Hello Cruel World
Sunday, August 31, 2003
The International Toll of September 11, 2001
Antigua & Barbuda
Czech Republic
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
The Gambia
Hong Kong
The Netherlands
New Zealand
South Africa
South Korea
Sri Lanka
St. Kitts & Nevis
St. Lucia
St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Trinidad & Tobago
United Kingdom
United States of America

This site is produced and maintained by the U.S. Department of State's Office of International Information Programs.
[Apologies: I've tried to put this into a table so it fits into columns, but it doesn't work well nested within the blog template table.].

This information is the original list. Looking at other lists later on, the total varies, tho' one is 68 different countries. I will put the links in to my research at some stage.
More Template Trouble?
I think one of the later tweaks I've done on the template has created an error of some kind. Mostly the browsers will display things OK, but the outlines are often a bit strange - this no trouble, but also sometimes all lower parts of text go crazy. Not good. Will have to copy template file & test it out.
Dear reader: If really weird things happen with the text, try reloading.
Thursday, August 28, 2003
It was forty years ago today
Text of Martin Luther King Jr's speech on August 28th, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC
"I Have a Dream". www.ajaydesign.com/mlk/speechdream.htm

Another site
www.csosa.gov/eeo/mlk_program.htm (Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency)

"Dream" in a larger context
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
Instant Gratification
www.unpossible.com/blogtraffic.h tml

Something to check out
Links to Information about Countries & Places
A page of Links www.argotlibrary.com/country.htm l

CIA World Factbook
www.odci.gov/cia/publications/fa ctbook/index.html

Country Profiles: BBC News World Edition
Provides a guide to news, history, politics, event timelines, and economic background of countries, with overviews, basic facts, Web links, and details on leaders and media. Includes news stories and audio and video clips from the BBC archives
news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/c ountry_profiles/html

Country Briefings
Contains background information, forecasts and statistics, market updates, new headlines, and articles from The Economist

Countries A to Z
Provides a political and physical map of each country of the world, including basic information such as its capital, system of government, population, geography, climate, religions, languages, currency, modern history, trading partners, exports, and military. From Atlapedia
www.atlapedia.com/online/country _index.htm

World Facts
Information on cities, continents, countries, dependencies, islands, landmass, longest rivers, major lakes, mountains, nations of the world, oceans and seas, overseas territories and two-letter abbreviations from WorldAtlas
www.graphicmaps.com/geoquiz/thel ist.htm

World InfoZone
An internet directory. Linking the World provides detailed information for selected countries: environment, architecture, food, history, economy, arts, sport and interesting facts. The InfoZone contains thirty-four areas of interest, including art, food, music, health, museums, films, books, sports, and wildlife

Infonation A two-step statistical database that allows you to view and compare the most up-to-date statistical data for the Member States of the United Nations
www.un.org/Pubs/CyberSchoolBus/i nfonation

Anthems and Flags of the Nations of the World
www.copcity.com/anthems/anthems. html

Some Sydney info
Sydney weather at www.intellicast.com

Bureau of Meterology climate statistics
and Sydney in general,

www.webwombat.com.au/travel/aust ralia/nsw.htm

And, out of this world
Independent (UK) Mars special: Red, but not dead
An exclusive new short story by BRIAN ALDISS
22 August 2003
Indelible Images
The Danger of Knowing for Sure
A special joint edition of The Millenium Project and Quintessence of the Loon (September 12, 2001)
Skepticism; Jacob Bronowski on "Knowledge and Certainty"; the attacks of September 11th, 2001.
As we reach the 2nd anniversary of the beginning of the Tampa Incident in Australia (dampen my birthday for a while, that will) and come towards 2nd and 1st anniversaries of the "9/11" attacks and the Bali Bombing, a reminder that not all the responses were as polarised & unthinking as some seem to say they were.

