Hello Cruel World
Thursday, February 27, 2003
The Home for Homesick Ozzie Milkshake lovers (well, sick ones anyway)



Indigenous version of Sydney history

Vincent van Gogh's letters (at a good overall site - webexhibits.org)

Did I put you onto the London Underground history site before? I think I mentioned the bit on abandoned stations.

Danny Yee's Bushwalking & Travel stie - links & his own stuff
(Did you know there's a Mt Paralyser in Kanangra-Boyd NP?)
The Milford Sound section has a note: "I took 960 photographs and am trying to pick the best 100"
He also mentions "trying to find decent coffee in London",

There is also a report from a resident about the recent Canberra bushfires ( members.austarmetro.com.au/~brd/index.html)

"Written Late Sunday Night, 19 January

We watched the fires come at us over the hills. We live in Percy Crescent, Chapman, just off Hindmarsh Drive and look North West..."

Then there's the reviews. ( dannyreviews.com)

For those interested in language, this book raises some things to contemplate
The English Languages
Tom McArthur
Cambridge University Press 1998
Samples of work from a writer who is a side-bar from Margot Kingston's Webdiary section [recommended] of the www.smh.com.au site of the Sydney Morning Herald (from the Fairfax stable). [Update: This webdiary site is now an archive. The current site is at webdiary.com.au, but it doesn't have the older SMH material.]


In Europe, don't mention the Yanks

By Harry Heidelberg January 27 2003

The question remains how "to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life in this world"?


[I particularly like the final paragraph (not shown here).]

HIH: Time to stop the rot for good

by Harry Heidelberg January 20 2003

I wonder how long we will remember this time. Three years or four? As the eighties turned into the nineties there were many collapses. Bond was jailed, Skase was on the run, two State banks had collapsed and Victoria was generally a basket case. Let's face it, Canberra had to bail out Victoria.

I'm old enough to have corporate memories of that era seared into my psyche. As a youngster of 20, I went to a huge corporate party on October 17, 1987, the so-called Black Tuesday when stock markets collapsed. The next day I was still around Australia Square as crowds gathered in Bond Street to watch the Australian market collapse on the then Sydney Stock Exchange ...

Later some guy landed in Australia Square after having jumped from somewhere above level 40. Years later I used to show people where it happened. It took them a long time to properly get the blood out of the paving ...

In the early 1990s I was in the USA and seconded to the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC). The RTC had a mission of bailing out troubled savings and loans institutions. It was a debacle that cost the US government billions ...
The customers got their money back because the US government made sure of it. The taxpayers were screwed. Uncle Sam paid for every penny while the criminals got away with so much ...

When I got back to Australia, the large accounting firms had enormous law suits against them. The figures were staggering ...
I wasn't involved in the original audit, but was asked to try and piece it all together. It was a farce. There was nothing to piece together. There were too many records missing ...

[In another case] They had prepared workpapers documenting their concern about the client's ability to continue as a going concern. When an audit report is signed it is implicit that the company will continue to be a going concern for a year. You can't have workpapers on file that don't support that view. The workpapers were later changed to support the clean audit opinion. Criminal, in my view ...

For me the fact that we went through all of this in the late 80s and early 90s is enough. Shouldn't this sort of level of scandal be only something you see once in a generation, or once in a career? I've now seen it twice, and I don't want to see it a third time ...

The people responsible were not really dealt with the first time around and they are not being dealt with this time. When I say dealt with, I mean imprisoned. I do not mean send the patsy to prison, send the real ones there. I am not one to go for elaborate conspiracy theories but there is definitely something rotten at the big end of town that needs to be rooted out once and for all.

Twice is enough in one career. I'm now afraid for the entire system and I don't know what can replace it ...
We need more people who will tell and we need people who will listen, because unless we have both the whole thing will happen again, probably around 2010 ...

The theme of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week is "Building Trust". The foundations of the entire system are at stake and unless trust can be built (the real and sustaining way), I fear for the future. The lack of trust must be not only recognised, but addressed...

Outsource, then backsource

by Harry Heidelberg
[Very good exposition of something you may have noticed me ranting about frequently]
Sometimes you have to wonder about the intentions of government policymakers.

The role of the policymakers should be to assure our long term interests. The broad interests, not the narrow ones. The other side of it is ideology. Policy driven by ideology is some of the most dangerous of all. We've seen that all over the world.

