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Home > Weblog w/e 26.5.2001

Saturday 26 May 2001, 23:30 BST
Pong. Pure genius. [Via blogjam]
Simply brilliant Steve Bell cartoon of Thatcher/Hague.
Stop Procrastinating! No doubt before long universities all over Britain will be serving up pages like this in the run-up to exams. [Via qwertyuiop]
Ernie of little.yellow.different is learning the vital arts of tact and diplomacy.
Forget about ILOVEYOU, now an email worm writer is targeting child porn stored on your hard disk and emailing US government officials to inform on you.

It's just as well the program appears to use a truly dumb algorithm to identify files: if this had any prospect of actually working, it'd be a matter of months before someone passed a law requiring anti-virus software products to let this one through. [Via the null device]
Leicester's police are about to try a novel method of calming down late-night revellers: handing out lollipops and playing theme tunes from kids' TV shows like The Magic Roundabout. I dread to think how that'll go down if they ever try it in the Bigg Market. [Via Plastic]
How to tell if you're American/English/French/Scottish... [Via web-goddess.co.uk]
Friday 25 May 2001, 23:15 BST
Honour System. Can you be trusted not to press the Big Red Button? [Via As Above]
The Linux Gay Conspiracy. I don't quite know what to say about this Slashdot posting, other than "wow". [Via NTK]
Roger Ebert isn't terribly impressed by Michael Bay's latest cinematic extravaganza:
"Pearl Harbor" is a two-hour movie squeezed into three hours, about how on Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese staged a surprise attack on an American love triangle. Its centerpiece is 40 minutes of redundant special effects, surrounded by a love story of stunning banality. The film has been directed without grace, vision or originality, and although you may walk out quoting lines of dialogue, it will not be because you admire them.
[Via Bad Hair Days]
Hare Cut. Terrific Flash animation.
MyCereal.com. Design your own breakfast cereal, then they'll deliver a week's supply to your doorstep. [Via Wired magazine - article not yet available online]
Freespeling.com. Is this what happens when you've sent one too many SMS messages and your brain finally explodes? [Via Christine H]
Thursday 24 May 2001, 23:25 BST
"Love monkey." "Significant other." What exactly is a good term for your other half? [Via /usr/bin/girl]
Invisible Action Figures. Class... [Via Plastic]
Nico Morgan's Silly Pictures. These two are my favourites, but you really should check out the entire gallery.
Please do not distract the builders. [Via qwertyuiop]
How much data do you think the world produces per year? Would you believe 250MB per person? [Via Blog.org]
Wednesday 23 May 2001, 23:55 BST
The Taleban are to require Hindus to wear yellow cloth as an identifying mark. Apparently the idea is that this will help to protect them from harrassment. Yeah, right...
Pizza in spaaaaaacccceeeeee! Pizza Hut claim to have delivered the first pizza to the International Space Station. [Via Plastic]
Kicking The Hobbit. Chris Mooney discusses the battle for literary respectability for J R R Tolkien. I have a feeling that the prospect of Hobbit Happy Meals later this year won't help one little bit. [Via Arts & Letters Daily]
What exactly is "life" anyway? Bernard Korzeniewski's answer may surprise you. [Via NewsTrolls]
Would you want to be this guy's neighbour? [Via /usr/bin/girl]
Tuesday 22 May 2001, 23:30 BST
"[...] under no circumstances are you allowed to vote for me. You will not vote for me!" Not the sort of thing a politician generally says to voters on the campaign trail. [Via linkmachinego]
The Register hands out The Email Disclaimer Awards 2001. One winner was an amazing 1,081 words long!
Monday 21 May 2001, 21:25 BST
MetaFilter comes clean and says "sorry." (If you have no idea what this is about, see this enormous thread.)
Are You In An 80s Action Movie?
Are any of the following people nearby, sneering: Michael Ironside, Lance Henriksen, Carl Weathers, James Belushi, Eric Roberts, Jon Voight, Gary Busey, Danny Trejo, Christopher Walken, Tim Curry, Kiefer Sutherland, Bolo Yeung, Brion James, Frank Langella, Will Patton?
The moral of this story: before you run off a new batch of leaflets, make sure you check those URLs are still fresh. [Via the null device]
US$375,000 per annum for life (or, presumably until the company finally goes under) isn't a bad payoff for spending two years presiding over the near-destruction of a dot-com company. [Via rc3.org]
Sunday 20 May 2001, 23:00 BST
Steven Johnson gets to the heart of the argument over whether Open Source software is really bad for innovation.
Reading an interview with British SF novelist Alastair Reynolds, I noted his mention of the role played by a 70s magazine called Speed & Power in sparking his interest in SF. I remember the magazine very well, and it's fair to say that their reprinting various short stories helped spark my interest in the genre. Arthur C Clarke's A Meeting With Medusa, The Sentinel, some of his Tales From The White Hart. A selection of Isaac Asimov's Robot stories. Put these works alongside various Andre Norton novels and Hugh Walters' tales of a Commonwealth space program than never was and you probably have a good chunk of my early SF diet. Then I started ploughing through the juveniles of Alan E Nourse, James Blish and Robert A Heinlein on the shelves of my local library, and I've never really looked back. (And my bank balance never quite recovered either.)

I wonder how many SF fans my age were hooked because Speed & Power decided to pad out each issue with some (probably quite cheap) reprints of classic SF?
Apple Introduces the iGun:
"The iGun combines Apple's belief in outstanding and innovative yet fun design, with deadly stopping power," Jobs told an audience of reporters and Apple Mac enthusiasts in Seattle." No more harsh blacks and greys. We are bringing life and vitality to these instruments of death," he said, to rapturous applause and cheering from the crowd.
[Via tajmahal]
I'm generally quite happy to see fan fiction flourish, but there's a line, and I think it may have been crossed. What the hell do you make of the notion of Schindler's List slash? [Via I Shoot With My Mind]
Ed Barrett thinks political satire is dead. I agree that the likes of Rory Bremner are pretty toothless, but I think Spitting Image had some effect. It didn't topple governments, but some of the running jokes - Mrs Thatcher's dim view of her cabinet colleagues, David Steel taking up residence in David Owen's pocket, Norman Tebbit as a skinhead, the search for Ronald Reagan's brain - certainly shaped popular views of the era's leading politicians.
Pooh Goes Apeshit. Sick, but very funny. [Via rec.arts.sf.written]
The BOFH meets the auditors.
Pulp are on their way back with a new album. Victoria Segal explains why this is such a welcome prospect. [Via The View From Here]
Greg Knauss has stopped producing An Entirely Other Day. I'll miss his wonderfully deranged little observations on parenting and life as a geek, but I'll definitely look forward to whatever he does next.
Smartie shortage endangers ISP's operations:
Called and Spoke to Donna at the BJ's Wholesale Club in Medford, MA. Asked Donna if they have any Smarties in stock and she confirmed that they carry them in "5 Pound Value Packs". Asked Donna how many Smarties come in the "5 Pound Value Pack", she reports that she doesn't know. Requested that she open the bag up and count them, as the future of "the PlaNET" may depend on it, Donna hung up.
[Via Memepool]
Christina Aguilera is looking distinctly scary nowadays. [Via a fire inside. Many thanks to Michele for sending me a copy of the JPEG to store on my server, as her web host was blocking attempts to link to it directly.]
The European hard disk market is about to get a major boost, in the event that proposals to force ISPs and telcos to store the content of all telephone, fax and internet traffic - emails, web site contents, presumably FTP transfers, Usenet postings and IRC chats - for seven years are implemented. [Via MetaFilter]

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