The Aardvark Speaks - May 2003 Archive



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Saturday, May 31, 2003

Schwamm drueber® are an Austrian art collective who make stylish bags and t-shirts from the kind of sponge cloth that you usually do your dishes with. The name is actually a pun, because literally it means "sponge over it" (which is exactly what they do with their fashion accessories), but it's also a saying meaning "let bygones be bygones".

I just saw their products at the Art Position 2003 exhibition, the annual showcase of young Austrian art that currently takes place at a disused building of the Ottakringer brewery in Vienna, and I can only agree with the artists' definition of their products: "The SCHWAMMDRUEBER® bags and t-shirts are droll and sophisticated, wicked and cute for the lady and the gentleman with a penchant for cleanliness."
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Fantagraphics Books, publishers of some of the best comics and graphic novels in the world (such as, for example, Daniel Clowes' Ghost World) are on the brink of bankruptcy and have published a call for help on their web site, asking readers to go buy some of their stuff. [via Boing Boing Blog]
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Talk about raison d'état: Jack Straw and his US counterpart, Colin Powell, privately expressed serious doubts about the quality of intelligence on Iraq's banned weapons programme at the very time they were publicly trumpeting it to get UN support for a war on Iraq, the Guardian has learned. [thx Ralf]
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2000 entries on this weblog since August 3, 2002. Yay!
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Now trainspotters are the latest target of anti-terror security measures in the UK, according to the BBC: "Network Rail, the company which now runs the UK's train network, [...] is telling train-spotters who are standing on platforms at its stations noting down names and numbers of locomotives that they must leave, or move to the station concourse." [thx Armin]

The Guardian looks at the story from a satirical angle, but I still fail to find it funny.
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Now Jonathon Delacour and Mike Cohen have stopped blogging, too. What's this - some kind of disease? How many more of my favourite bloggers will disappear in the next few weeks?

And while some bloggers are quitting, others are multiplying: in the past, I had often wondered about some inconsistencies in Heiko (or Haiko?) Hebig's blog that didn't seem to make sense. Thanks to the BlogTalk conference, everything is finally clear now.
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Friday, May 30, 2003

I wanted to blog something outrageous to close today's entries, but nothing of that sort happened today. Wanted to go to Erdbeerland to pick some strawberries, but decided it was just too hot to roam around a huge strawberry field and be grilled by the sun, all the while being afraid that the gravad lax stored away in my bag inside the car would go bad or even melt away in the hellish temperatures.

This is my last official day of sick leave. Even though my arm can't be stretched beyond 30° nor be bent beyond 90°, I'll be back at work on Monday, as my typing abilities are, I'm afraid, almost back to normal. Sigh.
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I submitted myself to the Sitcom Test lately. The objective of this test is simple: How many episodes of one particular sitcom can you watch consecutively? I admit that my coice of sitcoms wasn't particularly representative, but here are the results:
  • Friends - 6. I admit that I was seriously surprised how many episodes I was able to watch in one go. I don't think it's this good.
  • MASH - 5. That was pre-6th season epsiodes, though; the constant whining in the later episodes made me switch off much sooner.
  • Mad About You - 4. Watching one episode per day works well, but watching a few in a row doesn't.
  • The Simpsons - 3. The low number surprised me. Possibly they're too intellectually demanding.
  • Seinfeld - 1. I don't seem to get it.
  • Caroline in the city - 1. What was I thinking? What were the creators thinking?
Summary: it's not necessarily the series that you like most that you end up watching most; some simply seem too be more digestible than others. And now please excuse me while I try to bring my IQ back to its previous level.
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Where Dave finds these things I don't know, but he seems to have a talent for finding examples of the truly disgusting things in life. In case you were wondering: yes, this guy is holding the world record for the length of his hair.
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Thursday, May 29, 2003

I ate nothing but junk tonight and now I feel sick.

Plus, the first two bottles I opened from my beer shipment were major disappointments: the Blanche de Namur tasted very stale (probably the yeast cultures in the bottle had died), and the Florisgaarden Witbier was too sweet for my taste.