In Britain, the privatised rail system is dangerous, unreliable and outrageously expensive. No one understands why all that had to happen. In continental Europe many countries have railway systems with near perfect safety records, trains that run so exactly to time that you could set your watch by them and fares that are well priced in relation to local living costs. These systems are in government hands where the mission is to provide safe, reliable and fast transport for the community as a whole. Everyone understands that and loves it. It is even a source of pride for the community. A symbol of a country that works.

This is where I lose interest in ideology. I do support a lot of the neoliberal agenda - but I want safe trains that I trust. I want a working community, not a shambolic mess ...
[large block left out]
I don't particularly care if Coles Myer is a basket case. Other companies will take over the things they do so poorly. Business is allowed to experiment. If they get it wrong, they'll lose profits.

In government it is different. I don't think experimentation there is so wise!! When government mismanagement creates a basket case scenario, then it affects us all. Those responsible should be held accountable.
A recent dead whale story (carcass of a beached whale stinking people out of their places) reminded me of this, from last year
July 2002

A Summary from a blog
And the sharks? Well our tourist-loving great whites have been found off the coast of South Australia, having an all-you-can-eat feast on a huge whale that up and died, floating about 5 kilometres off-shore. Once the word was out that you could see sharks having a whale of a time (ouch), enterprising locals have set up boat-trips, where you and the kiddies can, for a small price, go and see the entertaining site of a rotting, bloated whale corpse being devoured by great white sharks. After home footage was shown on the national news last week of some smart boy patting the sharks nose as they lunged at the blubber, and another dear member of Mensa actually standing on the whale carcass, the South Australian government called in the bomb squad to blow the whale up - seems the no laws were found that actually banned people from shark petting. The bomb squad goes in, lays enough dynamite to blow up a concrete wall of significant size, lights the fuse and ... of course, due to some body-air-fat-weight ratio thing that I can barely understand, the explosives formed a small dent in the whale's flesh, and the sharks continued to gorge.

And they say these things can only happen in America.

News stories
[also at www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/auspac/07/25/australia.shark/?related]
Includes: South Australian state Environment Minister Iain Evans said he will ask his department to consider regulations preventing people from coming within 109 yards of a dead whale. At present, the law only keeps people that distance from a live whale.

Wrong way to remove a right whale
...Last weekend it was towed four nautical miles from The Pages islands near Kangaroo Island where on Monday divers inserted explosives inside the carcass.

Instead of opening up a hole that would fill with water and sink it, the explosion made a small dent. The whale's incredibly buoyant blubber and oil-filled bones absorbed the rest of the impact and yesterday the carcass was still bobbing around. But Mr Luks said the blast would help speed up decomposition.

Then there was a sort of side-light on it all at
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
As You Like It
Act I. Scene III.

A Room in the Palace.

Cel. Why, cousin! why, Rosalind! Cupid have mercy! Not a word?
Ros. Not one to throw at a dog.
Cel. No, thy words are too precious to be cast away upon curs; throw some of them at me; come, lame me with reasons.

Shakespeare at bartleby.com

The Oxford Shakespeare
Edited by W. J. Craig

The 1914 Oxford edition of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare ranks among the most authoritative published this century. The 37 plays, 154 sonnets and miscellaneous verse constitute the literary cornerstone of Western civilization.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

  • All's Well That Ends Well
  • As You Like It
  • The Comedy of Errors
  • Cymbeline
  • Love's Labours Lost
  • Measure for Measure
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Pericles, Prince of Tyre
  • Taming of the Shrew
  • The Tempest
  • Troilus and Cressida
  • Twelfth Night
  • Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • Winter's Tale

  • Henry IV, part 1
  • Henry IV, part 2
  • Henry V
  • Henry VI, part 1
  • Henry VI, part 2
  • Henry VI, part 3
  • Henry VIII
  • King John
  • Richard II
  • Richard III

  • Antony and Cleopatra
  • Coriolanus
  • Hamlet
  • Julius Caesar
  • King Lear
  • Macbeth
  • Othello
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Timon of Athens
  • Titus Andronicus

  • The Sonnets
  • A Lover's Complaint
  • The Rape of Lucrece
  • Venus and Adonis
  • Funeral

    The original electronic source for this server is the Complete Moby(tm) Shakespeare () , which is freely available online. The HTML versions of the plays provided here are placed in the public domain
    For other Shakespeare resources, visit the

    Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet Web site.

    This site attempts two things:

    1 To be a complete annotated guide to the scholarly Shakespeare resources available on Internet. (The "Other" Sites page is a definite exception to the term "scholarly." )Our newest feature is a listing of Shakespeare Festivals.

