Good news!

Written By: - Date published: 7:20 am, May 23rd, 2010 - 29 comments
Categories: news - Tags:

I was going to write a post about another looming crisis. Bees. Specifically, the death of bees. “Is that really a crisis?” – I hear you cry. Only if you like to eat. Go read the article. Dancr has a post scheduled after ten on this sort of thing (a good place for any comments re the bees).

Anyway, I was starting to write, when it occurred to me that I’m always writing about bad news. Bloody Tories. Climate change. Oil spills. Financial collapses. Countries torn apart. It’s a depressing diet. Time for a change! How about a post about good news? Let’s give it a try.

Here’s one, for example, the Free Software movement. Tens of thousands of people all over the world donating their training, their talent and their energy to make neat software and give it away. For free. Just because it’s cool, or to make a political statement. A bunch of volunteers have created tools that rival the big corporations. It’s inspiring. The World Wide Web, the tool that we’re using to communicate with now, was developed by an amazing individual who never tried to commercialise it or shackle it in any way, he just gave it away for the common good. Same goes for the internet protocols that sit underneath the web, and much of the fascinating early history of the internet. It’s not the software that’s free, it’s you. I wonder if those founders could ever have imagined what an integral part of life it has become for most of us.

So, what other good news is out there? Let’s try and leave politics out of it. What is there of national or international significance to be cheerful about? (Or anything goes if you’re moved to write about personal good news.) Go ahead – make our day…

29 comments on “Good news!”

  1. mach1 1

    The Benefits of Long-distance Friends, an interview with one of the heroes and the original ask metafilter thread.

  2. just saying 2

    My mother’s love affair with John Key is all but over. The fever has definitely broken. She knows he isn’t good for her, worse, for her grandkids, and that he isn’t who she thought he was.
    She’s still saying “but who else is there to vote for”? wistfully. But she remembers the last depression and know’s that Key’s doing the complete opposite of what needs to be done to pull us out of recession. What’s more she’s pretty much resigned herself to the fact that he doesn’t care about this nation and its people, actually.
    This conversation happened before the budget. We haven’t talked since, but I expect it served as a booster shot, because she’s not stupid – that isn’t why she succumbed. (but I’m damned if I know why she did).
    I’m relieved, not just for the obvious reasons but because she’s a disabled pensioner of modest means living in South Auckland (where I grew up), and she has no idea of the utter contempt that the tories she supported, have for her, and those she loves.

    So, one down, six to go – the rest of the family voted National too, (and all still live in Manukau City too, ironically).

  3. mach1 3

    The Carter Family.

    Keep on the sunny side.

  4. David 4

    Great initiative ROB,
    Heres some fantastic news. Sea levels are not rising. Hooray. And its a Peer Reviewed paper as well.

    “In a new scientific paper, Nils-Axel Morner, former emeritus head of the paleogeophysics and geodynamics department at Stockholm University in Sweden, says that observational records from around the world locations like the Maldives, Bangladesh, India, Tuvalu and Vanuatu show the sea level isn’t rising at all.

    Morner’s research, revealed Monday at the fourth International Conference on Climate Change, demonstrates that there is no “alarming sea level rise’ across the globe, and it says a U.N. report warning of coastal cities being deluged by rising waters from melting polar ice caps “is utterly wrong’

    For his paper, Morner looked at the sea-level changes in major metropolitan cities around the globe—including Venice, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Mumbai, as well as islands such as the Maldives. A total of 159 stations were used for the research. His study showed that there was a maximum of 3 millimeters of sea level rise in some locales around the world, and many coastal cities showed no rise at all. “

    • ‘Sea levels are not rising’ says David, going on to quote a bloke called Morner who says they are, in fact, rising. No good news there, I’m afraid, David. Readers might like to know that Morner was speaking at a denialists’ conference and the quote came from that authoritative and unbiased source, Fox News.

