The danger of jumping to conclusions?

Breaking news.

Two men believed to be employed by an Indian-born contract worker found stabbed and burnt in rural NSW have had their passports seized at Sydney Airport, Fairfax reports.

Ranjodh Singh’s partially burnt body was found beside Wilga Road, Willbriggie, in the Riverina area of south-west NSW on December 29.

The 25-year-old seasonal worker had been living in Wagga Wagga and was visiting Griffith at the time of his death.

Two men, believed to be Indian seasonal workers employed by Mr Singh, were arrested at Sydney airport’s departure lounge last Monday as they were about to board a flight to Nepal via Singapore, Fairfax reported.

The pair were questioned at Mascot police station but were later released without charge after being forced to hand in their passports.

Detectives believe Mr Singh may have been murdered in a fight over unpaid wages at a Christmas party two days before his murder.

A post-mortem examination revealed his throat had been slashed and he had suffered multiple stab wounds before being bound and then set alight in an effort to conceal his identity, Fairfax reported.

Police are appealing for public help to identify a distinctive red 1996 Ford Falcon that was seen in the Griffith and Wagga Wagga areas around the time of Mr Singh’s death.

See my earlier entry Nothing much to add to last year’s posts on Indian students and Australia. This is not to deny that the perpetrators of quite a number of the inner-city bashings and murders are quite probably racist individuals. My point, again, is to assert that Australians on the whole are no more racist than anyone else, and possibly less so than quite a few places.


Nicholas Gruen adds another dimension in Vigilance against violence.

Down here in Victoria (well I’m not there right now but will return in late Jan) things have turned nasty as the Indian Government keeps pointing out when we kill another Indian.

I’m not as concerned as some other people as to whether it’s racially based violence.  It’s violence.  We need to act.  Most readers will have had experiences similar to the one that Tim Watts has just broadcast on Facebook. It infuriates me when a whole tram full of people sit quietly by while some nutter intimidates us all – mixing it with bold racism makes it even worse. Anyway, since I’ve been part of the cowed masses, what to do?  Well Tim’s proposing something after he gets his story off his chest…

See also Problem ownership and Indian students – it’s time to draw the line – Jim Belshaw.

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How is the Internet changing the way you think?

That’s The Edge Annual Question — 2010.

Playwright Richard Foreman asks about the replacement of complex inner density with a new kind of self-evolving under the pressure of information overload and the technology of the "instantly available". Is it a new self? Are we becoming Pancake People — spread wide and thin as we connect with that vast network of information accessed by the mere touch of a button.

Technology analyst Nicholas Carr wrote the most notable of many magazine and newspaper pieces asking "Is Google Making Us Stupid". Has the use of the Web made it impossible for us to read long pieces of writing?

Social software guru Clay Shirky notes that people are reading more than ever but the return of reading has not brought about the return of the cultural icons we’d been emptily praising all these years. "What’s so great about War and Peace?, he wonders. Having lost its actual centrality some time ago, the literary world is now losing its normative hold on culture as well. Is the enormity of the historical shift away from literary culture now finally becoming clear?

Science historian George Dyson asks "what if the cost of machines that think is people who don’t?" He wonders "will books end up back where they started, locked away in monasteries and read by a select few?".

Web 2.0 pioneer Tim O’Reilly, ponders if ideas themselves are the ultimate social software. Do they evolve via the conversations we have with each other, the artifacts we create, and the stories we tell to explain them?

Frank Schirrmacher, Feuilleton Editor and Co-Publisher of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, has noticed that we are apparently now in a situation where modern technology is changing the way people behave, people talk, people react, people think, and people remember. Are we turning into a new species — informavores? — he asks.

W. Daniel Hillis goes a step further by asking if the Internet will, in the long run, arrive at a much richer infrastructure, in which ideas can potentially evolve outside of human minds? In other words, can we change the way the Internet thinks?

If you follow this up you’ll have hours worth of reading! Enjoy.

You may note this post is tagged “globalisation”, as the internet is a key globalising process.