Jacob Bronowski Quote From the "Knowledge or Certainty" episode from the 1973 BBC series "The Ascent of Man", transcribed by Evan Hunt (extracted)

... 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 ... 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 ...
Sunday, August 24, 2003
From Neil Gaiman's online journal at his website www.neilgaiman.com/journal/journal.asp

Saturday, August 23, 2003
posted by Neil Gaiman 1:42 AM

I'm currently reading a book called THE TURK, about the famous eighteenth-century chess-playing automaton (the book has a website -- the preface is here at www.theturkbook.com/preface.php). Chapter 1 (also on line on the site) talks about John Cox, an Englishman, who made a mechanical, moving, elephant, a tiger, and a swan. Coincidentally, a friend just sent me a link to a museum site with Cox's silver swan on it. It still exists (although it's now pretty fragile) and you can watch a real video of it preening, moving its head, and swallowing a silver fish. Check out http://www.bowesmuseum.org.uk/collections/swanfacts.html for a little sense of wonder at the movement and grace of a quarter-of-a-millennium-old technology

Friday, August 15, 2003

There's a Victorian sex-cries generator. Online. Honest. A Victorian sex-cries generator. It's at www.HootIsland.com/cgi-bin/victorian.cgi .
Disclaimer: HootIsland.com is indeed an adult site, if a frivolous one, with nekkid pictures and whatnot.

He has resurrected a very early unpublished gothick story, originally called: Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Nameless House of the Night of Dread Desire
I should be doing other things ... still this draws me back
From kristye.blogspot.com - I'd better not comment on this; just let you contemplate the scene you've imagined from this entry ...

Adequately Essential
Sunday, August 17, 2003
oh yea and I dropped my portable phone in the tub this morning while I was shaving my legs.

¶ 5:32 PM

Is Australia keeping up with World's Best Practice in "Railroading the Punters"?
Suruj Dutta's Railway Tales from the United Kingdom show the standards are being kept high.
I note he also has been feeling very Orwellian chills in the last few years' events.



Saturday, August 23, 2003
Suruj / 8:33 PM [postCount('106166721601472337')]

The August Bank Holiday weekend is the busiest of the year. There are the Reading and Leeds music festivals, the Notting Hill Carnival and dozens other sundry events across the country. Its also the last summer bank holiday, so thousands flock to the beaches for a last weekend in the sun.

So what does the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) - nee Railtrack ( www.railtrack.co.uk ) - do to make people's journeys easier ? Why, shut down three of the busiest lines in Britain, of course! ( news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3175471.stm ) The Great Western Main Line is closed between Reading and Paddington, the West Coast Main Line is closed between Hemel Hempstead and Milton Keynes. And for the convenience of the thousands of Britons returning from Mediterranean holidays, the Stansted airport to London line is closed as well.

Unfortunately, I had an appointment in London today, and since my car is on the fritz, I had to fall back on the trains. The Newbury - London journey, which takes me an hour and fifteen minutes even on a slow train, stretched to five bloody hours on a Southwest Trains service to Waterloo. Everything that could possibly go wrong, did. A cracked rail was discovered somewhere in Surrey, and we had to wait ages at Ascot before we were allowed to proceed. A signal failure at a crossing meant another wait, and while we were waiting the train's onboard computer crashed, automatically locking the doors and turning of the lights and airconditioning for few panicky moments. The last straw was when a deer decided to take a leisurely stroll on the tracks, and we had to follow it at a crawl for miles !! I am no expert on the subject, of course, but I am fairly certain that if a bunch of mentally retarded chimpanzees were told to run the country's railways, they would probably do a better job than the lot at the SRA.

Worse, stuff like this is going to keep happening for the next 10 years, we are told. That is how long it takes, apparently, to carry out a few track and signal repairs !! Isambard Kingdom Brunel laid the entire West Coast Main Line in a week (or was it 3 days) in the nineteenth century. He must be turning in his grave now. [[
Wikipedia Great Western Railway entry

Saturday, August 09, 2003
Suruj / 1:17 PM
I guess I should make a small footnote about my last couple of posts. I've been reading George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and my mind seems to have passed on to a really dark place. Not that I had a very bright view of the human race anyway.

