A Site For ... S o r e E y e s
Home > Weblog w/e 28.9.2002
|Saturday 28 September 2002, 22:25 BST|
|Further to yesterday's
pointer to a profile of Lawrence Lessig, here's a decent summary of
what the Eldred case (which Lessig will shortly be arguing before the US Supreme Court) is all about.
|Over at scrubbles.net, Matt offers some casting suggestions for
the live-action Thunderbirds feature film.
George Clooney for Scott Tracy is right on the money, and I can definitely see James Brolin as Jeff Tracy. However, I Giovanni Ribisi doesn't match my idea of Brains at all. Also, whilst I have nothing against the idea of Cate Blanchett as Lady Penelope I have to say that if there was any justice in the world they'd give the role to Joanna Lumley. (Especially if they got Bob Hoskins for Parker. He and Lumley would make one hell of a team, and would quite possibly steal the film.)
|A couple of highly appealing postings I saw at deviantART today. D r e a m s i g n looks positively supernatural, whereas Remorse is a very nice rendering of a neat idea.|
I wasn't going to bother posting about the revelation that John Major
and Edwina Currie had an affair. After all, it was fifteen years ago, and it's not as if it's
news to anyone that the "Back to Basics" campaign was a stupid idea. But I can't let this zinger of a comment
from Mary Archer on Radio 4's Today programme go unrecorded:
"I am a little surprised, not at Mrs Currie's indiscretion but at a temporary lapse in John Major's taste."Ouch!
|This just can't be. But firing up EyeDropper and checking out the
colours used reveals that it most certainly is. How odd.
[Via Swish Cottage]
|Ann Elizabeth travels on a train, and gets a reminder that life is good.|
Been there, done
It has been the habit of his adversaries, and most sane people, to suggest that President Bush's preemptive strike idea is a scary, immature fantasy that bears no resemblance to any successful military strategy.Good stuff.
|Friday 27 September 2002, 23:10 BST|
|Look what happens when you
google for "go to hell".
Who'd have thought it would point there?
[Via my 2p]
|Clay Shirky is not persuaded that "half the world's population
has never made a phone call."
I'm pretty sure Shirky is right about to be sceptical about the currency of that statistic, but I don't think that debunking an oft-cited statistic which was probably still accurate within the last decade addresses the underlying issue. That is, the question of how far the clever information technologies we're all so pleased with in the industrialised West are of any relevance in countries where for much of the populace the emphasis is on hoping that you can stockpile enough food to survive the next drought, or hoping that your children survive past their teens. It takes more than talking as if anyone who ever cited "the Phrase" is simply blind to the wonders of "economic dynamism" to solve problems on that scale.
|The New York Review of
Books has published two excellent articles analysing what's going to happen when China's Fourth
Generation of rulers takes office later this year. The first
article, from a couple of weeks ago, described the backgrounds of the new generation, whereas the second article discusses the policies China may follow once the
changing of the guard takes place.
This article is highly reminiscent of the sort of stories which used to appear about the Soviet Union a couple of decades ago. By definition, it's easier to assess the accuracy of such articles a decade or so down the line. Nevertheless, it's a fascinating glimpse into the workings of the world's next superpower.
|25 Years of Voyager - A Special Anniversary
Feature. I'm a few weeks late posting this, what with the anniversary of the launch of the
Voyager probes having fallen in August, but it's such a fascinating site that it's worth a look regardless. A
comprehensive look at one of the most successful space exploration programmes ever.
[Via Schism Matrix - see entry for 27.9.2002]
|Lawrence Lessig's Supreme Showdown. Steven Levy profiles "the Elvis of cyberlaw." I know that's an awful moniker for Professor Lessig, but the article itself is pretty good.|
don't see that much of a family resemblance, myself.
|Thursday 26 September 2002, 23:55 BST|
|The British Phonographic
Industry are idiots. A month ago the BPI tried to claim damages from the EasyEverything chain of
cybercafes, on the grounds that EasyEverything's PCs used to be fitted with CD burners, and therefore must
have been used by customers to burn copies of music CDs.
The initial claim (based on who knows what "evidence") was for a cool £1,000,000. EasyEverything told the BPI where to get off, so like a particularly inept mugger the BPI reduced its demand to £100,000. Then EasyEverything said they wouldn't even pay that much, and offered £20,000 to avoid the costs of going to court.
Now it would appear that the BPI have concluded that this whole fiasco is so embarrassing that they're seeking a court order to stop EasyEverything from publicising their side of the story. Which will, of course, only encourage Stelios & Co to pull stunts like, say, dressing up in orange boiler suits and protesting outside the High Court.
|Congratulations to all the winners in
the Guardian's Best British Blog
Competition. I'm pleasantly surprised at how many of the shortlisted weblogs, including the
winner, are unfamiliar to me: I'll have to check them out over the next few days.
I'm especially delighted to see that linkmachinego was recognised. I didn't think the Guardian's judges would go for what I think of as the "traditional", link-heavy style of weblog. Darren's site has long been a favourite of mine, and his weblogging style influenced mine quite a bit right.
|Wednesday 25 September 2002, 23:55 BST|
|Google News looks like being a valuable news aggregation service. I
haven't had much time to make use of it as yet, but fortunately one of the nice things about the wide, wide
world of weblogs is that there's no shortage of folks who have more time than you to think through the
implications of neat ideas.
