Tuesday, March 30, 2004


AOL is raffling off a spammer's Porsche, which it won in a court settlement.

Seizure of property is becoming a major tactic in these lawsuits, since guilty spammers often protest their inability to pay large fines... The Porsche-owning spammer, whose identity remains confidential, was one of a group sued last year for having sent 1 billion junk messages to AOL members...

Link (via /.)

[Boing Boing]

Yahoo! News - Microsoft to create search site for Weblogs

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Sir Richard F. Burton on the Web

The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies

'Occidentalism: The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies' By Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit. Reviewed by Christopher Hitchens.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

BBC NEWS | Technology | Xbox and PC to share gaming tools
ThisisLondon: "The world of pedigree mice has been rocked by scandal.
But officials at the National Mouse Club were today staying silent over reports of an incident in which one member was allegedly punched and his prize-winning rodent strangled. "
Guardian Unlimited | Online | Ben Hammersley: RSS and Atom peace proposal


BoingBoing reader VonGuard says:

What with all the zombies here today, i figured it was a good idea to point out that the copyright on Night of the Living Dead has lapsed, and now the whole danged blasted movie is available for free on archive.org. Man, Archive rules.


UPDATE: Travis, a member of the BoingBoing tribe on Tribe.net, says: " Before 1978, any copyrighted work had to have a copyright notice on every distribution, otherwise it wasn't considered copyrighted. George A. Romero mistakenly left out the copyright notice when he distributed his 1968 film NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. The copyright has not recently "lapsed," but was in fact never enforcable, which is why we have dozens of "pirate" distributions of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and innumerable knock-offs."

[Boing Boing]

The XML Files: All About Blogs and RSS -- MSDN Magazine, April 2004

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

The RegisterThere isn't a search engine or web service these days that doesn't have a bolt-on Toolbar or Explorer Bar for Internet Explorer offering instant access to searches or messaging.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

BBC NEWS | Technology | Porn net watchdog touts triumphs


Looking for something else, I stumbled on this interesting report on the Bangladeshi restaurant trade in London: The restaurant business in Tower Hamlets (and elsewhere), in contrast to the garment industry, has been very much a growth sector. The 'Indian'...

[Dynamist Blog]


What a delight, Marc Andreessen, the internet pioneer, correctly explains comparative advantage to John Robb and then goes on to list America's advantages. Tyler earlier pointed out this USA Today piece on Andreesen's support for outsourcing.

[Marginal Revolution]

Telegraph | Opinion | We tried appeasement once before...: "A neighbour of mine refuses to let her boy play with 'militaristic' toys. So when a friend gave the l'il tyke a plastic sword and shield, mom mulled it over and then took away the former and allowed him to keep the latter. And for a while, on my drive down to town, I'd pass Junior in the yard playing with his shield, mastering the art of cowering more effectively against unseen blows."
The Anxiety of (Sexual) Influence - Are onetime "unwanted advances" really a feminist issue? By Laura�Kipnis: "The 'unwanted sexual advance'�what tangled tales of backfired desires, bristling umbrage, and mutual misunderstanding lurk behind this sterile little phrase."
The New York Review of Books: The Lives and Loves of Samuel Clemens: "'My books are water; those of the great geniuses are wine. Everybody drinks water,' Mark Twain observed, in a note. Was he bragging or complaining? "
The Socratic Shrink: "Americans are tired of psychologists dwelling on our every painful feeling, we're sick of psychiatrists prescribing a new drug every time we feel confused and many of our most pressing problems aren't even emotional or chemical to begin with -- they're philosophical. To wit: You don't have to be clinically depressed or burdened by childhood guilt to want help with the timeless questions of the human condition -- the persistence of suffering and the inevitability of death, the need for a reliable ethics"

Monday, March 22, 2004

Brown and Root Building redevelopment

It seems that Merton has finally issued planning permission to redevelop this notorious eye sore and wind tunne.

Daily Times - Site Edition: "There?s something about the pain of everyday life that makes great art. But like history, art is also selective in its treatment of life"
Download details: MapPoint Location Server, Version 1.0
London Borough of Merton - YourCouncil - Planning Applications and Licensing Committee
Economist.com | Mercenaries in Africa

Thursday, March 18, 2004

FrontPage magazine.com Victor Hanson Davies on the Madrid horror's implications.
Telegraph | News | Government inspector at Soham inquiry
BBC NEWS | UK | Microsoft works on native tongues Welsh is in. I wonder about Malayalam.


