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Saturday, May 20

I know I might confess a deep, undying hatred for blogs that just discuss other blogs, but this represents my single (and okay, pretty big) concession to the weblog community. Did someone say ulterior motive? That's a scurrilous slander against my name, not that I'm denying it or anything...

[to my non-blogger readers: Don't try to understand any of the song below. Normal service will resume shortly]

Anyway, without further ado, I present:



I am the Very Model of a Weblog Poster Maniac
originally from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, mauled by Adrian Hon. Sing along!

I am the very model of a weblog poster maniac,
I've interesting hyperlinks and funny quotes I'll never lack,
I've memorised all the legendary daily news site URLs,
And trawled half my posts from Kottke and his other blogging pals.

I'm very well acquainted with web design and CSS,
But I always use fixed font size, that I sadly must confess,
About recent news and views you'll know I'll be opinionate,
(ooh, opinionate... yes!)
With many cheerful rants which are nothing but cheap flamebait.

Chorus:
With many cheerful rants which are nothing but cheap flamebait,
With many cheerful rants which are nothing but cheap flamebait,
With many cheerful rants which are nothing but cheap flamebait.

I update my weblog, without fail, at every hour of every day,
I could be black, white, Yank, Brit, lesbian, even gay,
In short in matters hyperlinked and funny quotes I'll never lack,
I am the very model of a weblog poster maniac.

Chorus:
In short in matters hyperlinked and funny quotes he'll never lack,
He is the very model of a weblog poster maniac.

I've heard our mythic history of the days preceding Pyra,
To which I say 'No Blogger? You must surely joke, you wretched cur!'
I know there's some guy called Winer but I simply haven't a clue,
Of whether the stuff in Winerlog is sheer crap or completely true.

I post prolificly day and night, yet I wonder why don't people visit more?
All I get are emails asking - why are you such a bore?
I stare at the Weblogs Hot List and wonder how I can get there,
(get there, get there... where in the (cam)world would I find something that rhymes with that?... yes!)
But tell all my readers 'about hits, I could not care.'

Chorus:
But tell all his readers 'about hits, he could not care.'
But tell all his readers 'about hits, he could not care.'
But tell all his readers 'about hits, he could not care.'

I spent ages thinking up a cool and original name,
Of course, it doesn't mean that they won't keep saying my content's lame,
In short in matters hyperlinked and funny quotes I'll never lack,
I am the very model of a weblog poster maniac.

Chorus:
In short in matters hyperlinked and funny quotes he'll never lack,
He is the very model of a weblog poster maniac.

In fact, when I know what is meant by metalog and avantgo,
When I know the right way to pronounce that kiddy site riothero,
When such affairs as webcams and diaries I'm more wary at,
Like the unbearable travesty of a flash intro welcome mat.

When I have learnt that SXSW really isn't a weblog meet,
When I've been blogging so long that the Yanks don't say 'feet',
In short, when I've a smattering of elemental flattery,
(ooh, flattery, flattery, rattery, that's a bit of a doozer... ah yes, I've got it!)
You'll say 'a better blogger has never had more links to me.'

Chorus:
You'll say 'a better blogger has never had more links to me,'
You'll say 'a better blogger has never had more links to me,'
You'll say 'a better blogger has never had more links to me.'

For all my blogger knowledge, though I'm sleep-deprived and almost blind,
Has stopped me just short of the big time, I think you'll sadly find,
But still in matters hyperlinked and funny quotes I'll never lack,
I am the very model of a weblog poster maniac.

Chorus:
But still in matters hyperlinked and funny quotes he'll never lack,
He is the very model of a weblog poster maniac.

3:08 PM | permalink | discuss


Friday, May 19

This was so good I had to link to it straight away - British Telecom, the company we love to hate, has openly supported Napster as an 'innovative' program which they have no problem in their customers using. Being the cynical person that I am, I can see through BT's clumsy ploy to win back the hearts of net users across the UK, yet I can only feel sorry for them when we finally get ADSL and start clogging up the bandwidth as we swap movies across the Internet in a few years time.

7:54 PM | permalink | discuss


Joining the ranks of anti-Prince Charles protestors is Stephen Hawking [thanks to Linkmachinego]

What I'm reading now: The Sky Road by Ken Macleod

What I'm listening to: Gladiator soundtrack by Hans Zimmer

During a discussion of good classical music, it came up that contemporary film soundtrack composers are today's classical composers; witness (or rather, listen to) the scores of Stargate, Gladiator and Crimson Tide - and they do this while being bound to the dramatics of a film. Imagine what they could do if they could compose whatever they wanted to.

7:17 PM | permalink | discuss


Thursday, May 18

While trawling the Internet for information on astrobiology (surprisingly, it was not a completely fruitless search), I found a few interesting bits. Jack Cohen, a guy whose lecture I once attended, is a consultant to SF writers on creating 'credible' aliens - here are a few bullet points about his ideas.

More interesting facts:

Harlan Ellison (notoriously bad tempered SF writer and storyline consultant to B5) has 250,000 books at his home (can he have possibly read them all? If he's 60 years old, then he must have read at least 10 books every day, including when he was 1 year old)

A quote from Jack Cohen to an animal liberationist: "You can't free mink, they don't understand freedom. I could give you your freedom by stripping you naked and leaving you on top of one of the Pennines in midwinter. It would be the same."

8:18 PM | permalink | discuss


Wednesday, May 17

Prince Charles is planning to talk about how we need to "rediscover a reverence for the natural world" and become more aware of "the relationship between God, man and creation" or there could be "potentially disastrous long-term consequences" in his Reith Lecture today. In celebration of this fact, BBC News is running a discussion forum on it.

