Skellywag

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

For chrissake, just shag me...


Monday, March 28, 2005

Global Prison System of the US

They're trying to build a prison:

So a global prison network built up over the previous three years, beyond the reach of American and European judicial process, immediately began to pick up the slack. The process became explicit last week when the Pentagon announced that half of the 540 or so inmates at Guantánamo are to be transferred to prisons in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.
[http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/ story/0,,1439904,00.html - ~5700 words] [http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/ A27826-2004Dec26?language=printer]


Sunday, March 27, 2005

Nazi-supporting church criticises abortions as, err, nazi

"Abortion leads to Nazi-style birth control and lets the strong decide the fate of the weak, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor has warned."

[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4385573.stm]


Thursday, March 24, 2005

Say what?

[http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,66961,00.html]

Would-be workers engage in a race to the bottom, continually lowering the ante to get the job.

Opinion is divided as to whether this is naked capitalist exploitation or just the free market at work.

Someone tell me how these two are different...


Solar Death Ray

I want one of these:

There wasn't much else to do but poke at it with a small "science stick." As you can see, the melted surface layers were goo.
[http://www.solardeathray.com/golf.html]


Saturday, March 19, 2005

Way too easy

I called T-Mobile to ask about price plan changes. I mentioned a nice little offer from O2, which T-Mobile promptly matched. Result: my bills will be halved, as from today. Absurdly easy.


Thursday, March 10, 2005

Rebel Music

lzz gave me a CD of stunning music from Western Sahara: Tinariwen. Singing in Arabic, French, and several other languages, with an equally eclectic mix of styles: hip hip, reggae, jazz, blues, fused with African and Arabic rhythms.

With no postal or phone system to carry messages of resistance, Tinriwen's music became the underground telephone for the rebellion. Their sung poetry calls for the political awakening of consciousness and approaches the problems of the exile, of the repression in Mali, of the policy of their people's expulsion to Algeria and of the claims for sovereignty and self-determination.

Their cassettes were banned in Mali and Algeria and anyone carrying a recording risked bodily harm by the authorities.

AND they have cool desert headgear...


ajax - a new approach to web applications

This looks interesting:

Defining Ajax

Ajax isn't a technology. It's really several technologies, each flourishing in its own right, coming together in powerful new ways. Ajax incorporates:

  • standards-based presentation using XHTML and CSS;
  • dynamic display and interaction using the Document Object Model;
  • data interchange and manipulation using XML and XSLT;
  • asynchronous data retrieval using XMLHttpRequest;
  • and JavaScript binding everything together.
http://www.adaptivepath.com/publications/ essays/archives/000385.php

It's interesting particularly as Yahoo has just implemented a (seemingly half-assed) revision of their mail application using XML/JavaScript for asynch loading:


function asynchLoadCompose(mill)
{
    window.setTimeout("loadCompose();", mill);
}

function asynchRefreshCompose(mill)
{
    window.setTimeout("refreshCompose();", mill);
}

var gComposeIter = null;
var gRequiresSpaceID = false;

var gWelcomePage = "http://us.f404.mail.yahoo.com/ym/welcome?YY=52914";

// etc.

For 3 days since Sunday there were big teething problems, though these seem to have disappeared now. Whereas Gmail was designed to be asynch from the start, Yahoo has had it bolted on, so only the auto-complete and compose features benefit.

Given that (with broadnabd, at least) one often spends only minimal time actually retrieving data, and loads of time reading it, it seems reasonable that the slack time could be spent caching data for later. Gmail uses 250kb of JavaScript - that is quite a bit.


Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Coin-operation


Young skellywag's cousin is famous


America - No. 1?

The monster behind the myth:

The United States is 41st in the world in infant mortality. Cuba scores higher (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).

http://www.citypages.com/databank/26/1264/article12985.asp


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Balance: 17,026.86 USD (and counting)

Someone is laughing [link propagation]:

I don’t want to eat Toby, he is my friend, and he has always been the most loving, adorable pet. However, God as my witness, I will devour this little guy unless I receive 50,000$ USD into my account from donations or purchase of merchandise.

http://www.savetoby.com/


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

...And the Lion shall lie down with the Kid...


A different take

On Thurday I attended an amazing concert at St James, Piccadilly - John Williams and Khaled Jubran playing guitar and oud, in aid of PSC. Williams drew on music from Spain, Japan, and Africa, coaxing magical sounds from his instrument to imitate - for example - the Kora. When they both played together at the end, the effect was stunning.

The weekend was spent back north. Again the air was noticably fresher. With only a year until my parent retire, certain certainties are suddenly less so. We went out for a Thai, then D and I met Suzy for drinks. She is learning Hebrew, having worked in Kibbutzim a couple of times, so it was interesting to hear her impressions of life in Israel. She is a curious creature...

Went tonight with JC and Scris to Dead Man's Boots, which was fantastic. I came back with a 45 called Big Band Blues by Carl Benson (or someone), and might take my recently reclaimed flute back there next week for the impromptu jamming which accompanied the more groovy of the tracks played. £1 entry, 1/2 price drinks, tiny venue, and such a relief to escape the smug gits in the pub after my choir rehearsal.