But hey, two Region 1 (USA only) DVDs I received from Amazon.com yesterday are playing just fine in my Region 2 (Europe) DVD player. Brilliant. Or maybe I shouldn't mention this in public.
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Jeremy Hedley points out that apparently war is now a US franchise, and for the coalition of the willing, it's time to settle some bills. [Antipixel]

In the meantime, according to the BBC, a US commander in Iraq says the war is not over and troops are "still fighting Saddam forces". Hmmm... I thought everything was under control? By the way, Iraq Body Count currently reports between 5425 and 7041 dead civilians.

Quote of the day comes from US deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who said that the decision to highlight weapons of mass destruction as the main justification for going to war in Iraq was taken for "bureaucratic reasons". Gotta love those hawks. [via BBC News]

Oh, and Tony Blair might now be in serious trouble for misleading Parliament and the British people over Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. [via The Cartoonist]
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Here's one for my art historian friends: Art or Crap? Do you know your Dada from your Moma? [via Weblog Wannabe]
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Wednesday, May 28, 2003

I so hope that this is a fake, but I fear it is not:
THE US has floated plans to turn Guantanamo Bay into a death camp, with its own death row and execution chamber. Prisoners would be tried, convicted and executed without leaving its boundaries, without a jury and without right of appeal, The Mail on Sunday newspaper reported yesterday.

The plans were revealed by Major-General Geoffrey Miller, who is in charge of 680 suspects from 43 countries [...]. The suspects have been held at Camp Delta on Cuba without charge for 18 months. [...]

[The move] has horrified human rights groups and lawyers representing detainees. They see it as the clearest indication America has no intention of falling in line with internationally recognised justice. [more]
Clearly, the Bush regime has crossed a line that seemed unthinkable only a few years ago. Let me go into paranoid overdrive for a second: technically, it's now possible (and, if you're paranoid enough, even feasible) that the USA invades any country that they claim is a threat to it, abduct citizens that they claim are terrorists, detain them in a camp located outside any national or international jurisdiction and finally put them to death. With the powers granted by the Patriot Act, just about anybody can find themselves on death row in a US death camp if they're in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Okay, Guantanamo is not a Nazi concentration camp, and 680 detainees are no comparison to hundreds of thousands, but the conditions under which you could end up there are frighteningly similar. And I still so hope this story turns out to be a fake. But I'm afraid it doesn't look like it.
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I see no point in subscribing to comics via RSS and my news aggregator (as some people do), but I love this concept: iComic is a comics browser for Mac OS X, similar to Safari, only it downloads only comics that you subscribe to. It also has a Perl-scriptable plugin architecture, so you can expand it to include any comic you like. Great concept. [via vowe.net]
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In a recent interview, Donald Rumsfeld uncovered the latest of Saddam's insidious plans. Asked why still no Weapons of Mass Destruction were found in Iraq, Rumsfeld said, "it's also possible that they decided to destroy them prior to the conflict."

Now that's a truly cunning plan, of course. It's also what the USA and the United Nations demanded that they do, only Rumsfeld doesn't seem to remember that.
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Tuesday, May 27, 2003

It seems that in the entire three weeks that I was absent from blogging with a huge plaster cast on my right arm, American soldiers did not find any Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. This surprises even me, for I had been quite sure they'd find a nominal quantity of some chemical agent somewhere. However, no luck so far, even though US soldiers are now even raiding sheep farms, which they apparently mistook for chemical factories.

In the meantime, Bob Harris writes, "rape has become so common that Iraqi women are afraid to step outside, American soldiers continue to die on almost a daily basis, and the death toll of Iraqi civilians is fast approaching two World Trade Centers". [This Modern World]

Remember, WMD were what the war was about. Remember also what UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said. And remember what the Bush regime replied.
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Yesterday, I received a parcel from the Axis of Evil (it came from Belgium, and the sender emigrated to Belgium from Iran), and now that I have removed and unpacked all the 48 bottles of Belgian beer specialities that were in it, I have this huge carton filled with thousands of polystyrene parcel fillers (what do you call these things anyway?). Neither do I have any idea what to do with them, nor do I know how to dispose of them properly -- they take up an awful lot of space, and I'm not sure if they can be disposed via the normal garbage collection.