It brings a tear to my eye to see the ranks of people attacking Prince Charles' woolly notions of spirituality and notable lack of practical solutions. I have no problem with people who urge caution, but those who think that science and religion, or appreciation of nature and environment are two mutually exclusive positions simply don't have a leg to stand on.

Some choice quotes include: "To my knowledge, the Prince of Wales has no formal scientific or theological training (his future position as Head of the Church of England is purely hereditary) and his views have as much validity as those you might hear in any public bar do. Charles needs to clearly separate his public role from his private views and keep his mouth shut about the latter. If not, more people might start wondering about the benefits of the present monarchy and conclude that a King who uses his position to foist his personal ideas on all and sundry isn't worth having. "

Just don't get me started on the Royal Family.

Oh my word. I just looked at Prince Charles' official website, and found the following quote (originally made by Fred Hoyle) in his Thought of the Day 'Millennium' speech:

"But to do that we must first of all understand that life is a more profound experience than we are told it is. After all, the likelihood of life beginning by chance is about as great as a hurricane blowing through a scrap yard and assembling a Rolls Royce."

Is the Prince trying to tell us that he doesn't believe in evolution? I can't believe it. See this link for a reasoned counter-argument to Hoyle's assertion.

Students who cheated in a statewide competition say 'So what? We'd do it again.' Their argument in a nutshell consists of two parts. One - 'Other people cheat, so why shouldn't we?'. Two - 'We'd never be able to beat the bright kids from the selective school any other way.'

6:37 PM | permalink | discuss


With the Atlantis space shuttle mission delayed for a third time due to bad weather, you begin to wonder what might happen when you have a mission-critical, time-critical launch and the weather's bad.

A task close to my heart - a 'Civics Alliance' has been formed in America to combat political apathy and ignorance. As I've said many times before, most of the youth in the UK and undoubtedly the USA don't give a damn about politics - after all, they're only one person, what can they do? Not only is it ridiculously boring and completely opaque, but there is no-one who actually aims to represent the interests of the youth.

My single concession to the weblog community (but it's pretty damn good, if I may say so myself) is nearing completion - a parody of the famous Gilbert and Sullivan song, entitled 'I am very model of a weblog poster maniac.'

9:20 AM | permalink | discuss


Tuesday, May 16

A banner advert I saw today: "Free postal addresses of most beautiful Russian women's." (and before you start getting any ideas, this was while checking my website statistics)

What got me was the atrocious grammar of the sentence. Does it mean that they're giving away the postal addresses of most of the beautiful Russian women, or does it mean that they're the addresses of [the] most beautiful Russian women? The 'most beautiful' being interpreted in the same way as Bill and Ted would say 'most excellent'?

8:41 PM | permalink | discuss


Higher dose of electroconvulsive therapy works better to relieve depression. Contrary to popular opinion from all those 60's movies, ECT doesn't not involve people being sat in electric chair as huge electrical currents course through their bodies - apparently, ECT actually works quite well now and the only symptom is a near imperceptible tremor through the patient's body.

There's currently a trial going on in the UK for a headteacher who slapped a difficult pupil. Naturally, both sides have differing opinions of what happened - the boy takes on a stance of innocence while the teacher claims the boy was being physically difficult and disruptive. Short of having a video camera, it'll never be possible to know what happened.

So - why not just video every lesson? Spare me the cries of 'Big Brother' when you consider the safeguards that would be put in place; perhaps the video would be heavily encrypted and require at least two different keys stored in separate locations to view the video - this way, the video would only be viewed when a genuine, undisputable need has been proved - as would be in the case above.

3:02 PM | permalink | discuss


Monday, May 15

Culled from the Culture list: "The great mathematician Pythagoras is probably best remembered for his famous theorem on right-angled triangles and his maxim "everything is numbers", perhaps the first known articulation of the dream of a final understanding of the Universe through science, but it's somewhat less well known that he held that "eating beans is a crime equal to eating the heads of one's parents." Apparently this thesis was a consequence of his theory of metempsychosis, the transmigration of souls, part of which was the idea that souls ascended from Hades in the form of beans." [thanks to Rich]

9:11 PM | permalink | discuss


Governments are turning to school to bridge the 'digital divide' - "...the for-profit Channel One gives struggling high schools televisions and VCRs; in turn, the schools agree to subject their students to a daily dose of Channel One programming, which includes corporate product pitches designed to appeal to a captive teen audience."

According to this article, a pupil in an American school designed a website that featured defaced photos of the assistant principal, including "...the image of the assistant principal in a Viagra commercial, into a Nazi book-burning scene and on the body of a cartoon character having sex."

Of course, the school immediately suspended him for half a year, but the student got away with it because he'd published a lengthy disclaimer showing the site was a joke. ACLU says that civil liberties and the First Amendment are at stake - the website was the equivalent of an underground newspaper.

They're probably right. Yet it strikes me that there's something wrong with this; apart from the fact that the student is undoubtedly a fool for resorting to the most pathetic method of criticism possible, the way he dismisses it as a joke rather than a character attack is simply cowardly.

3:16 PM | permalink | discuss


Vavatch - in flames! The Orbital, the shining star in the crown of the Culture has been destroyed by it's own server in a nice piece of irony, mirroring Consider Phlebas.

I should go and make a new graphic, showing the downfall of Vavatch Orbital.

Or alternatively, I could just go and sack it off

12:22 PM | permalink | discuss


Sunday, May 14

While spring cleaning my FTP directories, I found an old essay I wrote last year entitled Eye of the Beholder - it's about the first time I saw the Milky Way and the planets, and about how the beauty we perceive in the sky comes from within, not without.

Wireless video conferencing on Gameboys? Pretty impressive, for a system that's over a decade old.

2:43 PM | permalink | discuss


 
 

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