Monthly archives: January 2003

War of Words

This story has the air of an Ealing comedy about it, only with real deaths and shooting. Cambodia and Thailand came close to war this week after remarks wrongly attributed to a soap star were used to stir up old hatreds and prejudices.

….a newspaper reported that Ms Kongying said that the venerable temples of Angkor Wat, the most prized symbol of Cambodian national pride, belonged to Thailand.

Kob denies she ever uttered the insult. As the face of Miss Teen, a Thai cosmetics brand that is a best seller in Cambodia, she may have been the victim of a smear campaign by rival Cambodian cosmetics companies, hoping her alleged words would trigger a boycott.

Desktop Penguin

The first and, sadly, only time I used Linux was in 1996 when I was on a C++ course that was actually all about earning cash for the training providers. I’ve often wished since then that I had learnt more about it. I’m not brave enough to install it on my main machine, for fear of screwing up a double boot setup and the lack of desktop programs. The second problem, at least, is diminishing. As for the first, one of my aims for this year is to pick up a cheap old laptop and install the bare bones needed for writing- Linux and OpenOffice- so that I can sling it in a backpack and go write in Castlefield or out at the end of a summer ride.

Of course, what I really want to do is build a Beowulf cluster. Back at The Gas, after refurbishing the Manchester office, there was a room full of surplus equipment. It was like the King Solomon’s Mine of base units. If they’d only let me borrow a dozen or so…..

Show Me The Money! (Again)

The Guardian today discusses the moneymaking potential of blogs.

“Ninety-nine per cent of bloggers won’t make money,” says Blogads’ Henry Copeland. “But when we’ve got 10 million bloggers a couple years from now, I’m confident that 100,000 of them will be uniquely valuable to advertisers.”

Come on folks, I want to be part of the one percent! There’s a PayPal donate button to your left, click on it and tithe me some of your earnings. Go on, you know it makes sense.

A Letter to Europe – Especially the UK

Although I have been lacking in links to cool and new websites, things have taken a turn for the worse. Constantly in Edinburgh and across the company I work for, persons have been asking me if the USA represents my beliefs. Well, I guess can dispell the notions; but it becomes very iritating to be a voice-piece for the interpretation of American ideals. Ask not what you have done for your country, but ask why you have done it. I hate to use the allmighty arguement along the lines of comparison, but I do believe if more people had experiences abroad, especialy the economically underpriveldged, understanding and sympathy would be in the air.

Enough of my rant, things will get better post GW. If GW persists in power for another four years it is just a sign of popular discontent with crap econmic and social conditions. After one boom and bust cycle, my retirement might see one more. I hope to be on the good side.


I watched Seven Days In May the other week. In it, the Joint Chiefs of Staff try to overthrow the President of the USA because they don’t like his policies. I haven’t researched this story any further, but it tells of a very similar plan in 1933 led by some of the nation’s richest men. Bill GAtes organising a coup? Hmmmm…..

Earth X

Earth like worlds are likely to be very rare, based upon observations of known solar systems, but not impossible. Particularly interesting, from a universe building point of view, would be planets in an extreme ellipse around their sun- with exaggerated seasons- and planets ‘dispersed’ by the movement of larger bodies from the outer to inner solar system.

It ain't over till it's over

Whilst everyone is busy preparing for Iraq, there’s still a job to be done in Afghanistan.
Just think about the economics of the two sides in Afghanistan for a minute. A lot more Taliban/ Al Qaeda died than US soldiers, but it cost America millions of dollars. The Afghans used begged, borrowed or stolen equipment, costing practically nothing. In a price per kill equation they came out way ahead. The US could bankrupt itself throwing billions of dollars of ordinance at impoverished fighters the world over.

