Ed’s fine work, I believe…

Well, I think this is the best piece of journalism I’ve seen in a long time… Especially the bit about the chisel. Also from our correspondent: Placards and peace missions.


I’ve been quite enjoying Goats recently – the idea of aliens trying to sell meat on tap over the phone has a strange appeal to it, and this is just classic. Yahtzee!

Oh, man… I love this one – that punchline is beautiful…

Electromagnetic bombs

Electromagnetic bombs – they’re going to wipe out civilisation!

Firewalls and Internet Security

The full text of Adison-Wesley’s 1994 book Firewalls and Internet Security: Repelling the Wily Hacker – excellent!

Five lines of C++ which will crash WinXP

Five lines of C++ which will crash Windows XP. Five pretty innocuous lines too, I note…


gnu-radius – yikes! It even does snmp…



THe Glee Club

We’ve just got back from the Glee Club, a comedy club in Cardiff Bay… Tonight is Julie’s last night in Cardiff before she departs for a six-month training course, so this was the send-off. None of us have been to the Glee Club before, but the bay has a bit of a reputation as being overpriced trendy shite, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect… I have to say, fitst and foremost, the comedy itself, was pretty good. We had three acts (all pretty straight stand-up, although the last guy did some musical stuff too), plus compere, who was also pretty good, so definitely no complaints there.

However, the place itself absolutely blew chunks of crap everywhere… I mean, we paid £12.50 to get in, so we expected good stuff – we were expecting the full “comedy club” treatment, a smokey room full of round tables and jocular punters – whereas what we actually got was a bright room full of school-style desks all pointing the same way (mmmm, really great for conversation between acts) and, oh yes, those overinflated bay prices (£12.00 for a bottle of Blossom Hill? Er, that’s £3.99 at our local. Jeee-zus). As I say, the comedy was good, which almost made up for it – but the icing on the cake was being told that Julie “had to leave” because she was falling asleep on my shoulder. What? Bunch of nazis… I tell you, the whole place was (as usual) a machine for raking in money, and to hell with any concept of doing things right/well/etc. Oh yeah, and it’s impossible to get a taxi in the bay on a Saturday night.

Verdict: avoid, unless you like shopping at Gap, in which case it’ll probably be right up your street and you’ll be happy to bend over and take whatever the management want to give you for your £12.50 plus excessive bar prices.

The Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor, which I’m reliably told is one of the best-informed, most balanced, newspapers in the world.

Noam Chomsky on The War on Terrorism

Noam Chomsky on The War On Terrorism. As ever, Chomsky’s got loads of insightful stuff to say, with plenty of interesting background.

Which tells us that Western civilization is anticipating the slaughter of, well do the arithmetic, 3-4 million people or something like that. On the same day, the leader of Western civilization dismissed with contempt, once again, offers of negotiation for delivery of the alleged target, Osama bin Laden, and a request for some evidence to substantiate the demand for total capitulation. It was dismissed. On the same day the Special Rapporteur of the UN in charge of food pleaded with the United States to stop the bombing to try to save millions of victims. As far as I’m aware that was unreported. That was Monday. Yesterday the major aid agencies OXFAM and Christian Aid and others joined in that plea. You can’t find a report in the New York Times. There was a line in the Boston Globe, hidden in a story about another topic, Kashmir.

The world looks very different depending on whether you are holding the lash or whether you are being whipped by it for hundreds of years, very different.

The war against terrorism has been described in high places as a struggle against a plague, a cancer which is spread by barbarians, by “depraved opponents of civilization itself.” That’s a feeling that I share. The words I’m quoting, however, happen to be from 20 years ago. Those are…that’s President Reagan and his Secretary of State. The Reagan administration came into office 20 years ago declaring that the war against international terrorism would be the core of our foreign policy….describing it in terms of the kind I just mentioned and others. And it was the core of our foreign policy. The Reagan administration responded to this plague spread by depraved opponents of civilization itself by creating an extraordinary international terrorist network, totally unprecedented in scale, which carried out massive atrocities all over the world, primarily….well, partly nearby, but not only there.