Haldur Gislufsson bathing in polystyrene flakes

Well, Haldur Gislufsson likes fooling around with them and has fun taking polystyrene baths. But I really don't have the space to keep the box as a toy bathtub for Haldur. If anybody living in Vienna has use for a huge box (approx. 75x50x55cm) filled to the brim with green polystyrene flakes, please contact me.
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On TheNation.com, Senator Robert Byrd talks about truth. He's also talking about the Bush regime's relationship with truth. As you might have expected, it's one of the many things they're totally clueless about. [thx zoo; via Quarsan]
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Monday, May 26, 2003

I'm looking for new software to manage my blog. Radio UserLand simply isn't up to the task anymore. I need something that can easily be used with Mac OS X, that supports trackback, multiple archive formats and multiple authors and that is less buggy than Radio. Any ideas?
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Gary Turner: "The first rule of Hair Club is; you do not talk about Hair Club. Second rule of Hair Club is; you do not talk about Hair Club." [Momentary Lapses Of Dilution]
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A look at Daypop today would suggest that blogging is about embryos growing in livers, girls rescued from washing machines, the Eurovision Song Contest and taking photos inside Starbuck's. Is it? Makes me wonder if blogs aren't slowly turning into some kind of online yellow press. Of course I can't tell people what they ought to be writing about, but much of what I read isn't touching me any longer.
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The Guardian has a special report on Food: Why we eat this way.
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Sunday, May 25, 2003

Marathon

The Vienna City Marathon took place today. I went with my faithful Canon EF (of 1973 vintage) and a few cartridges of black and white film, so I can't show you any of my pictures here yet. Joseph Chebet of Kenya won in 2:14:49 hrs. He ran like a machine. It was both impressive and frightening.
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When Salon.com features an article that links to a site like this, does this tell us something about their rumoured financial problems or does it just tell us that their content is going downhill? And what does the fact that I'm blogging about it tell you about me and my dirty imagination?
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Somebody left a rude message in the guestbook of my Vienna Subway site. It read (in German, and without asterisks):
F**K YOUR MOTHER, YOU SON OF A WH*RE
I'm not sure why they posted this message in the guestbook. It doesn't sound like the average complaint that you'd send to your subway operator, nor does it make sense to post it in the subway guestbook if they want to address it to me. I guess whoever sent this was just a psycho or very, very angry, though I'm not sure about what. Maybe they didn't know it either. Now that the guestbook has been online for six years without a single rude message, it was bound to happen sooner or later.
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Some people seem to be worrying about the future of this weblog. There is no need to. If I'm not referring to George W. Bush as "Dubya" it's because there's no point in doing so. If I write less about things that I care about less, it's because I want to keep my blog interesting. And criticising changes to my blog that haven't even happened yet seems, well, premature.

Also, there seem to be a few people who don't believe that I was serious when I said that I was flattered when Glenn Reynolds called me a "crackpot". I am totally serious. Being called a crackpot by a university professor who seems to be spending most of the day at his computer blogging doesn't seem like much of an insult. Besides, I've been called worse things by non-blogging university professors.
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Bye
Michael Koch and Allan Moult have stopped writing their weblogs. Sounds like they need a cat, too. They'll be missed.
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Saturday, May 24, 2003