What I find most depressing are the echoes of many of the ideological constructs in today's post-Communist world. The spin in the American media and (to a lesser extent by the British government) to justify the war with Iraq, for example, could easily be mistaken for a Ministry of Truth production. The Total Information Awareness (TIA) initiative and the ever-greater intrusion of the government into people's private lives; how is that different from the Thought Police ?
Meanwhile, Perle, Wofowitz, Rumsfeld, Cheney and their cronies at the American Enterprise Institute (a.k.a the Ministry of Peace) are deciding whether they should go to war with Eastasia or Eurasia next. The Department of Homeland Security, aided by the Murdoch-press, help maintain a sense of insecurity to keep the war frenzy at a fever pitch. This also makes the American people more willing to give up even their most-cherished freedoms in the name of security.

Freedom is Slavery. War is Peace. Ignorance is Strength.

Chuck's Blogumentary

Wednesday, August 13, 2003


You heard it here first, folks. I won the coveted virtual seven-piece Ratchet Up tool set for finding the coolest conceptual clock. I chose the incredible Ambient Orb Device ( www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/lights/5da2 ), which quietly changes color based on the weather or your stock portfolio, or whatever you want. Wouldn't it be cool if you could correlate it to a biological function? Like how hungry or horny I am? I would want a giant one perched on our house. Giant red orb = CHUCK IS HORNY. Giant blue orb = CHUCK IS FRIGID. Giant rainbow orb = CHUCK WANTS GAY PORN. And so on.

Today I had a CT scan ... I was inserted into a large white ultramagnetic doughnut - straight out of 2001 ... the hyperdoughnut scans cross-sectional slices of my head. My mind drifts... This is everything I've ever wanted. The contents of my head can now be preserved and studied by scientists around the world for ages to come. The mystery of my genius will slowly be revealed and celebrated. I am, at last, immortal.

posted by Doktor Millennium

Another kind of Immortality
Over the last year and a half I had a few CT scans (and a buncha other stuff). One in particular was a thing they do before you have a course of radiotherapy. The RT machines now have this method where they shoot the rays through you from three different angles which intersect where the tumour is, so your healthy tissues around it only get 1/3rd of the dose it does.
You get put into a special cradle for whatever the body part is (the ones for heads are a bit spooky-weird) and they tattoo you with little dots for the laser-sighting beam so it's lined up precisely for every treatment (which goes on for many weeks).

They get a very accurate closeup view of the area and create a 3D computer model of your insides to work out the exact angles & strength. This is stored in the hospital system for perpetuity (historic records!). Like Chuck/Doktor Millennium & Henrietta Lacks* I can feel proud a part of me is preserved for the future.
Only problem is that while his is a pretty classy bit to preserve, my gift to posterity was a rectal cancer :(

*For Henrietta Lacks' story - see different versions at:
Sorry, but using 5-10% of our potential brainpower is a myth - see Snopes
Yes. Once we worked out more about the brain this anomaly made sense. I suspect something similar will be found about "junk" DNA.
Did here one thing about that which does make a spooky sense - some of the DNA we "don't use" is from viruses - they've found the perfect way to reproduce just by tagging along. This is the ultimate parasitism. I wonder if they'd call us The Matrix?
Problem: something wrong with template I think. Keep getting very odd results when you look at the site.

