys are doing.

Many bands have gifted and talented singers – think Radiohead, The National, Vampire Weekend, Beach House, Lawrence Arabia, Phoenix Foundation – but how many have an embarrassment of riches like Grizzly Bear with three fine vocalists interchanging and harmonising?

They are multi-instrumentalists too, adding textures with flute, saxophone, trumpet, clarinet, lap steel and piano. It is rock music that sounds like nothing and everything, a hypnotic pop sensitivity that shifts from swagger to dreaminess in a heartbeat, and there’s nothing else to do but surrender to the swelling drama of the music.

I had a deep feeling the band would make its weirdly idiosyncratic albums sound even better on stage and that’s exactly how it happened. Grizzly Bear is a different animal live – so adept at changing the mood and feeling of a song. Heard in the flesh, the music is taut and elastic and it sounded pristine in a venue that celebrates its 100 anniversary next year. Seeing artists play at the State Opera House sells itself but when it happens to be musicians of this kind of calibre, the whole experience becomes exquisite.

Grizzly Bear last night played songs mainly from its most recent albums, Shields and Veckatimest. Songs like Two Weeks, Ready Able, Yet Again, Gun Shy, Half Gate swooped and soared while A Simple Answer came chugging out majestically, showing just why these guys are currently so highly cherished by fans and critics everywhere.

Part of the anomaly that is Grizzly Bear is that it sounds like a cult indie band but one that smashed the charts when its second to last album, Veckatimest, soared to eighth on the Billboard 200 charts in 2009.

Grizzly Bear is so hot right now. There’s a rare chemistry at work here – not the kind that creates an explosion but the kind that makes rare, swirling colours. It was such an extraordinary treat to see the band play Wellington for its first time. It helps that Grizzly Bear comes across as a band of friends who are enjoying a long moment in the sun and as long as that moment lasts, there’s so much to love about these five guys from Brooklyn.

I took some video. The first one (Yet Again) is only 17 seconds long because one of attendant Nazis rushed over to tell me to stop. The second one (Two Weeks) was done guerilla-style and it shows but at least the sound is clear.

Radiohead makes music that makes time travel easier

November 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Radiohead in concert

Radiohead in concert. Photo by Ajay Murthy.

When Radiohead beamed down in Auckland for only the second time, not everyone went home happy. I say beamed because there’s something increasingly ‘otherworldly’ about the band – especially if you factor in its newer recordings and singer Thom Yorke’s solo album The Eraser and his Atoms for Peace side project.

But judging by the comments from some punters to the NZ Herald review of the concert, contemporary Radiohead got the thumbs down from those wanting a Radiohead nostalgia trip.

Those fans had come to see the OK Computer era band and were not prepared for a show skewed towards the more recent end of the group’s career (with the emphasis on the King Of Limbs album) and which carried its past musical baggage very lightly.

But for the rest of us with expectations of just being able to see one of the seminal alternative music acts to straddle the end of one millennium and the beginning of another, it was a glorious and illuminating experience.

Radiohead may not have brought many of the old songs that made first made it famous, songs like Creep, High and Dry and Karma Police, but the group did bring two hours of Radiohead’s futuristic dystopian world view. It was brutal and uncompromising at times but worth every second.

Radiohead are more interested in being history makers, than repeating history.

Backed by a gorgeous and, at times, hallucinatory epilepsy inducing light show, Radiohead began the programme in a rush, slowed down in places, crashed through more of the band’s later songs with a relentless sonic aggression that ended on a ringing high.

If you didn’t know the lyrics, it was easy to imagine music about worlds spinning out of control and collapsing stars.

Someone posted the group’s set list on Twitter (via @christype) and although I haven’t verified it, it does match the list that the NZ Herald published in its online review. The highlights included Lotus Flower, Weird Fish, Ideoteque, Separator, two newish songs – Identikit and Supercollider – and one old favourite, Paranoid Android.

Interviews with band members have made clear their fear of being trapped in a time warp, playing the same songs to audiences which expect a backward looking ride through the group’s considerable back catalogue, with an emphasis on OK Computer, the album that makes many critics best album lists.

