Beginning of the End For Free Speech?
Physicists pose beneath Newton's apple tree in Cambridge, having just accepted the Guber Prize in cosmology. Peter Gruber is a former Hollywood studio head who now tries to do charitable work. The prize was awarded for discovering "dark energy" and the accelerating Universe. These are not bad people, but the dark genie they have unleashed has led others to warn that Dark Energy Is Bad For Astronomy. Speculation about repulsive energies has been so dominant that other important topics, like X-ray astronomy, have been crowded out. Hopefully Gruber will have some prize left for those who actually solve the problem.
The wondrous Kea is still waiting to begin her new job in Oxford. She has displayed great patience while being locked out of the UK due to immigration nonsense. At last word, processing for UK visas from New Zealand was being moved to Australia. How can the UK function when travellers are waylayed like this? The country does not function--it can not defend its borders, pay its bills or protect freedom of speech.
The controversial Dutch politician and filmmaker Geert Wilders was denied a visa for the UK. Unwilling to accept this decision, Wilders flew to Heathrow anyway and was sent back home by UK authorities. (Hint from experience: The Cadbury bars in the office vending machine make good souvenirs.) He has commited no crime other than being controversial. Whether we agree with all Wilder's views or not (we don't), this is an attack on freedom. Fortunately Kea has a high score on the points system and will in all likelihood be let in.
Britain has welcomed rabble-rousers from Karl Marx to Abu Hamza al Masri and Omar Bakri Muhammad. Al Masri gained British citizenship by marrying a woman who was already married. Among his preachings at the Finsbury Mosque, he claimed that the Shuttle Columbia accident was a punishment from the Almighty. He has collected thousands in welfare benefits for himself and his wives. Omar Bakri Muhammad collected 250,000 pounds in welfare before slipping away to Lebanon. The July 21 bombers had also received welfare payments. US intelligence now considers Britain to be the most dangerous source of terrorist plots. Britain's policies have kept good people out and let the wrong people in.
(As this goes to press, we learn that on February 3 HMS Vanguard of the nuclear submarine fleet blindly collided with a French submarine. Britain once had a Navy too.)
Though technology promises information at the speed of light, the dark energy of censorship still persists. One can only hope for the people in Britain, and hope that Kea will soon join them. If not, we have a Cadbury factory in Tasmania.