Just a few hits that are interesting

www.writerscramp.ca Your online choice for quality writing

weblog.theviewfromthecore.com/ Needless Commentary from Small-Town America

www.ruminatethis.com Fair and Balanced News, Views, Activism and a Smattering of Something Else.

http://www.electricpapyrus.net/ hmmm
http://shie.firey.net/ - possible triumph of style over function
Saturday, August 23, 2003
We have our blogs, like to read each other's and it would be cool to discover blogs from people living next to us. But there isn't a good seach engine for that. So, we visit here and use a simple form to generate a special HTML code to add to our blogs. It contains some geographical information. Then, we wait for search engines to index our blogs, with the new code. After that, we expect to be able to search for blogs from a specific place, using the search engines.

* St. Olaf College - http://www.stolaf.edu
* Slashdot - http://www.slashdot.org
* Google News
* IUMA - http://www.iuma.com
* ShoutCAST - http://www.shoutcast.com

* MegaTokyo - www.megatokyo.com
* PvP Online - www.pvponline.com
* RealLife Comics - www.reallifecomics.com
* Little Gamers - www.little-gamers.com
* ClanBOB - www.clanbob.net
* Control Alt Delete - www.ctrlaltdel-online.com
* Penny Arcade - www.penny-arcade.com

The Bleeder All Year
Monday, August 18, 2003
Some thoughts on Karl Popper, Faith & The Kid
A small submission for Matrix Essays - may not get put up
Apparently the name in the Matrix of "The Kid" from Animatrix seen in Matrix: Reloaded is Karl Michael Popper. (Haven't seen Animatrix, but his story's been discussed on the Matrix Essays site)

To me, *Popper's main contribution to scientific thinking was the principle that you don't take up an idea (hypothesis) then set yourself up to defend it against all comers.
You take your idea and try to think of all the things that might disprove it, then work out how to test them.
Of course, you need to have a few arguments buttressing why you think it is true.

My image is holding an eggshell: Too tightly & it's crushed; too lightly & it's blown off or rolls off your palm.

[For some of the consequences of both this idea and Heisenberg's, and the dangers of too much faith (dogmatism, whether religious, political or economic), see this excerpt from "Knowledge or
Certainty", an episode of "The Ascent of Man" series (1973 BBC, PBS) by Jacob Bronowski www.ronrecord.com/Quotes/bronowski.html
[ Archived here if that link fails. ( Review) Also available as a 2nd-hand book & (on DVD- highly recommended.]

This recalls the worry some people have with the zealotry and faith of Morpheus. How much belief is too much? Jim Jones' followers mass murder and suicide, the Japanese Aum cult sarin gas attack, suicide bombings & suchlike were presumably seen as necessary means to ends by their perpetrators.

In standard plots, those who hold on to their beliefs through many difficulties are only rewarded if their faith is in the hero/protagonist. The dedicated followers of those opposing them are either just killed in numbers, or in non-action stories, seen as stupid or greedy or prejudiced. In what we usually think of as real Real Life, we don't have that infallible ability to pick which is the hero like we usually do in books or movies. (The followers of each One will now surely email in to say s/he/it is The Truth (Le Vrai), which pretty much makes my point.)

With philosophical debates of course, it's a lot trickier to do the testing, e.g. many people reckon that there are reliable reports of communication or influences from an afterlife; many don't. Some medically revived people have come back with reports of something (they often reflect whichever was the society's idea of a life after death), but the great majority don't -- Australia's famous example is Kerry Packer. Almost no-one would have grown up in a society that didn't have an opinion on the subject, so it's very difficult to get a disinterested viewpoint.

Presumably The Kid's "Leap of Faith" in Animatrix is putting his belief to the ultimate test -- unfortunately there may not be a way of communicating his discovery, which is surely one of the vital parts for humanity of the quest.

Maybe The Kid is going to 'come back' to his family & friends as proof of his theory? (More a Lazarus than a Jesus.)

* He spent some years in New Zealand - yet another one that slipped through Australasian fingers.

