Saturday, 29 January 2005


May 22 Blog
These blogs are great things, you can blog from anywhere, even the hospital. I did a stupid thing to end up here. I was making myself a cheese sandwich and sliced up a daffodil bulb instead of the onion I meant to have with it. But there's no long term damage and the doctors have said I can expect to be out in the Spring.

Sunday, 23 January 2005

This week's movies

Two worthwhile movies on (terrestial) TV this week: American Psycho on Wednesday (C4 at 11.50pm) and Fahrenheit 9/11 on Thursday (C4 at 9pm).

While the movies are very different, they both pass comment on American domestic and foreign policy - although in the case of American Psycho, Hollywood probably didn't realise this.


Given the number of times I link to Wikipedia, you'll appreciate that I like it. But it has recently caused a bit of a controversy with criticism of its accuracy. Some people have suggested that articles should be vetted by experts before being published.

While it's true that some articles cause problems, occasionally resulting in pages being suspended, most of the time the quality of the information is very high - much better than official sources. And because anyone can add information, it's incredibly up-to-date.

The irony of the established media complaining about the rigour and accuracy of Wikipedia is lost on them.

Friday, 21 January 2005

50 Most Loathsome People in America

"Oh the first lady, what an inspiration she must be to android researchers everywhere. Smile, nod, smile, (look interested) nod, put on $50,000 dress, suck off the president and there you have a typical day for the first lady."

Laura Bush's entry in the 50 Most Loathsome People in America. I also liked Tom Cruise (no. 39), Ronald Reegan (24) and Michael Jackson (22). And I get a mention at number 3.

Friday, 14 January 2005

The Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon

The long-lost work of two photographers was recently discovered, having laid unseen for nearly 70 years. Most of the footage comes from the very early 1900s and - unusually - it relates to ordinary working men. In total, 26 hours of film was discovered - including the very first video of Manchester United.

But it's the "secret history" of ordinary working men that is fascinating. Most old film relates to royalty or (at best) the middle classes - but this stuff shows ordinary people going about their business. It made me realise how we have politicised the teaching of History. Kids know more about Archduke Ferdinand than they know about their own grandfathers (my grandfather is named on the Loos Memorial).

The BBC has made a series about the material (Friday at 9pm) and it's soon to be available on DVD.

Wednesday, 12 January 2005

Apple fans

Apple Computer recently announced a bunch of new products at MacWorld 2005. The most interesting one was a $499 system (minus monitor, screen and keyboard). The other products were pretty routine - and included an over-priced pendrive and a poor imitation of Microsoft Office. The portable music player is particularly uninspiring and was described as "five generations older" than current solid-state players.

But Apple users acted like Steve Jobs announced the Second Coming. They're fanatical about Apple products.

Predictions about 2000

Weekend Magazine predicted what life would be like in 2000 in their July 1961 edition. They got some things wrong: "You will be whisked around in monorail vehicles at 200 miles an hour and you will think nothing of taking a fortnight's holiday in outer space.". But others were closer to the mark: "You'll have a home control room - an electronics centre, where messages will be recorded when you're away from home. This will play back when you return, and also give you up-to-the minute world news, and transcribe your latest mail." which sounds like the Internet.

Tuesday, 11 January 2005

Great Thing eBay

Sacked because of his blog

A guy who worked for Waterstone's in Edniburgh lost his job just before Christmas because of his blog. It maybe wasn't a good idea to call his employer "Bastardstones".

Tuesday, 4 January 2005

What do you believe that you can't yet prove?

"I believe, but cannot yet prove, that acquiring a human language is a necessary precondition for consciousness".

There are another 118 contributions here.

Saturday, 1 January 2005

Happy New Year

Margaret and I went to John Lafferty's New Year party last night. He has one every year and it usually includes a bonfire and fireworks. Last night's was excellent.

You might recognise this guy? Most of the Lafferty's were at the party - including Vincent. This is a picture of Vinny's family.

More photos from the party here.