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Around The World In 80 Days

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It might have taken Phileas Fogg 80 days to circumnavigate the globe in Jules Verne's famous novel, but my holiday sojourn was sadly somewhat shorter. Nevertheless, I managed to maintain a James T. Kirk style Captain's Log of internet news on my travels, noting everything from one dictator suing a blogger (nicer than torture I suppose), to another dictator being brutally murdered by a baying mob (couldn't have happened to a nicer guy) ... .. so, in no particular order, here's a few titbits to get me back-up-to-speed.

Despite Steve Jobs' tragically untimely passing, his vision may still change the way we all live from beyond-the-grave, as Apple press-ahead with their plans for iTV (as distinct from Dickie Davis' beloved ITV) , which shall be the crowning glory of a game-changing range that includes the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Although, for once, Apple aren't having it all-their-own-way, with Google TV planned for next year and with Sean Parker's so far mysterious 'Airtime' service also set to change the way we 'entertain' ourselves at home ... .. and about time too, as proper - interactive - TV-on-Demand has been way-too-long in coming and, yet again and in a repeat of what happened to the music business, it's been left to computer companies to revolutionise the market, whilst the goliaths of the movie and television industries seem to be content to sit-on-their-laurels and have us channel-hopping through endless repeats and mindless, 'unreality' TV shows, while the nation munches its microwave dinners. Instead and for years now, they should have been offering a service that enables us to watch what we actually want - when we want it ... .. which, in my case, would probably consist of endless episodes of The Sweeney and Top Gear - but that's another story.

Talking of Top Gear, I see that the-power-of-the-internet has managed to overturn yet another 'celebrity injunction', this time with Jeremy Clarkson deciding that he wasn't King Canute after all and lifting his own injunction, which had sought to ban rumours that he had allegedly been parking his motor in someone else's bay ... .. or, to put it another way, had his kippers in someone else's grill.

Talking of trivia - and even though it's not strictly 'internet' news - no recap of the past couple of weeks would be complete without a mention of Man City's 6-1 drubbing of Man United ... .. not that I'm a City fan - I'll leave that to Liam Gallagher - but the news of United's worst home defeat since 1955 brought some much welcome cheer to the majority of the nation's football supporters ("Sorry Fergie" - well, not really !!).

Slightly more chillingly - well, far more chillingly actually - it also transpires that one of the Catholic Church's leading 'Child Protection Officers' in the UK is himself a paedophile and has just been sentenced for possessing over 4,000 images of child pornography, some of them of the most depraved nature and, sadly and almost certainly, accessed via the internet. I shall reserve a whole blog for this invidious topic at some point in the future but, for now, "Parents Beware" and be sure to set your families' computers so that the necessary filters are in-place to stop your children getting drawn into this particular vortex. As for the priests concerned - and, worse still, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church - they are supposed to be the Shepherds, protecting their flock and the weak again against the tyranny of evil men... how sad and twisted, therefore, that they should instead assume the mantle of evil - let's hope their true punishment comes when they eventually meet their maker.

In other internet news and echoing the clips of Saddam Hussein's hanging, Gaddafi's grisly end was broadcast to the world via grainy videos of his last moments on YouTube and, in fact, the seeds of the whole Arab Spring were themselves sowed via the internet with a certain symmetry, when news of Mohamed Bouazizi's ultimate sacrifice - he set-fire to himself in protest against the repression and corruption of the then despised and now deposed Tunisian regime - inspired thousands and, in turn, millions to fight for their freedoms and civil liberties. Similarly, news of anti-capitalist demonstrations in the US, soon spread-around-the-world via the internet and spawned a range of similar protests and sit-ins, including our very British, middle-class version outside St. Paul's Cathedral, where thermal imaging showed that 99% of the protesters went home for some Chablis and quiche every evening. There was also the scandal of hit-and-run drivers in China, where it's cheaper to kill someone than to just injure them and where drivers frequently reverse over their victims to ensure that they have, in the vernacular, 'polished-them-off'... footage of one such killing, where a Chinese toddler was run-over by not one but two vans and was then just left in the road to die, spread like wildfire via Sina Weibo (the Chinese equivalent of Twitter) and forced the Chinese government to take tough action against the callous motorists concerned - finally some 'people power' in The Land of The People.

I could, of course, go-on, as my Captain's Log of The-Good-The-Bad-and-The-Ugly of the internet is, in effect, never endin... but, as Mr Spock would say, "That wouldn't be logical Captain" and, now that I'm back, I suppose it's time for me to crack-on with some Cyber Sheriffing... Beam Me Up Scotty !!