Things that made me happy during the past few weeks that I couldn't blog about until now:
  • Saw Yo La Tengo live in concert. 150 minutes of pure bliss, despite huge plaster cast on my arm.
  • Got 23(!) get-well wishes from the readers of my blog because of the huge plaster cast on my right arm.
  • Met a couple of friends I hadn't seen in a long time. They were quite impressed by the huge plaster cast on my right arm.
  • Huge plaster cast on my right arm was removed. Yay!
  • Talked to a lot of cool bloggers whom I had never met in person before. Some of them inquired about the huge plaster cast that was no longer on my right arm.
The one bad thing that happened was, I guess, that said huge plaster cast got onto my right arm before all this.
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Now that I started blogging again after a 3-week absence, I think I need to shift the focus of my weblog. I've grown tired of President Bush, even if he's saluted by teletubbies. If he didn't have enough nukes to bomb humankind into oblivion several times, he'd be the laughing stock of the entire world (except perhaps some parts of the USA) anyway. It's time to write about serious things instead. Also, I probably need to read fewer news sites and other blogs. The freshness that I feel (which you can hopefully read between my lines) comes from being significantly less depressed by other news. Ignorance is bliss.

It's times like these when I wish I had a cat. At BlogTalk yesterday, Martin Röll joked that some people thought weblogs are by definition about cats. Apparently he didn't believe it, but he was wrong. Every good weblog has a cat. I really need a cat. Only I'm allergic to cats so I can't have one. Which is why I'm having a serious quality control problem here.

[Actually, one of the points made at BlogTalk was that blogs should be about things that the author cares about. What I really want to say here is that I consider those people happy who care more about their cat than about President Bush. It won't save them when the Button is pushed (listen to the MP3 file), but they probably have a happier life until then.]
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The organizers missed one thing: the people here at this conference want to talk. With each other. And there's no time or place for that, nor any kind of infrastructure to organise after-conference meetings. I could (and wouldn't mind) showing people around the city, but I had to leave early today and found it quite impossible to get into contact with everyone later. It's odd how all these bloggers fail to blog even the slightest trace of where they are...

[Here follows a lengthy post about the nature of weblogs inspired by today's talks at BlogTalk; it's more my opinions than a summary of what the panelists said, so read on].

One, Rebecca Blood on how blogs seem to form self-replicating clusters (or echo chambers) with other, likewise-minded blogs, so that similar ideas and attitudes are repliacted and reinforced instead of allowing the exchange of different viewpoints and perspectives. Very true. I had a similar point in the paper that I submitted for the conference (which wasn't accepted, but that doesn't matter, as Rebecca's is better).

David Weinberger has a good summary of Rebecca's talk, in which he agrees and disagrees.

I say: It's not a phenomenon that's limited to blogs. In real life, you also mostly hang around with people that you feel comfortable with. You read the newspapers that comes close to your own political standpoint. While I don't think that blogging is journalism, I do think that blogs are media, and with the multitude of blogs that are emerging, it would seem odd that you should choose to read those that you can't easily identify with; so while the blogosphere has created a multitude of published opinions, it is ironic that it should be exactly this multitude that give syou the possibility to read blogs that reflect and reinforce your own opinion. Look at this blog. Look at a couple of warblogs. Nuff said.

Rebecca mentions two blogs that were created with a multitude of opinion in mind, and for the first time I can see an application for weblogs that actually makes perfect sense -- as a medium acting as both a news site and at the same time as a mediator between people of different backgrounds and different opinions. Cool.

Phil Wolff asks: when will there be a blogging backlash? I say: it's coming. Read Niek's comment to yesterday's first post to get an idea. There is a growing uneasiness among the blogging masses about what the blogging gurus are saying. Even here at BlogTalk, I noticed, when talking to other people in the audience, that most of them think the blogging phenomenon has been blown way out of proportion. There is doubt how far blogs have really progressed (and how far they can progress) beyond being personal news sites (or diaries). Blasphemy!

Or not. I agree with what David Weinberger said yesterday that the Internet was not a bubble; instead it was IT companies trying to push certain commercial uses of it that were the origin of the bubble. Yes, the Internet is all about communication, not commerce. But there is a definite bubbliness about what the weblogging elite and weblog software developers are doing now, i.e. pushing blogs into certain directions and pressing them into molds that aren't readily accepted by the majority of users.