Reply from Tom (the Good One)
Interesting. On falsifiability . . . You may want to also consider this:
it is sort of funny to refer to the topic of falsifiability within a story about the Matrix -- the question of whether or not you are in a Matrix (also known as the "Brain in a Vat Problem" in philosophy) is itself generally considered non-falsifiable. That is, there is no way to conclusively prove that you are NOT in a simulated reality at this moment. Because it is non-falsifiable, Popper would probably say that the question of whether you are in a Matrix is not a suitable investigation for science :-).

The Kid's action proves, in retrospect, that he WAS in a simulated reality, though.

Popper also had the idea (I think) that it is easy to falsify something through example (one black dog proves "all dogs are brown" false), but impossible to prove something true through examples (no number of brown dogs can prove "all dogs are brown" to be true).

Saturday, August 16, 2003
Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish
It's just been announced that Idi Amin has died. Peacefully & with the best of care, after a long comfortable retirement.
Charles Taylor must be a bit comforted by that. I wonder if Baroness Thatcher will visit & offer her condolences to the grieving family & friends? After all, she's been such a tower of strength for others.

Amin, Idi entry at www.africana.com
Self-titled "his Excellency President for Life Field Marshal Al Hadji Dr. Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular," Idi Amin also made a name for himself as one of the most despotic and brutal rulers in postcolonial Africa...

From our Ugandan correspondent

Ah the glory days when Alan Coren would satirise the Ugandan dictator on a regular basis, ... Then, like Hitler, it became too horrible to be funny any more.
But as Mark Steyn reminds us..., satire can often be redundant in the face of the glorious insanity offered by by reality.

He will not be missed

By Mark Steyn (Filed: 27/07/2003)
Profile: Idi Amin - from the Uk Telegraph site, www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/

(There was also a CD by British comic John Bird: The Collected Broadcasts of Idi Amin.)

Wow! A real vistor (Nigel, below). Left a comment too. Welcome Stranger 'n' all that.
Part of a discussion thread on Yahoo Message Boards - see link
YAHOO Cultures & Community > Issues and Causes > Current Events > Sci / Tech Headlines > How Safe Is Our Food?

Re: Miocene era Wild-Type Diets R us

dear foggy
I only partially agree with you about the 'wild' diet. Looking at archaeological/palaeontological studies, and what is known of the diets of non-agricultural peoples found in the last century or two (e.g. South American jungle tribes, Australian Aborigines), from your list of what was not in the diet we do find evidence of these:
eggs (stolen from nests), grains, honey, nuts, roots & tubers.
Naturally there is a variety depending on the seasons, and they are in the non-cultivated form (e.g. the wild varieties of wheat or corn or potatoes) and some like honey would be rare treats, and there is often a wide variety, e.g. where we would just eat rice or wheat, they might have gathered half a dozen edible types of seeds in a day.
There is usually also a leavening of animal flesh - often small animals like lizards & the smaller mammals as well as birds & fish. (It was a bit of a shock to many people when it was discovered that primates killed & ate animals, including other primates.)
There might be many reasons why such conditions as you describe may still remain in the gene pool (those that are genetically based), including being carried in an unexpressed form by some (like haemophilia), being associated with good traits (sickle-cell anaemia), being useful in certain conditions (_mild_ forms of schizophrenia (controversially)), or only being expressed in certain conditions (some of which may be those created by modern life & chemicals).
I don't disagree that there are many harmful effects of current methods of food production, distribution, consumption & disposal, however.
It would be good, for instance, to help enable countries whose people are frequently on the edge of starvation to get a better diet (both more abundant & 'healthier') _without_ taking on the bad aspects of "western" food production, distribution, consumption & disposal.
Thursday, August 14, 2003
Goodnight All
This template is not bad; with some work it has possibilties.
Have been able to modify a few colours & sizes a bit, and put in some of the links that were in the old one. Still working on the fonts, their sizes, colours, & some other arrangements. It's possible it might be easier for right-handed people for the sidebar to be on the right side. Too tired to do much else now.
[Later] Put in assorted comments, permalinks, mailing ability & so forth. Still more tweaking possible, but on to other stuff before then.
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Science Fiction Audiobooks, Fantasy Audiobooks, and Audio Drama

