And yet more surveillance. RIP Liu Xiaobo.

Depressing this morning listening to our prime minister together with top brass from the Australian Federal Police going on about why the ability to force tech companies to decrypt communications is essential to protecting us from – drum roll please – terrorists, drug dealers and pedophiles. The usual suspects and none better to strike fear in the populace. To the civil libertarians who might question this breach of human rights, his argument was that we should not put the entire population at risk to protect the rights of a small and criminal minority. Sounds logical and who would argue that, well, no amount of lost freedoms is too great where the lives and virginity of children are at risk? Certainly not Hitler who from memory, made pretty much the same argument in Mein Kampf.

The truth is that the number of terrorist organisations capable of committing a successful attack is less than forty years ago, pre Internet, and all those terrorist organisations of mid last century simply faded away because of a lack of popular support and Islamic terrorism will do the same. There was no need then nor is there now for a permanent loss of civil and political rights. Drug dealers and pedophiles? They do not need Internet access to commit their crimes and at best these proposed laws will create an inconvenience for the petty criminals and one they will quickly overcome. In fact, it is known that terrorist organisations that are well-organised and capable do not use clear net social media, download-for-free encryption nor even the dark net to organise their attacks but rather rely on old and tried systems of covert communications such as code books, messengers and face-to-face meetings in safe locations such as a cave in Afghanistan. Furthermore, no wide spread loss of freedom and rights will ever prevent a person with sexual hangups and feelings of being downtrodden and ignored when they should – in their mind – be ruling the planet from constructing a bomb, renting a truck or buying a hunting knife from the hardware store. What will go a long way to preventing such lone wolf and other attacks would be a society in which you are not only what you have and where people have equal right and opportunity to be heard and in which they feel accepted as equals. Not just ‘tolerated’ like we do the kid next door who annoys the crap out of everyone with the drum set he got for Christmas.

The prime minister certainly chose the right day to announce yet another loss of civil and political rights because today is also the day those who believe in freedom and are prepared to fight for it, lost Liu Xiaobo. The Chinese hero who put freedom ahead of his personal safety starting from Tiananmen Square in 1989.

An inspiration and example to all who believe in democracy.

OK… I mentioned before a print business which is coming together but slowly in part because of equipment sourced from overseas going missing. Just like the bike trailer. The latest is a press which is both heavy and rather big and that unloaded in Newcastle which is just a hundred kilometres north of Sydney was sent to Perth which is on the other side of the Australian continent where, it was ‘lost’ until I requested a refund. Miraculously found, it is now on a truck, or so I’m told by the transport company, and on its way back. All up since been unloaded in Australia it will have made a nine-thousand kilometre detour before landing, hopefully, God willing and planets aligned, on my door step. The bad news for my little enterprise is that this press is just one of six items which appear to be experiencing difficulties in finding Katoomba.

Work also continues on the animation project. I’ve got to the point where my character kicks and tosses a skull around an abandoned factory, will make sense when and if I post the finished result here, but animating this sequence is proving to be a challenge in that I can’t find suitable reference. How fast does a skull fall after been kicked in the air? 9.81 metre/second square you will say.

screen shot of blender animation interface.

Character preparing to throw skull into the air. Animating this sequence without reference is proving to be a challenge.

And the book for young persons which is taking the lead over book two which is dark and for older and wiser persons. I don’t think anyone who has never written a book can realise how bloody difficult it is! For starters you are faced with the problem of trying to hold the entire thing in your head. Notes help of course but the sense of approaching writing a book as similar to building a house becomes obvious. Have a plan, detail your characters, are they driving the story or is the story driving them, lay out the foundations of the whole construct, build it up and only then worry about the colour of the curtains. Still not easy but better than your character liking plums in chapter two and despising them in Chapter fifteen. This young person targeted novel started out as a script for a short children’s animation, got put aside as most projects do, was resurrected and has gone from light story for little kids to something a bit more involved and profound for somewhat older kids. I will finish it if only because the learning journey makes writing this story well worth the effort. If you’re bored I’d strongly recommend writing a book. Believe me, it takes you into another world and you don’t see the hours fly past. Great fun and much frustration – if that makes sense.