Yesterday, Maria Milonas mentioned that in Poland blogs are mostly c-logs (i.e. about community and communication). I venture to say that apart from the small blogging elite, that's also the case in most other countries. They may be growing into other uses over time, but they're not really there yet, and you won't be able to push people into directions they don't want to go.
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Friday, May 23, 2003

I can't believe it. Today, PapaScott tells me that while I was incapacitated and separated from the blogosphere by a huge plaster cast, every blogger's dream had come true for me -- I was InstaPundited. And I hadn't even noticed. What a bummer.

Yes folks, it's finally happened -- Glenn Reynolds himself mentioned me on his website and called this 'umble site a "crackpot Austrian blog". I'm flattered. Seriously. Unfortunately, he just mentioned me, but didn't link to me. He only linked to another warblog that mentions a couple of news items I relayed a month ago, which make Erik, the author, call me "a smart enough guy", albeit with "a blatantly paranoid anti-American streak".

Now while calling me "smart" makes me forgive Erik for not reading my blog properly, I will not forgive Glenn for calling me a "crackpot" and then not even linking to me -- especially if you consider the huge number of other crackpots he's linking to on a regular basis. The whole thing brought less than 250 visitors to my blog; that's ridiculous. When I called Steven Den Beste a Klingon last year and he picked up on it, I got some 1600 hits that day. Now that's more like it.
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Moderating this afternoon of Blogtalk was good fun -- you can sit out there on the panel and act cool without having to be afraid that you're making a fool of yourself (at least not for anything you say -- you can if you get into an intense session of picking your nose). Met a few cool people, most notably Scott and Maria and one of the Ha/eiko Hebigs, though I'm not sure which of the two.

The panels were, well, not bad, but I felt that apart from David Weinberger, who emanated a Steve Jobs-like reality distortion field, they were interesting, but not entirely convincing. Yes, I'm a weblogger myself and I think blogs are cool, but I still have doubts about the usability of weblogs in the real world, and none of the panelists today managed to convince me otherwise. David almost had me, until I realized that all he said about weblogs was also true of UseNet newsgroups, and these have been around for a long time.

David Weinberger has a list of all blogs reporting from BlogTalk.

Still, it was good fun, and I'd like to have a few drinks with a few people tomorrow or Sunday evening, but after almost ten hours, I gave in today and went home. I'll be there tomorrow morning as well (as listener only), but most probably not the whole day.
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Thursday, May 22, 2003

One of the sponsors of BlogTalk sponsored a get-together of the keynoters, panelists and other VIPs at a Viennese wine tavern this evening, and most people seem to have a had a real good time -- so much that a couple of them almost missed the last chartered bus back into the city.

As is the Austrian custom for events like this, I arrived late, and while I was still pondering at which table to sit down, one darkly-clad woman said, "we're talking about Nigerian scam spams -- have a seat" (yes, it was none other than Rebecca Blood herself). Famous German weblogger Jörg Kantel was also there, but as I'm having a hard time warming up to a lot of people at the same time, these two were basically the only two I was talking to. On the other hand, two celebrities in one evening should be more than enough for such a very very 'umble weblogger as myself.
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Plaster cast is now off. However, moving my arm is still somewhat painful (considerably more so than with the cast), and typing feels strangely odd -- the movements of my fingers on the keyboard hurt in my wrist and elbow, so there'll be only low-key blogging here until the pain gets better.

Those who had wanted to identify my by my cast at BlogTalk are out of luck -- you'll have to use my picture or my kind of prominent position on the panel on Friday afternoon instead.
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Friday, May 16, 2003

Just to tell you I'm still alive, I've still got the plaster cast on my right arm, and I still can't type properly. The cast is scheduled to come off next Thursday, so regular blogging on this site should resume in time for the BlogTalk conference. See you then.
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Wednesday, May 7, 2003

First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who posted a get-well comment! I can already feel the healing effect of 21 people (so far) expressing their sympathy. The pain is almost gone now, it's only certain movements that still hurt a bit, and it's nowhere near as bad as in the beginning, when I tried to have dinner and almost fainted from the pain. It's just the huge plaster cast that's a major annoyance, especially as they abolished Spring a few years ago and we've now got some 32°C in Vienna - oh and yes, I have to do pretty much everything (like type this) with my left hand, which is NOT fun, I tell you.