There’s now a similar case to be made for King of Limbs as an artistic breakthrough album.  There’s just such an evidently fierce intelligence and convention defying ethos about Radiohead that makes the band want to confound expectations. This show was less about the past and much more the present and the directions it is intent on pursuing.

Radiohead were awe-inspiring at the Vector Arena – a completely sold out show! – because my only real expectation was to see one of the epochal bands of a generation play live in the flesh. This beloved and artful super group thrilled because there were all the signs that its famous creativity shows little evidence of ebbing or slowing down.

Judging by the group’s thunderous, digitally enhanced sound and brilliantly hallucinatory stage design, Radiohead is intent on making light speed, as if it was in a scene from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey. Plot a course to the heart of the future. Twenty five years after its genesis, Radiohead remains a vital and creative tour de force. No complacency to see here, people, just a band whose artistic ambition continues to burn hard and fiercely. And it was a thing of wonder to see live.

Thanks to Ajay Murthy (@ajaystwtr) and @christype for the images used here. The videos below were taken on my Flip recorder. This review also appears on the Fantale FM website.

Staying in touch with Ai Weiwei

November 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

To the annoyance of the government in Beijing, one of China’s best known political dissidents Ai Weiwei (艾未未) must seem to be everywhere at times. For examples; Ai Weiwei has a new blog, Ai Weiwei does a Gangnam Style parody video, Ai Weiwei has an awarding winning documentary made about his life, Ai Weiwei exhibits naked photos of himself and his friends, Ai Weiwei has retrospectives and new works shown in some of the world’s leading art galleries, and Ai Weiwei chats frequently on Twitter.

As long as the rebellious artist can – with the help of a legion of supporters and fans – remain connected to his online community (he is not allowed to leave China and it is a given that his every move is monitored), everyone with an interest in China can feel less pessimistic about the trajectory the country is taking in terms of tolerating political dissent and political activism.

But when Ai Weiwei is sued, threatened, beaten and imprisoned, we feel gloomy about direction the country is headed despite the Chinese internet growing into a whirlwind of pressure for dialogue, openness and transparency.

While there are other well-known Chinese political dissidents and prisoners such as the Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波) who is currently jailed and the blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚) who is currently in the United States, Ai Weiwei is the one many of us China watchers pin our hopes to because he is the most visible to us. His art gives us a non sanctioned interpretation of modern China and most of us have seen or heard about his work in some form or another, like the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing or the porcelain sunflower seeds at the Tate Modern in London. We can also follow his conversations on Twitter, even if they are blocked within China except to those who circumvent the Great Firewall by using VPNs and other censorship defying techniques.

After nearly three months imprisonment and a temporary ban imposed on Ai Weiwei by the government ended last year, the artist has again taken to this digital lifeline that assures us he is alive and well and continuing to live up to a society’s expectations of an artist to be a public conscience that speaks out, even if it angers the authorities.

On Twitter, Ai Weiwei (170,000 plus followers and over 80,000 tweets)  is especially visible to me because I follow him on Twitter. He’s on my China list and he has even sent me a tweet. It was no small thrill to a star-struck fan that Ai Weiwei replied to me even if all he said was ‘eh’ or something close to that.

In Chinese, what he said is wonderfully ambiguous. The Chinese character for ‘eh’ is a kind of a grunt used to show surprise or disapproval. Or it could be used to express agreement or assent in the way an English speaker might say uh-huh.

My Chinese is basic and I had tweeted him to say that I read his tweets as a way of practising Chinese and that I looked forward to seeing the Never Sorry documentary about him by the film maker, Alison Klayman. I hoped for a reply but I didn’t expect one. But the fact that I got one demonstrated for me how if Ai Weiwei is a cyclist, Twitter is his fluorescent yellow visibility jacket. It reassures us that he has this one freedom despite not being able to travel overseas and of being under constant surveillance.

This is why it is vitally important to follow Ai Weiwei (@aiww) on Twitter. It tells us that Ai Weiwei is continuing to do what Ai Weiwei does – whether the authorities approve or not. You will be joining legions of fans, supporters, activists and even critics who believe information should flow freely on the internet, despite the worst intentions of governments.

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