That is the culture in which we live and it reveals several facts. One is the fact that terrorism works. It doesn’t fail. It works. Violence usually works. That’s world history. Secondly, it’s a very serious analytic error to say, as is commonly done, that terrorism is the weapon of the weak. Like other means of violence, it’s primarily a weapon of the strong, overwhelmingly, in fact. It is held to be a weapon of the weak because the strong also control the doctrinal systems and their terror doesn’t count as terror. Now that’s close to universal. I can’t think of a historical exception, even the worst mass murderers view the world that way. So pick the Nazis. They weren’t carrying out terror in occupied Europe. They were protecting the local population from the terrorisms of the partisans. And like other resistance movements, there was terrorism. The Nazis were carrying out counter terror. Furthermore, the United States essentially agreed with that. After the war, the US army did extensive studies of Nazi counter terror operations in Europe. First I should say that the US picked them up and began carrying them out itself, often against the same targets, the former resistance.

Quicker than a bus

Apparently this page has someone who sounds uncannily like Madonna singing The Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round over the backing track of Ray Of Light. Haven’t been able to check it out yet though…

Are You Dave Gorman?

Finished reading Are You Dave Gorman? by Dave Gorman and Danny Wallace last night. Very funny book, I really enjoyed it. The Gorgeous Heather, who lent it to me, said she got tired with them relentlessly taking the piss out of the Dave Gormans they met, but I have to say, I didn’t feel the same. Definitely a laugh-out-loud book.

Some websites I found from the Dave Gorman site above:

Danny Wallace, Dave’s faithful flatmate, whose website could really do with more content…

Bill Bailey – gotta love Billy Boy – but again, little actual content here.

What Should I Put On The Fence? – they won’t let him chain a bike to the fence, so now he’s going to chain other stuff to it instead. Amusing and depressing at the same time, kinda like Seinfeld.

Dean & Nigel, experts on blending in.

Let’s run Cornwall

Let's run Cornwall

Now that’s democracy. ;-)

Interesting crisis centre report

America’s Air Force Public Affairs Office released this report on how they kept the National Military Command Center running during the Sept 11th crisis. It’s quite interesting, if a little cheesy towards the end.


zmag.org – looks like lots of good stuff here, will look further later (‘cos I’ve spent all day today staring at a screen). Cheers, Ed. And Hi, Alex! :-)

Tiny clay civil war cats

misterpants says it best: Twin Civil War buffs make tiny clay cats and dress them in civil war uniforms, hey you… buy emu, and this is the best: Land of Lincolns.

Thrown into this weird mix at the convention was a Col. Sanders look-alike who showed up unannounced among the Abes. The Colonel fended off inquiries initially by saying he’d come because, ‘Somebody’s got to feed all these Lincolns.’

The python love affair deepens

Damn it, python just keeps on getting better and better. Here’s an article about a whole new concept, and its accompanying keyword in python2.2: Iterators and simple generators. Really funky – I mean, I realise it’s incredibly sad and geeky of me, but this is actually exciting stuff from where I’m sitting. I’d say “kill me now”, but I’m enjoying it too much…

What, that’s not enough great python stuff for you? Tish! OK then, how about this groovy article with some cool things to do in python’s aleady marvellous interactive mode. Possibly most intruigingly, it brings us to deep_reload.py, “an import hook for Python versions 1.5.2 and above that causes the reload() command to act recursively, reloading all of the modules that a given module imports”. Ooooooh, nice

Still hungry for more? Alright, try this: the final draft of a complete online book called, oh yes, it’s GUI Programming with Python: QT Edition.

Annoyances with the latter:

Fixed font size for the text, which is a pain while using IE (though Opera will be fine).

Some of the images are broken – presumably they’ll fix that.

It assumes you’re going to use an IDE called Blackadder, although thankfully you don’t have to.

Whaaat? That’s still not enough crunchy python goodness to satisfy? Fine! Sift through this: Pyro, “a basic Distributed Object Technology system written entirely in Python”; diveintopython.org, another online book; a command line filter for processing MIME messages; pSQL, which wraps a MySQL table up in objects that feel like standard python constructs; and finally, Developing Games with Python using the Simple Direct Media Layer. I don’t know, kids today…

Is Britain a democracy?

Hey Brits! Think you’re living in a democracy? Then you might be interested in this little peek into our corridors of power.