    2 To present new Shakespeare material unavailable elsewhere on the Internet, such as:
  • A Shakespeare Timeline, which gives the key events of Shakespeare's life and work along with related documentary evidence. There are several supporting pages to the timeline:
  • A Shakespeare genealogy. A chart showing the relevant family relationships and dates.
  • A Shakespeare Timeline Summary Chart, showing the events of Shakespeare's life in outline along with important contemporary events and publications.
  • A Shakespeare Biography Quiz. If you are brave enough, you may take the quiz before reading the timeline.

  • The Shakespeare Canon.
  • Rowe's Some Acount of the Life &c. of Mr. William Shakespear, prefaced to his 1709 edition of the Works.
  • Charles and Mary Lamb's Tales From Shakespeare.
  • The Prefatory materials from the First Folio.

    Political Writings of George Orwell


    I created this website in hopes of re-introducing Orwell to a wider readership, who may only know him through his most famous novel Nineteen Eighty Four. Seeing how frequently Orwell is quoted out of context in political discussions on the Internet -- often to support spurious arguments and political causes which he might have condemned in his own lifetime -- I hope to create a resource for political philosophers of all stripe... [snipped by MP]

    Orwell was 47 years old when he succumbed to tuberculosis in January 1950. Given the astuteness of his observations on the World War II era, can we even begin to imagine what books he might have written had he lived through the Fifties? What would he have said about the Cold War? Sputnik? Television? The JFK assassination? The Beatles? Vietnam, Watergate, the moon landing? Perhaps, had he lived past the year 1984 itself, might he have commented on the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union? Unfortunately we'll never know.

  • Politics and the English Language
  • Why I Write
  • Notes on Nationalism May, 1945
  • The Prevention of Literature

    Newspaper Columns, Letters and Editorials 1943-1946
  • Revising History
    As I Please, 4 February 1944
  • No New Ideas?
    As I Please
  • Robot Bombs
    As I Please, 30 June 1944
  • Civilian Bombing
    As I Please, 14 July 1944
  • "My Country, Right or Wrong"
    As I Please, 24 December 1943
  • Atrocity Pictures
    As I Please, 8 September 1944
  • Hell
    As I Please, 14 April 1944
  • Conversation with a Pacifist
    As I Please
  • Wishful Thinking
    Partisan Review, Winter 1945
  • The Coming Age of Superpowers
    As I Please
  • Capitalism and Communism: Two Paths to Slavery
  • Ugly Leaders
    As I Please
  • War Guilt
    As I Please
  • Revenge is Sour
    9 November, 1945

    For questions or comments about this website please contact Patrick Farley at patrick at resortDOTcom. Please note: this e-mail address is for administrative issues only. For a discussion of Orwell's works please visit the Usenet group alt.books.george-orwell Thank you.
    Monday, February 24, 2003
    Meanwhile, Not Very Good Thing is happening -- might just be in steps towards Wonderful New Miracle Computer, which would be A Good Thing. Am "upgrading". Actually, friend is getting gorgeous new hot-damn! hard-core, hubba, hubba type computers (Why do they all start with 'h'? Do you think it's something to do with gasps or excited exhalations?). Friend's ... umm ... [oh dear, some of us have complicated lives], well, another friend is getting his motherboard, groovy graphics card, etc., and I am getting the other friend's hardware, plus some new kit from recent computer markets. Most of it is sort of working.
    The drive with all the photos (nearly 2,000) on it (and all my stored writings, etc.).
    But DON'T PANIC.
    There are a few backups, made in case of A Bad, Bad Thing [calm blue sea, calm blue sea, calm blue sea]. Also, drive itself shouldn't be damaged, just getting it all set up & recognised [deep breath; hold; breathe out]. (Remember, cars & TVs were probably (almost) as bad as this in their earlier days.) Am seding this from the new machine. Ain't life wonderful? [Got to tell myself that anyway, having recently had to make the choice life or not. (see Hamlet: Act 3, Scene 1 ; also www.self-injury.net/doyousi/quotes/quote.php?action=all) and http:// willowisp.blockstackers.com/index.pl?node=resume (from AgentIpso on Thu Dec 16 1999 at 23:48:35)]
    Saturday, February 22, 2003
    Copied for fun & learning from a PC Format game review ( a UK mag, as you might tell from the price). Trying out getting different formatting onto the blog. Now looks better, but there are big gaps between lines. This might have to do.
    Tried out the Mozilla web page composer here. Looks like it doesn't produce very 'clean' code, though.
    The words are all here, but messed up. (Think like John Cage.) Have spent half-hour trying to fix something that took 10 minutes to type! Will try to fix it better again later.


