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Home > Weblog w/e 31.3.2001

Saturday 31 March 2001, 23:35 BST
To The Polls. Courtesy of several members of the uk-bloggers mailing list, a collaborative Metafilter-style site devoted to the forthcoming UK General Election.
Mark Cousins ponders whether cinema is the ultimate right-wing art form. [Via Guardian Weblog]
Advertising Slogans Targeted at the Lovecraftian Elder Gods, courtesy of Greg Knauss:
M&M's: The milk chocolate melts in your maw, not in... whatever that is.
[Via An Entirely Other Day]
Modern Life Is Not Rubbish, says Mick Hume.
New porn shock set to eclipse web threat.
Student Chooses Stripping Over Sports. What's particularly noticeable is that Leilani Rios was reported by members of the college's baseball team who visited the theatre where she plied her trade.

Ironically, Rios claims that there was no way for other patrons of the theatre to know that she was a member of Cal State's Tigers, but the students who reported her had attended the show while wearing Tigers caps and sweaters. [Via Ironminds Weblog]
Pete Rojas on the legacy of Joseph Schumpeter. The Austrain economist may have been dead for half a century, but his work is used to justify making mass layoffs and non-stop corporate restructuring not simply an emergency strategy but the normal order of business.
Using Microsoft Powerpoint to discipline your children. Doesn't subjecting innocent youngsters to middle management-style presentations amount to child abuse? [Via Aerie]
Friday 30 March 2001, 23:55 BST
An interesting background image from Pepsi's Australian site. Make sure you scroll so you can see the rightmost section of the image. [Via NTK]
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has been resurrected ... in order to sell telephones.
The Amsterdam police force has come up with a neat way to harass mobile phone thieves.
Not one, but two stunning Astronomy Pictures of the Day
Brian Trubshaw, R.I.P. [Via Grayblog]
'Unsportsmanlike interference' indeed! Doubtless some people would pay good money for this sort of thing, but probably not on a rugby field. [Via Metafilter]
Wednesday 28 March 2001, 23:40 BST
Stuck for just the right phrase? Up the creek without a paddle? Cliché Finder can help. [Via Pie In The Sky]
The "Stripper shot" versus the "Blow-job shot." Decisions, decisions. An editorial from Nerve about the debate that ensued when the time came to choose the cover picture for their current print edition. For what it's worth, I prefer the picture they rejected. [Via Ironminds Weblog]
Scott Rosenberg spells out in non-technical terms just why HailStorm, Microsoft's latest initiative aimed at making our online lives simpler is a very bad idea. I think he spends too much time dissecting the Terms of Use of the Microsoft Passport scheme, but he also provides plenty of evidence that even if Microsoft could be trusted with my personal data, storing everything from my bank account details to my prescription data is Not Good.
Napster users asked to march on Washington to protest their losing the "right" to freely infringe copyright without penalty. Media comparisons to the civil rights marches of the 60s must have Martin Luther King Jr doing several hundred RPM.
If a new pilot scheme is successful, you'll soon be able to email your plea to court. More to the point, information and communications technology is to be deployed in courtrooms to make giving evidence easier and less stressful. What's really worrying is that this is considered newsworthy: why wasn't it done years ago? [Via Metafilter]
Humanspellcheck.com takes pleasure in pointing out some of the more egregious spelling and grammatical errors on the web. My favourite is the excerpt from Britney Spears' online diary for Pepsi: could she use any more exclamation marks?

I'm uncomfortably aware that now that I've posted about a site specialising in identifying spelling problems someone is bound to email me to point out a howler or two on this page. What can I say? Bring it on... [Via MISCmedia]
Tuesday 27 March 2001, 23:30 BST
Cats in spaaaaaace. Presumably the owner sedated this moggy. [Via Metafilter]
AOL UK abolishes time ... but still expects staff to put in at least an 8 hour day. The lengths firms will go to for a publicity stunt. [Via Techdirt]
v-2.org intelligently dissects the story of the ALL YOUR BASE... meme. [Via Frownland]
The received wisdom is that our computers should aspire to the status of "intelligent assistants," simplifying tasks in order to save us time. Dan Bricklin thinks this ignores the main strength of the personal computer, that it's a multi-purpose tool.
The very definition of "serendipity." [Via Yet Another Web Log]
Monday 26 March 2001, 22:15 BST
The Silicon Graphics Fridge Project. Not as cool as using a Cray as an aquarium, but pretty close. [Via CamWorld]
Andy Oram thinks it's time we got rid of email once and for all. I'm not so sure that scrapping the whole SMTP-based infrastructure which works pretty well and is reasonably well understood is a terribly good idea.

For one thing, Oram is mixing up gripes arising from two very different sources: email clients implementing features poorly (eg out-of-the-box encryption) and limitations arising from the narrow focus of SMTP as a mail transport protocol (eg the difficulty in accessing web-based features via a hyperlink if you don't have access to a web server). Furthermore, Oram criticises current email systems for forcing everyone to cater for the lowest-common-denominator (presumably meaning systems which won't render HTML in email and execute JavaScript or ActiveX), but to my mind that's the beauty of "bog-standard" email: it works on pretty much any platform with a TCP/IP stack and the ability to cope with ASCII text. Add the ability to launch other client software via URLs embedded in an email (manual activation of URLs is already commonplace, so this isn't a big ask) and I think it's perfectly reasonable to let email clients and servers carry on doing what they do best.
Naomi Klein's No Logo has now spawned a Slashdot-style collaborative web forum. It's still early days, but it could well turn out to be a very useful forum for disseminating information and discussing the issues Klein's book raised. [Via Metafilter]
An amusing account of attempts by a BBC reporter to get insurance cover in the event that Mir landed on his house. [Via As Above]
Who The Heck Are These People? P J O'Rourke 's guide to popular culture for the perplexed boomer. [Via the null device]
"Doo-dah, doo-dah." [Via timewasting]
Sunday 25 March 2001, 23:55 BST
Mir destroys Taco Bell. I know it didn't, but it should have.
A Pane in the Neck. [Via Rebecca's Pocket]
A fascinating article about recent archaeological discoveries in the Black Sea. The lack of free oxygen 200 feet below the surface means that organic matter that would normally rot is preserved, so ships from thousands of years ago may be lying on the lake's bed as if they suck yesterday. [Via Metafilter]
For Oscar night, an interview with James Coburn, who won two years ago but whose career doesn't seem to have had the usual post-Oscar bounce. [Via linkmachinego]
Working on AOL's service desk isn't as easy as it sounds. Weeding out offensive usernames is all very amusing, but the story at the end of the article demonstrates that protecting online anonymity isn't always fun and won't always feel like the right thing to do. Even when it is. [Via rc3.org]
Yay! Brass Eye is going to be rerun on Channel 4 later this year.
David Brooks considers the strangely driven children of America's "meritocratic elite." Bright, polite, relentlessly work-oriented, endlessly respectful towards authority and utterly dull. They'll do a wonderful job of managing the corporate state, but - at the risk of sounding like an old fuddy-duddy - you can't imagine them inventing anything as revolutionary as the internet or coping with a major change in the structure of the polity.
Foot-and-Mouth Believed to be First Virus Unable to Spread Through Microsoft Outlook.
A magnificent collection of waterguns. [Via Memepool]

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