ME and Ophelia

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Newspaper threatens blogger for linking

Last year, I received an email from a photographer requesting I remove from my blog a photo that she had taken of a Sudanese baby dying from malnutrition. The email arrived from a Yahoo address. After much thought, I decided to ignore the email because (a) I did not think it was right to delete content in my blog on the strength of a yahoo email from a stranger (b) if I replied to the email, I could not be sure it was the photographer I was communicating with (c) I found the photo freely available on the net and credited it with the copyright, source and photographers name in my blog that clearly has no commercial interest (d) I concluded if the photographer was so protective over the photo, she should not have posted it on the net.

The photograph was shocking and said so much more than words could convey. It was an important image and deserved to be publicised. I could not imagine what the photographer had to gain from keeping such a topical image under wraps. It made me wonder why she went to the Sudan and took such a hard-hitting photo if she had not meant to raise awareness of the world's greatest humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

Nearly every day I link to a blog or press report here and at Sudan Watch or Passion of the Present, and often I wonder if mainstream media agencies mind when we bloggers use stuff they have published. Surely we are giving them free advertising and publicity and should be pleased, as long as we credit the source and link directly to the item.

A few days ago, American blogger Rebecca MacKinnon published a post about a Tulsa newspaper suing a blogger not only for "reproducing" parts of its articles... but also for linking to it without permission. Rebecca asks for our help in putting the blogosphere's spotlight of shame on this legal threat.

Here's wishing the blogger under threat, Michael Bates, best of luck. It's good to know there is a Media Bloggers Association where we can turn to (especially those engaged in media criticism) and get advice if ever a blogging media problem arises. [Link courtesy Joi Ito]
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Hormone could be the elixir of youth

A report in today's Scotsman reveals that scientists have moved a step closer to identifying the elusive "elixir of life" after extending the lifespan of laboratory mice. Dr Richard Faragher, an expert in anti-ageing biology at Brighton University, explained:

"There is a tremendous amount of interest at the moment in regenerative medicine, basically because it has applications in a very wide range of medical conditions. In this study the majority of the repair processes that they are picking up in the old mouse are from the activation of old progenitor cells by the hormone from the younger mouse. This means the old animal, for reasons that are not clear, is lacking hormones that make the cells grow.

It has the progenitor cells that could grow if you gave them the right signal, but the hormones that tell it to do this are not present. What they have achieved by hooking up the blood supply is to introduce these hormones and as a result they have found that the progenitor cells can still wake up."

While replicating such results in humans is still the work of science fiction, the finding could have far-reaching implications, both for medical science and for the youth-obsessed cosmetic industry. It may even leap-frog the necessity for stem cell research into understanding ageing. [Full Story Feb 17, 2005]

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 2/17/2005
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