The Guardian hasn’t been playing at all.
It’s been impossible to get onto The Guardian since last night. I can get to the site, but at best it loads in part and then spins on its wheels until I get annoyed and give up on it. The progress bar, which I take as a thoroughly reliable indicator of the degree to which a page has loaded, usually stands at 90% or more while nothing happens. I hope that this is a sign that the undersea cable is being repaired.
Live update! The Guardian now appears. The Catholics can’t opt out over gay adoption. Not sure what that’s about. Do Catholics have to be gay to adopt? Or do the children have to be gay to be adopted by Catholics? These are troubling times.
In another story, the Chinese will soon be the world’s most numerous Internet users – in a couple of years. (Yes, people, it’s a dejà vu moment. Tangential thought: what about India?) Of course we had to have
Online leap reported despite heavy censorship
Beijing is aware that the internet is a powerful tool in shaping public opinion and encourages web use for education and business, saying its aim is to only block material the authorities consider subversive or obscene.
But we can still buy Japanese AV from DVD shops. Way to be consistent, Nanny. What’s the bet that the biggest buyers of porn in China are the Party boys? [04.08.14. There was a recent case (in Hubei, I think) in which some corrupt official was found to have hidden is stash of porn under a statue.]
I thought from another comment that wikipedia might’ve been unblocked, but apparently not so from my attempt to get onto the site just now.
As I’ve noted before about online censorship here, it seems to affect the expat community more than it does the Chinese whose experience of the Internet is probably predominantly limited to the Chinese part of Cyberia because language is a natural barrier for most surfers here. None of the pupils I’ve ever taught here, barring one I can think of, would have a chance of understanding articles in The Guardian or have the perseverance to struggle through just one.
Anyway, Simon Underdown is taking a swipe at Intelligent Design in Survival of the thickest. The post comes from an article about Intelligent Design in RE classes. (Intelligent Design to feature in school RE lessons.) That’s not all.
In a move that is likely to spark controversy, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has for the first time recommended that pupils be taught about atheism and creationism in RE classes.
Two things. One, what has religion got to do with a secular education? Two, how does atheism fit into religious education classes since it’s not actually a religion in the first place? (Perhaps we’ll get the old argument that atheism must be a religion because we all worship Richard Dawkins.) Actually, a third thing. Creationism? Are you kidding?
The article (ID to feature etc.) ends
The new guidelines for key stage 3 (11 to 14-year-olds), published yesterday, say: “This unit focuses on creation and origins of the universe and human life and the relationship between religion and science. It aims to deepen pupils’ awareness of ultimate questions through argument, discussion, debate and reflection and enable them to learn from a variety of ideas of religious traditions and other world views.
“It explores Christianity, Hinduism and Islam and also considers the perspective of those who do not believe there is a god (atheists). It considers beliefs and concepts related to authority, religion and science as well as expressions of spirituality.”
It’s still making religion seem to be the unmarked state beside which other states of existence are implicit aberrations. Wouldn’t classes in philosophy be much more useful instead of time being wasted on this?
I think, though, that it’s important to distinguish being taught about a religion from being taught about some of its nonsensical accretions as if they have some sort of validity. (Yes, I’m kind of aware that I’ve probably blithely blundered through several fallacies in logic because I’m sure that other accretions have been controversial, but the whole matter is now in the past just as current issues such as ID and creationism may be added to the catalogue of religious follies in the future.)
The decision by the QCA does rather seem to be an instance of jumping on a contemporary bandwagon. Right now, ID, creationism and atheism are getting a lot of airtime (at least in The Guardian). Sooner or later, should I expect to see these as topics of IELTS writing task 2 which is often on subjects that I recognise as (formerly) controversial?
[04.08.14. The Guardian has now been blocked, probably permanently, after it posted a story about the devious doings of the rich and powerful back in January. Ironically, Emperor Frog Face has been conducting an anti-corruption campaign whose natural targets ought to include the people in the Guardian article. In fact, while the campaign appears genuine, Frog Face seems to be using it to strengthen and widen his grip on power.
As far as I can tell, Emperor Robot I not only caused Robot II problems throughout his entire reign, but his people remain influential today, and, apparently, somewhat of an impediment to progress. According to the savvy punters, Shanghai remains problematic because of this.]