Wikileaks released secret US embassy cables

Wikileaks has struck again, this time releasing information of embassy cables. They include reports of some Arab leaders – including Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah – urging the US to attack Iran and end its nuclear weapons programme. Other leaked information include:

Wikileaks release of embassy cables reveals US concerns

  • Iran attempting to adapt North Korean rockets for use as long-range missiles
  • Corruption within the Afghan government, with concerns heightened when a senior official was found to be carrying more than $50m in cash on a foreign trip
  • Bargaining to empty the Guantanamo Bay prison camp – including Slovenian diplomats being told to take in a freed prisoner if they wanted to secure a meeting with President Barack Obama
  • Germany being warned in 2007 not to enforce arrest warrants for US Central Intelligence Agency officers involved in an operation in which an innocent German citizen with the same name as a suspected militant was abducted and held in Afghanistan
  • US officials being instructed to spy on the UN’s leadership by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
  • The very close relationship between Russian PM Vladimir Putin and his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi
  • Alleged links between the Russian government and organised crime
  • Yemen’s president talking to then US Mid-East commander General David Petraeus about attacks on Yemeni al-Qaeda bases and saying: “We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours”
  • Faltering US attempts to prevent Syria from supplying arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon

[More in BBC]

I’m sure these are information are going to be quite controversial. Is this one of the cases where not knowing is better than knowing? Imagine the increased level of animosity towards Saudi Arabia in the coming days. Would this cause more conflict? Lives of diplomats might be threatened due to this to.

On other note, Australia has condemned Wikileaks and has blocked access and will fine people $11k/day linking to it.

Why I (sort of) stopped reading newspapers

Random note: Don’t buy newspapers, queue up at 7 a.m. and get it for free. And don’t bring home newspaper; disposing them is a hassle. Better yet, get news online and hug some trees at the park.

The amount of hassle involved in obtaining newspaper such is not that worth it if you think about it. How many times do you make an informed decision based on a news event? Hardly for me. I don’t mind getting my news one week late or view a consolidation of news since newspapers are a day late anyway.

My only issue with getting late news is that I end up missing out on the beginning since the news article report only the progression of the event; this makes the news article difficult to understand. I probably need something like a recap that typically isn’t available in newspaper. What I want is probably a news magazine and not a newspaper. We do not have localized news magazines like the fortnightly-published Newsweek.

Furthermore, newspaper reports can be bias; Singapore is ranked 147 out of 167 in the Annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index for 2004. In Singapore, since we only have one English non-tabloid newspaper, there is little competition on who can provide better news coverage. Also, there’s no way to see how objective a newspaper is if there is no other local newspaper to compare with.

These days, I just wait for local news to come to me.

How much time I spent on reorganizing my computer

Okay, as I was saying, my computer’s getting kinda cluttered and things are just getting harder and harder to find. I use Windows Vista Business, I have multiple copies of Apache, MySQL, Ruby, PHP and other this sort of programs in my computer. If you don’t know what they are, you probably wouldn’t like my blog, maybe you’d be better off at BoingBoing or watching some inspiring videos at TED.

The problem with having multiple copies is that you don’t know when to launch what. Every time I want to – say – launch MySQL, I start thinking really hard which folder should I go into. And when my mind is kinda switching off I often find my mouse pointer moving towards Safari browser icon and visiting Digg.com. Counter-productivity at the very best or worst – you decide.

I always tell myself, okay, next time when I re-setup my computer I’ll do this and that and so on… Each time I re-setup my computer, I always find a flaw with my existing setup. I will restructure my folders again, partition things differently this time. And I always have this optimistic thought that this time I’m really getting it right.

I rarely do. Two months later I would look back at my system thinking of new ways to refine my setup for the future.

Maybe the problem isn’t with me. Maybe the problem is with just the way computers are. All these labyrinth-like hierarchy of folders, it’s more messy than my family tree. Some day, we should kill the ideas of folders, they’re a good way of organizing things but today with people storing more and more files, the concept of folders is hardly a good idea.