Archive: August, 2002


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Saturday, August 31st, 2002

The Julie Burchill Random Recycler

Regular Guardian readers and residents of Brighton and Hove will enjoy the Julie Burchill Random Recycler:

"Where I live, in the newly created city of Brighton and Hove, bourgeoisie a lividly thin, pale, credible young thing (moi) wrote in the Face solely to create jobs for a bunch of finger-wagging no-marks."

It’s very accurate so, more often than not, it doesn’t make any sense.


Feast your eyes on the trailer for "Animatrix". Nine directors create animated stories set in the universe of The Matrix.

Sleeping Giants

One of the niftiest things about going to Arizona is seeing the "airplane graveyards" on the outskirts of Tucson.

I just found out, thanks to Jeffrey Zeldman, that there is a neat website documenting exactly what goes on there: Sleeping Giants.

Friday, August 30th, 2002


Just when you thought there was no such thing as a good reason to use pop-up windows…

If you have pop-up killers enabled, you’ll want to turn them off for this. You’ll also want to know that your numpad key 8 is up and your numpad key 2 is down.

Got that? Ready?

Then I give you… window pong!

Thursday, August 29th, 2002

This is too cute. Not only is this an online marriage proposal, it’s a great little quicktime movie too.

Evolutionism Propaganda

Here’s an hilarious rant from a creationist nutcase claiming that Apple are not only pushing an "Evolutionist" agenda but that they’re godless commies to boot:

"The real operating system hiding under the newest version of the Macintosh operating system (MacOS X) is called… Darwin! That’s right, new Macs are based on Darwinism! While they currently don’t advertise this fact to consumers, it is well known among the computer elite, who are mostly Atheists and Pagans. Furthermore, the Darwin OS is released under an "Open Source" license, which is just another name for Communism. They try to hide all of this under a facade of shiny, "lickable" buttons, but the truth has finally come out: Apple Computers promote Godless Darwinism and Communism."

And we all know what communism really means, don’t we? That’s right: Satanism!

"It has been brought to my attention that the Darwin OS mentioned above now has a cartoon mascot (no doubt to influence children) named Hexley… a platypus dressed as a devil who performs occult magic, i.e. hexes. They’re not doing a very good job keeping their ties to the forces of darkness a secret, are they?"

This stuff is so funny, I thought it had to be a spoof like the Landover Baptist site. Far from it. They have a campaign to try and shut down the Landover Baptist in the name of good, christian values:

"The Internet was created by the United States of America - a Christian nation - and should not be used to spread anti-Christian, secular, or non-Christian propaganda and hatespeech. This is our Internet, and we should exercise our position as its owners and as the guardians of civilization to stop its misuse."

Wow. Every single statement in that paragraph is 100% wrong.

I tell ya, when I’m ruler of the world, first thing I’m going to do is declare mandatory science education for the religious.

Meteorite hits girl

Wednesday, August 28th, 2002


Compare and contrast.

You can write to the young thief and share your thoughts on his scarcity of original ideas.

I’ve been in touch with Pirated Sites so I expect he’ll be changing his design before too long. If he does, here’s a screen-grab, courtesy of the injured party, so you’ll know what I’m talking about.


A short story by Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing has been published over at Salon.

It’s called "0wnz0red" and it’s good geeky stuff.

Maybe Nerdc0re is the new Cyberpunk.


See if you can spot my ugly mug in amongst this lot.

Monday, August 26th, 2002


I was watching the trailer for the new M.Night Shyamalan film "Signs" which led to the website for the film.

It’s a very well put together Flash site that manages to convey a real sense of spookiness. It sold me on the film.

After immersing myself in all the crop circle mythology there, I thought it would be interesting to see what the circlemakers think of all this.

You see, the circlemakers make crop circles. It’s as simple as that.

Some people have tremendous difficulty believing that fact. Some people find it more credible that crop circles are the result of extra-terrestrial intervention or a manifestation of some unspecified energy in the earth. This, despite the fact that the circlemakers explain quite clearly how anybody can make their own crop circles.

Why would anybody continue to believe in the more incredible explanations when a perfectly rational one exists?

Well, it is a lucrative business. If you’re a self-proclaimed crop circle expert, or cerealogist, you can get yourself on the lecture circuit and even appear in "documentaries" like "Crop Circles: Quest For Truth" due, coincidentally, for release at the same time as "Signs".

Besides, some people just "want to believe". The credulity of cerealogists in the face of evidence from the circlemakers reminds me of the case of the Cottlingley Fairies.

In 1917, two young girls presented photographs to the world that apparently showed them together with fairies in their garden. Many years later, the girls, now old women, admitted that they had faked the whole thing using paper cut-outs. Yet, some people continued to believe that the photographs were real.

I guess when you really want to believe in something, you can explain away anything that appears to contradict that belief.

I’d love to hear the cerealogists explain this one.

