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Saturday 12 May 2001, 23:55 BST
Douglas Adams R.I.P. He was only 49.

The best way to remember Douglas Adams is to enjoy some of his writing: this excerpt from The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy comes courtesy of Vaughan at wherever your are.
Linking to Ansett:
Do not proceed to establish a hypertext link to the Ansett Web Site home page until you have been notified by Ansett that you may do so.
Yeah, right, like that's going to happen. Sue me, cobber. [Via Viama's Weblog]
You know those floating pen images you sometimes see in souvenir pens - the transparent plastic shells with a sliding bit of plastic depicting a ship sailing along a river? You may not be surprised to discover that there's a web site called Float About devoted to cataloguing such images. You probably will be surprised to find that one of the scenes immortalised in plastic is the OJ Simpson car chase. [Via The View From Here]
Friday 11 May 2001, 23:10 BST
For some reason, today's Dr Fun cracked me up.
Advertising gets that little bit more pervasive. Treat urinal cakes with heat-sensitive ink, and you get a whole new advertising medium. My favourite response in the Plastic thread this report spawned came from a British poster who noted an unanticipated side-effect of another form of in-toilet advertising. [Via Plastic]
Star Wars: Designer Edition. Brilliant:
"The new Beetle AT-AT may be a walking killing machine," Freeman added, "but we included soft touches like the control panel flower bud vase"
[Via web-goddess.co.uk]
Don't Forget Mom! [Via NTK]
Baby Mops: make your children work for their keep. [Via Bifurcated Rivets]
Thursday 10 May 2001, 23:05 BST
Awww, isn't he cute... [Via House-of-boo-boo's]
For those of you who weren't sure why I thought the story of the recent implementation of RFC1149 was worthy of a mention, Peter Meyers has explained the entire stunt in admirably non-technical terms in Salon.
BBC Radio 2 has now overtaken Radio 1 as Britain's most listened-to station. As a late-thirtysomething, I find Radio 1 increasingly hard to take, though that's as much due to the increasing of dreadfully unprofessional "personality" DJs alongside nonentities with not an intelligent word to say between records as it is the increasing focus on pre-teen pop and dance music. (Mark and Lard are, of course, the shining exception to this rule. Shame I can't listen to them, as we're not allowed to have a radio on at work.) Trouble is, Radio 2's schedules still contain far too much music that's aimed at listeners a good fifteen or twenty years older than me.

Oh well, time to put another CD on.
Differences in the male and female orgasm. Neat. [Via Arts & Letters Daily]
Take a close look at the link to the text-only version of the Notre Dame Law School web site at the foot of this page. As Melissa of pie in the sky has noted, it's just like a bunch of lawyers to add a disclaimer to the simplest of declarations. [Via pie in the sky]
Wednesday 9 May 2001, 23:30 BST
Now that's what I call a disclaimer. [Via MetaFilter]
Furbeowulf Cluster Computing: massively parallel processing design and implementation with commodity products. Neat. [Via Haddock.org]
Tuesday 8 May 2001, 23:10 BST
It's started. Stand by for four weeks of content-free electioneering, followed by a low turnout that still gives Labour a comfortable majority. Follow the latest twists and turns at ToThePolls.com.

For what it's worth, I'll be a somewhat unenthusiastic Labour voter this time round: they've let me down on constitutional reform, and by letting Jack Straw spend four years perfecting his Michael Howard impersonation, but even so they're a lot closer to my preferences than any of the other parties.
Greg Knauss explains just why I'm not in the market for a TiVo.
Why Men Should Not Be Babysitters. (Which happens to be reinforced by yet another Greg Knauss piece I read today.) [Via bluetterfly]
Dognose Heaven. Words fail me... [Via SeeThru Weblog]
Is it time to send someone you love to an Assisted Computing Facility?
There's such a thing as excessive use of high technology. [Via grayblog]
Monday 7 May 2001, 23:10 BST
Why I Will Never Have A Girlfriend, by Psychonaut. This reminded me of Adrian "Vavatch Orbital" Hon's A Statistical Look at the Likelihood of an Individual Being Able to Go Out with Britney Spears. [Psychonaut essay via linkmachinego]
The Cult of the Dead Cow (the folks behind BackOrifice) are reported to be developing Peekabooty, which amounts to a peer-to-peer web browser which uses encryption to hide data from prying eyes. None of these technologies is particularly unusual in itself, but if they can put them all together in a robust yet easy to use package and if the peer-to-peer system will scale well (and there are a lot of "if"s in this sentence) then this will either be the browser which renders the RIP Act, the DMCA and the RIAA's jihad against digital piracy irrelevant, or else an excuse for governments to mandate that every PC sold come with a backdoor for the intelligence services, so they can monitor end users' activities directly by taking screendumps every n seconds (where n is a random number between 0.10 and 30) and making the contents of their hard drive available to an Echelon/Carnivore-type system for remote monitoring.
Channel 4's viewers have voted for Homer Simpson as the Greatest TV Character of All Time, beating out Basil Fawlty and Blackadder.