    £30 Xicat Interactive www.xicat.com. 020 7251 8000

    Sniping's no joke - as the US saw. This is even worse.

    NeedsPII-600, 128Mb, 16Mb 3D card

    Wants 1Ghz PIII, 256Mb, 32Mb card

    Words fail us. Well, that's not entirely
    true: "Aaaargghh!" is appropriate. This is a game too terrible for words
    to describe orinsults to bruise. Nevertheless, in case you're in any doubt,
    it is filth, it is scum, it is week-old cowpat baked into a pie. Had it shippped
    with a box of laxaives, it would've been two games in one. Back to our prolapse,
    already in progress

    Your name is Sniper, and you are a sniper. Such narrative creativity
    will not be seen again, although the level of incompetence that sees you spend
    most of the game charging around with a shotgun will undoubtedly go down
    in the annals of FPS legend. Enemy snipers' rifles emit beams of light that
    bear no relation to where they're aiming, while SWAT teams have the unusual
    ability to slow your PC to a crawl by deploying deadly lens flare effects.
    The level design borders on the hysterical, hitting its climax in a top-security
    prison that's decorated with photos of what can only be one of the developers'
    six-year-old daughters and a spraypainted version of the Sniper
    logo. Even in the guards' offices. We couldn't make this stuff up

    There are only two possible explanations. First: Monolith's Jason
    Hall systematically ran over every designer's extended family with a Buick*,
    and this is their way of discrediting the Lithtech engine in revenge. Second:
    an administrative cock-up resulted in the test game that the developers had
    knocked out in a week being mass-distributed by accident. Because this is
    no mere entertainment product. It is the nadir, the absolute lowest that
    a full-priced title has been for many an aeon - so comically bad that to call
    it the gaming version of Manos: Hands of Fate would do a grave disservice
    to the worst film ever. It is hateful, bilious, repellent garbage, a festering
    pile of badly chewed ideas floating in a lake of its own crapulence. Anyway,
    in conclusion: Best. Game. Ever.

    Richard Cobbett


    Pros: One day you'll die and the hurting will stop

    Cons: Today is not that day

    Get friends around to mock it; you might get £2.50 of fun from it.            12%

    [*Why a Buick? Why a duck?]

    Genealogy sites



    Warning! Warning! Complaint Alert!

    A Good Catch-22


    A few years back my partner was retrenched due to
    outsourcing; luckily he found a new job fairly soon.
    He used his retrenchment payout to buy a modest house
    on a lovely block in a small town near the coast
    within commuting distance of both Sydney & Newcastle.

    Plan was the usual one: rent it out, use rent to pay
    mortgage; then, depending on the situation at the time
    of his/our retirement:

  • either moving up there;
  • selling it for cash;
  • keeping it rented as income.

    It became untenanted and needed a fair bit of repairs before
    someone else could move in. We started on the repairs &
    spent quite a bit of time up there, but I fell seriously ill
    & he died before it was fixed. Spoilt those retirement plans.

    When he died his bank account was frozen. With my illness
    & assorted legal complications his estate is still not
    settled, though there is good hope that it will be ready
    real soon now (I've said that before...)). The lenders
    were getting rather toey about their payments.

    Eventually I gave up waiting for settlement. A friend
    lent me some money we gave directly to the mortgagor
    (throwing a sop to Cerebus) & put me in contact with
    reliable handyman; repairs were done, my friend & I
    scrubbed, swept, vacuumed, mowed & cleaned. The local
    real estate agent pronounced it suitable & a (perhaps
    unknowingly brave) couple leased it & have moved in.

    Now. Here comes the tricky bit.
    The lenders used to get a monthly direct debit paid from
    the now-frozen account. It can't be thawed. The agent
    has to pay the rent to something in my partner's name
    (eg, we can't get it paid into an account in my name,
    then debited to the mortgage). Because no-one has been
    named executor or administrator, we can't set up an
    account for The Estate of X yet. The mortgage company
    (because they aren't a bank or similar) aren't equipped
    to set up an account into which things can be paid -
    and in any case it wouldn't be in his name & the agent
    wouldn't be supposed to pay into it.

