www.engrish.com – compendium of Japanese Engrish. Fantastic.
Question: What’s 110 feet tall, filled with Helium, and was crucified on the cross at Calvary so that the sins of the world would be forgiven?
Answer: Jesus The Hot Air Balloon!
(Thank you, Mr Pants).
I’ve put some medieval costume tips online. These were originally part of the banquet pages on my trek site but I’ve now removed those banquet pages, and having received a request for these costume tips I thought this was probably the best thing to do.
Lightweight languages – a report on last weekend’s Lightweight Languages Workshop, LL1, at the AI Lab at MIT. Interesting stuff.
He countered criticisms that Scheme is just lots of insane silly parentheses by demonstrating how XML was just lots of insane silly angle brackets. A fair point well made.
A couple of short Chomsky articles, via Robot Wisdom: the US is a terrorist state, more fundamentalist than Iran and “Globalisation is a conspiracy of the Western elite to establish private tyrannies across the world”.
Better yet, here’s a transcript of the presentation discussed in that last article.
So in August 1998, Clinton bombed the Sudan, destroyed half of its pharmaceutical supplies and the factory that produced them. The consequences there are unknown. The few attempts to estimate the toll, the death toll, are in the neighbourhood of tens of thousands of people — by the German Embassy in Sudan, by a few independent investigators, who have looked. Actually nobody really looked carefully because nobody cares! It’s not important, it’s normal, it’s ordinary for a couple of bombs to have the effect of leaving tens of thousands of corpses in a poor African country.
Something comparable, though probably on a considerably greater scale, is unfolding right in front of us at this moment. What the consequences will be we do not know and probably never will know in any detail. But what we know is that these are the expectations on which Western civilisation is relying as it lays its plans.
Chomsky then goes on to discuss space-based missile defence systems, and explains that they’re actually intended not merely to defend the US, but to aid it towards complete (and malevolent) dominance of the world.
China’s top arms control official simply reflected common understanding when he observed that “Once the United States believes it has both a strong spear and a strong shield, it could lead them to conclude that nobody can harm the United States and they can harm anyone they like anywhere in the world.”
This is scary, scary stuff… If you thought the cold war years were bad, just you wait until 2020. :-(
Some interesting comments about mobile phone jamming, and mobile phones in hospitals, from the RISKS Digest.
The no-cellphone policies in hospitals are today mostly based on the fear that clueless phone users might operate phones in the immediate vicinity (with a couple of centimeters) of critical equipment. As soon as the mobile phone is a few meters away, field strength will drop well bejond the 3 V/m levels against which medical equipment has to be EMC immunity tested by the manufacturers (EN 50082, IEC 601-1-2).
Who wants to go horseriding in Mongolia?
That’s right – I do. :-)
Oh dear… Remember the reports about instructions for making a nuclear weapon found in Afghanistan a week or so ago? Remember it making the front pages of some of the tabloids? Well, you can bet those same tabloids (and indeed the BBC, shame on you John Simpson), won’t be admitting that the document is in fact a parody dating from 1979.
bookbrain.co.uk – groovy site. Tell it the book you want to buy, it’ll tell you which online retailer provides it the cheapest.
I’ve just been handed this remarkable picture of myself, Rich, and Jon at last year’s company Christmas party. No recollection whatsoever, no idea what’s going on at all.
Caption ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org, please.
Freedom or Power? by Bradley M. Kuhn and Richard M. Stallman.
Even when there is no monopoly, proprietary software harms society. A choice of masters is not freedom.
Heard Philip Glass‘s violin concerto on Classic FM on Tuesday night while I was cooking, and really loved it. I’ve heard a few of his pieces before, eg Koyaanasqatsi, Einstein On The Beach, and Dracula – but this was the most “classically” classical music of his I’d heard, if that makes sense, whilst still being readily identifiable as Glass. Must pick up a copy…
I read this book (Wittgenstein’s Poker) back in the summer, and greatly enjoyed it. No idea why the Guardian’s only just got round to reviewing it.
Well worth waiting for it to download and sitting through the into: The Cow Bondage Song – very funny, and very disturbing. Definitely not for the faint-of-heart. :-)
Some vaguely amusing celeb-spotting tales which I don’t have time to read on this page. This one caught my eye:
My friend Billy was in a hotel in the states and he walked into a lift and Bill Murray walked in after him.
Billy: Hey, aren’t you Bill Murray!?
Bill Murray: Yes, yes I am.
Then Bill Murray gets my friend in a headlock and starts giving him a noogie and says “And nobody in the world is going to believe this happened!!!”
The epidemiologist Professor Roy Anderson, of Imperial College London, told the Commons Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee last week that he had asked Maff-Defra recently for the database of farm locations by which the spread of foot and mouth disease had been monitored. Immensely helpful, they sent him the data, but the co-ordinates they provided left him perplexed. Half the farms he tried to look up, as Prof Anderson told the committee, “were out in the North Sea”.
Wow. Windows XP user accounts are, by default, administrator with no password. Once again, cluelessness abounds in the Micro$oft camp…
More depressing news from the promised land: Pork Feeds Religious-Secular Tension in Israel.
I’m currently reading John Simpson‘s A Mad World, My Masters, which a good friend lent me on the plane back from Beijing, and which helped make an otherwise depressing flight enjoyable. It’s an incredible book, one of those you just can’t put down. The tales this man has to tell are incredible. It’s a whole big scary world out there, people.
I’ve also picked up a copy of The River at the Centre of the World, by Simon Winchester, simply because it looked ace. I’ll let you know how if it’s any good or not…
Advanced filesystem implementor’s guide – all about the exciting topic that is journalling filesystems.
The Selling of ‘Free Trade’: Nafta, Washington, and the Subversion of American Democracy. Grumble, grumble, grumble…
The Last Time I Saw bin Laden – very funny, provided you feel we should be able to joke about these matters (I do, btw).
I’m back. The trek was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life – an incredible experience. Still totally knackered though, so that’s all I’ve got to say right now.
Depressed to be home…
The Nostradamus query graph is pretty depressing too. Follow the herd, people.
Tonight, I’m catching a train to Haslemere, in Surrey. On Sunday, I’m catching a plane to Beijing. When I get there, I’m going to spend five days walking fifty miles of the Great Wall of China, then spend a couple of days in Beijing, then catch a place back to Heathrow, a coach to Cheltenham, and a train back to Cardiff.
There’s a website all about it here.