As always in lists of this type, there were too many entries from the last decade or so: only two of the top 10 came from pre-1990 shows, and one of them just barely missed, Doctor Who having last aired in 1989. Also, all but one of the top 10 characters (The Doctor, again) was from a comedy programme, which can't possibly be reasonable. In the last decade alone, surely Dr Niles Crane or Del Boy should have had some competition for a top 10 slot from characters like Anna from This Life or Fitz or Detective Sipowicz?
Coming later this year: Cats & Dogs. The real truth about cats and dogs, at last. I never did trust those feline fiends.
Warning Labels Mandated by 20th & 21st Century Physics. Warning: best appreciated by physics geeks. [Via rec.arts.sf.written]
There's No "Bite Me" in "Team." A pretty spot-on HissyFit, I'd say. I was so sad at missing the most recent "team-building" day at my office, courtesy of a huge backlog of work.
Sunday 6 May 2001, 23:55 BST
Apocamon: The Final Judgement. Pokemon meets the Book of Revelations. Class. [Via MetaFilter]
I've had David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest on my Amazon wish-list for ages now, but I keep getting sidetracked by works by authors I'm more familiar with, or catching up on the classics of the SF field. However, after reading an excerpt from Infinite Jest this morning in a post to rec.arts.sf.written, I've moved it way up my list. This is one of the reasons why videophones will never catch on:
"A traditional aural-only conversation let you enter a kind of highway-hypnotic semi-attentive fugue: while conversing, you could look around the room, doodle, fine-groom, peel tiny bits of dead skin away from your cuticle, compose phone-pad haiku, stir things on the stove; you could even carry on a whole separate additional sign-language-and-exaggerated-facial-expression type of conversation with people right there in the room with you, all while seeming to be right there attending closely to the voice on the phone. And yet -- and this was the retrospectively marvelous part -- even as you were dividing your attention between the phone call and all sorts of other idle little fuguelike activitis, you were somehow never haunted by the suspicion that the person at the other end's attention might be similarly divided."
Sci Fi Wire reports that there might be a BBC Buffy spin-off show, featuring none other than Rupert Giles himself. As long as it's a limited run - maybe a single story spread over three or four episodes - I could see that working, especially since it seems from the report that the idea is to get Giles back on English soil: I think seeing Giles back home could be great fun, and no doubt they'd bring one or two of the show's regulars along for the ride. (My guess: Willow, checking out the dreaming spires.)

I wonder whether the BBC will let Sky show the spin-off...
In the week when Channel 5 repeated the finale of season 2 of the batty, bawdy, brilliant Lexx, Gavin Williams has written an excellent appreciation of the show for At The World's End. And I quote:
Lexx is what happens when – against all the odds – very odd German and Canadian people get to do exactly what they want with a science fiction show. This is both a good and a bad thing – often at the same time.

Lexx is, by turns, lazy, inspired, indulgent, sadistic, tasteless, droll, brilliant, adolescent, frustrating, silly, brattish, over-excitable, wildly imaginative, and almost impossibly odd. It features dumb jokes, bizarre pacing, mutant comic timing, name-calling, widescreen thinking, genocide, bickering, high camp, biotechnology, manic pseudoscience and a quite staggering range of “space things that look like cocks”. The rest of the SF TV genre is, to my mind, pretty much gathered round in a huddle, like unsettled Texan parents or Hank Hill and his buddies from King of the Hill, casting askance glances over at Lexx (wearing a bra on its head, rubbing its face against pebbledashed walls), and muttering to one another, “Hell, that child jest ain’t right.”
That about sums it up, though I do think that Farscape has moments of lunacy (Crackers Don't Matter, the sight of Crais in ruby high heels, a Scorpgasm) almost as bizarre as an average episode of Lexx.

I missed the last few season 2 episodes first time round on Channel 5, so I've enjoyed catching up these last few weeks. Now I just wish they'd hurry up and give us Lexx season 3.

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