Riverworld

I’ve just stumbled upon the wikipedia entry for the Riverworld series of books which sounds both barmy and intruiging.

… the Riverworld is an Earthlike planet whose surface has been sculpted to consist solely of one staggeringly long river-valley.

The story of Riverworld begins when almost the whole of humanity, from the time of the first homo sapiens through to the early 21st century, is simultaneously resurrected along the banks of the river, an estimated thirty-five to thirty-seven billion people.

There’s more. It is, of course, impossible to tell from the article if they’re well written or a bunch of pants. A lot of sci-fi works enjoy a vociferous and enthusiastic fanbase while still being turgid rubbish… The mention of Esperanto is troubling… Hmmm, well, ultimately I suppose I should just get hold of a copy of the first book and see what I think – unless anyone can advise me otherwise? :-)

Media perspectives on napalm and white phosphorous in Iraq

Americans using (banned) napalm and white phosphorous in Iraq, BBC not reporting it, thanks to practice of embedding reporters in military units [robot].

Thus, BBC viewers were unaware of the fine words of Colonel James Alles, commander of the US Marine Air Group II. “We napalmed both those bridge approaches,” he said. “Unfortunately, there were people there…. you could see them in the cockpit video… It’s no great way to die. The generals love napalm. It has a big psychological effect.”

(And of course, there’s that other old “what in name of all that is good are they thinking?” chestnut, depleted uranium

I’ve heard many people in the UK talk disparagingly about how the “news” in the USA is just a joke, a farce, and that most Americans have no real idea of what’s actually going on in the world. Alas, America doesn’t (of course) hold the monopoly on biased/incompetent journalism…

Another glorious day in Gotham City

w00t – I just watched the sun rise, standing on the beach. Delicious, no matter how cold your ears get.

Fixing mouse drift on a Dell Latitude C600 with a Sledgehammer

Read these updates, then read the post, then read all the comments. Then do it and/or comment. :-)
Update 2006-10-15: For reasons discussed below and in the comments, I am no longer allowing comments which say “I installed such-and-such-a-driver and it fixed it”. Thanks.
Update 2006-05-19: OK, will people please stop posting comments that say “on Windows you can just use the Synaptics drivers” or similar? Yes, I’m sure it’s true, but no, it’s not very interesting, since this post is about how to fix the problem if you’re not running Windows. Thanks. :-)
Update 2006-03-03/2007-02-27: someone has just added a comment pointing to these instructions which claim to fix the problem without cutting the cable. Instead, they involve inserting a small piece of plastic shielding (but see comment #92 for a warning why not to use an anti-static bag for this purpose). I haven’t tried this out (and can’t any more!) but if anyone comes here looking for a solution, and tries this out, I’d love to know if it worked or not. Also, I’ll keep a local copy of that page in case it ever goes away – again, if it does, please let me know and I’ll publish the instructions here instead. Thanks!
As reported previously, I now use a Dell C600 laptop for most of my computing. I’m running FreeBSD and it’s been a very agreeable experience. There has, however, been one fly in the ointment. It started small – one day I was typing and the mouse pointer started slowly drifting to the corner of the screen. Odd. I pulled it out, and carried on with my day. Then it started happening more frequently… In my first lecture of the year, it went completely doolally, rushing up into the top-right corner and refusing to come out. Since then, every now and then it’s been doing this intermittently, sometimes just a little, sometimes so much that the pointer is unusable. I’ve managed quite well for two months, because I use the mouse as little as possible. I do most of my work at the command line or in emacs, and only really need the pointer for web browsing, chat, drawing and painting. Yesterday, however, I snapped. It was too much – the pointer dancing all over the screen like a drunken hillbilly, my blood pressure rising, clearly something had to be done… Read the rest of this entry »

Sunglasses display

I want one. :)