To stop speculations about how it happened, no, I did not beat up a bunch of spammers, as Quarsan suggested (even though that might have been a more honourable way of ending up like this). Here's a picture of the culprits:

my inline skates

It was not a speeding accident, mind you - I was only marginally faster than walking speed. It was a case of failing brakes, though - I was a bit too fast for a narrow 180° curve, and for some reason, the brakes failed to slow me down sufficiently. Even then I was very slow, but I fell somewhat unluckily - yet luckily enough not to need an operation usually required by this type of injury.

As I mentioned last time, the plaster cast will stay on for at least 3 weeks - so if you come to the BlogTalk conference, you'll probably recognize me immediately - just look for the guy with the plaster cast.

Finally, I'll close this with three observations about life with a plaster cast:

1) Once you are wearing a plaster cast on your arm, you suddenly start noticing a lot of other people also wearing plaster casts on their arms (at least 4-6 per day).

2) Since I stopped writing my weblog (for obvious reasons - I'm already getting a cramp in my left hand from writing this), I also stopped reading other people's blogs. For the moment I'm putting it down to my inability to operate the mouse properly, but there could be something else behind this, which would support my theory of the blogosphere as a self-perpetuating microcosmos.

3) Ever notice how often you use your right hand? Well, now that I can't do it properly, I notice. Play this game: on a normal day, try counting the instances whenever you touch something with your right hand. You'll stop pretty soon, because otherwise you'd do a lot of counting.
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Sunday, May 4, 2003

plaster cast

Yes, this is a plaster cast. Yes, it is on my right arm. Yes, it hurts. And I'll spare you the details. This is just to tell you that at the moment I'm somewhat incapacitated. I can't really type all that well, and operating the mouse feels like acrobatics.

Don't expect a lot of updates during the next three weeks. Actually, there might not be any at all.
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Saturday, May 3, 2003

What do you call a person who has 35 weblogs? My suggestion is "obsessive-compulsive". Konstantin calls it "sad". [via WorldWideKlein]
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Capt. Skippy:

Bush saluted by Teletubbies in primetime photo-op. [Craig's BookNotes]
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Some Google searches, while almost reminiscent of poetry, might actually result in making people paranoid. But maybe that was their intention in the first place.
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What is it with those penis enlargement spams anyway? I mean, the rate at which they keep coming in seems to imply that almost every man wants a larger penis. This in turn would mean that almost every man thinks his penis is too small. However, if almost every man thinks so, doesn't that mean that their penis size is actually pretty normal?
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Another article on spam, this time from Salon.com: Spam problem worse than imagined: "If there are not immediate improvements implemented across the board by technologists, service providers and perhaps lawmakers, e-mail is at risk of being run into the ground."

Here's an interesting observation made by myself: I recently checked an e-mail account that I hadn't used in the past two or three years. It contained 872 unread mails, and all of them were spam.

More interesting than the number of spams, however, was the fact that up to February 2003, incoming spam was extremely sparse - one or two per month perhaps. There were no incoming mails at all between November 27th, 2002 and February 8th, 2003.

Then came February 9th, 2003. Something happened on that day that started a barrage of spam: three new spams on February 9th, four on February 10th, no spam-less day at all and and a steady increase in the number of spams per day, up until more than 40 spams on May 2nd. Basically, you could say that over 850 of the 872 spams arrived in the last three months.

As I said, I never used this address in the past two or three years, and only very rarely before that. You can't even find it with Google or any other search engine. So there's either some new address harvesting tool, or spammer 1, who had sent occasional spam, went out of business in November last year and sold his address lists to spammer 2 in February.

Either way, I'll just leave that email account alone. At the rate of spam increase, it should be full in a few months and then hopefully reject new incoming mail.
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Who will they attack next? Canada or Syria? [thx jenett.radio]
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Friday, May 2, 2003

In the toughest move to date against unsolicited commercial e-mail, Virginia enacted a law imposing harsh new felony penalties on spam, including prison time.

