Monday, 26 July 2010

University Work Finished!

Finally finished that research paper in postgrad law!

That was an effort - mostly just trying to understand a field I have no prior experience with. One result is that I have a bit of a better understanding of what teachers want with their improved search powers ... the trouble comes with trying to compel a search if the student says "no". Schools have no explicit power to do that though they have an implicit power when it comes to safety, that does not leave teachers feeling very secure.

Probably all that is required is for some statement, say, as an amendment to the education act, affirming the schools existing powers and the context in which they are to be used.

New Zealand Schools do not have the US Schools power for suspicionless searches ... which means no random urinalysis for drug use, no metal-detectors at the gates, and drug sniffer dogs on campus become very iffy. These matters need to be examined though, fortunately, we don't have the kind of need that is seen in the US either.

Other iffy areas include the use of ccd cameras in school grounds and monitoring school network use. The Law Commission review has suggested a new surveillance act to cover these, to some extent. We can expect a full report towards the end of this year.

Meantime, there is a conference in Sydney covering social science and the law which would be a great place to air these sorts of issues academically. I figure I'll see if I can get a paper in. That will mean I'll have to get a passport .

Celebration involved a dinner at Malone's Irish Pub - the famous Steak and Guinness Pie lived up to its reputation - and a movie night in the city: Inception ... which is the year's must-see-on-the-big-screen event. The sound-track is built around those alien fart sounds we got in War of the Worlds and experience SF fans will know the themes quite well. However, the drama is well built and the theme handled with fewer than the usual internal inconsistancies ... the trailers actually undersell the film ... overall, the impact is strong and well worth the money. Go look.

The conclusion of this stage of my studies means that I can also concentrate properly on my marriage.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Almost Done

I have been totally focused on writing for that law paper - living, eating, and breathing privacy laws and civil rights. This has been having odd effects - for instance, when I saw in the news that the PM related a conversation with a pizza guy as part of the announcement of a new policy, I automatically figured that was OK as the reference did not identify the person, and did not put him in a bad light.

This did not stop the press from locating the pizza guy anyway and verifying the story. Which was also fine as it is in the public interest and the guy was treated well.

The subject of the PMs pizza habits came up, the guy refused to disclose them; when challenged "that's diplomatic of you" he corrected with "that's not diplomatic, it's just personal" and I jumped up shouting "yes!" That was exactly correct, the information was private and unrelated to the story - though the PM, as a public figure, has a reduced expectation of privacy in these things, that does not mean that it is a good idea to talk about everything.

I see that the Law Society is also completing a review of the privacy act.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Pushing Through

The Waiheke Shift is pretty complete with the delivery of a washing machine and dishwasher. Untangling the electricity and phone bills is turning out to be tricky but doable. Still no internet from home - annoying.

I am writing in ernest now - but worried that I don't have enough material for more that about 8000 words and I need 12000!

I did get some recreation in: Saw Dorian Grey (DVD) - see Colin Firth in a different role. This was actually pretty spooky, though the portrait effects owed a lot to the Lord of the Rings. Also on DVD, Screamers, turned out to be better than expected, though I think they wimped out at the ending (true love conquers all). They followed the Philip K Dick story (Second Variety) pretty faithfully with only a few holes. There was a bit of Bodysnatchers and Terminator thrown in.

Weather is looking nice, nights have been warmer. Everything is very quiet here in the bush.