This Hello Kitty USB hub "will talk with you along with the input motion of the keyboard (moves both arms and head)" -- English and Japanese versions available. Link (via Kottke)

[Boing Boing]

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Kerala news: "The famous 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' will come with an Indian flavour in a film after writer William Dalrymple finishes working on the screenplay for Merchant-Ivory."
Telegraph | News | Police expert admits abusing girls Unbeleivable!
BBC NEWS | Education | IT 'guru' gives Oxford millions

Monday, March 15, 2004

Friday, March 12, 2004

BBC NEWS | Business | Telewest sees big cut in losses: "Net losses fell to �272m from �2.23bn the previous year, although 2002's figure was distorted by a one-off accounting charge of �1.48bn."
By Their Fruits - How to be a Catholic president in the 21st century. By Steven?Waldman

Thursday, March 11, 2004

BBC NEWS | Technology | BT puts faith on broadband extras
spectator.co.ukThe US is powerful and religious; the EU is weak and secular. Mark Steyn wonders whether it is any coincidence
spectator.co.uk: "Rubens is at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille, until 14 June. " Which is rather splendid as I am going to Lille in April.
Silicon Valley - Dan Gillmor's eJournal - Making the News: Draft of Chapter 1
Naked Man Scares Shark to Death Old but great headline. I came up when I was trying to find the "sensitive naked man", and old SNL skit I remember.
BBC NEWS | Technology | Robot trumpets Toyota's know-how: "A trumpet-playing robot has been developed by Japanese car maker Toyota." That is surely the sentence of the year.
spiked-essays | Essay | The politics of the lonely crowd: "The other day my eight-year-old son came home, took off his jacket and announced 'Daddy, I really hate Bush!' Until that point, this child had strong views on the subject of football (which he loves), school dinners (which he dislikes) and mobile phones (which he desperately desires). But this was his first statement of political preference. Why did he feel so strongly about the American president? 'Because he's so stupid', my son replied.

As a proud father, I would like to boast that my young son and his classmates have developed a precocious interest in political affairs. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Children are no more curious about political life than their elders. Rather, political life in the Western world has become so infantilised that even eight-year-olds can share its brilliant insights."
BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Music | George Michael shuns music industry
This weekend: "DARPA intends to conduct a challenge of autonomous ground vehicles between Los Angeles and Las Vegas in March of 2004. A cash award of $1 million will be granted to the team that fields the first vehicle to complete the designated route within a specified time limit. The purpose of the challenge is to leverage American ingenuity to accelerate the development of autonomous vehicle technologies that can be applied to military requirements. Many of the details of the event are being developed, and new information will be posted to this web site as soon as possible."

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Hitachi to unveil 400GB drive | CNET News.com This is truly astounding for something aimed at consumer markets.
BBC NEWS | Technology | Log your life via your phone
Chad Dickerson: March 09, 2004 Archives: Infoworld says: "Ever since we began publishing RSS feeds at InfoWorld, the requests for our home page had always exceeded requests for our Top News RSS feed. Not any more. Over the past several weeks, requests for InfoWorld's Top News RSS feed have regularly exceeded the requests for our home page. This has been going on long enough now that we're certain that it's permanent. I think it's a big deal."

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Guardian Unlimited | Arts features | Napster goes legit
The Perpetual Adolescent
Telegraph | Arts | The magic of Morrissey - the fan who became a star: "Morrissey was a lovelorn fan of Oscar Wilde and James Dean, Elsie Tanner and the New York Dolls, and he appears to have made something of an art out of moping around the house in a melancholy, jobless, big-cardiganed way, dreaming of a wonderful romance involving himself and every image he ever cared about, dispensing epigrams over the bannister while his mother got busy with the Findus Crispy Pancakes. "

You can write, Andrew O'Hagan.
Sun Adopts RSS
Telegraph | Opinion | Beware of the fruitcakes in government
BBC - BBC Four Documentaries - Historians of Genius: Thomas Carlyle I stumbled across this on BBC4 last night and was transfixed. I have tried to read Carlyle in the past and found him turgid, yet when it was presented aloud I was gripped and compelled. I recognised the actor who read the text but I cannot remember his name.