    So far all we have come up with is for the rent to be
    paid into the agent's trust account.
    Somehow, (despite using up most of my savings on his
    funeral, his other debts, my many medical bills, only
    now working part-time for part-pay & supporting my aged
    mother) we will have to throw another chunk of money
    directly into the maw of the lenders to fend off the
    ravening wolves until something is settled - a bit of
    superannuation might come through; I might be able to
    set up an account in his estate's name; eventually the
    complications will work out (??)

    But wait! There's more!
    Meanwhile, the tenants were having trouble with the
    drains. Recently they blocked up completely & when
    the plumbers came in to fix it, they found that the
    reason the plant roots (made desperate by the drought)
    had been able to get into the pipes was that they'd
    never been properly connected to the sewer (when the
    area was converted from septic tanks).

    The whole drainage system had to be excavated, checked
    & properly connected.
    There goes some more money.

    A decade or so back, I was rejected for Income Protection Insurance. It would have come in very handy. My illness wasn't, as far as I know, easily predictable. Annoying.
    OK that's the complaints finished for the moment.

    Motto: Make a Will

    Friday, February 21, 2003
    Radio National, Science Show, Broadcast Saturday 22/2/2003

    (you might be able to find more on the (Australian) ABC web site ABC Online (www.abc.net.au)

    Assessing Biological Weapons

    Christopher Davis has spent most of his career in nuclear biololical [sic] and chemical resecarch [sic] and development and defence; 10 years in British Intelligece [sic] investigating biological laboratories and assessing which countries had programs and which programs might be a threat. He explains how inspectors go about looking for biological weapons and some of the problems they face

    (crudely encrypted as usual)
    christopherDOTdavis at wolfsonDOToxDOTacDOTuk

    Interview with Dr Christopher Davis
    PSB Interview at www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/plague/interviews/davis.html
    Thursday, February 20, 2003
    (my emphasis)

    The Roman Republic

    From its inauspicious beginnings as a small cluster of huts in the tenth century B.C., Rome developed into a city-state, first ruled by kings, then, from 509 B.C. onward, by a new form of government—the Republic.
    During the early Republic, power rested in the hands of the patricians, a privileged class of Roman citizens whose status was a birthright. The patricians had exclusive control over all religious offices and issued final assent (patrum auctoritas) to decisions made by the Roman popular assemblies. However, debts and an unfair distribution of public land prompted the poorer Roman citizens, known as the plebians, to withdraw from the city-state and form their own assembly, elect their own officers, and set up their own cults. Their principal demands were debt relief and a more equitable distribution of newly conquered territory in allotments to Roman citizens.
    Eventually, in 287 B.C., with the so-called Conflict of the Orders, wealthier, land-rich plebians achieved political equality with the patricians. The main political result was the birth of a noble ruling class consisting of both patricians and plebians, a unique power-sharing partnership that continued into the late first century B.C.

    During the last three centuries of the Republic, Rome became a metropolis and the capital city of a vast expanse of territory acquired piecemeal through conquest and diplomacy. Administered territories (provinciae) outside Italy included: Sicily, Sardinia, Spain, Africa, Macedonia, Achaea, Asia, Cilicia, Gaul, Cyrene, Bithynia, Crete, Pontus, Syria, and Cyprus.
    The strains of governing an ever-expanding empire involving a major military commitment, and the widening gulf between those citizens who profited from Rome's new wealth and those who were impoverished, generated social breakdown, political turmoil, and the eventual collapse of the Republic. Rome experienced a long and bloody series of civil wars, political crises, and civil disturbances that culminated with the dictatorship of Julius Caesar and his assassination on March 15, 44 B.C. After Caesar's death, the task of reforming the Roman state and restoring peace and stability fell to his grandnephew, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, only eighteen years old, who purged all opposition to his complete control of the Roman empire and was granted the honorific title of Augustus in 27 B.C.
    Wednesday, February 19, 2003
    There's always at least one in the crowd...

    (see the site for more, including interesting links)

    These Weapons of Mass Destruction cannot be displayed

    The weapons you are looking for are currently unavailable. The country might be experiencing technical difficulties, or you may need to adjust your weapons inspectors mandate.

    Please try the following: ...
    Saturday, February 15, 2003
    An extract from Laurie Anderson's "Oh Superman", a song written in 1981

    "Here come the planes.
    They're American planes. Made in America
    Smoking or Non-smoking?

    And the voice said 'Neither snow nor rain nor gloom
    of night shall stay these couriers from the swift
    completion of their appointed rounds.'

    'Cause when love is gone, there is always justice
    And when justice is gone, there is always force
    And when the force is gone, there is always Mom. Hi Mom!