      • David 4.1.1

        Are Fox News doing Peer Reviews now? Oh well I guess if its good enough for WWF..
        Rising 3 mms. Ever heard of margin of error?
        You know like the IPCC said 2-6 degrees and its only .5 degrees per century. Now thats a margin of error.
        Actually thats more good news. Nature proves IPCC wrong>

        • ‘Are Fox News doing Peer Reviews now?’ Nope, they just make it up. Much like you. Cite me the peer reviews, please. 10 minutes on the net found me a grand total of, um, no references what so ever to peer reviews. Here’s how Google see it:

          Your search – Nils-Axel Morner “peer review” – did not match any documents.

          And then there’s: Your search – Nils-Axel Morner “margin of error” – did not match any documents.

          Still, interesting to learn that Morner spends his spare time with a bent stick in his hands, wandering Scandinavian fields trying to divine water by blind faith. He’s a quack, David.

  5. Free music…were it not for the internet, music, and the purchase of it, would be a luxury item the common man simply couldn’t afford.

    Bless all me hearties out there ripping a new one for the great unwashed and re issuing old ones for the nostalgic.

    Music is food for the soul and now more than ever do our souls need nourishment…play on !!!

    • jcuknz 5.1

      And honest workers, not that I can stand the rubbish they output, starve for the want of royalties stolen by thieves … sorry that may be good news for the thieves but not for the creators.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        One of the interesting pieces covered by the documentary is music making and sales in Brazil where the artists make money doing live venues. Anyone can record the show and sell that recording or give it away for free. The artists make money, the distributors make money but what you don’t have is a bunch of people making money from doing nothing at all.

        BTW, the documentary itself is distributed in a similar way. You can download it for free and then donate if you liked it.

  6. ianmac 6

    Good news! John Key will not be playing for the All Blacks after all as he will be having dinner for with Tuhoe.

    • Jim Nald 6.1

      Good-er news!
      In honour of da PM, a special dish should be created along the lines of the Beijing Duck.
      Someone should inform Tuhoe the suggestion to call it Tuhoe’s Quack.

  7. logie97 7

    The good news is The National Parks and those administered by Regional Authorities. They are wonderful. We all believe it but some also know it.

    The Waitakere Ranges have pockets of preserved forest and areas of regeneration. I had the good fortune recently while visiting Auckland and traveling out that way to become a knower rather than just a believer.

    And as I walked along a well formed track and saw some magnificent trees and heard birdsong I thought about the destruction of the past on such fantastic tracts of land. How much of that land grab was really necessary? See, as you journey around the country you can observe vast areas of clear-felled land now in marginal pasture and wonder if the wholesale destruction of forest and bush land was necessary.

    The settlers of our lands and their governments have a lot to answer for in my opinion. It would seem that there was very little planning or assessment of what was going to be of long term benefit to this country. My hunch is it was a free for all.

    Now we appear to be fostering a new level of exploitation of natural resource – and coincidentally irreversible. Mining for minerals. Once they are gone, melted down to ingots in foreign vaults, they are gone for ever.

    And the point of their exploitation is? Another pig-out by the greedy or is it for some sort of greater benefit. Should the level of mining be “get it out as fast as we can” or take just enough to balance the countries deficits – because once it’s gone it’s gone, and if it masks underlying economic issues, then there will be no real winners.

  8. outofbed 8

    This could stuff facebook
    diaspora /dī-ˈas-p(ə-)rə, dē-/
    origin: Greek, διασπορά “a scattering [of seeds]’
    1. the privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network

  9. mach1 9

    More soul food for ya Mr P Wog.

    “Old Country Stomp’ by Henry Thomas and Jimmie Riddle with the lost art of Eephing.

  10. Name 10

    Well it may not be in keeping with the tone R0B wanted to set but I take the view that all the bad news he refers to – “Bloody Tories. Climate change. Oil spills. Financial collapses. Countries torn apart. It’s a depressing diet. Time for a change!” – is exactly that. Time for a change.