Update: the actor in question is Bill Paterson - as can be seen from the page to which I have linked. Dear me, it must be too early in the morning.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Israel News : Jerusalem Post Internet Edition: "If Jewish groups think Mel Gibson and evangelical Christians are the problem, more fool them. "
Big Media meets the 'bloggers
BBC NEWS | Technology | Digital maps help track criminals
spectator.co.uk In the 200 years since independence, Haiti has endured a vicious cycle of coups: Ian Thomson examines the background to the latest crisis
Victor Davis Hanson on War & Election 2004 on National Review Online
spiked-culture | Article | The geek shall inherit the Earth
More questions and answers
The Registerthe Departmental Interface Server (DIS), an off-the-peg package developed by Sun Microsystems and Software AG. DIS was developed over the last two years, in collaboration with the office of the e-envoy and was given governmental approval in October last year.

Friday, March 05, 2004

BBC NEWS | Business | Senate votes to stop outsourcing
spectator.co.uk: "There have been widespread calls for Mel Gibson?s The Passion of The Christ to be banned, or at least boycotted. He has been accused of glorying in gore, of pandering to sadomasochism, of turning the Gospel story into an anti-Semitic snuff movie. All these criticisms lead to one conclusion: that the critics have not read the Gospels. "
ThisisLondonThree-headed frog spawns mystery
Volterra Consulting
Criminals follow laws of statistics: Stopping first crimes is the best way to halt criminality.: "Criminals follow laws of statistics
Stopping first crimes is the best way to halt criminality. "
BBC NEWS | World | Americas | 'We're Canada's al-Qaeda family'
Syndication Studio 2004 - howdev.com
Guardian Unlimited Books | By genre | Bittersweet symphonies
BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Christians convert back to Hinduism: "More than 200 Christians in the eastern Indian state of Orissa have reconverted to Hinduism on Thursday in the presence of the leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). "
BBC NEWS | Business | Michael Dell hands over CEO role
BBC NEWS | England | Southern Counties | William Morris tapestry for sale: "The artwork, designed and woven by Morris and Co at the firm's workshops at Merton Abbey, Surrey, is to be sold on 21 April in Edinburgh." Our office is in Merton Abbey. Kinda cool eh?
Telegraph | News | Law lords raise stakes on asylum

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Telegraph | News | Thousands cleared in 'unreliable' vetting checks, police chief admits
The Shi'ite Factor in Gulf Politics: "The Shi'ite / Sunni conflict underlies Gulf politics.
Saddam Hussein's regime tried to show a pan-Arabic face to the world. In Iraq, that ideology meant Sunni dominance over the Shi'a. The Shi'a saw Saddam's pan-Arabism as an attack on their version of Islam.
The discourse in the Gulf is full of coded speech that masks the depth of this Sunni / Shi'ite conflict from those that miss the coding. Arabic language websites demonstrate the virulent nature of the conflict.
One Sunni extremist, affiliated with Al Qaeda, wrote a pamphlet listing the threats to Sunni Islam. He identified four threats of equal danger.

1. Jews
2. Christian Crusaders (the United States and Great Britain)
3. Secularists
4. The Shi'ite heretic threat
The Sunni extremists call Shi'ites refusers � they refuse to accept the successors to the prophet. The word 'refusers' is a slur, akin to a racial epithet. "


"Britney Spears" is a perfect anagram for "Presbyterians." (thanks to Coffeepot)

[Paul Boutin]

Jon's Radio: "By the way, have you ever wondered what happens if you point a VNC viewer on one box (say, a Mac) at another box (say, Windows), then launch a VNC viewer on the second box and point it back at the first? Here's what"
Psycho Studio - Edit your own Shower Scene!: "Endlessly imitated, the stabbing of Marion Crane in Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho' has become indelibly stamped on the American Psyche. The 48 second sequence has been studied by thousands of film students of the years, but only now can you cut your own version using the original footage, all online. Storyboarded by Saul Bass and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the original scene was edited by George Tomasini together with Hitchcock. See what you can do and if it compares with the original!"
Wired 12.03: Some Like It Hot
ThisisLondonPolice investigating the deaths of soldiers at Deepcut barracks will severely criticise the Army today over their handling of the investigations, and the care of young recruits. The report by Surrey police is expected to recommend changes to improve care and reduce the risks to young soldiers.
Melanie Phillips's Diary: Jacobin-lite: "They don't have the courage to espouse an avowedly republican agenda. Instead, we're getting republicanism by stealth, or institutional Jacobinism -- a kind of pathological reflex action to do away with 1000 years of history, in their continuing and desperate attempt to give themselves an ideology of 'modernity' -- simply for want of any better ideas." Melanie Phillips on Blair's government in the light of Blunket's faux pas wrt the Crown Prosecution Service.
All Things Distributed: The Rise of the Feed Readers Breakdown of the aggregators used against a particular site

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Purported Al-Qaida Letter Denies Responsibility for Iraq Bombings - from TBO.com: "CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - A letter purported to come from al-Qaida denied responsibility for bombings that killed at least 117 people during a Shiite Muslim festival in Iraq, blaming American troops instead - but it also said Shiites are infidels"
Telegraph | News | House prices keep rising despite rate hikes

SCO wins Linux licence payments

Leading lights of the open source movement have said they would happily remove disputed code if SCO told them what it owned. So far SCO has not responded to this offer.