Nadia vs. Atlantis

Nadia vs. Atlantis



When charity meets cynicism

Some nicely cynical accounts of recent charity concerts in America, courtesy of salon: Paul McCartney’s gig in New York, which sounds bad, and Michael Jackson’s gig in Washington, which sounds much much worse (although may have looked good at least once).

Afghans give surprise to US-led coalition

Afghans give surprise to US-led coalition – interesting article on what’s really happening, militarily, in Afghanistan.

…the military resilience showed by Taliban in defending the city of Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan has surprised both Pakistani and US military officials who were particularly impressed by the Taliban military skills in repulsing attacks from Northern Alliance and in re-capturing the area…

plus d’avec, s’il vous plais

I’ve decided I must use the word avec more often.

xtradius, a free radius server

xtradius, a free radius server.

Excellent bikini, ma’am.

Excellent bikini, ma’am.

Your stolen Passport

Your stolen Passport

The way Dave Thomas describes it, he and his staff were trying to track down a series of unusual bugs in Windows, when they stumbled across something that really worried them. There, on their screens along with the code they were debugging, was the name and password they’d just used for Microsoft’s Passport service. Worse, it was in plain text, and readily accessible. As he looked more deeply, he realized that creating a worm that could recover that information would be, in his words, “trivial.”

Introduction to mutt

Norm Matloff’s Introduction to the Mutt E-Mail Package

LINX mrtg graphs

LINX mrtg graphs – a very pleasing bumpy line, I feel…

Some Linux audio stuff

Some Linux audio stuff: www.linuxsound.at (loadsa links), www.demudi.org (multimedia distribution based on debian), GDAM (DJ tool), pd (audio programming environment), Linux Music & Sound (book).



Rats! The Cable Is Down Again

Rats! The Cable Is Down Again

Gopher No. 2 has received the “hot pepper cable”, which Shumake has smeared with a jelly-like coating spiked with capsaicin — the chemical that puts the pow in chile peppers. Not realizing that he is chewing on the high-tech equivalent of an eye-watering habanero pepper, the gopher chews for a while before it stops and begins to gnash its teeth. It pauses, as if pondering the scenario, then drops the cable to move on to easier eats.

Secure Programming for Linux and and Unix HOWTO

Secure Programming for Linux and Unix HOWTO


Now this is just sick: www.unixsex.com


www.touristofdeath.com – this week’s All Your Base, I guess…

Wrong by Locust

Got the new Locust album, Wrong on Saturday. It’s very different from the last album, Morning Light, which was very pastoral – the only instruments on Wrong are vocals and analogue synthesisers, and it’s got an almost claustrophobic feel to it – but it’s really growing on me, a couple of tracks in particular. Groovy.

Freedoms Curtailed in Defence of Liberty

Good Onion piece: Freedoms Curtailed In Defense Of Liberty.

Less topical, but more amusing (from here):

Screaming Japanese Schoolgirls Overturn Greenspan’s Bus

TOKYO — Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan described himself as “shaken but all right” Monday following an incident in which several thousand excited young Japanese fans mobbed and tipped over his tour bus after a speech at the Tokyo Dome. “Mr. Greenspan is at the height of his popularity in Japan right now,” said Martine Engers, a publicist for the chairman, who is currently in the midst of a 41-city world tour. “And I guess we simply weren’t prepared for this level of fan hysteria.” Before military police restored order, thousands of frantically speculating youths drove the Nikkei average past 16,000.

Audrey Tatou, I want your babies

Saw Amelie last night – another goregous gorgeous movie. Incredibly feelgood, but not in a cheesy shmultzy Hollywood way. Lovely movie. Here’s the official site, and a page (in French) about Audrey Tautou.

Strange that there are two films you must not miss, both set in Montmatre, out at the same time. :-)

Malkovich! Or indeed, gimbo!

Malkovich! Or indeed, gimbo!


pabber – “an attempt to replace Microsoft Exchange on my desktop with Pine and other Linux utilities, without sacrificing all of the features of Exchange in the process”.

More developerWorks python articles

More developerWorks python articles to check out: My first Web-based filtering proxy, Curses programming, Reloading on the fly, Using state machines.

Tick wisdom

I hate broccoli, and yet, in a certain sense, I am broccoli.