    On so many fronts we are learning the hard way that we can’t go on as we have been. It’s time for as fundamental a change as any humanity has undertaken in history – the move from hunter/herder to farmer, from urban self-sufficiency to specialist city-dweller to industrialisation.

    We live in scary but exciting times. For the last five – ten thousand years ‘progress’ and development has been in the hands of an educated few, such as kings and priests. Even democracy relies on the surrender of personal sovereignty to the elected. Yet now for the first time in history we have both an educated commons and means of mass communication and dissemination. While the status quo anti met our needs and gave us bread and circuses we were happy to let history drift and leave it in the hands of the kings and priests but their patent failure on so many fronts in so many places had led the beginnings of wide-spread questioning of the fundamentals while for the first time in ten thousand years there is the facility for society as a whole to consider all the various answers and move towards a consensus.

    It’s not going to be easy. There’s certainty of “blood, sweat and tears” and potential for catastrophe. The hegemony of the Roman empire based on slavery and oppression was broken by internal corruption and external attack; the straightjacket of the European feudal system was shattered by the Black Death; China’s long, long paralysis beneath its rigid bureaucracy and protocol-trapped Emperors was broken by external attack and internal revolution.

    Just as the life of the sedentary couch-potato can be changed by the heart-attack that forces a life-style change for the better it can be scary at the time but later acknowledged to be a good thing, the heart-attack we are now suffering as a society is scary. Whether or not we look back on it as a good thing depends on whether we learn the lessons and put them to good effect.

    Whether or not you regard this as a good thing depends on you.

  11. frustrated 11

    Kudos to you r0b great idea – I often wonder why they don’t do this on the TV news more often – but then after reading the posts it appears that so many can’t see past the politicing and moaning.

    Oh we’ll time for some Johnny Cash

    • Rex Widerstrom 11.1

      I often wonder why they don’t do this on the TV news more often

      As a one-time producer of news, allow me to suggest the answer to your rhetorical question is “because it’d bore the arse off you”.

      I love Johnny Cash, but he’s not news. “Good” news is “Three legged dog finds way home across desert”, “Old dear reaches 100 years old” etc etc.

      The sad truth is that we’re conditioned as a species to find “good news” not all that interesting. Even the stories (run quite regularly) about some impending medical breakthrough generally cause us to shrug, think “that’s nice” and promptly forget about it unless we, or someone we know, has the disease that might be cured.

      Having said that, I loathe the “if it bleeds, it leads” style of news, which attempts to justify showing us gore and violence by convincing us that there’s a “bigger” story behind it – the decline of civilisation as we know it, usually.

  12. Pat 12

    The good news is that, in the entire history of human existance, there has never been a better time for women, that right now.

    More good news: our kids are smarter than us. I’d go so far to say that they are better than us.

    • A Nonny Moose 12.1

      But it doesn’t mean we should stop and rest on our laurels. There’s still a long way to for women’s rights and equality.

      So saying “Women have it great!” isn’t news, it’s a silencing tactic.

  13. jason rika 13

    Life created in a petri dish. I am an atheist and consider this a revolutionary event. It will help broaden our understanding of how we came to be and not waste time and wars on ramming through religious dogma tantamount to fairytales for grown ups. Or as someone once wrote, beief in a god is just father christmas for adults.

  14. The good news is that the time is getting closer to when we can chuck this Tory Rabble out.
    The goods news is that the “Great=Mets release of the Opera Films have been a great success and will be continues next year.
    The good news is that dispite having a low toll result for the last two years
    Phill Goff is starting to make a good impression.
    And finally but not the least the warm weather is hanging on plus the fact that the long term weather forcast is for a mild summer.

  15. Draco T Bastard 15

    Celebrating the Success of the Free Market

    Back in the beginning (around 1970) the first personal computer was born. Over the following two decades a few others came into being in direct competition – Altair, Apple, Commodore, Radioshack. None were compatible with any of the others. Almost all of them are now gone from the market.