An Open Letter to America

I just spent the past twenty minutes reading the full text of George Bush’s State of the Union speech. He has made the case for a pre-emptive strike against Iraq without UN approval, and much more to my dismay refused to address the economic issues facing the American public forcefully. I must admit there were a couple of surprises, first his initiative of providing $16 billion to Africa for the fight against Aids. Although it does seem noble, lest we not forget most of the money will go the large US pharmeciutical companies that provide drugs to combat HIV. A hand-out to the poor is more like a back handed payment to the very companies that put him in office. The other important message was the continued use of tax cuts to provide economic stimulation. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but the republicans are about reducing the size of government spending, not increasing it. Back in Ronald Reagans days, the same payments to the wealthy were called “trickle down” economics. Something which didn’t work then, and by looking at GW’s first attempt, nothing has changed much.

A key thing to note about the US. It has gone from a surplus budget to over $300 billion in debt in just over two years. The sense of irony is almost too much to bear. Another article amusingly enough in the Washington Times points out that a local cable operator in the Washington D.C. area decided not to broadcast a series of 30 second anti-war movement ads before and after the speech. Mr. Bush stated again and again that freedom was the crux of American beliefs, but hey, you just can’t be negative on the Presidents big night out.

Do the American public really believe all this nonsense? For the most part, I think the answer is yes, and that is ashame. The worst part is it looks as though he will continue with his policies of favourtism and fear. Oh well.

This Little Piggy….

The EU has passed regulations requiring that pigs in their pens are given something to distract them and stop them chewing each other’s tails and ears. In other words, and for the sake of ‘isn’t Brussels silly part 3000’ they’re to be given toys.

The Government is not ready to recommend specific toys, however, because they know of no firm manufacturing playthings for pigs.

NationStates rules.

Ok. I have been playing NationStates online and I am only a new entrant, but my country, The Commonwealth of Ottotheo is remarkably like my home country. This game is worth the effort everyday as it is simple to play and allows you to model your rule on todays leaders! Just today my biggest employee group, the furniture restorers decided to go on indefinite strike until they receive a two year, 20% pay hike. Just like Tony Blair and the Fire Brigades, I just dismissed the issue outright. I will found out the consequences of my actions tomorrow. Play it now.

Will It Play In Peoria

The Independent sent a reporter to Nixon’s barometer town to see what residents thought of the war and the economy in the lead up to Dubya’s State of the Union today. Surprisingly, 90% of those questioned were against the war, a large number of them veterans.

Jack Bradley, a Korean War veteran and maverick Republican whom I find braving the frost on his daily morning walk, is even more forthright. “We’re going to go billions of dollars into debt, and to save what? A pile of sand?” he asks. “Korea was the forgotten war, and I’m afraid this war in Iraq will be a forgotten war, too. It will create a massive explosion in the Middle East and only make people more inclined to hate us. If we don’t rein in our imperialist tendencies, I think the US is on the same course as the Roman Empire.”

Calling the poodle.

Amazing. Get up this morning read the Washington Times online and there is an commentary about Mr. Blair and his potential loss of government for sticking with Mr. Bush against his own peoples wishes and European dissent. This coming from an extreme right wing US paper makes for a very interesting read.

Now according to that high-class, intelligent read the Sun, Kylie Minogue is starting up her own lingerie company. Not a bad bet for the girl voting most beautiful backside of 2002. Seeing as the resident Webmaster has a thing for War, I found an interesting article about how one of the most famous hoaxes of WWII may have been solved.

Now I have never played videogames, but pals at seanbaby have put together a list of the top 10 naughtiest video games of all time. Funny how I never ended up with any of these titles at Christmas time.

I remember back in the early 1990s America was worried about the amount of US investment by the Japanese. People were Japanese paranoid, thinking that no american would own any of their own land if things kept going. If anyone can recall, a book in 1992 was published, “Rising Sun”, which highlighted US fears regarding Japan. Hell, it was even made into a motion picture. Well, Well, Well, my how things have changed. Forbes magazine reports the Japanese interest rate fell below 0% over the weekend! Errr, how does an interest rate go into the negative? Hahahahahahahahahaha. What losers the Japanese are.