Thursday, 30 December 2004

2004 Indian Ocean earthquake

Wikipedia is the first online encyclopedia to provide a detailed account of the Indian Ocean earthquake. The after-shock of the earthquake produced a great wave which killed many people including many British people.

Thursday, 23 December 2004

Merry Christmas

I'm on holiday from today - for two weeks! I've bought (most of) my presents. Sent my cards. And about to start drinking. Merry Christmas [NSFW] to everyone.

Tuesday, 21 December 2004

Best of 2004

I watch Newsnight Review most Friday evenings and last week's programme was a Review of the Year. The panel chose some great selections. Here are my own favourites of 2004.

My top movie was probably Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Wonderful - and not just because it featured the truly beautiful Kate Winslet. I also enjoyed Fahrenheit 9/11. I saw some rubbish too - none worse than Highwaymen.

TV was mostly rubbish but the BBC's Space Odyssey was good. My favourite TV programme was Jonathan Miller's series on atheism "A brief history of disbelief".

I re-read Brave New World this year and greatly enjoyed it. The Wisdom of Crowds was also interesting. But my favourite book was A Short History of Nearly Everything since it filled-in so much of my limited knowledge of how the world works.

I re-discovered Radiohead this year and listened to their entire back catelogue. My favourite Radiohead album is Hail to the Thief so that's probably my best album.

My most used websites include Google and Blogger and I subscribe to a number of blogs (mostly related to education and politics). My best discovery of 2004 is Furl which I use all of the time for saving interesting websites. It's brilliant and it's free.

Monday, 13 December 2004

This AI-based game impressed me.

Saturday, 11 December 2004

Neil Young's Greatest Hits

I'm not a Neil Young fan and haven't listened to much of his music but I picked up his Greatest Hits album today. There's some great stuff. I've transferred it to my Zen to anesthetise
me during my bus journeys to and from work (via sunny Govan).

Wednesday, 8 December 2004

Saturday, 4 December 2004

Books of the year

It's that time of the year when people produce their "Best of the year" lists. Today's Herald included the books of the year as chosen by various Scottish notables.

Their choice of books was illuminating. There was hardly a serious one on the list. Jack McConnell chose a children's book and Andy Walker chose a book about after-life. The exceptions were Menzies Campbell and James McNaughtie. I suppose the politicians' preference for fiction is understandable.

The Manchurian Candidate will not be on my "Top 10 Movies of the Year" list. I went to see this last night. I was disappointed. Slow, complex and silly in parts.

Neither will today's performance by Celtic. Dire.

Friday, 3 December 2004

Generation Kill

"The vanquished know war. They see through the empty jingoism of those who use the abstract words of glory, honor, and patriotism to mask the cries of the wounded, the senseless killing, war profiteering, and chest-pounding grief. They know the lies the victors often do not acknowledge, the lies covered up in stately war memorials and mythic war narratives, filled with stories of courage and comradeship. They know the lies that permeate the thick, self-important memoirs by amoral statesmen who make wars but do not know war. The vanquished know the essence of war—death. They grasp that war is necrophilia." [More...]