    So hold me Mom, in your long arms. So hold me.
    Mom, in your long arms.
    In your automatic arms. Your electronic arms.
    So hold me Mom, in your long arms.
    Your petrochemical arms. Your Military arms.
    In your electronic arms".

    Anderson, who is touring Australia right now, said "I wrote 'O Superman'
    during the Iran/Contra scandal, Americans have short memories.
    They don't realise that this is the same war that's been going on for
    20 years." ... "I really believe that when something big happens,
    whether it seems good or seems bad, it's a chance to jump out of
    your preconceptions. I was very disappointed that there was no
    dialogue in the year since then."


    A page of Laurie Anderson links
    Homepage of the Brave (needs Flash plugin)

    Another aspect of the 'Knowlege & Certainty' point below
    In late January 2003, the Australian Financial Review published a
    piece by billionaire financier George Soros, first published in the
    New Statesman. [Unfortunately you have to pay to read it on either
    website.] He wrote that the Nazis and the Russian communists
    had one thing in common: "a belief that they were in the possession
    of the ultimate truth"
    - and that America too now shared this fatal flaw.

    Of course, this is also true of, say, the Taliban, the Inquisitio
    Haereticae Pravitatis
    and its other incarnations, as well as current
    fundamentalist Christian groups, other fundamentalist religious groups
    (e.g. Hindus & Sikhs have been massacring each other in the Indian
    subcontinent for some decades), the aforementioned political movements, and
    even the economic hardliners who are willing to "break a few eggs to make an
    Thursday, February 13, 2003
    The Sydney Morning Herald runs some opinion columns by 'shock-jock' types of columnists that deliberately set out to bait the type of "liberal" you might expect to find reading that paper. One of them is called Miranda Devine (great name, like Athena Starwoman, Slim Pickens, &c.). In a recent one (War-wary will not weary them, SMH 2/12/2003) praised statesmen of great "moral purity" (the type that really frighten me).

    Here is one wonderful explanation of the reasons I feel that way.

    Jacob Bronowski
    A part of "Knowledge or Certainty", episode 11 from the 1973 BBC series "The Ascent of Man" (shown on PBS in the USA), transcribed by Evan Hunt:

    "The Principle of Uncertainty is a bad name. In science -- or outside of it -- we are not uncertain; our knowledge is merely confined, within a certain tolerance. We should call it the Principle of Tolerance. And I propose that name in two senses: First, in the engineering sense -- science has progressed, step by step, the most successful enterprise in the ascent of man, because it has understood that the exchange of information between man and nature, and man and man, can only take place with a certain tolerance.

    But second, I also use the word, passionately, about the real world. All knowledge -- all information between human beings -- can only be exchanged within a play of tolerance. And that is true whether the exchange is in science, or in literature, or in religion, or in politics, or in any form of thought that aspires to dogma. It's a major tragedy of my lifetime and yours that scientists were refining, to the most exquisite precision, the Principle of Tolerance -- and turning their backs on the fact that all around them, tolerance was crashing to the ground beyond repair.

    The Principle of Uncertainty or, in my phrase, the Principle of Tolerance, fixed once for all the realization that all knowledge is limited. It is an irony of history that at the very time when this was being worked out there should rise, under Hitler in Germany and other tyrants elsewhere, a counter-conception: a principle of monstrous certainty. When the future looks back on the 1930s it will think of them as a crucial confrontation of culture as I have been expounding it, the ascent of man, against the throwback to the despots' belief that they have absolute certainty.

    It is said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers. That is false: tragically false. Look for yourself. This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. This is where people were turned into numbers. Into this pond were flushed the ashes of four million people. And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance. It was done by dogma. It was done by ignorance. When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality--this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods.

    Science is a very human form of knowledge. We are always at the brink of the known; we always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgment in science stands on the edge or error, and is personal. Science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible. In the end, the words were said by Oliver Cromwell: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ: Think it possible you may be mistaken."

    We have to cure ourselves of the itch for absolute knowledge and power. We have to close the distance between the push-button order and the human act. We have to touch people."

    Unfortunately, as far as I can make out, the BBC isn't selling this series except to educational institutions. There is a book of it available, mostly second-hand.

    Other sites with parts of this quotation.