Hey. Just listening to someone talking about situation in California with new "recall" election. We thought we had troubles with the 'tablecloth' ballot paper for the New South Wales Upper House. There are apparently about 130 candidates for the Governorship of California.
In Australia we have preferential voting, where you number from 1 to however many (more explanation in another post if I get to it). If no single candidate gets a majority of "first preference" votes, the lowest candidate gets knocked out of the running and their votes are distributed according to what their second preference is.
Example: if there are two Big-Endian & one Little-Endian candidates, and the vote splits, say,
B1 - 25%,
B2 - 35%,
L1 - 40%;
A first-past-the-post system would give the election to the 40%, even though the majority of the voters voted against him or her.
The Australian preferential system would distribute the votes of L1 - probably most would prefer the other left candidate to the right one, say 80/20. On redistribution, the remaining two would have:
B2 - 55%
L1 - 45%
So in general - there are all sorts of examples that might do funny things - this means the preferences of the electors are more fairly represented.
I've heard European elections where they do a similar sort of thing by having two rounds of voting. The two who get the most votes in the first round go on to a mano-a-mano contest.
With 250 candidates, even tho' many of them will have miniscule votes, the split vote could go in all sorts of ways.
Sounds like their electoral office will be having fun organising it too. Especially after the practical problems in the last Presidential election.
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
Eeuw! Don't like that template. Lost a few side-links too. Will try some others.
WARNING please don't judge my blog's beautifulness by the way it looks now!
Just admire the content instead, guys :)

Hmm. Will have to re-install comments too, by the look of it.

OK. Found a plain & modest template; will do for a while (tho' you've lost the related & recommended links for now).
Made permalinks visible again & re-added code for comments. You'll have to settle for that at the moment.
Fingers crossed. Trying to put new temporary template in.
Hope it doesn't muck too much up.
Worrying. There may be some problems over at Blogger/Google/Pyra. The last few times I've tried to publish entries, an error message comes back like "There Were Errors in Publishing. 550 Could not open: No space left on device." I assume that's on their side, not mine (tho' I do have space "issues"). And you get hung up in some sort of loop, and can't get out of Blogger properly.

Two posts from an excellent (now closed-off) commentary.

A Hail of Dead Cats

A weblog by Don Arthur ( donarthur at myownemail.com )

Saturday, November 30, 2002
Too green on one side, too dry on the other - Adele Horin looks for a way forward in the debate over poverty

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

News from Planet Janet

Sunday, August 10, 2003
The bombing of the Rainbow Warrior

Rainbow Warrior Bombing - On the night of 10 July 1985

About the book Romance of Three Kingdoms:

Moss Roberts (Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel): The English translation of ROTK by Moss Roberts is the best translation I have ever seen. It is more enjoyable than the original Chinese text, I truly agree. Here is the one reason: Professor Roberts provides us 250 extra pages of notes, which come from various sources, from both history and traditions.

C.H. Brewitt-Taylor (Romance of Three Kingdoms): The English translation of ROTK by Brewitt-Taylor is very old. Therefore, it uses the Yale name system (names like Tsao Tsao, Liu Pei, and Sun Chuan), which is less popular today. A disadvantage of this translation is that it does not provide background information like Roberts' version. This translation is like a pure novel, from page 1 to ending page---no maps, no notes. But one important thing is that the translation of Brewitt-Taylor is very beautiful in literature style. The language in this version is fluid and suitable to ROTK, perhaps partly due to its old English. Here are some of its covers (be careful, the books are sold separately in 2 volumes)

About this web site: ThreeKingdoms.com publishes the full translation of ROTK by C.H. Brewitt-Taylor on the web free for all internet readers. We incorporate the literature style of Brewitt-Taylor, and at the same time we use the modern Pinyin name system. Moreover, we have corrected the many mistakes the paper book has. And the best thing of all, we include many notes, backgrounds, as well as maps with more details than in any ROTK book.

