OutSider Weblog

Saturday, June 30, 2001

A longish, and somewhat academic piece on the Eleusinian Mysteries... Seems to be some other good stuff on the guy's site, too, about tenure problems (to say the least) at the University of Evansville.

Friday, June 29, 2001

Just in case I lose it again, Despair, Inc. are the people who do the piss-takes of the inspirational posters a certain type of office has too many of. Have a poke around.

(Talking about inspirational posters, we've currently got a large wall covered in bits of A4 with inspiring quotes on it...

One of the two men behind Usenet, Jim Ellis, has died aged 45. I've no idea where I'd be today if it wasn't for Usenet, and perhaps someone else would have invented something very similar around that time, but all the same...

Could this be true? Did Blair really appoint the wrong e-Minister? One can hope the mistake will soon be rectified...

Who needs electronic tagging? According to this piece in The Register, 3G phone owners are doing it to themselves... Needless to say, it's more RIPA Madness.

Has an amateur philosopher solved the Mystery of Life, the Universe, and Everything? Probably not, actually, but The Mystery of the Millionaire Metaphysician makes seriously interesting reading, although I'm not quite up to ploughing through the monograph itself [From Lingua Franca, via the Guardian weblog]

Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Comparisons, as they say, are invidious. However, it's difficult not to compare the Bulger and Lawrence approaches to grief and bereavement. Okay, maybe Charlotte Raven goes too far in her rampant scousophobia, but even apart from her slant, there's a very visible difference between the "String'em Up!" lot and Neville Lawrence's "If I can change just one child".

"And finally..." Well, a strange animal story, anyway. It would appear that an ostrich farm in Penrith has acquired a Shetland pony/zebra cross. I rather liked the comment from the British Horse Society spokeswoman who said they wouldn't recommend creating such a hybrid, unless you wanted a striped shetland with huge ears and a vile temper...

It'd never happen here. In the last fortnight, more than two million people have signed up for the Japanese Prime Minister's email newsletter "Lion Heart" [again from the Guardian].

From today's Guardian: Asian Dub Foundation in Brazil. Sounds like they had a cracking time...

Tuesday, June 26, 2001

And having seen Cats In Art, how could I not link to it [via the nutlog, as was the Stone Pages link above].

Stone Pages - A guide to European megaliths: Not just the "big name" stone circles, but lots of other places, too. No sign of the Carnac site, though, so I guess I must've misremembered that one.

Here's a collection of Stonehenge Media reports...

A Trans-Atlantic Tunnel! Hurrah!: Experts Plan 2,300mph Rail Tunnel To The US. Again, from today's Grauniad.

Another scary article by Paul Foot in today's Guardian with more reasons why the Police are looking forward to even more of our civil liberties rotting away.

The MegaPenny Project starts with a single (US) penny, and steps up to a pile of a quadrillion (via blackbeltjones.com). In its own way, almost as boggling as the Powers of Ten page I mentioned a while back (Thursday, May 10, 2001).

I guess it wouldn't be too good an idea to spend much time looking at the MegaPenny Project before bucketing for a Beltane Fire Society Busk...

Monday, June 25, 2001

I read this book more than thirty years ago, but the whole story (or at least the first half) all came back to me as I dozed on the way back from Stonehenge. Does anyone else remember "Bran the Bronze Smith", -- Or better yet, has anyone got a copy for sale?

Yaay! The Sun's not gone out after all... They've solved the missing neutrino problem. And if neutrinos have mass, then that probably means the Universe isn't going to keep expanding forever, too... [New Scientist]

Quite appropriate news to come back to from Stonehenge and the Summer Solstice busk..

Sunday, June 17, 2001

From today's "Observer" comes another story with a scarier title than is perhaps merited: Drug 'munchies' are a health risk.

Friday, June 15, 2001

Part two of yesterday's Guardian article by Nick Davies.

The Tale of a Toucan: what can one say, but "awwwww"....?

Thursday, June 14, 2001

Pictures of stone circles from haddock.org...

It looks very much as if the lack of decent beer in Australia is beginning to have a more-or-less predictable effect...

Make heroin legal? In the first of a two-part series, Nick Davies argues that the disease and moral collapse associated with class A drugs is due to criminalisation, not the drugs themselves [Guardian].

Strangely enough, this article also explains the prevalence of blind blues singers...

Tuesday, June 12, 2001

I wonder, if the Yale/C-AIM Web Style Guide has the importance for web designers that Strunk and White (or Gower, I'd guess, for us Brits), why I've never heard of it. Still, it looks interesting enough, and may well be vaguely educational. On the other hand, apart from a couple of comments about an upcoming book, the site seems to have been designed in the days of the level 3 browsers, and considers the level 2 browsers to be 'recent'. Is this carrying backward compatibility too far?