    Into this exciting mix of incompatibility was launched the IBM PC in 1981. A simple computer, arguably not as good as some of the others that came on the market that same decade but it had one thing going for it that none of the others did – anyone could make one and people did (Well, it also had IBM stamped on the side but that’s another story). Throughout the 1980s people and companies reverse engineered the IBM PC (not particularly hard as it used off the shelf hardware) and made copies. They weren’t always as good as the IBM machines but they were cheaper and they ran the same software – most notably, MS-DOS. Compatibility was brought into the computing world.

    Through the 1990s some of the surviving personal computers from the 1980s tried to compete. These were the Apple Macintosh and the Commodore Amiga. All others had passed the way of the dodo and the Amiga was to pass that way in this time. The IBM PC Compatibles, on the other hand, were going from strength to strength. Many people and companies putting in huge amounts of resources to develop – the same machine. Multiple companies developing the CPUs, RAM and other hardware all to the same base standards resulted in huge amount of progress. It was in the decade that the IBM PC and compatibles had a name change to “Windows Machine”.

    Going into the 2000s the Apple Macintosh was the only personal computer competing with the IBM PC Compatible and the lack of resources put into development was starting to tell. In the 1980s and 1990s it was, quite simply, much better than the IBM PC. It holds the achievement of being the first personal computer to wear the label “supercomputer” but it’s not a label that it could hold exclusively for long. In 2005 Apple announced that it was shifting to the Intel chip set – the heart of the IBM PC Compatibles. Further development of the PowerPC CPU, the descendent of the Motorola 68000 that powered the original Macintosh, came to an end. The Apple Mac is now an IBM PC Compatible running a different OS (it takes a bit of work but you can get your Windows Machine to run MacOS).

    From the 8 bit computing of the 1970s to 64 bit computing today what we see is the success of the free market operating under that harshest of regulatory regimes – open standards.

  16. philu 16

    ” The great American writer left instructions not to publish his autobiography until 100 years after his death, which is now
    Exactly a century after rumours of his death turned out to be entirely accurate, one of Mark Twain’s dying wishes is at last coming true:

    an extensive, outspoken and revelatory autobiography which he devoted the last decade of his life to writing is finally going to be published.

    The creator of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and some of the most frequently misquoted catchphrases in the English language left behind 5,000 unedited pages of memoirs when he died in 1910

    together with handwritten notes saying that he did not want them to hit bookshops for at least a century.

    That milestone has now been reached, and in November the University of California, Berkeley, where the manuscript is in a vault, will release the first volume of Mark Twain’s autobiography.

    The eventual trilogy will run to half a million words and shed new light on the quintessentially American novelist ‘


  17. r0b 17

    Here’s a useless bit of personal good news. Had a good day in the garden. All squared away for winter. Hooh ah!

    I am encouraged by the reception to this post, might do it again every now and then. How often?

  18. prism 18

    I suggested once before how good it would be to have reports of positive initiatives in NZ that are creating employment in a sustainable way etc. Also a change in negative practices by government and private interests would be worth registering. It would be good if it could be added to each day like a diary. It would be an antidote for the blues one can get after reading about the bad things happening. That would be good. And we could think ‘What’s good and positive today in our society and world as well, and look it up.” Instant good feeling, even if fleeting.

  19. prism 19

    Good news for local and visiting musicians, students and NZs music industry from Dunedin initiative. $1 million has been spent on a large music mixing desk by the University to go in the 50 year old recording studio built originally by RadioNZ to match the BBCs Abbey Road one. The University now owns it I think.
    This is a positive and intelligent investment to support the expertise and enthusiasm of Dunedin musicians. I think they have called it the NZ Music Centre.

    Sound link thru RadNZ – available for some time (presently archives go back to Jan 2008).
    Tues 25/5/10 RadioNZ Morning Report – Dunedin to be music hub with state-of-the-art studio Otago University has a new, state-of-the-art recording studio. (duration: 3′38″)
    captcha – arrangements!

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