From The Independent (a UK newspaper)
Refugees are 'escaping persecution, not poverty'
By Nigel Morris Home Affairs Correspondent
25 April 2003

'States of Conflict: Causes and patterns of forced migration to the EU and policy responses', published by the IPPR on May 13, 2003.

The IPPR (The Institute for Public Policy Research, a Blairite think-tank) says EU governments have concentrated on restrictive measures to deter applicants, rather than tackling the factors that drive people to leave their homes and seek asylum. "Unfortunately governments tend to have a rather short-term policy horizon and are not willing to pursue the desirable long-term aid, investment and trade policies."

As an example, it points to the increase in British arms sales to Israel, Pakistan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia in 2001, despite "the high levels of conflict and human rights violations in these regions".

No reference for this (below) - must check
[I think it's from a column by Alan Ramsay from the Sydney Morning Herald]

Janet Albrechtsen is a social conservative. She also wants to be a classical liberal. If circles could be square there'd be no problem with this, but in the real world the principles of social conservatism and those of economic liberalism can't be reconciled. Not so on Planet Janet...

John Quiggin, the bearded economist from Queensland, homed in on this quote from Janet's most recent column:

"Union ideology chafes at the suggestion of healthy inequality. It champions a collectively dumb group-think vision that reflects an unease over the natural layering that emerges from disparities in talent."

This is Janet in conservative mode - the key word here is 'natural.' Equality of opportunity used to be one of the cornerstones of progressive thinking. Interventionist reformers wanted to tear down the barriers of class and nepotism and establish a meritocracy. In practice this meant an expansion of government - greater investments in schooling for working class children and recruitment to public service based on merit rather than social connections.

However, for conservatives the established social order is a 'natural' order. It's the way things are meant to be. So when governments meddle in the business of nepotism and cronyism, when they pass laws which prevent employers from refusing to hire and promote women, jews, gays, or Catholics, then they are upsetting what's natural and good. Social conservatism is a lot like radical environmentalism - except it's the existing social environment which is natural and must be protected (women at home with the kids etc).

Like radical greens, social conservatives often feel the need to add a layer of myth to their descriptions of society. Just as the more sentimental eco-thinkers can't bear to think of cute, grinning dolphins as senseless killers or gang rapists many conservatives baulk at the idea that markets and traditional institutions don't produce a social hierarchy which is morally justified by effort and innate talent.

Thursday, August 07, 2003
Freakout! Went back to template to look at why the entry titles aren't showing (BlogItemTitle) tag. It does make some of the entries sound a bit weird, because there are flow-ons or references back to the title. But template has disappeared! Logged in & out; left it overnight; still the same. Not sure if the most recent (New! Improved!) version has been backed up on my disc. :( There's always something...
New Scientist | AI and A-Life | Creatures from primordial silicon
Latest news on an old idea - 'evolving' circuits & software
New Scientist | AI and A-Life | Creatures from primordial silicon
Wednesday, August 06, 2003
... and find ourselves where we began
Nup. Back on home machine, using Explorer instead of Mozilla, and the blog looks very similar to how I usually see it. A few minor differences, not at all like the other location. <sigh>.
Using the blogger interface to post entries is quite different. There are some things I like, for instance being able to select text, then just click on an interface button to format or make a link. In my usual GUI, I have to type all the coding in by hand. Other things I'm not so happy about. Lots of wasted screen space, for instance.
Upon a Peak in Darien
OR "Upon Looking into Chapman's Homer"
Just checked this blog out from a different machine running different OS & browser. Wow; it does look rather different. Must see if I can reproduce effects at home to make sure my preferred style shows up -- or at least something rather like it. Examples: On Explorer, the 'box' effect does work, but there are some rather strange colours in the links.
Getting Rosa Luxemburg & Emma Goldman mixed up
Emma Goldman, Feminist, Anarchist & Pacifist
"If I can't dance, I don't want your revolution." / "If we can’t dance, it’s not a revolution." (This is a 'manufactured' quote, the sentiment taken from her writing & put into a snappier form.)