Newbie Network looks useful -- a whole bunch of PHP and MySQL/PostgreSQL stuff and rather a lot of useful links, too. [Indirectly via My 2p]

Thursday, June 07, 2001

Ah.... here's the "who do I vote for" link. Unlike how2vote (below), this one tells me I'm split equally between LibDem and Green (surprised me, rather) with 2% Tory and about 20% Labour making up the rest. On examination of the questions, it's the cloning one that gives you a chance of being Tory whatever answer you give (because it's not a party issue, yet). This site also collects a bunch of extra information, so "I have my suspicions"...

Wednesday, June 06, 2001

This site, Pylon of the Month, is just plain silly...

I really hope it's a spoof...

From Vavatch Orbital comes this link to a Political Compass. I don't think it's the first try at a non-linear political mapping (Charlie Stross had one that had at least three dimensions, once) but it's quite neat.

I was rather surprised, though, to discover that I'm down in the bottom left corner, with Gandhi, Ken Livingstone and Tony Benn -- especially after the how2vote.co.uk quiz (or is there another similar one?) told me I was a liberal democrat -- but then, it seems to have told almost everyone that. Something dodgy going on, I think...

Unless, of course, the LibDems are more libertarian and more left wing than New Labour. But how could that have happened?

Tuesday, June 05, 2001

Another pleasant surprise: Nic Farey's online fanzine.

Ah... This is what an article on Flash interface usability should be like. Is it just the authorial tone, I wonder?

And am I missing the point completely, or is this piece on Developing User-Friendly Flash Content really an awful warning about using Flash at all?

Death of the Websafe Color Palette: Film at Eleven.

I'm not quite sure I believe everything in this article. In particular, I think the authors miss the difference between indexed colour maps and colour maps where the colour RGB values map directly to electron gun intensities -- but this might be because I'm behind the times.

They certainly miss one of the major problems with dithered colour: you can't tell where the browser is going to put each pixel, so you get quite horrid looking jaggy lines.

I've worked on sites where the colour scheme has come from a "print" style sheet (these were often sites where the original design was done in that well-known web development tool "Photoshop") and getting them to look good across a range of platforms and browsers was comparable to reaching absolute zero.

My conclusion: use what you want in jpegs of photographic-type images, but stick to the safe palette for text, background colours, and the gif/png files that make up your chrome...

And the rest of the Library of Congress exhibition.

Yay! More colour pictures of Czarist Russia by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. (Once again, via rasseff).

Coo! Chaos Magick in a nutshell on Barbelith... Time to dig out the other magic(k)-related links.

And here's the Zero Wing FAQ explaining the origin of the "All Your Base" meme.

Which reminds me of the latest sighting: a t-shirt saying "All Your Boys Are Belong to Us". Obvious, when you think about it, I guess.

Oh dear, Oh very oh dear... I suppose it was only a matter of time: All your vote are belong to us. (From The Reg).

Skipping away from politics and the election for a moment, Edinburgh Celtica have a bunch of photographs of this year's Beltane celebration, and a link to the Beltane Fire Society site (which should have the official photos fairly soon).

It was quite a family event for us this year, with Tara being one of the White Women, Jenny running the bucketing, and I was doing my usual torchbearing -- Sometimes it feels horribly like a new-age-y equivalent of the traditional "active in the kirk" family...

Also in today's Guardian, Hugo Young suggests we can keep Blair on the straight and narrow by voting for the Lib Dems. I'm convinced, mainly because the they seem to be the only mainstream party that actually seems to give a damn about the increasingly authoritarian direction Labour are going in.

However, as I'll be voting in Scotland (more precisely in Edinburgh North and Leith), I'm probably more likely to vote Scottish Nationalist.

Bastards! I knew that PFI was bad, but I had no idea it was this bad. George Monbiot's column in the Guardian today shows that for all the increased money spent on the NHS, there are actually less beds available than when Labour came to power... And where has the money gone? Three guesses.

Admittedly the whole PFI scam was started by the Tories, but our beloved government were quite happy to keep it going... Again, bastards!

Interesting... If I update at just the right time, the GBlogs Gateway doesn't seem to notice I've updated.

Um. On looking at the GBlogs FAQ, it's not impossible that I never did the registering thing... Oops.

Monday, June 04, 2001

Found on rasseff, and spinning off a thread there: What Is The Most Important Invention In The Past Two Thousand Years?.

I really need something better than Google for reading netnews with when I'm away from home. Or maybe not. Knowing my luck, as soon as I find a civilised method of newsreading, I'm finally going to have loads of useful stuff to do instead...

Oh yes, and this all seems to be working again.