Sunday, August 25th, 2002

Dog fouling

Jessica and I were sitting in the pavilion gardens last week. On our way into the gardens, we passed a sign that listed the rules of conduct.

All the usual stuff was listed - no cycling, no littering. Then, right after "no sleeping" was written "no dog fouling".

Dog fouling?

What kind of pervert gets their kicks from fouling dogs?

I think "dog fouler" will have to be my new favourite insult. Just imagine working it into a heated argument:

"You.. you… you dog fouler, you!"


Friday, August 23rd, 2002

Sleep the dream!

In honour of National Slackerday 3 here in the UK, I will do no work today.

Like I have a choice.

Wednesday, August 21st, 2002

Cadbury's ad upsets India

This could have come from Adbusters:

"I’m good. I’m tempting. I’m too good to share. What am I? Cadbury’s Temptations or Kashmir?"

It’s an actual advertisement in India for Cadbury’s chocolate.

Tuesday, August 20th, 2002

Pitching Blogs

Oh, dear. The Public Relations Society of America (that’s marketers to you and I) just don’t get it.

Here are some extracts from an article about pitching to bloggers:

"So, now the question is how to land your clients in the right blog at the right time in order to reap the benefits of their highly receptive audience."

"In fact, many bloggers have no experience at being pitched by publicists."

"Many of them still consider their sites to be personal forums for their views and perspectives."

"It is possible that well-tailored pitches to journalist bloggers might not only generate hits on their blogs, but develop into placements in other media outlets as well."

"It is best to begin your campaign by contacting the most popular, targeted blogs."

Be careful what you wish for. You may find yourself field testing the old maxim that "there is no such thing as bad publicity".

Space sounds

Listen to the sounds of space - black holes, pulsars, the magnetospheres of Jupiter and Ganymede, even Sputnik’s beep - they’re all here.

Listening to the sound of a pulsar, it’s easy to tell why the first one ever discovered was designated LGM-1 for "Little Green Men".

Monday, August 19th, 2002

24 Dreaming

24, the TV series, finished up here in the UK last night. The "real time" hook didn’t quite work on the BBC where each episode lasted 45 minutes thanks to the lack of ads.

If you enjoyed the series, you’re really going to like this surreal version of 24:

"Right now, phonebooks are plotting to weigh a crumbling mousetrap. My wart is cracked, and commandos that I work with may be disgusting.

I’m Federal Agent Jack Bauer, and this is the dreamiest Zygon of my life."

Sunday, August 18th, 2002


I know that this has been ‘blogged everywhere but it really is required viewing:

Lawrence Lessig’s presentation on the current state of intellectual property and its ramifications on creativity and culture.

Don’t try it on dial-up, though: it’s an 8MB flash file.

Free the mouse.


Well, I finally joined the twenty-first century. I finally got the place fixed up with an ADSL connection.

After comparing some ISPs, I decided to plump for Eclipse. I had already ordered a nice 4 port ethernet router from Alcatel.

(I must admit I felt a twinge of consience in my choice of router supplier when I heard that they’re trying to force their employees to sign away the rights to their own thoughts.)

So, here’s my network set-up:

My iMac is connected via ethernet to the router. I have the Brickhouse firewall app installed on this machine to keep all the nasty haxx0rs out.

Using the great IPNetShareX, I have a wireless network set up to share to connection with my iBook and Jessica’s iMac.

Actually, that’s the way I was sharing the internet connection anyway, even when it was plain old dial-up. The only difference is that now it seems to be acting a little flaky. Grrr…

Still, it’s great to be able to use the telephone and surf the web at the same time. That was actually my main reason for getting ADSL.

Mind you, it sure is fun to watch big quicktime movies and listen to streaming internet radio. Not at the same time, of course.

Friday, August 16th, 2002


Take a look at the photo in this PR story from the White House.

It looks like Dubya is going to have to get some good milage out of that picture.

The International Association of Fire Fighters voted unanimously on Wednesday to boycott a national tribute to firefighters who died on Sept. 11, in an angry response to U.S. President George Bush’s rejection of a bill that included $340 million to fund fire departments:

"The president has merely been using firefighters and their families for one big photo opportunity… We will work actively to not grant him another photo op with us."

Maybe White House staff can just use Photoshop instead.

Thursday, August 15th, 2002

Star Trek: Nemesis

Aw… Wil Wheaton isn’t going to be in the next Star Trek movie after all.


Still, the trailer looks okay.

Monday, August 12th, 2002

The Rambling Amp

Jessica isn’t the only one getting new musical equipment.

With a concert coming up this week, I decided it was high time I got myself a proper amp.

I had pretty much decided on getting the same model that Chris, who plays guitar, has. It’s the AS50R Soloist from Marshall. I was all set to go out and buy it from the local music store.

