Monthly Archives: February 2012

AVN wants to get personal.

Oh Dear, it looks like the Australian Vaccination Network is is upset by Stop the Australian Vaccination Network a group of skeptics intent on holding the AVN to account for the dangerous and misleading information that it spreads.

Apparently the anti-vaxxers are so upset about the disruption to their disease advocacy that they want to make things personal.

Neither Stop the AVN nor it’s members dispense medical advice. Neither do the Australian Skeptics so I’m not sure what ‘Medical Advise’ those two groups are supposed to have made; other than recommending people speak to their doctors.

Anti-vaxxers want to target the individual.

This should be good. I’m sure the health authorities will really appreciate a known public health menace wasting their time with childish vendettas. However it’s not the first time the Australian Vaccination Network has hit out at people who criticise them.

These are just my favorites I could go on as there are countless examples but I’m not sure I would finish the list before the heat death of the universe.

Twat sues Twitter over Tweet.

A Melbourne man is suing over a defamatory tweet, but rather than suing the author of the tweet he plans to sue Twitter itself.

It all began when a writer by the name of Marieke Hardy mistakenly identified Joshua Meggitt as the author of a “Hate blog” written about her. Hardy wrote on Twitter ”I name and shame my ‘anonymous’ internet bully. Liberating business! Join me,” she then linked to her blog where Mr Meggitt was incorrectly identified.

It was a tweet seen around the world, and now that Hardy (below) has already reached a confidential legal settlement with Mr Meggitt, believed to be about $15,000, and published an apology on her blog, his lawyers are seeking damages from the social media site where the original defamation had the greatest exposure. Sydney Morning Herald

Normally I would sympathise with Mr Meggitt as he had false information posted to the Internet about him. However this is not one of those times. As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald a settlement has already been reached with the offending party. Needless to say I don’t think Marieke Hardy had any malicious intent she just stuffed up and made a genuine mistake. A mistake she is now paying for.

So Joshua Meggitt has his compensation (If the article I quoted is correct) by way of a legal settlement. Personally I would love $15,000 every time someone wrote a false accusation about me on the internet, I would never have to work again.

Mr Meggitt’s lawyer Scott Gibson told Fairfax Media his client was now seeking legal redress from the social media company: “Twitter are a publisher, and at law anyone involved in the publication can be sued.” Herald Sun

However the offending Tweet never appeared on Twitter. Hardy posted the offending content on her blog. She simply used Twitter to notify people of her blog post, a post she has since apologised for making. Twitter had nothing to do with the content of that blog post.

So why does Joshua Meggitt want to got after Twitter. I personally suspect that greed is playing a role here and Twitter has deeper pockets than Hardy does; at least $140 Million USD per year.

All Australians should be pissed off by this assholes (I held out as long as I could) attempt to hold a service provider liable. In this country we are already a technological backwater and while Twitter is outside Australian jurisdiction to set such a legal precedence here will have dire consequences for us all. If service providers are held accountable for content created by their users it will completely abolish the Web 2.0 in this country. Afterall who in their right mind would host a website or other communications platform if they are to be sued and censored every time someone gets upset with what someone else writes about them.

I host my website offshore because it’s already too easy for miscreants in Australia to bully service providers into taking content offline. But if someone emails me and shows me that information is false I will gladly correct it. Misinformation is damaging and should be addressed, but the correct way to deal with it is by dealing with the author. Most people; at least those who attribute their names have no desire to publish inaccuracies and are happy to correct false information when they are called on it.

However attacking a service provider who has nothing to do with the creation of the content; anymore than the post office or phone company is simply the wrong approach and any sympathy I might of had for Joshua Meggitt is long gone.

Darwin Day 2012 at Perth Zoo

Yesterday marked the 203rd Birthday of Charles Darwin, and it was 152 years, 2 months, 19 days ago on 24 November 1859 that Darwin first published his ground breaking work titled: On the Origin of Species which gave us the theory of evolution by natural selection. The book was written with a laymen audience in mind so that the general public could understand the significance of Darwin’s findings, and to this day Darwin’s theory still stands as scientific fact.

To celebrate the Birthday of Charles Darwin Perth Atheists held a picnic in Perth Zoo.


Charles Darwin was also a member of the Glutton Club which would meet once a week for the purpose of eating animals not normally found on menus. During the voyage of the Beagle, he ate many of the animals that he discovered. Including the  Lesser Rhea which he ate by mistake thinking it was the more common (and already documented) Greater Rhea. Realising that he had just eaten one of the specimeins he was currently searching for Darwin gathered up what was left of the Lesser Rhea and sent it back to London to be studied and now Rhea Darwinii is named after him.

Great for SoupUnfortunately we were not allowed to eat any of the animals at Perth Zoo, not even the Meerkats which look like they would go well with soup. So instead of eating the Zoo’s animal collection we held talks on the topic of Biology and Evolution. Our speakers were Rachael Richards, high school biology teacher who has seen creationism taught in high schools in WA. Mike Bamford, zoologist / ecologist / ornithologist / herpetologist and David Frank; head of Perth Atheists as MC for the event.

After the main event David and Mike had a brief discussion about the possibility of eating a Galápagos Tortoise and other animals not commonly found on Australian menus.

So Happy Darwin Day 2012, go and eat an endangered species to celebrate.