    Related: www.spectacle.org/695/intro.html (Auschwitz Alphabet)
    Wednesday, February 12, 2003
    Strange things happening. I haven't found this page at its usual place from 'outside'.
    Will try posting to it to see if it can be revived.
    Sunday, February 09, 2003
    >Losing Patience
    >By Terry Jones [Monty Python and writer - often with Michael Palin -
    >actor/director/TV presenter-eg: The Crusades...]
    >Sunday January 26, 2003 The Observer
    >I'm really excited by George Bush's latest reason for bombing Iraq: he's
    >running out of patience. And so am I! For some time now I've been really
    >pissed off with Mr Johnson, who lives a couple of doors down the street.
    >Well, him and Mr Patel, who runs the health food shop. They both give me
    >queer looks, and I'm sure Mr Johnson is planning something nasty for me,
    >but so far I haven't been able to discover what. I've been round to his
    >place a few times to see what he's up to, but he's got everything well
    >hidden. That's how devious he is.
    >As for Mr Patel, don't ask me how I know, I just know - from very good
    >sources - that he is, in reality, a Mass Murderer. I have leafleted the
    >street telling them that if we don't act first, he'll pick us off one by

    Went looking for some sources for this.

    Looks like this is the original, under Observer Special Reports:
    I'm losing patience with my neighbours, Mr Bush
    Terry Jones

    Sunday January 26, 2003
    The Observer

    They have a series of related links after the articles, including general ones like
    UN resolutions on Iraq
    British Foreign Office: Relations with Iraq
    US State Department Iraq Update
    Arab.net - Iraq resources
    Campaign against Sanctions on Iraq
    Centre for non-proliferation studies

    also found it at:
    Bombing Mr. Johnson
    I'm Losing My Patience With My Neighbors, Mr. Bush

    By Terry Jones
    January 28, 2003

    CounterPunch (see www.counterpunch.org) seems interesting reading.

    Note, among other interesting articles:
    The Stategy [sic] of Fear
    This one's saynig something similar to one of the things I've been banging on
    about -- Mike Moore touched on one aspect of 'the fear' in "Bowling for
    Columbine", but didn't carry it on further.

    Who Would Jesus Bomb?
    10 Reasons to Oppose War with Iraq


    The Promise of Lula
    Another World is Possible, and Necessary

    The World Social Forum began three years ago -- under the slogan, "Another World is Possible" -- as an alternative to the World Economic Forum...

    And Mr Fisk rages at what was so disgusting about those "computer game" images of the Gulf War, as the SMH Webdiary of 12/9/2001 says in one tiny optimistic part:
    "Just maybe some sort of common feeling might come out of this. New York and Washington DC now maybe can feel like Belgrade and Baghdad did. Those pretty pictures, like movies or computer games, missile-cam and night-vision, now connect with reality; with pain, grief, loss and destruction."
    ( old.smh.com.au/news/webdiary/2001/09/12/FFX44PM0SRC.html
    memorialized at

    If you want to read more than the extract below, be prepared for grue.

    The Human Cost
    Does Tony Blair Have Any Idea What the Flies Look Like That Feed Off the Dead?

    The Independent

    On the road to Basra, ITV was filming wild dogs as they tore at the corpses of the Iraqi dead. Every few seconds a ravenous beast would rip off a decaying arm and make off with it over the desert in front of us, dead fingers trailing through the sand, the remains of the burned military sleeve flapping in the wind.

    "Just for the record,'' the cameraman said to me. Of course. Because ITV would never show such footage. The things we see -- the filth and obscenity of corpses -- cannot be shown. First because it is not "appropriate" to depict such reality on breakfast-time TV. Second because, if what we saw was shown on television, no one would ever again agree to support a war.

    That of course was in 1991 ... But I am much struck by the number of letters in my postbag from veterans of the Second World War, men and women, all against this new Iraqi war, with an inalienable memory of torn limbs and suffering ...

    Come to think of it, I recall the head of an Albanian refugee, chopped neatly off when the Americans, ever so accidentally, bombed a refugee convoy in Kosovo in 1999 which they thought was a Serb military unit ... Months later, I learned his name and talked to the girl who was hit by the severed head during the US air strike ... NATO, of course, did not apologize to [his] family. Nor to the girl. No one says sorry after war. No one acknowledges the truth of it. No one shows you what we see. Which is how our leaders and our betters persuade us -- still -- to go to war.