You can imagine my surprise, then, when Chris emailed me telling me that he spotted the same amp for sale in the local small-ad paper for two-thirds the price.

I arranged a meeting for today with the person selling it. That meant a trip across town but I wanted to try my bouzouki through the amp first and make sure the amp was okay.

The amp was more than okay. It was in mint condition.

I slapped down the cash, called a taxi and brought the newest addition to the household home with me.

As you can see, I’ve already customised the look of the amp.

bouzouki and amp

Saturday, August 10th, 2002

Tales of the Plush Cthulhu

"After vigintillions of years plush Cthulhu was loose once more, and ravening for delight. How He slavered and gibbered! And the stuffed animals fled or went mad at the sight of Him."

The Spiders

From E-Sheep comes one of the best comics I’ve read on or off the internet: The Spiders.

It’s an alternative history tale of the campaign in Afghanistan. Stick with it ‘till part two when some of the truly brilliant ideas come to light.

Thanks to Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing for the link.

Friday, August 9th, 2002

Never mind the terrorists, the morons have already won.

Here are a couple of examples of the great job being done by airport security officials in the States.

In Los Angeles, airport security confiscated a two inch plastic gun from a child’s GI Joe. Grrr… I hope GI Joe kicks their asses for this.

In New York, JFK Airport security guards forced a mother to drink her own breast milk in front of other passengers before boarding a flight. She said:

"I’m all for random searches… but I do think the number of Caucasian, lactating mothers who have passed through al Qaeda training camps is negligible."

If you’re the kind of person who finds flipping hamburgers too mentally challenging, perhaps it’s time to consider a career in airport security.

Remember, you too can be entrusted with the security of the nation and you don’t even need a high school diploma to get the job.

Thursday, August 8th, 2002

Private And Public

I like this a lot.

Over the course of one year, pictures are taken at the same spot at Marble Arch, London.

Sometimes people wander into the frame. Here the pictures of those people: "Private And Public: Portraits Of Pedestrians".

Wednesday, August 7th, 2002

Plustech Walking Technology

That is one cool looking machine. Eco friendly, too.

Why I Hate Star Wars

Tuesday, August 6th, 2002

Free Online Barcode Generator

Ever wondered how your name would look as a bar code?

Well, wonder no more with this barcode generator.

Curious about how the back of your neck will look a few years down the line?

Well, enter your National Insurance/Social Security number into the barcode generator. You can print out the resulting .jpeg and bring it along to a tatoo parlour.

adactio barcode

Monday, August 5th, 2002

The Rambling Speaker

Jessica is now the proud owner of a 150 Watt bass speaker.

We found it in a second-hand music shop on the other side of town. The shopkeeper said it had belonged to somebody famous but he couldn’t remember who.

We were a bit unsure about whether to get a speaker or not. We had no idea if the old valve amp we had lugged all the way from Germany still worked or not.

Jessica decided to take the plunge once she confirmed that, should there be a problem with the amp, we could just bring the speaker back.

One taxi ride across town later, we had the amp and speaker connected.

Jessica plugged in her bass. We heard a hum. She plucked a string.


It sounds pretty darn good. If you want to hear it for yourself, you’ll have to come along to the next concert.

A little while after we got the bass speaker up and running, I was noodling around on my bouzouki. The noodling turned into a tune which didn’t sound that bad. I quickly jotted down the music in case I forgot it.

So, here’s my first jig: The Rambling Speaker.

You can decide for yourself whether the title refers to the bass equipment or my way of telling a story.

Sunday, August 4th, 2002

Robotic Spam Poetry

Ben Brown has created an online poetry generator with a difference. It uses Spam for its source material.

Turning Spam into poetry is like a 21st century version of beating swords into ploughshares.

Just look at the results:

"Buy Now. If your computer and Industrial culture, has been recorded years, an extensive emailing Mlm of who people, like am am crashing waves of the original: Judgment the technology specialists can save remove please visit? Please enter our right, now! P Valtrex Treatement for creating custom Shorts. Just Click Below For Report The Internet’s Complete Your prices; significantly Reduce your needs: Reform Act now!

Here’s the valid on it all be shocked."

Visit the poetry generator for yourself and refresh the page for an instant new poem.

Saturday, August 3rd, 2002

Weebl and Bob

Real World Style

Friday, August 2nd, 2002

Milk appeal for pint-sized hedgehogs

The first-day goat’s milk of the female goat who’s just had kids is something we all take for granted but did you know that the same one-day old goat’s milk could save the life of a baby hedgehog?

So, please, spare a thought for the hedgehogs and give some of your day old goat’s milk today.

Thank you.

Thursday, August 1st, 2002

iPod vs. Sliced Bread

In an attempt to counter the oft-heard claim, The Morning News sets about finding out if the iPod really is the best thing since sliced bread?

Coming soon: is the iMac really equivalent to the patellas of a Hymenoptera Apoidea?

rabbit rabbit