11 April, 2006

The Chickenless Head Syndrome

My goodness, there are so many links with potential that have caught my eye in recent days, I'm somehow going to have to find time to do a bit more delving around between my day-job and other life. (Did I say "other life"? - that seems to have gone the same way as the chicken).

The Chickenless Head Syndrome was first identified by my one-of-a-kind colleague, Collette, who immortalised the expression by telling a phone caller that I wasn't available because I was "running about like a head without a chicken".

The news item "Specialized collections from the Newspaper Archive" has revealed what I hope will be a really useful resource. The Newspaper Archive apparently holds copies of over 35 million newspaper pages dating from 1753 to date. A particularly useful feature is the development of specialised collections, for example Asbestos and Asbestos-Related Lawsuits. The papers have been sourced in the US, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Jamaica, Denmark, South Africa and the US Virgin Islands.

This is one I'll be watching : "Novell : Linux desktop set to take off". It's particularly timeous as I attended a talk last week by Matt Erasmus of DcData who addressed the Pietermaritzburg Computer Club on the topic "The Linux Alternative : introduction to Linux as a replacement for Windows as a server as well as on the desktop". There is a lot of local interest in open source software, evidenced by the number of questions Matt fielded and the general consensus from the audience who are very impressed with the operating system but are a bit dubious about using it as a desktop solution at present. Matt also introduced us to PLEG (Pietermaritzburg Linux Enthusiasts Group).

On the legal front, recent eye-catching judgments include :
Bafana Finance Mabopane v Makwakwa [2006] SCA 49 (RSA) (Supreme Court of Appeal) handed down on 30 March ; the news article "Judges say debtors cannot sign away protection" supplies details.
Van der Merwe v The Road Accident Fund and Another also of 30 March relates to people married in community of property being able to sue one another. See the news article Court throws out marriage rule" for more.
Gory v Kolver NO and Others (Transvaal Provincial Division), 31 March, has been given international news coverage as it "ruled that a man whose partner died without leaving a will is entitled to the estate in the same way as a legally married spouse would be". See "South Africa affirms partner estate rights".
And "the Land Claims Court has reserved judgment on whether the Sapekoe Tea Company may remove its assets from its abandoned tea plantation at Tzaneen in Limpopo" - full-text article "Judgment in Sapekoe assets case reserved".

The IOL website hosts an interesting article by environmental lawyer Jeremy Ridl , "a leading figure in the hard-fought campaign to stop dune mining at St Lucia". Professor Ridl, now believes dune mining may have proved the better option. See the article "We were naive, says dune mining activist".

And, finally, a topic I cannot view dispassionately, seal hunting. These are the latest items I've read :
"Seal hunt activist plans court challenge on observer permits" refers to Rebecca Aldworth, an activist who is now to turn to the courts after being denied a permit to observe the hunt.
An American businesswoman, Cathy Kangas, has reportedly offered the Canadian government $16m if this year's hunt stops immediately, see "Canadian seals given a fighting chance, peace talks resume in Côte d'Ivoire, U.N. begins reforms".
To present the other side of the debate, the acting Commissioner of the Canadian High Commission in Brunei, has issued a statement on this topic.

I make progress : wherever the chicken may have come, it wasn't first.

Until next time . . .