Danny O'Brien has noticed that the "editorial line" of Google News changes as the day goes on and news publications in different time zones post their stories. Meanwhile, Rafe Colburn not only sings the praises of Google News as a means of comparing the varying slants publications in different countries will place on the same story, but also points out an argument from Nick Denton that Google News is destined to be poor at highlighting exclusives, which by their nature aren't covered in a variety of publications at the outset.
|Science's Ten Most Beautiful
Experiments. (NB/- New York Times article - free registration required.)
Fascinating stuff. For my money Foucault's pendulum should be in first place, narrowly ahead of Eratosthenes' estimation of the Earth's circumference, but that's just me.
Thinkofthechildren.co.uk is no more. According to The Register, the police received
complaints about the site so they approached the hosting company suggesting the site could be considered an
incitement to violence. The hosting company then "shut down the site" according to the article, though given
that there's now a message from the site's owners at the original URL I think it's fairer to say that they
removed the original site but are still permitting the owners to publish content there.
I can't put it any better than the site's owner did, after indicating that he's exploring his legal options:
"In the meantime, I'll leave you to ponder the irony of a site parodying mob culture being removed on the basis of complaints from a tiny group of very stupid - but very loud - members of the public."It's worth pointing out that Roland Perry, a member of the Main Board of the Internet Watch Foundation, has confirmed on the cyber-rights-uk mailing list that - contrary to the information given at Thinkofthechildren.co.uk - the IWF was not involved in this matter. Which makes me wonder whether there's been a simple misunderstanding or something more sinister going on. Other than the police over-reacting to a few complaints, that is.
<rant>Yes, I know the site can easily be mirrored overseas. And no doubt the contract the site's owner had with the hosting company doubtless had a clause which could be loosely translated as "we're under no obligation to let you continue to publish something which we think it could expose us to criminal or civil liabilities, unless you'd care to indemnify us against all costs and penalties which might arise from such action. Which we know perfectly well no private individual can afford to do." I'm sure the action taken has been in compliance with the terms of a commercial contract freely entered into by both parties, so who could possibly have any grounds for complaint?
It matters because nobody ended up having to prove anything in court. Because it's another small step towards a climate where a few complaints to the police and a quiet word in a company's ear are all you need to harass a private individual who holds an unpopular opinion.</rant>
|Old Men Take Longer.
The wait is over. Peter Gabriel has a new album out. Heaven knows how long we'd have to wait if he and Kate Bush ever collaborated on an entire album of duets.
But you can be sure the result would be worth the wait...
|I just have to comment on
two of my favourite TV programmes from this last couple of days. The finale of the fourth season
of Oz was as terrific, as bloody, as uncompromising as ever. You had to feel for poor Tobias
Beecher when he was denied parole, especially after that fabulously seductive dream sequence (which featured,
if I'm not mistaken, the one and only view we've ever had of the entire prison from outside). But then, he's
never leaving Oz alive, is he? And nor is Said. Or Schillinger. Or either of the O'Reily brothers. Or (I
suspect) Tim McManus.
Farscape returned for one last season with just the sort of confusing, exciting, funny and just plain odd episode that's made the show such fun for the last three seasons. Whether it was John Crichton's quips about Klingons, or Harvey's fetching Hawaiian shirt and leather combo, or DRD1812, there was plenty of evidence of a thoroughly warped imagination at work here. Here's hoping there's much more of the same to come before the show dies an early death.
|Tuesday 24 September 2002, 23:55 BST|
Flying. A terrific set of maxims for, and from, professional aviators:
Weather forecasts are horoscopes with numbers.
|Joss Whedon's new science fiction series,
Firefly, might yet assuage the pain of grieving Farscape fans. The
review at PopMatters suggests that
Firefly is going to be a lot of fun if the network lets it live. The New York Times
article (NB/- free registration required) about the show focuses as much on Whedon's career as on
Firefly, but it's still well worth a read.
(NB/- the New York Times article contains one spoiler for Buffy season 6. Halfway through it reveals a quite important fact about season 6, but one which I suspect that every Buffy fan in the UK already knows or has guessed, given that Buffy died at the end of season 5 but they've made a sixth season of the show. I think we all know what I'm talking about...)
[New York Times article via PopPolitics]
|Why wasn't I told that
Oz season 1 is out on Region 1 DVD? I think the box set is a little expensive for
just eight episodes, but if I hadn't already blown my DVD budget for the next two or three months I'd seriously
consider adding to my collection.
[Via tropicana of the mind]
|Monday 23 September 2002, 23:10 BST|
|The Milky Way Over Mont Blanc. Breathtaking.|
The filmfodder.com Film
Junkies present The First Annual Torpedo
Since this is the first presentation of the Torpedo Awards, a little definition is necessary:
|P..P..P..Picked up by a penguin.
Best. BBC. News. Online. Graphic. Ever.
|Sunday 22 September 2002, 23:15 BST|
|Holocaust survivors with
Alzheimer's are forced to relive Auschwitz. The universe can be a cruel, cruel place.
|Mil Millington's hilarious site Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued
About has now inspired a novel.
It looks as if the novel is much more than a fictionalised version of the arguments recounted on the web site, but that doesn't deter me. Judging by the stories on his web site, Millington has a nice line in weary sarcasm: I think the novel will be worth a look. (But not right now, I added another four books to my to-read pile last week, and I don't think my bookshelf could take the weight if I went on another spending spree at Amazon.)
This page was created using UltraEdit-32. It should display properly in any W3C standard-compliant browser.
If you have any questions about this web site, please email me