Archive for April, 2005

1965 academic boycott of South Africa

April 28, 2005

In addition to the many unprecedented elements of the AUT boycott of two Israeli universities (see earlier posting with numerous links), it’s worth reflecting on its severity in comparison with the remarkably feeble 1965 proposal for an academic boycott of South Africa, which itself took 7 years to bring to the table following the ANC’s own call issued in 1958.

This is from Spotlight on South Africa, Dar es Salaam, November 26, 1965, itself quoted here on the ANC’s own website:

ACADEMIC BOYCOTT OF SOUTH AFRICA:
DECLARATION BY BRITISH ACADEMICS, 1965

[In 1965, 496 university professors and lecturers from 34 British universities signed the following declaration in protest against apartheid and violations of academic freedom. They made special reference to the issuance of banning orders against Jack Simons and Eddie Roux, two well-known progressive academics.]

“We, the (undersigned) professors and lecturers in British universities in consultation with the Anti-Apartheid Movement:

  1. Protest against the bans imposed on Professors Simons and Roux;
  2. Protest against the practice of racial discrimination and its extension to higher education;
  3. Pledge that we shall not apply for or accept academic posts in South African universities which practise racial discrimination.

I searched in vain for any more ‘muscle’ in that declaration… what’s going on here? Maybe there are other more detailed records kicking around, in which case I’d be happy to hear about it. Surprising that the ANC’s own site doesn’t contain more. There were of course many more stringent academic measures applied, as documented here, but the 1965 declaration itself does not seem to propose them. It’s also interesting to note that, in contrast to the ANC/1958 + UK/1965 pairing of proposals, this time it was UK/2003 + Palestinian/2005, i.e. the British academic’s original boycott proposal of 2003 preceded the Palestinian’s own call for an academic boycott by 2 years — this anomaly was one of the several reasons for rejection of the 2003 proposal.

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Boycott facts

April 27, 2005

Time for me to weigh in on the UK Association of University Teachers (AUT) boycott of Israeli universities. I’ve objected to these proposed boycotts in the national press and in a BBC Newsnight feature in the past, when an earlier and more contentious version of the motion was proposed. This time, most of my earlier objections were in fact specifically addressed — and yes, for those wondering about blogging/hosting policies, it’s OK to discuss this political issue on this university-hosted blog/site, since the issue is well-and-truly on the academic table already, as will be self-evident from the AUT motion and the history behind it, discussed at length on many sites and forums. Moreover, these are my own personal opinions and in no way reflect nor imply any official policy of The Open University [especially important to note given that it was an Open University AUT motion proposed from the floor, also not official policy of The Open University… further details at the very end].

But I want to do something slightly different in this posting, namely to talk about how I get to the bottom of what’s really happening, and provide you with a few links so you can get to the bottom with me. Of course there are no ‘facts’ in a simplistic sense, as any historiographer can tell you: it’s all about interpretation. Hence the loose play on words in the title of this posting (boycott could be a noun, as in ‘the boycott’ or an imperative verb, as in ‘boycott this company’): I sometimes feel like whatever ‘facts’ actually exist are themselves being boycotted!!

The sections below describe in turn

1. Report of the boycott in the mainstream press
2. Basic pro/con arguments
3. The end game: when would the boycott end?
4. The actual AUT wording
5. Wording of the Palestinian call
6. The Tantura/Katz/Pappé premises behind the first AUT motion

OK, here goes: a step-by-step listing, along with key quotes, from key sources that can help you do your own detective work.

(more…)

More ‘ontologies for the rest of us’

April 26, 2005

David Weinberg, via various sources originating here, writes at Many2Many:

Del.icio.us has a feature in beta that lets you collect a set of your tags into a “bundle” that then shows up at the top of the your personal page. For example, if you declare the tags “parody,” “sarcasm” and “puns” to be part of a “humor” bundle, all three of those tags will be listed under a big, bold “Humor” on the right hand side of your del.icio.us home page. You can create a bundle by going to http://del.icio.us/settings/YOURUSERID/bundle.

This is the next intuitive layer of ‘ontologies for the rest of us’… will be interesting to see how it pans out.

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And now… site of the week (BBC Radio Suffolk)

April 25, 2005



Chris Valentine has alerted us to this posting on 7summits forum from 22nd April:

The Wider World Wide Web
Thought you guys would like to know that a link to Lorenzo’s Everest
Ascent will soon be up on the BBC Radio Suffolk website. I have chosen
his site to be our website of the day today. This will be broadcast live
today at 1545 local time. Check it out on-line at bbc.co.uk/suffolk and
click on listen live. Great to listen to Lorenzo’s reports. Good luck.

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Edinburgh goes Xtreme too

April 20, 2005

Just as Lorenzo is podcasting via our server from Everest North Face base camp 1, I suddenly discover, via Austin Tate at the University of Edinburgh, that an old a former AI colleague, Rob Milne, is blogging from the Everest South Face! Good luck to all – these are dangerous missions, and the (audio)blogging side needs to be a low priority in the interests of safety.

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Lunchtime virtuosity

April 20, 2005

From my past entries you would think that I’m more likely to blog about heavy guitar heroes like Satriani and Vai than about classical music, but hey, I lived in the house of a harpsichord virtuoso, so when I was encouraged to attend a lunchtime concert at the Open University, I thought it was worth a go.

It was great! The Milton Keynes City Orchestra played some wonderful pieces by Purcell, W.F.Bach (one of J.S.’s 21 children apparently, and composer of some fascinating and somewhat lateral-thinking pieces), Telemann, and J.S.Bach. What a refreshing break from the all-too-often wolfed-down or working lunches; a special treat for me was hearing harpsichordist David Rowland, of the OU’s Music Department, play a stunning solo in the second movement of Brandenburg’s Concerto No. 5 in D Major. One of those pieces you hear a lot, or rather you think you do: but seeing it performed live is always something special, and helps you appreciate it in new ways.

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Adobe to acquire Macromedia

April 18, 2005

Holy smokes…

Thanks to Ben Hawkridge for the tipoff…

Press release from Adobe


Press release from Macromedia

[UPDATE: there’s only guy who could sincerely write, concerning this saga, “Can I have my name back – now?” ]

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Lorenzo reaches Everest base camp

April 15, 2005

“Without a doubt one of the most beautiful sights in the world”…

Follow the podcast/audioblog/gps map updates of our man Lorenzo as he ascends the fifth of his Seven Summits (highest on each continent).

See:

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April 15, 2005


I was very pleased to meet up again with Chris Kiveal of Minds-Eye Productions, who dropped by to say hello. Chris produced Starsky and Hutch (PS2 and PC) for Empire Interactive, and has many other cool titles and activities to his name…

Chris is the guy who worked with me and Jason Reeve a few years back on the ‘Roving Friends’ concept (an autonomous net-roving bot scriptable by school-children), and which I blogged about a while back.

Chris is brimming with great ideas, some of which have much relevance to education, and I’ll be very interested to see where they go!

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April 15, 2005


I was very pleased to meet up again with Chris Kiveal of Minds-Eye Productions, who dropped by to say hello. Chris produced Starsky and Hutch (PS2 and PC) for Empire Interactive, and has many other cool titles and activities to his name…

Chris is the guy who worked with me and Jason Reeve a few years back on the ‘Roving Friends’ concept (an autonomous net-roving bot scriptable by school-children), and which I blogged about a while back.

Chris is brimming with great ideas, some of which have much relevance to education, and I’ll be very interested to see where they go!

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