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Saturday 22 December 2001, 23:55 GMT
This evening Radio 2 broadcast a pretty good appreciation of the musical partnership between Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, and in particular their work with Squeeze.

My only quibble is that they kept fading out the songs to go to not terribly insighful contributions from the likes of Marti Pellow. They should have extended the programme by thirty minutes or more and played a lot more of the music.
A Last Request. What should a hospital do when a 15 year-old boy dying from cancer tells them that his dying wish is to have sex for the first time?

I think the hospital did the right thing in this case, but I can understand why not everyone would agree. If this had happened in the UK someone would lose their job over it, for sure. [Via the null device]
Friday 21 December 2001, 23:55 GMT
IMPORTANT!  PLEASE READ CAREFULLY! Surely this must be the Mother of All Disclaimers. [Via NTK]
Washington DC's National Cathedral features a very surprising gargoyle. No, this isn't a Photoshop job. Read all about it here. [Via Ben Hammersley.Com]
When Politics is a Laughing Matter. Alexander Rose has written a perceptive and thought-provoking article on the way political humour varies from one country to another, and what that variation tells us about the lives of ordinary citizens.

I know that sounds rather a dry topic, but the article is very readable. Well worth a look. [Via the null device]
Thursday 20 December 2001, 23:25 GMT
What I've Learned:Homer Simpson.
I've climbed the highest mountains . . . fallen down the deepest valleys . . . I've been to Japan and Africa . . . and I've even gone into space. But I'd trade it all for a piece of candy right now.
[Via a fire inside]
While I'm on the subject: here's an amazingly detailed map of Springfield. [Via MetaFilter]
Wednesday 19 December 2001, 23:35 GMT
Bruce Hoffman relates the story of an astonishingly effective attempt to wean hardened terrorists from their life of violence. [Via caterina.net]
Not content with writing a highly readable weblog, Ann Elizabeth takes a mean photograph too. Hidden Rainbow is a particular favourite of mine.
As if writing, producing and occasionally directing Buffy and Angel wasn't enough, now Joss Whedon plans to launch an SF show, provisionally titled Firefly.

I can't help but wonder whether Joss can give Buffy the attention it deserves while overseeing Angel and launching a third show. I don't entirely buy the argument that the launch of Angel adversely affected Buffy season 4: what with the departure of Angel, Cordelia and Oz, the introduction of Tara, Giles' diminished role and the characters' adjustment to life post-high school, that was always going to be a transitional, slightly unsatisfactory season for long-time fans. In any case, even with all that going on the better season 4 episodes (Fear Itself, Wild At Heart, Something Blue, Hush, The I In Team, This Year's Girl/Who Are You, New Moon Rising, The Yoko Factor/Primeval, Restless) were very good indeed. I'm going to choose to be cautiously optimistic.

I just hope that bunch of arsecandles at Channel 4 don't get the UK terrestrial rights and put the show on at 5pm on a weekday, or at 2.35am every second Tuesday. [Via Ben Hammersley.Com]
I'd hoped that the lack of recent reports on the Security Systems Standards and Certification Act meant that it had been quietly forgotten. No such luck: judging by this report, we'll be hearing a lot more about this bright idea in the New Year. [Via MetaFilter]
Tuesday 18 December 2001, 23:15 GMT
Genetic Code Copyright. Take one out on yourself, before some nice multinational does it for you. [Via Bifurcated Rivets]
Introducing Three Gag Gifts Missing from the Adult Section of the Cornucopia that is At-Home Catalogue Shopping.
Positive ResultsTM Testing Kit
Want to scare the crap out of that special someone? Positive ResultsTM gives a guaranteed "pregnant" result when held in the urine stream. An excellent way to get the attention your parents have been denying you, without the weight gain of pregnancy. For a double whammy, tell them later that you had an abortion! All you do is take the test, we guarantee the result! ($7.95 plus S+H for three test kits) Products even funnier when used in combination. Order all three and receive 15% discount.
Tasteful... [Via Opium Magazine]
Monopolists. The UK arm of Hasbro, the makers of Monopoly, are being investigated for ... monopolistic practices. [Via Yet Another Web Log]
Monday 17 December 2001, 23:55 GMT
Now that the initial round of jokey reactions has passed, Dan Bricklin has a more measured take on the significance of the Segway. The key point to remember is that it's Segway Version 1.0.
What Corporate Mascot Are You? I'm deeply, deeply ashamed to have to report that I'm the Microsoft Office Paperclip. Shoot me now... [Via yrth mirror: unblog]
DejaNews considered harmful. Charlie Stross, an excellent writer whether he's turning his hand to technology journalism or science fiction, has his doubts about the benefits of web-based Usenet archives.

I think he's right that comments in random Usenet postings from a decade ago could be taken out of context and misused, but surely one advantage of the archive being public is that anyone who takes the time to do so can discover the original context from the same source? Since any government agency that wished to do so could construct their own private Usenet archive via a regular newsfeed and a bit of disk space, how does the presence of DejaNews/Google Groups make things worse?

Incidentally, Stross also has a journal which is well worth a look.
Could it be that the arrival of Apple's Unix-based OS X will do more for the visibility of Open Source software to non-techie users than Linux has? I don't like the look-and-feel of OS X much myself, but the mere fact that Apple have done such a good job of producing a user-friendly Unix system is impressive, and Ghu knows having Unix come with your new personal computer is a lot simpler than repartitioning your hard disk and installing a multi-boot system after purchase.

Who knows where things could go from here, provided that religious wars don't get in the way. [Via rc3.org]
Sunday 16 December 2001, 22:45 GMT
What's Osama Bin Laden really saying in that video? [Via linkmachinego]
Is the surface of Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, tinged red because its oceans are teeming with e. coli? Admittedly e. coli is one of the less likely options, but confirmation of the presence of any sort of extraterrestrial life would be an enormous milestone in human history. [Via MetaFilter]
Notes from the Road. A very nicely put-together account of one man's travels around the world, complete with both spiffy photos and highly informative, entertaining text. Well worth a look. [Via /usr/bin/girl]
Ever Wonder What Hell Looks Like? An astonishing time-lapse photo of an American gunship in action. Scary. [Via rc3.org]

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