The Tick


Spotted on a .sig:

The trouble with doing anything right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.

pydoc and distutils

Charming Python : pydoc and distutils modules (August 2001). Mentioned therein: PEPs 256, 257, and 258.

mrpants selection

mrpants selection: the lameness of life through the eyes of advertisers, Pugshots, The Liposuctionator!, Go Nads!

Mark van Hoen’s mug

Cor, so that’s what Mark van Hoen looks like.

Aphex Twin interview

Here’s a nice little Aphex Twin interview which I can’t quite take seriously because it refers to Limp Bizkit and Slipknot as “Extreme Noise Terrorists”. Oh, pur-lease…

Go go go go go!

Go go go go go!

US food drops a useless symbolic gesture?

I heard on the BBC this morning that the food being dropped into Afghanistan along with the bombs is merely a symbolic gesture, in that it would take six months of food-drops at that rate in order to feed the population of the country for, er, one day. Go America!


petert.likes.to.shag.loads.of.biteengirls.com – nothing to do with me, I hasten to add! :-)

fetchmail, exim, and mutt

Cool, now using fetchmail, exim, and (oh yes!) mutt for email. Fantastic to leave Microsoft rubbish behind and use some decent email software at last… Now for procmail

Chomsky interview

Chatting with Chomsky

Gaah, it’s just too quotable:

Twenty years ago the United States launched a war against Nicaragua. That was a terrible war. Tens of thousands of people died. The country was practically destroyed. Nicaragua did not respond by setting off bombs in Washington. They went to the World Court with a case, the World Court ruled in their favor and ordered the United States to stop its “unlawful use of force” (that means international terrorism) and pay substantial reparations. Well, the United States responded by dismissing the court with contempt and immediately escalated the attack. At that point Niagara went to the UN Security council which voted a resolution calling on all states to obey international law. They didn’t mention anyone, but everyone knew they meant the United States. Well, the United States vetoed it. Nicaragua then went to the General Assembly which, two years in a row passed a similar resolution with only the United States and Israel opposed. But of course, the United States is a very powerful country.

We should look very carefully at this anti-terrorism coalition and who is joining it and why. Russia is happily joining the international coalition because it is delighted to have U.S. support for the horrendous atrocities it is carrying out in its war against Chechnya. It describes that as an anti-terrorist war. In fact it is a murderous terrorist war itself. They’d love to have the United States support it. China is very happy to join because it wants U.S. support for its wars in western China against Muslim groups who, in fact, were part of the coalition in Afghanistan 20 years ago and are now fighting for their rights in China, and China wants to suppress them brutally and would love to have the United States supporting that. Indonesia is very happy to join because it wants continued U.S. support in crushing internal uprisings as in for example Aceh, as it has been doing very brutally for many years. Unfortunately they already have U.S. support, but they would like to have much more support. Algeria, which is one of the most murderous states in the world, would love to have U.S. support for it’s torture and massacres for people in Algeria. And if you look around the world, those who are happily joining the coalition are doing it for reasons that should send shivers up their spine. There’s a lot of applause for the coalition, but it will disappear very quickly if you look at the reasons why countries are joining. If that’s the new internationalism, we should not want to be part of it, we should be strongly opposed to it.

The best thing to do is read widely and always skeptically. Remember everyone, including me, has their opinions and their goals and you have to think them through for yourself.

NSS notes

Some NSS (Name Service Switch) bookmarks which I need for work: page in glibc manual, nsswitch.conf(4) man page, random mailing-list post.

(Hmmm, think it’s probably worth remembering about the glibc manual in its own right).


Pawsense, software for detecting when a cat is walking on your keyboard. Windows only, alas.

Grandiloquent dictionary

Grandiloquent dictionary. Good to see defenestrate in there, alas no intertwingled. :-)

Mmmmm, intertwingled

A lovely word I must use more often: intertwingled.

Go get ‘em, Courtney

Go get ‘em, Courtney. Like the look, too. :-)

SNMP in python

SNMP in python: pysnmp, and yapsnmp. Haven’t worked out which is best yet…

The algebra of infinite justice

The algebra of infinite justiceexcellent piece.

Donate online to the Red Croff Afghan Crisis appeal

Donate online to the Red Cross Afghan Crisis appeal.

Antiques dealer pleads guilty to Enigma theft

Antiques dealer pleads guilty to theft of Enigma machine.