Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind


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New Zealand beats Sri Lanka in the World Cup opener

New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by 98 runs in the first match of the ICC World Cup. I know this will be late news for almost every NZer, but just in case there are some who slept all through yesterday, or were otherwise not able to communicate with anyone or have access to the radio, television, newspapers, Internet or smoke signals, remember you read it here first.

For those who are unfortunate to live where the gentlemen’s sport of cricket is unknown, New Zealand and Australia are co-hosting the 2015 ICC World cup between 14 February and 29 March. The competition sees 14 countries compete for the cup, playing the ODI (One Day International) version of the game. The countries taking part are (by ranking) England, South Africa, India, Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, West Indies, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Ireland, Afghanistan, Scotland, and United Arab Emirates.

If you are unsure how the game of cricket is played, here’s a simple explanation:

  • You have two sides, one out in the field and one in.
  • Each man that’s in the side that’s in goes out, and when he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out.
  • When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out.
  • Sometimes you get men still in and not out.
  • When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in.
  • There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out.
  • Depending on the weather and the light, the umpires can also send everybody in, no matter if they’re in or out.
  • When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game

The rules, of course, are much more complicated but the above explanation should go a long way to making sense of the game.

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America the Land Of The Free: Fact or Myth (part 1)

Most Americans believe that the USA provides the highest levels of freedom and democracy anywhere in the world. This belief is also held by many people outside the USA. Is this belief based on fact, or is it simply a myth? I’ve chosen five countries for a comparison: USA, France, Japan, South Africa and New Zealand. The selection is purely arbitrary, but I have selected one country from the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania. There are many non-governmental organisations that monitor levels of freedom, and I have selected published results from just a few. Again the selection is purely arbitrary. I’m not trying to do a precise measurement of the levels of freedom but simply to gather enough evidence to support the claim that “America is the land of the free”. This post, the first of several on this topic, will look at press freedom. At the end of the series I will give my subjective opinion on whether the statement is fact or myth.

Press freedom

Reporters Without Borders is the largest press freedom organization in the world with almost 30 years of experience. Thanks to its unique global network of 150 local correspondents investigating in 130 countries, 12 national offices (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Libya, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, USA) and a consultative status at the United Nations and UNESCO, Reporters Without Borders is able to have a global impact by gathering and providing on the ground intelligence, conducting cybersecurity workshops, and defending and assisting news providers all around the world.

Reporters Without Borders evaluates press freedom in approximately 180 countries each year. This year it ranked the USA 49th (score: 24.41), France 38th (21.15), Japan 61st (score: 26.95), South Africa 39th (score: 22.06), and New Zealand 6th (score: 10.06) . The top  three countries were Finland (7.52), Norway (7.75), and Denmark (8.24). The countries with the lowest levels of press freedom were Eritrea (84.83), North Korea ( 81.96), and Turkmenistan (80.81). Of the five countries, only New Zealand was rated with a good situation Press Freedom Index. The USA, France and South Africa were rated satisfactory situation, while Japan was rated noticeable problems. The USA ranking of 49th surprised me as I had thought the country would be in the top 10 countries and higher placed than New Zealand. I’m not sure why it received such a poor rating as I’m not aware of any US laws that limit press freedom more than in NZ. Perhaps the American press self censors more than the Kiwi press?

Part 2 of this series can be found here.