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Saturday 5 January 2002, 23:30 GMT
Geek test. If you can look at this photo without the need to suppress a shudder, you're probably not a proper hardware geek. [Via photographica.org]
Astonishing animated GIF beat-em-up cartoon. [Via Boing Boing]
"I'm really pretty proud of what we did," Kaley said. "Was it perfect? No. Could we be second-guessed? Sure. But I think we mostly did what any company would do, even today." Would you eat GM food produced by these people? Please, don't just read the headline and assume this is a case of one isolated incident. This was thirty years of corporate negligence and cover-ups from a large multinational. Why the hell would anybody trust anything they ever say again? [Via rc3.org]
Nonstop Flight. The story of how the B-52 bomber, which entered service back in 1952, is still in service today and may yet be refitted so it can remain so for another forty years to come. What's especially interesting is the contrast in terms of cost and reliability between the B-52 and its modern, high-tech would-be successors. There's a lot to be said for good, old-fashioned quality engineering. [Via Arts & Letters Daily]
Friday 4 January 2002, 23:55 GMT
Posh 'n' Becks, the ultimate British Celebrity Couple ... now immortalised in stoneware. I think that if you ignore the hair style, the David Beckham figure bears a striking resemblance to the late Alan Clark, the lecherous Tory MP and diarist. [Via Mo Morgan]
Why Fleet Street Fears Europe. An article you probably wouldn't read in the Times. Or the Telegraph. Or the Mail.

There's a fair bit of truth in all this, but even so I think that the anti-Euro newspapers are clearly reflecting a view that's held by a significant segment of the general public. People tend to read newspapers that reflect and reinforce their views. The various jibes about German efficiency, Italian corruption and French cowardice wouldn't find an audience if people didn't already believe them. It may be that in twenty years the generation currently in its early twenties takes over the political, economic and cultural leadership of the country those stereotypes will lose their power, but in the meantime supporters of the Euro will get nowhere until senior politicians - Tony Blair, this means you! - start leading on this issue instead of issuing coded signals and waiting for the public to accept the Euro because "it's inevitable." [Via Grayblog]
Thursday 3 January 2002, 22:55 GMT
The Geek Hierarchy. So, so true... [Via Boing Boing]
Hairy Situations. Canadian psychologist Allan Peterkin has written One Thousand Beards: A Cultural History of Facial Hair.

Sounds like an intriguing book, but I do have a bone to pick. Why is it the 10% of us who let nature take its course who are the ones worthy of study, rather than the 90% who take such trouble to scrape off their facial hair every morning? [Via MetaFilter]
Dear Cretins...
My initial installation was cancelled without warning or notice, waiting for your technician to arrive. When he did not arrive at all, I spent a further 57 minutes listening to your infuriating hold music, and the even more annoying Scottish robot woman telling me to look at your helpful website.... how? I alleviated the boredom to some small degree by playing with my testicles for a few minutes - an activity at which you are no doubt both familiar and highly adept. The rescheduled installation then took place some two weeks later, although the technician did forget to bring a number of vital tools - such as a drill-bit and his cerebrum. Two weeks later, my cable modem had still not arrived.
And he's just getting warmed up. I love a good rant. [Via User Friendly Link of the Day]
Wednesday 2 January 2002, 23:15 GMT
Save Unicom.Com. I think Cruel Site of the Day put it best:
In 1990, Chip Rosenthal registered unicom.com for Unicom Systems Development. Eleven years later, Unicom Systems sued him for infringing a trademark it registered in 1997, relying on a unique legal theory involving a breach of the space-time continuum.
[Via Boing Boing]
The 50 Years Is Enough network explains exactly why debt reduction is both right and necessary. A very well written, succinct yet comprehensive summary of the case for "dropping the debt."
Lucas, Berman to Fans: "Screw You!" Stunning revelations at joint press conference:
[...]
"In Episode 2," Lucas reveals, "Jar Jar will return, and his part will be even bigger than in Episode 1! I have determined that with my new technology, I don't even need actors at all. Except for Ahmed Best, who plays Jar Jar, whose multi-faceted genius I cannot capture on computers."
[...]
Rick Berman then took the stage, as he announced, "When I took over the Star Trek franchise, I realized one thing: that I had the dream of one man, Gene Roddenberry, in the palm of my hand. And it was my responsibility to take that dream and crush it. The science fiction on the original series wasn't anywhere near science-fictiony enough, and none of the actors were any good on the one and a half episodes of it that I have seen."
Tuesday 1 January 2002, 22:35 GMT
That's got to hurt!
At this time of year Top/Bottom Ten Album lists are ten-a-penny. However, this year's list from Edna Gunderson of USA Today is worth mentioning for the following wonderfully catty comment:
1. Jennifer Lopez, J. Lo. If Lopez ever selects material suitable for her vocal range, she'll be a mime.
[Via MISCmedia]
The Anti-Thesaurus: A Proposal For Improving Internet Search While Reducing Unnecessary Traffic Loads. You know something, this could actually work pretty well. [Via NetSurfer Digest 7.40]
Mark Lawson has provoked a strong reaction with his comments on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. As a general rule I find Lawson's talent for facile comparisons somewhat irritating, but this time he's clearly touched a raw nerve. Not that he'll be too worried: Lawson's attempt to equate the obsessions of the ... keener ... fans of Tolkien and the guy who eats Xmas dinner and watches the Queen's Speech every day isn't exactly a diplomatic masterstroke, and his categorisation of The Lord of the Rings as a children's book probably isn't going to mend many fences either. [Via Plastic]
Monday 31 December 2001, 23:05 GMT
Coolest Space Science Images of 2001. Does exactly what it says... [Via Kottke]
50 things we'll be glad to see the back of in 2002. I didn't even notice this one:
37 Labour taking VAT off tampons but not telling anyone because they were too chicken to say 'tampon' in public.
Realistic as ever, Michele comes up with rather wonderful set of New Year's Resolutions we can all live down to.
Sunday 30 December 2001, 23:10 GMT
History Is Back says Naomi Klein. I think her claim that lifestyle branding was introduced as a response to the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the end of the fight against communism is a little off-base, but she's quite right to note how eagerly the former Cold Warriors have jumped on the 'terrorist threat' as a way to fill the vacuum created by the Soviet collapse. Reading articles like this, it seems that an unsupported accusation of links with 'terrorist' activities has almost as much force in the United States as that of 'communism' did in the 1950s. [Naomi Klein article via linkmachinego, In These Times article via BlueEar Forum]
Nudists get their kit on for a novelty calendar. [Via The Pagan Prattle Online]
Lord Chief Justice Woolf, a man who I always thought had a reputation as a relatively liberal judge, has suggested that some people suspected of being paedophiles should be jailed without their having stood trial for, let alone been convicted of, of any offence. Jennie Bristow explains exactly why this is a truly lousy idea that'll make everyone feel a lot less safe.

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