“Believe Me, It’s Torture”

Christopher Hitchens gets waterboarded [via Dawkins].

“The Doctor Will Sue You Now”

If you’re ever looking for a warning sign that you’re on the wrong side of an argument, suing Medecins Sans Frontieres is probably a pretty good clue.

Video of Ian Tomlinson assualted from behind without provocation by a police officer

The Guardian have published video footage of Ian Tomlinson, a bystander caught up in last week’s G20 protests in London, being struck from behind in the leg with a baton and pushed to the ground by a police officer as he walked away peacably with his hands in his pockets. He died of a heart attack a little while later.

It becomes clearer that the purpose of riot police is not only to protect the public at large by controlling riots, but also to protect the status quo by discouraging dissent and protest — if you know that even protesting peacefully (or being in the area of a protest but not participating, as in Tomlinson’s case) you are at risk of unprovoked attack by armed, armoured and aggressive large males, you will tend to be discouraged from doing so. I know I am. :-/

How to grow your own fresh air

How to grow your own fresh air.

Jared Diamond on Collapse

One of the best books I’ve read in the last few years was Collapse by Jared Diamond. It’s meaty, well researched, well argued, systematic, fascinating, and fairly terrifying (though with the possibility of hope, at least).

In this 20 minute video, Diamond pretty much summarises the whole book. If you think it’s something you might want to read, watch the vid, because everything he talks about is explored in much more depth in the book — and all the book’s major themes are touched upon.

If still unsure, check out Diamond’s Long Now seminar (audio here), which is where I first came across him.

Here we stand, at the cusp

Fantastic Bruce Sterling: 2009 will be a year of panic, but the good news is the true 21st century begins here.

For example, see Maria Full Of Grace (Marston, 2004)

As I’ve been saying for a few years now, there’s no such thing as Fair-Trade cocaine; this may, of course, be freely construed as an argument for legalisation or for greater sanctions, according to your prevailing political worldview.

Doors to hell

The Door to Hell [longnow].

Other entrances to Hell, originally noted by Gimboland in 2002.

“Approximate location of your property”

Heathrow daily traffic routes circa heck knows when: easterly ops, westerly ops.

New Orleans flood warnings in 2001

While going through Gimboland history, I came across this post from 2001, discussing the near-certainty of an imminent catastrophic hurricane/flood decimating New Orleans — less than four years later, along came Katrina. Interestingly, Wikipedia tells us that the population of the city has largely bounced back since Katrina — so expect more of the same in a few years, I guess.

Parakeets UK

Parakeets in London & the home counties.

The Trembling Giant

Introducing Pando, a male Quaking Aspen clonal colony – at six gigagrams the most massive known single organism on the planet, and possibly the oldest (although this is apparently controversial and of course upsets those imaginative people who maintain that the whole planet was flooded by God a mere six thousand years ago).