Jesus Demands Creative Control Over Next Movie

HOLLYWOOD, CA�After watching Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ Monday, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ announced that He will demand creative control over the next film based on His life.
The Onion

Bombay's Billion Dollar Slum

Dharavi, in India's commercial capital Bombay (Mumbai), is Asia's largest slum.
Made up of ramshackle corrugated tin sheds it is home to more than 600,000 people.

But it is a unique shanty town.

Thanks to a thriving crafts industry, Dharavi generates business worth nearly $1bn a year.

Local workshops turn out leather goods, pottery, and jewellery, much of it destined for shop shelves in the West.

Now, the authorities want to harness Dharavi's business potential with an ambitious plan to turn it into one of Asia's best neighbourhoods.

A massive re-development plan, costing some $1.3bn, is in prospect.


A billion dollars among 600,000 people is only $1,667 each, but then again I wonder what the average income is in Bombay.

After the Revolution

The table is full, the wall is painted, the space is filled with voices!' Zurab was talking. We were in a Mexican-Japanese restaurant in Tbilisi, ending a heavy night. Bottles and dishes crowded the table; the diners were even gaudier than the d�cor; over the blast of the band came the voice of Georgia's richest brewer yelling at his bodyguards. 'I'm talking about Georgia,' Zurab shouted. God, not more Kakheti red wine?

Neal Ascherson in Georgia


Public Persecution Service

The role of the Queen as Head of State was further eroded yesterday as the Government announced plans to drop the word Crown from the Crown Prosecution Service, without consulting Buckingham Palace.

For the third time in less than a year the Queen's ministers chose not to pay her the courtesy of consultation, but rather kept her in the dark until just before reforms were announced.


I am no fervent Royalist, but their is something disquieting about the current Governments lack of respect for form.

eBay and Microsoft Promote Web Services

eBay and Microsoft today invited third-party developers to tap into the Web services capabilities of both the eBay platform and the Microsoft Office System to enhance trading on eBay. With the combined power of the two platforms, developers now have the opportunity to build solutions that can benefit buyers and sellers on eBay.


Tuesday, March 02, 2004

End of an Era

Alistair Cooke has broadcast his last Letter From America after making the BBC show for 58 years.

Duking It Out

The most important American of our time is John Wayne,' critic Eric Bentley once declared. Did Stalin agree? A new biography makes the surprising assertion that Wayne was the subject of repeated assassination attempts by Soviet agents as well as Chinese and American Communists.
The Village Voice:

Monday, March 01, 2004

Ex-detective defends decision not to charge Huntley

A detective who decided that no action should be taken against Ian Huntley over three separate allegations of underage sex has stood by his decision.


The New Face of the Silicon Age

How India became the capital of the computing revolution.
Wired 12.02


Three decades ago, Patrick Moore helped found Greenpeace. Today he promotes nuclear energy and genetically modified foods - and swears he's still fighting to save the planet.
Wired 12.03

Meet BitTorrent

........the file-sharing network that makes trading movies a breeze.
Paul Boutin

Dead Link

PM speech on modernisation of the Civil Service.

I have been going back through my blog now I use a template that includes titles. This link is now dead. I don't think links at http://www.number10.gov.uk should do that.

Updated: March 5, 2004

Nigerian Email Con

The BBC on the background to the scam that lies behind the propositions that keep clogging my inbox. Its amazing to me that anyone falls for them at all, but apparently they do and for extraordinary amounts of money.

The Major Unsolved Problem in Biology

When he was still a student, Richard Feynman hinted at a career to come as a scientific wonderer when he wrote: "I wonder why. I wonder why. / I wonder why I wonder / I wonder why I wonder why / I wonder why I wonder!"
Such wondering, and meta-wondering, takes us to the heart of what geneticist-cum-neuroscientist Francis Crick (who would know) calls "the major unsolved problem in biology"--explaining how billions of neurons swapping chemicals give rise to such subjective experiences as consciousness, self-awareness, and awareness that others are conscious and self-aware.

Scientific American