    Friday, February 07, 2003
    Yay! Have managed to republish archives. It's looking a touch messy in the weekly format. Perhaps I should go back to archiving monthly. Except that seems to be what caused the problem before. If I were a real code guru (or hacker as the term once was), I could figure out how to have, say, the last month weekly & older ones by the month.
    It appears that all my archived posts from 2002, although accessible
    from the blog-editor, cannot be found from the blog itself. I would like
    to either upload these into a proper archive so they can be reached
    in a "normal" way, or I may have to just post them again from here
    from their saved copies. That would be messy, but at least retain all
    the beautiful & interesting & useful things currently lost to you all.
    -----Original Message-----
    From: Don Pattenden
    Sent: Wednesday, 5 February 2003 9:34
    Subject: How to survive a terrorist attack

    I haven't yet seen my copy of Howard government brochure yet but
    I'm sure it will appear in my mailbox very very soon. It has
    stirred a faint recollection of a very similar brochure released
    by the British Government (in the 60s I think) on what to do in
    the event of a nuclear attack.

    As I recall, this in turn inspired stage play (or was it a radio
    play) depicting a typical family and their attempts to act out
    the instructions in the brochure. It was a very witty piece of
    reductio ad absurdum and a very effective satire.

    Does anybody have a better recollection of this than I do?

    I predict that the Howard publication will similarly lend itself
    to some healthy and inspired lampooning. At least I certainly
    hope so.
    This is the book. The story is of a couple old enough to remember
    going through WW II & the Blitz who followed the instructions --
    unsuccessfully for them, but with some success for the government
    of the day. "Tragi-comic" is a good description in more than one
    sense. There was also a stage play & and animated film, may have
    been other versions like a radio play. Read the book, know naught
    of the other. Am not sure whether the book or the play inspired
    each other & in what order.

    When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs
    ( Amazon link)
    "Raymond Briggs's cartoon book depicts the effects of a nuclear attack on an elderly couple."
    He is better known for his children's books (see www.mindbodyspirit.com.au/auth/b/briggsr.htm, where it sits rather uncomfortably).

    A review of the animated version

    (have more, but will either let you search them out yourself, or put them up later)

    A Home Office Guide
    Domestic Nuclear Shelters
    This booklet is a brief guide to three basic kinds of nuclear shelter:

    Simple shelters for short-term indoor or out-door use which can be built
    from materials already at hand.
    Shelters that can be assembled from do-it-yourself kits.
    Permanent custom-built shelters built into the ground and requiring
    professional help in design and construction...

    Protect and Survive
    This booklet tells you how to make your home and family as safe as possible
    under nuclear attack

    These two Public Information Films were produced by the Central
    Office of Information and are currently available on video or DVD
    as a collection of PIFs from Network Video

    In light of the recent increased threat of Nuclear attack by bogus
    asylum seekers and foreigners in general, the British Government
    has seen fit to re-issue its excellent publication 'Protect and

    Those of you who survived Thatcher will remember how the pamphlet,
    beautifully illustrated by the bloke who did 'The Snowman'*, showed
    us step-by-step how to build our very own fall-out shelter.
    *[NB: I think s/he's mixing up the original govt booklet
    "Protect & Survive" & the satire of "When the Wind Blows" (named
    from a phrase in P & S)

    The re-issue has been updated for the 21st Century. Here is a brief

    Fig 1) Buy a second hand hammer off ebay.

    Fig 2) Visit a poorer neighbour who cannot afford a new open plan
    apartment like you and still has to suffer the indignity of wooden
    doors. Take your neighbour's doors and nail them to your newly
    laminated floor. Try not to scratch the laminate too much.

    Fig 3) Pile against the doors all the useless consumer crap you
    spend your embarrassingly high wages on.

    Now get inside and try not to worry too much about the fact that
    it is your drive for such material wealth and gluttonous decadent
    mperialist lifestyle that has once again driven everyone in the
    whole world to want to kill you.
    Now don't let anyone in who has a mustache or is wearing an
    unbranded make of trainers.

    Come, Gentle Bombs
    I am glad to see that Armageddon is coming back into fashion. Nuclear
    holocausts were a tremendously important part of my childhood ...
    "What do today's children use as raw material for their nightmares?
    Failing their accountancy exams? It is healthy for an adolescent to
    picture his mortality in terms of a nuclear fireball sometime before
    his thirtieth birthday; it keeps the untidy, depressing future firmly
    off the agenda.

    The sad demise of the nuclear bomb is also to blame for the chronic
    decline in Church attendance and religious belief. Am I the only
    person whose first serious prayer was 'Please God don't let Mrs
    Thatcher start a nuclear war, however much she might want to'?"...

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     / . Lives in Australia/New South Wales/Sydney, speaks English. Eye color is hazel. I am what my mother calls unique. My interests are photography, reading, natural history/land use, town planning, sustainability.

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    Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability.