Saturday, May 24, 2003

Analysis: Israel weighing EU membership

By Martin Walker

UPI Chief International Correspondent
From the International Desk
Published 5/21/2003 1:16 PM

WASHINGTON, May 21 (UPI) -- The visiting delegation from the European Union was startled this week when Israel Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said his government was weighing an application to join the EU.

"It doesn't mean he is preparing the dossier for applying tomorrow," an Israeli spokesman said. "In principle, the minister thinks a possibility exists for Israel to join the EU, since Israel and Europe share similar economies and democratic values." [...]

posted by Irdial , 7:43 PM Þ 
posted by Irdial , 11:01 AM Þ 

The Mists of Falsehoods

I love this administration's ability to remain cloaked in a mist of falsehoods. If you listen to them, everything is going swimmingly.

Retired Gen. Jay Garner and several of his staff are relieved of their posts in Iraq but, of course, have done a splendid job. There is still chaos, looting and a lack of clean water and power, but reconstruction is proceeding with great progress. America is doing a worse job than Saddam Hussein in feeding the Iraqi people, but everyone is so happy to see the tyrant gone — though where he has gone, we don't know. Perhaps he's with Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar. Not to worry, paradise is on the way.

As for al-Qaida, it has been decimated, crippled, rendered ineffective — except, of course, for those members who simultaneously blew up three foreign compounds and a business in Saudi Arabia.

Everything in Afghanistan is peachy-creamy — except, of course, that it looks remarkably as unstable and undeveloped as it did a year ago. The president has also committed himself to his "road map to peace," but never mind that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon refuses to accept it and again embarrasses Secretary of State Colin Powell by clamping down on Palestinians before the secretary has even shaken off the dust of Palestine from his shoes.

And, of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the American economy, except the absence of another round of tax cuts. The ability of this administration to live in a dream world, divorced from reality, is quite remarkable. Why, the falling value of the dollar is good for American exports. And the answer to the biggest string of record trade deficits in history is to have more free-trade agreements, never mind that they are the cause of the trade deficits in the first place.

Sometimes I think our whole country is on dope. How nice that Poland will administer a third of Iraq provided, naturally, that we foot the bill for the entire operation. But one has to appreciate faithful allies even if they are dead-broke and we have to pay through the nose for their support. I'm sure the Poles, with their vast experience in the Middle East, will be crackerjack administrators.

A purely advisory role for the United Nations devoid of one ounce of authority is naturally "a vital role." And while we were impatient with U.N. weapons inspectors, now that we are hunting these so-far-mythical tons of weapons of mass destruction, people must be patient and understand it might even take years. But even if we don't find them, never mind that everything we said to sell the war was a lie. After all, we got rid of a tyrant, even though we have temporarily misplaced him.

We shall, of course, leave no child behind — never mind the federal cuts in education because of a ballooning federal deficit and the further cuts in state education because of the state deficits. We have only to say something and it is so. We say we are going to improve public education, and bingo, it is improved. After all, a nation of functional illiterates won't know the difference.

And just look how we have expanded the great North Atlantic Treaty Organization, right up to the borders of Russia. Of course, the new members are too broke to buy arms, so we will have to foot the bill, and then there is the problem of no enemy to fight. Never mind. We will find something for NATO to do. NATO, like every other government bureaucracy, shall have eternal life, even though its reason for existence vanished a long time ago.

Sometimes, following the news, I think I'm having hallucinations, but I know I'm not, for I am as sober as a Southern Baptist preacher on Sunday morning. Perhaps there is, "Matrix"- style, a dual universe. The Bush administration lives in one, and I in another. I wouldn't mind, except that the Bush Universe is likely to have dire consequences for the universe I live in, as millions of unemployed Americans are discovering. Ah, if only words were magic. Then we could solve all our problems by just saying they are solved.


Its true! Jay Garner and his staff have been relieved of duty. The internet must not be working, 'cause I did not hear this news.....War fatigue.
posted by Irdial , 10:07 AM Þ 
Friday, May 23, 2003

Someone clever said about the rfd chips in money:

"There is no valid reason for tagging the money, since anyone who wants a transaction trail could use an e-cash card.

The Powers are going to eliminate the cash economy. Period. Nothing and no one escapes the net.

We are entering a prison like no other in history, for it will be the entire world."
posted by Irdial , 6:30 PM Þ 

Kazaa nears download record

By Reuters
May 22, 2003, 9:10 PM PT

Sharman Networks on Thursday said its Kazaa file-sharing software was on track to set a record and become the most-popular free program on the Web with more than 230 million downloads.

By hitting that total, Kazaa would surpass the popular ICQ instant messaging program, Sharman said.

Kazaa's growing popularity comes at a crucial time for the music industry as it battles file-swapping services in court and tries to develop commercially viable online music services.

As of late Thursday, the Kazaa Media Desktop application--a file-sharing software that has drawn the wrath of the music industry by enabling its users to swap songs for free--had been downloaded 229,150,955 times, as measured by, which is owned by CNET Networks, publisher of [...] again

Well well well. Lets say that each of these users has an average of 200 MP3s on their machine.

That means that there are :

229,150,955 * 200 = 45,830,191,000

Fourty five billion, eight hundred and thirty million, one hundred and ninety one thousand MP3 files in the wild.

Apple is selling 125,000 files per day. It will take them 366,641.528 days or 1004 years to sell that many files with iTunes.

posted by Irdial , 6:24 PM Þ 

Everyone is against ID cards.

They wont solve the problem of fraud. They wont solve the problem of terrorism. The consultations have all been overwhelmingly negative.

David Blunkett is a fool, a rabid, out of touch control addict, who really doesnt know anything about what he is trying to do when it comes to security.

It took a personal appeal from his son (who is in IT) to get him to understand that gathering people communications, storing them and letting anyone in the govt have access to them is wrong.

If this is the quality of thought that is coming out of this man, then he should be put in charge of something that he DOES understand....whatever that may be.

Once again, no matter how you protest, how you demonstrate, how many numbers are on your side, they are doing what they want, wether you like it or not, and they are making you pay for it.

What do you think would happen if people refused to pay this £25 Shlumberger tax (the company that will no doubt get the contract).
posted by Irdial , 5:25 PM Þ 

Radio ID chips may track banknotes

By Winston Chai
Special to CNET
May 22, 2003, 4:40 PM PT

Radio tags the size of a grain of sand could be embedded in the euro note if a reported deal between the European Central Bank (ECB) and Japanese electronics maker Hitachi is signed.

Japanese news agency Kyodo was reportedly told by Hitachi that the ECB has started talks with the company about the use of its radio chip in the banknote.

The ECB is deeply concerned about counterfeiting and money-laundering and is said to be looking at radio-tag technology.

Last year, Greek authorities were confronted with 2,411 counterfeiting cases and seized 4,776 counterfeit banknotes, while authorities in Poland nabbed a gang suspected of making more than a million fake euros and putting them into circulation. [...]

This is the great sad thing about europeans; they have no inherent idea of what freedom is about. They have a chance to capture the world as the center of freedom, and they are throwing it away by every day, covertly trying to remove freedom from the people of Europe.

Cash money should be untracable. It should be private. No one has the right to know what magazines I am buying, or where I am spending my cash. These tags will make it possible to track you and your money from the moment it is withdrawn from your account to the instant you buy something with it. Then, that something that you bought will be connected to your name and address via your bank account. They will know where you travelled to, and what you ate on the way to buying that something.

For society to work peacefully, this information is not needed.

What a terrible shame that the people who run europe have no imagination, no spirit and no sense of decency.
posted by Irdial , 5:16 PM Þ 

And you'll have to pay for your ID card too, because there isn't any treasury funding planned
posted by meau meau , 4:12 PM Þ 

'Volunary' UK ID uh, entitlement cards for asylum seekers.

What's next, yellow stars?
posted by alex_tea , 3:44 PM Þ 

a button. for you to steal.
posted by alex_tea , 12:12 PM Þ 

Sweet Lord God in heaven...look at it.

This is the Earth, as seen from Mars.
posted by Irdial , 10:44 AM Þ 

Blogger is about to improve dramatically.
posted by Irdial , 10:37 AM Þ 

Whoa, that picture is totally sweet, Ben.

I was just thinking, follow up to my "Future of Freedom" post, that book is quite relevant in the context of the "Coca Karma" story that I posted here long, long ago. ie: corporations in a democracy controlling the central tenets of said democracy; hence it is not a democracy.
posted by Barrie , 7:21 AM Þ 

Rudolf "...... asS ......"

broadcast 23/05/03: 16:00 - 17:00 h (UK) resonance 104.4 FM, London
others chk: worldtimeserver
real media/mp3 streams: here

In opposition to Rudolf's composition + techniques known of runzelstirn&gurgelstock, this piece is missing any common conception. It was realised in pure anger and hate.

An Absolutum for pure existance.
An Absolutum against imperialism.

The listener should enter it like a shower, a bath of abreaction. [rudolf]

"......asS......" is based on psycho-physical tests and trainings in japan and thailand: edited march 20, 2003.

rudolf action, recording, edit
kaori yakushinji: actress, vocals
supported by: dave phillips
respect to: taeko uzuki.......
posted by Ben , 6:43 AM Þ 

The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad

EVERY concerned Blogdial user should read this book.
(I use Amazon as a reference... obviously don't pay for it with "the bux")
I just heard an interview with this guy and he is incredibly insightful, very well spoken and VERY well informed. A lot of his arguments I have actually previously read on Blogdial. This looks like essential reading, and I'm going to pick up a copy as soon as I have some income.
posted by Barrie , 3:30 AM Þ 
Thursday, May 22, 2003

posted by mary13 , 11:50 PM Þ 

I know that park. Lovely area, False Creek. You must come visit, Barrie, you are not that far away.

And Dav, life is flatter than a pancake and 13 x sweeter ...
posted by mary13 , 11:41 PM Þ 

Hahaha... that reminds me of a "Sutcliffe Park" in Vancouver, BC.
posted by Barrie , 11:00 PM Þ 

Photograph by X-313 Ranx on his new SonyEricsson P800
posted by Irdial , 8:37 PM Þ 

It seems to me that Apple are tapping into the vast number of their users without a P2P solution to hand. If Kazaa released a MacOSX client, Apple's sales would be slaughtered overnight.

I will not buy music in a form that gives me less options than the previous formats did, i.e. unlimited copies and flexibilitiy to play in any existing device and devices yet to be created. Nothing less is acceptable, and is part of the trade off that the public have accepted for the crap sound quality of digital / compressed files.

I also dont want our music to be irretrivable in the future. There was a debate about wether CDs would last as long as vinyl; now there is no debate; if the keys to unlock DRM music files are lost and the masters are also lost, then the music is lost. Forever. Only a complete idiot would take that risk.

There is of course, the moral issue of consumers rights to dispose of what they have bought in a way that they choose. It is my right to open a CD player and tinker with it. It is my right to copy music that I have bought so that it can play on any device that I own or might own in the future. These rights are non negotiable.

I dont have a problem with anyone selling their music via Apple in a DRM format. What is completely unnaceptable is the monopoly lobbying and paid for legislation that attempts to take away our rights to market our music in the way that we see fit.

Everyone is free to use whatever formats and strategies they want; the artificial choking off of other avenues, both in terms of playback devices and file formats is completely immoral.

In any case, this cat is out of the bag forever. The billions and billions of MP3s that are out there will never be deleted. File sharing will never be stopped. Even music that is exclusively sold on iTunes will be ripped and shared in open formats. There will be a sea change in the public's understanding of the economics of music, and a change in the way music makers organize themselvs. There will be more micro labels, different schemes to make it all pay...whatever happens in the future, it looks today like the following are going to be dead meat:

retail music shops,
the current incarnation of independent record distributors,
the huge monopoly record labels.
posted by Irdial , 6:48 PM Þ 

Akin, Anthony, Davros and the other music makers:

I'm Tired of the RIAA. I Want to Hear from the Musicians.

Much of the press coverage I come across focuses on everyone but the musicians. Help me find out what the artists are actually thinking about the Apple Music Store, downloading music, and if we're going to let a few drips crash our party.
posted by alex_tea , 6:02 PM Þ 

Life's a bit flat right now, eh?
posted by captain davros , 4:45 PM Þ 

posted by Irdial , 4:13 PM Þ 

negative emphasis, or whatever the term is

Talk sense man! Complete thoughts in complete sentenses!
posted by Irdial , 3:35 PM Þ 

negative emphasis, or whatever the term is
posted by meau meau , 2:54 PM Þ 

buying dollars enables weapons to destroy lives by spilling blood

He is SELLING dollars in exchange for euros and other currencies, sending the value of the dollar DOWN.

He is doing this DELIBERATELY to punish the USA over its insane foreign policy.
posted by Irdial , 2:34 PM Þ 

buying dollars enables weapons to destroy lives by spilling blood
posted by meau meau , 1:49 PM Þ 

George Soros Back Doing What He Does Best

Wed May 21, 2003 01:59 PM ET

By Peter Graff

LONDON (Reuters) - Financier George Soros is back doing the two things he does best -- punishing a global currency and spending some of his billions on projects that irk those in power.

This week Soros, who drove down the British pound in 1992, helped push the U.S. dollar down to a near all-time low against the euro by announcing he was selling greenbacks.

The man who calls himself a "dissident by nature" also said he was setting up a watchdog group to make sure Washington does not misspend oil revenues from Iraq.

Soros may no longer single-handedly wield the power over financial markets he held in the early 1990s, when newspapers dubbed him "the man who broke the Bank of England."

Back then his fund earned $1 billion betting against the pound, helping drive it 20 percent lower and out of the European exchange rate grid. Lately, stung by economic crises in Asia and Russia, his funds have become more conservative.

But with his reputation still formidable -- and his Soros Fund Management controlling $11.5 billion -- his words still count. The dollar tumbled against the euro when he said he thought U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow wanted it to fall.

"I have to disclose that I now have a short position against the dollar because I listen to what the secretary of the Treasury is telling me," Soros said in an interview with broadcaster CNBC.

Soros said Snow's apparent shift away from the strong dollar policy was a "mistake," and a beggar-thy-neighbor policy.


The financier, born in Hungary in 1930, has long lavished his billions on philanthropy, especially in eastern Europe. At one point he was said to be spending more on aid to Russia than the U.S. government.

In Eastern Europe his cause was "the open society," and he spent money in areas like education which often earned resentment from authorities in recipient countries wary of, say, textbooks commissioned by a foreigner.

Lately, the arch-capitalist has become an outspoken critic of what he says are unfair aspects of globalization and trade, which he says makes it difficult for poor countries to catch up to wealthy ones.

It is a view more commonly articulated by rock stars than famous financiers, and Britain's Guardian newspaper described him as "the Bono of the financial world."

Soft spoken and elegant, with his lilting continental accent, "he has the air of a philosophy professor rather than a gimlet-eyed financier," an interviewer wrote.

He once said: "Don't forget, I became a philanthropist only after I became a speculator. It is a luxury."

Tuesday he announced at the United Nations that he would set up a watchdog group to guard against any abuses in how the United States manages Iraqi oil resources.

Citing reports that a handful of U.S. companies were winning huge reconstruction contracts without competitive bidding, Soros said many people around the world feared the United States might abuse its power while it and Britain occupy Iraq.

"It is very much in the interest of the United States to allay these fears, and we want to help," he said.

He also said he hoped Iraq would not repay all foreign debt stemming from Saddam Hussein's years in power, to discourage the practice of lending money to dictators.



That sounds to me like a man with morals, the bux to back it up and the will to use them. Where in this story is the "blood money"?
posted by Irdial , 1:02 PM Þ 

But unlike its rivals, Nintendo is not planning to push the idea of online gaming.

"The key to our online gaming is to wait and see how it does for the others. It doesn't make business sense at the moment," said Ms Friend.

"Rather, Nintendo is looking for something unique that adds to the gameplay and is fun. With online we haven't seen that yet.

"We think at the moment it's still better to play with your friends that against someone you're never going to meet."

Nintendo's contention that online gaming is not for the masses runs against claims by Sony and Microsoft, who claim about 1.5 million online gamers between them.

And that figure does not include the PC masses, which have been online for years. [...]


WTF? Did i read that right??!!?
posted by Irdial , 12:55 PM Þ 

in case you didn't know George Soros is selling blood money

posted by meau meau , 12:43 PM Þ 

Interesting: Womad is doing a do in Seattle. There is a boycott of the USA going on; astounding that an organization like Womad is playing there....would they have also put on a do in Aparthied era South Africa? I dont think so somehow. Clearly Womad are "not with the terrorists".

posted by Irdial , 11:36 AM Þ 

Re Nukular weapons research, I ask you all again: how are they going to pay for this without any MONEY? is still not resolving, but I will have a temporary page up later this morning GMT.

I require that you comment on it.

ps the above also goes for the absurd TIA, Life Log and every other shameful abomination that they are cooking up. None of it can happen without cash to fund them. Are we clear?
posted by Irdial , 11:22 AM Þ
posted by Irdial , 11:20 AM Þ 

US Senate lifts ban on nuclear research

Thursday, May 22, 2003,Page 7
Granting a wish of the Bush administration, the US Senate late Tuesday gave its support to repealing a decade-old ban on research into low-yield nuclear weapons that defense officials say may be necessary to combat new security threats.

By a vote of 51 to 43, senators rejected an amendment by California Democrat Dianne Feinstein that would have kept the ban in place, displaying their determination to give the green light to studies of a new generation of nuclear weapons.

The vote came amid debate on the 2004 Defense Authorization Bill that would give the Pentagon US$400.5 billion to fund military operations, modernize its arsenal and improve the living conditions of men and women in uniform in the fiscal year starting on October 1.

But several provisions tucked inside the bill have drawn fire from arms-control advocates, who argue that after proclaiming an end to the Cold War, the administration of President George W. Bush is positioning itself to engage in a new spiral of the nuclear arms race.

One of the provisions is the repeal of the so-called Spratt-Furse amendment adopted in 1993 with the purpose of strengthening an international moratorium on nuclear testing. The amendment prohibits both research and development of low-yield nuclear weapons.

Another allocates US$15 million to conduct a feasibility study for building new earth-penetrating nuclear munitions that military experts say could be useful as bunker busters.

In addition, the bill contains language requiring the Energy Department to boost its readiness for underground nuclear tests by reducing preparatory time from up to 36 months to just a year and a half.

Copyright © 1999-2003 The Taipei Times. All rights reserved.

According to donald 'strangelove' rumsfeld there's nothing to be worried about as it is only for research purposes - they're not even thinking about making new nuclear weapons - pretty worthless research then? Apparently a teensy little nuclear warhead could kill a load of big bad anthrax with gamma radiation.

posted by meau meau , 10:32 AM Þ 
posted by Irdial , 10:17 AM Þ 

I thought I had a big head.


Which Grease Character Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
posted by Barrie , 7:45 AM Þ 

Word up. Two cups of blood.


Which Grease Character Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
posted by alex_tea , 3:26 AM Þ 
Wednesday, May 21, 2003
posted by Claus Eggers , 9:05 PM Þ 

That makes me sad. People really are completely retarded. They completely forget to look at what "terrorist" means - clearly the fact that it's about "terror" eludes them. Economic impacts do not involve terror unless it's done at gunpoint or with bombs etc. Violence and economic impacts are completely seperate things and anyone who even tries to connect them in any way is obviously a total LIAR. ex: You could blow up the WTC, which certainly has an economic impact. That's violent and fear-inducing. You could stop using the US dollar but do nothing violent - what part of that, at all, induces terror?! Does a boycott kill people in a violent, horrible way, bodies reeling and burning from a nail-laced explosion? Idiots idiots IDIOTS! *foams at the mouth*

20AC is Europe's newest ACTIVIST group, but Mr. Winkle obviously doesn't know what that means, since he obviously can't comprehend the meaning of a simple word like "terror." He should be fired, thrown in a burlap sack and be beaten with lead pipes. How's that for terror?! *stomps away, muttering*
posted by Barrie , 8:00 PM Þ 

2 Million Terrorists in Britain!?

You can make an easy kind of a link that, if you have a protest group protesting a war where the cause that's being fought against is international terrorism, you might have terrorism at that (protest)," said Van Winkle, of the state Justice Department. "You can almost argue that a protest against that is a terrorist act.

I think the world is sleeping. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON!!!???

I've heard terrorism described as anything that is violent or has an economic impact, and shutting down a port certainly would have some economic impact. Terrorism isn't just bombs going off and killing people.

20AC = Europe's Newest Terrorist Group.

Welcome to the 21st Century.
posted by alex_tea , 7:06 PM Þ 
posted by captain davros , 1:39 PM Þ 

Cryptic crossword No. 22835 set by Paul

6, 8 Missing excuse, hiding nothing, no fuss, so America to step down when dismantled (7,2,4,11)
posted by meau meau , 1:25 PM Þ 

posted by meau meau , 1:22 PM Þ 

Hitachi Ltd's prototype super-micro wireless automatic recognition IC chips, or "mu-chips", are shown on a fingertip in Tokyo.

"The world's smallest class 0.4-mm IC chip, which can be incorporated into various materials -- even paper -- will make new business development possible in data management, authentication of luxury goods and currencies, and medical treatment, among other uses."
posted by Irdial , 11:42 AM Þ 

"If you took all the economists in the world and laid them end to end they would still point in different directions."
posted by Irdial , 11:36 AM Þ 
posted by Irdial , 11:32 AM Þ 

Soros Says He's Selling the Dollar

Tuesday, May 20, 2003; 1:54 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Billionaire investor George Soros, in an interview with cable television station CNBC on Tuesday, said he was selling the dollar against most major currencies.

In the wide-ranging interview in which he assailed the Bush administration's policies, Soros said he was buying the euro and the currencies of Australia, Canada and New Zealand against the dollar, as well as gold. The euro briefly broke above $1.17 following his comments before retreating.

"I have to disclose that I now have a short position against the dollar because I listen to what the Secretary of the Treasury is telling me," Soros said in the interview. He referred to recent remarks made by U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow that signaled a shift away from a strong dollar policy.

Soros was sharply critical of Snow's policy shift, branding it a "mistake," and labeling it a wrongheaded attempt to stimulate the U.S. economy at the expense of other economies.

"It's a beggar-thy-neighbor policy," he said. "I think (Snow) was somewhat irresponsible by talking down the dollar."

Soros was dubbed "The Man who broke the Bank of England" for his role in amassing bets that the pound would fall in 1992 -- thus facilitating Britain's ejection from Europe's exchange rate mechanism that year.

Though analysts say Soros' influence in markets has waned, many are reluctant to fight the trend that has seen the dollar fall sharply against major currencies.[...]

Washinton Post
posted by Irdial , 11:21 AM Þ 

Happy Birthday Mr JB.
Belated Nuptial Congratulations to Dr AK as well.

And where is Mr Manning?
posted by alex_tea , 10:25 AM Þ 

JB - Happy birthday dude! U are 1337 for being one of the |810gd|@L p|0/\33rz!
posted by captain davros , 10:10 AM Þ 

Lifelog would be very nasty if abused.

However, I had a similar idea years ago, but in a more open-content way. My idea was for a DTD for life which would allow you to describe a day in XML, and then you'd write an XSL to render it. The fun part would be to then use your XSL against someone else's XML, so you could see what someone from a totally different background/country/culture would do with their time in your perceptual framework.

I got this far

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE day SYSTEM "life.dtd">
<day date="23042003">
<morning starttime="06.00">
<location country="UK" town="hometown" locale="Home">
<activity type="maintenance">Brush Teeth</activity>
<activity type="maintenance">Eat</activity>
<activity type="pleasure">Read Newspaper</activity>
<location country="UK" town="Oxford" locale="Outside">
<activity type="travel">Go to work</activity>
<location country="UK" town="Oxford" locale="Work">
<activity type="work">Being at work</activity>
<afternoon starttime="13.00">
<location country="UK" town="Oxford" locale="Work">
<activity type="travel">Being at work</activity>


<evening starttime="18.00">
<location country="UK" town="Oxford" locale="Home">
<activity type="maintenance">Having Tea</activity>


<night starttime="21.00">
<location country="UK" town="Oxford" locale="Home">
<activity type="maintenance">Sleep</activity>


...obviously needs a bit more work...

posted by captain davros , 10:07 AM Þ 
posted by captain davros , 10:03 AM Þ 

Guardian claims right to free speech

Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
Wednesday May 21, 2003
The Guardian

The attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, is taking the Guardian to Britain's highest court today to try to stop the newspaper's challenge to a 155-year-old law which still makes it a criminal offence, punishable by life imprisonment, to advocate abolition of the monarchy in print.

Lord Goldsmith is appealing to the House of Lords against a ruling by three appeal court judges last year that the paper should be allowed to argue its case in the high court for a reinterpretation of the Treason Felony Act 1848 in the light of human rights law.

The act, passed amid concern over the spread of republican sentiment after the French and American revolutions, made it a serious offence, punishable by transportation, to call for the establishment of a republic in print or writing, even by peaceful means. It remains in force, though last used in 1883, with life imprisonment as the maximum penalty.

The Guardian's challenge followed the launch of its campaign in December 2000 for the establishment of a republic by peaceful means in the UK. Before publishing a series of articles on the subject, the editor, Alan Rusbridger, asked the then attorney general, Lord Williams of Mostyn, to confirm that the paper and its staff would not face prosecution under the act. He wrote back: "It is not for any attorney general to disapply an act of parliament; that is a matter for parliament itself."

posted by Irdial , 8:00 AM Þ 

Biz Markie!
posted by Irdial , 7:15 AM Þ 

Rows and floes of angel hair
And ice-cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way ...........

JB is thirty-four today (yesterday). Feelin' da love.

just a you got what i need...
posted by mary13 , 7:11 AM Þ 

Portable Cloud House

Just call me Lakitu!!
posted by alex_tea , 2:25 AM Þ 
Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Surely this is very illegal??

Jesus hell. I know references to Orwell and such are used so often (truthfully) that they are getting cliche, but this is ridiculous! It's like Rumsfeld paged through some futurist dystopia sci-fi books to find out how bad he could possibly get.
It's an extremely frightening concept. It is however so ambitious it will no doubt fail miserably. Let's hope it does. And yeah, staggeringly illegal to the point of being offensive. It's amazing they're even talking about this shit. Because I totally want the US government to know how many issues of SkinTwo I own, or how many pretentious prog-rock albums I have in my collection. Because they need to know. And knowing is half the battle.
posted by Barrie , 11:02 PM Þ 

The embryonic LifeLog program would dump everything an individual does into a giant database: every e-mail sent or received, every picture taken, every Web page surfed, every phone call made, every TV show watched, every magazine read.

Wired Article
Slashdot Posting

Surely this is very illegal??
posted by alex_tea , 8:43 PM Þ 

----- Forwarded message from jem noble -----

Envelope-to: tom@localhost
Delivery-date: Tue, 20 May 2003 18:04:33 +0100
Subject: moving graffiti 2
From: jem noble
To: Grandees

Dear all

Apologies for any cross-postings.

Grand De-central Station is an ongoing experiment exploring the use of
radio for alternative forms of outdoor entertainment. Moving Graffiti is a
part of the experiment using films.

Using a digital projector, a radio transmitter and specially selected
urban architectural canvasses, we show films in built-spaces that
otherwise have meaning largely in being passed-by.

The next event takes place this weekend in London, so if you can make it
to the specified area and you fancy a bit of a different hang-out, it will
be lovely to see you. You will need a radio, something to sit on and some

Film: given the joy of nice surprises, the film will remain undisclosed
until the night
Time: 10pm
Date: Saturday, 24 May

If it's dry: Mile End park

If it's raining: underpass near Mile End park

Hope to see you there. If not, look out for further summer events in
Bristol and London.

Jem & Ian

----- End forwarded message -----
posted by alex_tea , 6:38 PM Þ 

I saw L'Avventura at the cinema last night. People accuse Antonioni of being cold but I don't see that - he makes his intentions known and he has an emotional framework - he just doesn't simplify the characters, people have secrets and lives off screen. Anyway how could I *really* understand the character's motivations?
Also present is the introduction of musique concrete type sounds(overbearing motors, etc.) into his work. And stark photography.

In the film we find out that the lead, Sandro is basically a shallow and impetuous man who has made betrayal a feature of his life, the film concentrates on his betrayal of his missing fiancee Anna as his fruitless search soon makes way for desire towards her best friend, Claudia, whom he later betrays at a party (earlier he mention he loves Claudia as he loved Anna). It also transpires that he has betrayed his ambitions (becoming a building estimator rather than an architect) and through this he has betrayed his background - the most implicit notion in the film, he recounts he 'never dreamt of being rich' but now that he is he has become as detached from his environment as the upper middle classes that surround him (these surroundings being supplied by his employer). Sandro's character is slowly unravelled until the end where he sits crying, nothing left to lose, on a bench in front of a blank wall.
Claudia becomes the backbone of the story, starting off merely as Anna's waiting friend she walks undisturbed through her environs, neither succumbing to her friends frivolities but still detached from her environment (the constant travelling in the film underlines the characters' rootlessness), at one point her actions mirror that of a house maid. Succumbing to Sandro she becomes the attention of various local gazes, her guilt and ambivalence provide an emotional pinning to the adventure. In the end, despite seeming to cautiously affirm her love of Sandro she is left with an open view of the sea beyond a ruined bell tower (contrasting a scene where the two had been playing up a bell tower before Sandro's betrayal - this earlier scene is also symbolic as Sandro proposes whilst Claudia is surrounded/ensnared by bell ropes).
In general the upper classes are shot as detached from their surroundings when outside and the locations rugged and empty seem desperate to rid themselves of such people, this contrasts with the workers who act as part of the landscape (with regard to the main characters) - the gazes towards Claudia are an aspect of the environment she must run away from.
posted by meau meau , 2:12 PM Þ 
posted by captain davros , 11:41 AM Þ 
posted by Irdial , 10:54 AM Þ 

Led Zeppelin have a 5 hour live DVD coming out soon; I had a chance to see it in the cinema.

"... it's hard to believe the band was once treated with the same level of respect Britney Spears gets now."

This is very true. Today it seems obvious that they are great, but in the '70s they were unbearable in many quarters, not least the electric guitar shops that forbade the playing of "Stairway to heaven" by punters.

What a life!
posted by Irdial , 10:51 AM Þ 

NATO photo of the week
posted by meau meau , 10:42 AM Þ 

"One evening in 1974, during the first week of September, two friends were sitting on a roof when they observed the triangle depicted in the animation to the right. There were trails coming off the back two points of the triangle, and it appeared to be about as high in the sky as a jetliner."
posted by Irdial , 9:52 AM Þ 

In Reversal, Plan for Iraq Self-Rule Has Been Put Off


AGHDAD, Iraq, May 16 — In an abrupt reversal, the United States and Britain have indefinitely put off their plan to allow Iraqi opposition forces to form a national assembly and an interim government by the end of the month.

Instead, top American and British diplomats leading reconstruction efforts here told exile leaders in a meeting tonight that allied officials would remain in charge of Iraq for an indefinite period, said Iraqis who attended the meeting. It was conducted by L. Paul Bremer, the new civilian administrator here.[...]


Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!! Ha! haa!! haaaaa!!!!!!
posted by Irdial , 8:35 AM Þ 

"The U.S. military is using Metallica and the ‘Barney’ theme song as instruments of coercion in Iraq

May 26 issue — Your parents aren’t the only ones who hate your music—some Iraqis hate it, too. U.S. military units have been breaking Saddam supporters with long sessions in which they’re forced to listen to heavy-metal and children’s songs. “Trust me, it works,” says one U.S. operative.

THE IDEA, says Sgt. Mark Hadsell, is to break a subject’s resistance by annoying that person with what some Iraqis would consider culturally offensive music. The songs that are being played include “Bodies” from the Vin Diesel “XXX” movie soundtrack and Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” “These people haven’t heard heavy metal before,” he explains. “They can’t take it.” Few people could put up with the sledgehammer riffs of Metallica, and kiddie songs aren’t that much easier, especially when selections include the “Sesame Street” theme and some of purple dinosaur Barney’s crooning."

And that my friends, is PURE EVIL
posted by Irdial , 8:29 AM Þ 

U.S. to Fingerprint Most Foreign Visitors

Mon May 19, 7:35 PM ET

By SUZANNE GAMBOA, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Foreign visitors arriving with visas at U.S. airports or seaports next year will have their travel documents scanned, their fingerprints and photos taken and their identification checked against terrorist watch lists.

Such a tracking system could have stopped two of the Sept. 11 hijackers, Homeland Security Department undersecretary Asa Hutchinson said Monday as he gave details of the department's new U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indication Technology, or U.S. VISIT.

The system, which goes into effect Jan. 1, will check the comings and goings of foreign travelers who arrive in this country carrying visas. Travelers with visas made up about 60 percent, or 23 million, of foreign visitors to the United States last year.

Hutchinson said such a system could have caught hijackers Mohammed Atta, who had overstayed his visa on a previous occasion, and Hani Hanjour, when he failed to show up at school as required by his student visa.

"Border security can no longer be just a coastline, or a line on the ground between two nations. It's also a line of information in a computer, telling us who is in this country, for how long and for what reason," Hutchinson said.

Congress has provided about $380 million for the new system, which will replace a paper-based system that been highly criticized since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Under the U.S. VISIT system, a visa carrier will be required to provide immigrant and citizenship status, nationality, country of residence and an address where the visitor will be staying in the United States.

"In 99.9 percent of the cases, the visitor will simply be wished a good day or sent on their way," Hutchinson said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank. "But with that small percentage of hits, our country will be made much safer and our immigration system will be given a foundation of integrity that has been lacking for too long." [...]

Yahoo News

And this stops people flying planes int buildings exactly how?

What that story means, is that the usa will build up a digital database of tens of millions of foreign people, their pictures, thumbprints and personal details. People on the "enemy country" list will see this as an affront; they will continue to come to the usa, because in many of the countries that they are coming from, they dont have any "rights" dont care that they dont have any rights, and are routinely fingerprinted for things as simple as a driving licence.

posted by Irdial , 8:13 AM Þ 

"The Anomaly is an emergent proprety of the synergy between humanity and machines."

Here comes "Architect Speak".
posted by Irdial , 8:08 AM Þ 
Monday, May 19, 2003

What do you do with tapes and CDrs that you don't like?

Occasionally they get sent to colleagues for reality check / appraisal / larf. some get destroyed with a hammer if they are really annoying. Others get dumped in the garbage (the ones with group photos and lyric sheets) and the rest go into an archive.
posted by Irdial , 11:11 PM Þ 

I saw "The Matrix Reloaded" today at a preview screening...its awesome.
posted by Irdial , 8:56 PM Þ 

Glaxo board suffers defeat

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has suffered an unprecedented defeat at its annual general meeting when shareholders voted against million pound pay deals for executives.

The group said 50.72% of votes were cast against approving the group's renumeration report.

Shareholders had voted earlier by a clear majority to re-elect the GSK board.

But at the vote on remuneration, only 49.28% backed the board, meaning the biggest shareholder revolt of its kind in UK corporate history.

Investors reacted angrily to a controversial "golden parachute" pay package for chief executive Jean-Pierre Garnier.

'Significant concerns'

Analysts had expected the pay resolution to squeeze through on proxy votes.

But the scale of the protest vote proved to be humiliating for the GSK board - the historic vote, although only advisory, makes GSK the first British blue-chip company to have its pay scheme rejected by shareholders.

Major shareholders including Standard Life had already said they would be voting against the pay proposals.

The life insurer, which manages over 110 million shares in GSK, said it had "significant concerns over the present pay policies and practices". [...]
posted by Irdial , 8:42 PM Þ 

This impedance-ridding process naturally results in new hardware configurations specified by Microsoft and with early support from Microsoft software becoming the standard, so what about Windows alternatives? Asked about this, Gates says: "Our responsibility is to make Windows better and better. Other people are responsible for those systems." Microsoft is now far more powerful than it has ever been, and is setting the hardware standards for the PCs you will have to buy far more overtly than it ever has before, yet here's Bill singing that old song again. Microsoft s only responsible for Windows, and bears no responsibility for your software not running on the hardware Microsoft has specified. The fact that Microsoft hasn't given you the information to write the drivers is your problem, and it's as if the antitrust trial never happened.

The Register
posted by Barrie , 8:17 PM Þ 


What do you do with tapes and CDrs that you don't like? The local music monthly here is notoriously vicious in its tape reviews, but last time I was up there they still had every single one they'd ever received in a big box under the desk.
posted by captain davros , 4:37 PM Þ 

I dont, and that is precisely why.
posted by Irdial , 4:11 PM Þ 

From further down this blog...

....I have just
> finished mixing a new mp3, and I wondered if you could have a listen and
> tell me what you think.

I just listened to it.

I thought you didn't listen to MP3s?
posted by captain davros , 3:37 PM Þ 

the other day?

No, it was due to the domain not being entered into our namespace before trying to register the domain. Once that was done, it all happened seamilessly.

This is a quirk of all european controlled domains aparently.

Still waiting for the information to propagate so that the website is to become visible.
posted by Irdial , 3:20 PM Þ 

F.A. Cup Final Demand
Instant Coffee Republic
Extractor Fan Club
Peach Stone Temple Pilots
Yves Klein/e Nachtmusik
posted by captain davros , 3:03 PM Þ 

Maybe this is why you couldn't register the other day?
posted by alex_tea , 3:01 PM Þ 

For the Baz

posted by captain davros , 2:59 PM Þ 

His Face Still Gives Fits as Saddam Dinar Soars


AGHDAD, Iraq, May 16 — Saddam Hussein may be out of power or even dead. But his maligned currency, the so-called Saddam dinar, has abruptly skyrocketed in value.

In a display of what might be called Saddam's revenge, the discredited dinar soared by about one-third against the dollar on Thursday and is now at its highest value since 1996. Its remarkable comeback is likely to cause heartburn for American officials here, and not just because Iraq's currency of choice bears a portrait of the former dictator on every bill.

A potentially bigger problem is that the dinar's surge and the dollar's plunge have wiped out a big part of the purchasing power of the $20 emergency payments American administrators have been handing out to workers in lieu of their unpaid monthly salaries.

Iraqis, from police officers and teachers to government officials, are grumbling that the $20 was a poor substitute for the pay they have not received since March. But now, taking account of the dinar's total rise over the past month, the payment, which used to equal 40,000 dinars, is now worth about half that much.

"Prices in the market have not changed a bit," grumbled Sadiq al-Hamoundi, as he contemplated the diminished value of the $10 remaining from his wife's emergency payment. "This isn't going to last another three days."

Iraqis have a great deal of experience with exchange rates, despite Mr. Hussein's effort to maintain an official exchange rate at the absurdly overvalued level of $3 per dinar.

On Kifah Street — the gritty and occasionally violent open-air meeting place for hundreds of currency traders and cigarette smugglers — the most prevalent theory for the dinar's startling surge was that the Americans did it to themselves by flooding the market with more dollars than people wanted to spend.

With the Americans handing out $20 payments to several million Iraqi workers and preparing to give $40 to about one million pensioners, traders said they were essentially speculating on a looming saturation of dollars. "If you have one million pensioners getting $40 apiece, that's $40 million coming onto the streets," said Ahmed Muhammad Ali, a trader on Kifah Street. "What did you expect would happen?"

Saddam dinars have defied expectations for some time. In the last days of Mr. Hussein's government, dinars sank to a low of more than 3,000 to the dollar, and American officials expected them to fade away into worthlessness. But after the war, defying expectations that Iraqis would want to dump dinars as fast they could, the dollar dropped back to 2,000 dinars and more recently to about 1,500.

On Thursday, the dinar suddenly exploded in value and dealers refused to offer anything more than 1,000 dinars to the dollar — an increase of one-third in a single day — and some dealers were not paying more than 900.[...]

posted by Irdial , 2:53 PM Þ 

posted by meau meau , 2:05 PM Þ 

overlapped extent allocation
posted by meau meau , 1:55 PM Þ 

Muslim-Up products represent, in our point of view, DRINKS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER DRINKS TO SERVE THE OTHERS. We consider our products as an alternative to a wide category of consumers over the world, who took the decision to boycott all the Zionist products and the U.S.A trademarks.
We are aware that our products should not be focussed only an on Muslim community, that is why we invite French, Europeans, Asians, Africans and Americans lover of peace to join our action and discover our products and support us.
We earmarked a part of our benefits for a number of charities to support and promote all peace-loving Organizations (local, regional and world wide).

We are committed to take part in the fight against tyranny, discrimination and all other forms of oppressions that is why the freshness has a mean.

With warm regards from Muslim-Up

This saturday my at my local Jerusalem fruits and greens, I asked for cola, and I got Muslim up Cola. It tasted rather good with the vodka at my bash...
posted by Alison , 11:33 AM Þ 

When I was a kid, about 15 or so, my father bought a comic called Once Upon a Time There Was a Wall. It was a German-published comic about the iron curtain, by various european artists. One of the stories was a sci-fi allegory that had the various continents, called cities, as floating landmasses. One, Europe, of them had never lifted off the ground because of the weight of the wall. This was what an old man was telling his grandson. While he was telling this story, suddenly, Europe started floating, and soon was above all the other cities.

I remember reading that and thinking and smiling at it. I felt it a bit silly at the time, but we are so dumb when we are kids. Sometimes you need to look at things from a different angle to really understand it.

The cold war was never real for me. I wasn't even ten when it was over, but only later did I realize that it wasn't. Even before The War on Communism was over, The War on Drugs was already on. As that fell apart, The War on Terrorism was in full effect. I am thinking about these things, but they no longer make me smile.

Before I went over here, I was reading that same comic, and I felt robbed. The world now, as it has probably been for a century or more, is not a world of freedom, not a world of democracy. America has had it's hold on us for too long. This sounds clicheed, and it certainly is, because it has been true for so long that it is no longer any surprise when someone says it. A shame that so few people actually listen.

I am starting to rant, and I apologize, but I feel sorry and I must get this out. I want to go home to a country where at least the illusion of freedom is still real. Where I can smoke inside a bar, or drink a beer outside, or wear a T-shirt that says fuck, or turn on the TV and hear bad words and dissenting opinions. Where I can read the paper and see them question my government. Where I can be who I am and vote and hope that it matters.

I try to only pay with my credit card, I don't want these dollars in my hands. In God We Trust, they say. Fuck God. Fuck Bush. Fuck America. Fuck Me. Fuck Europe. Fuck Irdial Discs. Fuck You. I need another beer.

Obscenity is the crutch of inarticulate motherfuckers / only the simple mind is offended. Have a good morning, I'm going to bed.
posted by Mikkel , 7:46 AM Þ 
Sunday, May 18, 2003

posted by Irdial , 7:09 PM Þ 

Alberto Burri

posted by Barrie , 2:30 AM Þ 

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