"The free expression of the hopes and aspirations of a people is the greatest and only safety in a sane society."

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all human beings, irrespective of race, color, or sex, are born with the equal right to share at the table of life."

Hiroshima Day

- tho' I prefer to memorialize Nagasaki, Cio-Cio san's home (M Butterfly), which is on this Saturday, August 9th

Negro Spiritual Lyrics (This is a 'framed' site & to move around in it you may need to just go to parknewchoir.free.fr
Winter morning thoughts
Mars and Earth edge closer to their inevitable opposition. In the dawn light before sunrise the palest nameless pastel rainbow colours wash up the eastern sky and I creep downstairs and up to the letterboxes by the front fence for my daily paper. Turning back in this personal diurnal orbit, I look up through the peppercorn tree's thready leaves. By now, all stars are lost in depthless dusty-milky blue, but, some days wanly, others fiercely, Mars stares back brighter now than Venus. Each day I pray this is no omen.
Tuesday, August 05, 2003
Blade Runner site
Blade Runner quotes, sounds, clips
Ridley Scott has been a bit of a disappointment. Blade Runner is a great film (eg see July 15 entry below. Luckily I have a (legally bought) tape of the original version, as well as a DVD of the "Director's Cut". [Very annoying that there isn't a DVD set of different versions. I am going to have to copy the old tape soon before it fails.] He's also done some reasonably good stuff like Alien. Gladiator was good, if flawed. He really needs a good script to bring out the talent. Perhaps the talent has withered.
This is the site of another disappointed RS fan - explore it, there are a few select film reviews, plus some good writing. The page on Kerri-Anne Kennerley is cheering, f'rinstance - or go straight to Tlaloc reviews Blackhawk Down & expresses his disillusionment with RS.

Tom the Good (one) has posted the winners in the Matrix Essays Matrix Haiku Competition (see July 22 below). These are the results:


(NOTE: Whenever I give this type of link, the bit you see is shortened, 'cos the full long link runs out of browser width. Clicking the link should work. Otherwise you should be able to work out what the domain name is that has to go before the bit you see.)

The Jubilee Garden (art of James Koehnline)

A post called The inner workings of the internet mind from a blog "Postcards from the Bleeding Edge"

An alternative take on the Most Wanted Iraqis pack of cards:

www.0101010.org The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul blog

www.jerrypournelle.com/view/view.html Jerry Pournelle's "View from Chaos Manor" & related stuff site.
Monday, August 04, 2003
Woo-hoo! Looks like the comment bit is working. Feed back away, y'all!
Other good news is that I managed to get Darkroom archives to work. The only way I could do it was to put the (differently-named) darkroom archive files into the same directory/folder as the archive files for this blog. So much for good file practice.

Meanwhile have also been trying to get this writing to fit in the box it's supposed to.
Not working properly - you see a box (odd sizes currently, because of the experimentation) as the page is loading, but then it goes out beyond the edge of the browser. There's supposed to be a nice margin over on the right hand side. Trying to see what happens when I remove the forced line-ends (so if you think everything is running together now, that's probably why). Sigh. Probably should be doing rather more important things than this.
One example:
702 ABC Sydney Local Radio Breakfast KNIT IN
Friday, August 01, 2003
Another Step - Onward & Upward?
Trying to insert code to allow for comments & feedback to my entries.
Could be dangerous, even if it works properly, plenty of people probably
would want to disagree with me. But maybe they'd prefer to ignore me.
In general, however, they wouldn't know this was here. Oh well.
Live in hope or die in despair. Semper excelsior!

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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.