OK, so where's the rest of the world on this?
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Bob Harris explains how the media use passive voice to obscure unpleasant news. But then "Tense Standoff Between Troops And Iraqis Erupts In Bloodshed" sounds a lot nicer than "U.S. Troops Fire On Iraqis; 13 Reported Dead", doesn't it? [This Modern World]
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"Listen," said the threateningly affable defense secretary, "wouldn't you expect a man like Saddam to hide his weapons of mass destruction? Last time I checked, hidden means you can't find them. In fact if we could find them, it would be proof that they weren't hidden and consequently proof of their nonexistence because we happen to know they are hidden."

President Bush's National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, is now acknowledging that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program is more difficult to establish than the White House portrayed before the war. Rice described the WMD programs as being "in bits and pieces" rather than assembled weapons. "You may find assembly lines, you may find pieces hidden here and there," she said. She also had a new explanation for Iraq's ability to launch these weapons that were not assembled. "Just-in-time assembly" and "just-in-time" inventory, as she put it.

Satire? Reality? Who can tell the difference these days? You decide. [via Radio Free Blogistan and This Modern World]
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Gavin: I think I am suffering some 'blog-fatigue'. [GavinsBlog]
Niek: Let's all stop blogging. [shutterclog]
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Tony Blair has to pay for taking part in a war that many people didn't want: Labour lose more than 700 seats in English local elections. Labour lost control of 29 English councils including Birmingham, the country's biggest council and a Labour stronghold for nigh on two decades. The BNP wins 11 new seats; the Tories gain 500 seats. [Guardian Unlimited]
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Thursday, May 1, 2003

Th' Faith HealersMy oldest website, the one about Th' Faith Healers has been online pretty much unchanged since 1996, and current browsers were beginning to show my poor knowledge of HTML syntax back then.

So today, I finally cleaned up the HTML mess (it now validates) and thus got rid of the layout glitches in Mozilla and Safari. At the same time I tried to preserve the site as much in its original form as possible - after all, it was my first website, and nothing else from that time has survived. Funny, in those seven years, th' Healers site never even got a major redesign. I still like it.

Th' Faith Healers were a seminal if obscure band from London in the early 1990s, by the way. They only released two albums before they disbanded in 1994, but those are pure genius. Have a look.
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The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
LevelScore
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very High
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Very High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)Low
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Low
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Very Low

Whew. I made it into Purgatory, but it was pretty close, I think. To find out where in the underworld you'll end up, feel free to take the test yourself. [via Greengrl]
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Almost forgot: here's the song of the day (MP3, 548K). [thx Jörg]
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Apparently baboons are not as dumb as some people think, whereas some people, notably one particular car driver, are a lot dumber.
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Steven Frank just found out that, in Safari, if you click on a link using the middle (scrollwheel) button on your mouse, it opens in a new tab. Brilliant! [~stevenf]
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So you thought that new sporty car of yours increases your manliness? Think again. Italian scientists from the University of Naples have found out that traffic pollutants have an adverse effect on male fertility. [via Der Standard]
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In what amounts to a football miracle, Austria actually beat Scotland 2-0 yesterday. I had not been aware that Scottish football was in such a bad state that our not particularly glorious team could beat them this easily. As the Glasgow Herald writes today,
Placed 61st in the world rankings, Austria are two spots behind Scotland, though that pecking order is about to swiftly change. In between both teams in 60th place are those giants of soccer called Zimbabwe, and things could hardly be worse if the SFA suddenly fixed up another hapless friendly and rolled out the red carpet for Robert Mugabe.
Somebody is angry there, and I can't blame them.
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The American Scientist published an interesting article on The kindness of strangers, summarizing the results of an international study on how friendly and helpful city dwellers all over the world are. Interestingly, Vienna came in fifth in the list of international cities, and first in the list of European cities. This is rather remarkable, as everyone here keeps complaining how grumpy and unhelpful people are compared to everywhere else. Maybe they just conducted the wrong kind of test.
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© Copyright 2003  Horst Prillinger, 

Last update: 28.07.2003; 18:34:26 Uhr

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