OutSider Weblog

Thursday, November 29, 2001

Festung Amerika?

In this week's New Statesman, Andrew Stephen writes of how Bush has dumped America's core values. The place is now little better than a police state, and a non-citizen would have to be mad to go there...

Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Did you know that the Americans sank an Iraqi tanker on Sunday? I'd not seen it, but George Galloway mentions it (with some other worrying stuff) in this Guardian article: Harbingers of death in the Gulf.

Sunday, November 18, 2001

John O'Farrell in Saturday's Guardian on what happens when Anglican Fundamentalism takes off: School for sandals (it starts in Afghanistan, gets silly, and returns to the issue of faith-based schooling).

From the Guardian (via alt.peeves) this tale of the joys of vending machines at Manchester University. Although I don't quite agree with how CP Snow enters into it...

Wednesday, November 14, 2001

From The Register: Do-it-yourself Internet anonymity... I can't imagine anyone I know who would find this useful who doesn't already read el Reg, but...

Last June, the Guardian had a review of an earlier gig from the same tour: Mark Thomas on the rampage. The tour's still on until December 5 ...

Yes! From the Guardian: Ilisu dam in jeopardy as Balfour drops out. Now I wish I'd written up the Mark Thomas thing at the Queen's Hall nearer the time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2001

More from the Guardian's man in Rui Aab Salam: it seems there are two sorts of Taleban -- local ones are good, but the foreign ones are bad. And then there are the former enemies within the Northern Alliance; mujahadin, communists, former members of the army. The whole thing's ridiculously complicated and bound to blow up again if given the slightest opportunity...
And yet... The phrase "the best of enemies" comes to mind.

Who would have believed it? Pravda now has a fun section... Not to mention forums, and a bit of javascript to include their headlines on your own site. And they've picked up on the feline spy story, too (must be old news to them, though).

Friday, November 09, 2001

I guess it had to happen: the Grauniad reports on the race to find mafia's uranium bars before Islamist terrorists get them. Of course, this could well all be spin and propaganda... who knows?

Via Temple of Thee Lemur's "Don't cross the memes" page: a LEGO animation of "Camelot" from Monty Python and the Holy Grail"... Go there, it's silly.

Another obituary: Anthony Shaffer, playwright responsible for Sleuth and the script of The Wicker Man (and brother of the more famous - Amadeus, Royal Hunt of the Sun, Equus - Sir Peter). I hadn't realised that Forbush and the Penguins was one of his -- I caught part of it once, and was amazed. Oh, and he did a whole bunch of those Christmas/Bank Holiday-type Agatha Christie flicks. But I'll forgive him those for Sleuth...

Adrift in the Stratosphere?

From today's Guardian: Balloon goes up for first British space flight. It's not quite as daft as walking to the South Pole (or backwards for Christmas across the Irish Sea) in that there is some actual scientific purpose to this. But does have that delightfully British nutty feel to it.

But... wow! To sit, space-suited, on an open platform twenty five miles up, beneath a three ton balloon the size of the Empire State Building and use a solar-powered remote-controlled kite to photograph yourself against the curve of the Earth, and be able to see for almost five hundred miles... I'm sorry, it just presses my sensawunda button.

But these record attempts are strange -- when do altitude records become distance records? And is dressing something up as a sponsored record attempt the only way to pay for research like this?

But who cares? The adventure's the thing, and they're not ashamed to admit it...

Thursday, November 08, 2001


Blair Rules Out Bombing Pause. I guess I didn't expect anything different, but this is just so bloody wrong... I'm neither Christian nor Moslem, but surely even such a wishy-washy 'devout' Christian as Blair can understand that Ramadan has rather more significance than (say) Lent, in terms of how it's observed...

I wasn't going to post this today, but I'm unlikely to get near a machine on Sunday

"They shall not grow old, as we who are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We shall remember them."

Except that they have, and in a few years or so, we probably won't.

I was going to say something here comparing that war to the current unpleasantness, but instead something about Remembrance Day services at school. We had a cadet corps, buglers and a pipe band. All the old solemn imperialist hymns, and the tunes of glory. It'd have had a nasty jingoistic taste, if it wasn't for the fact that the school hall was the War Memorial, with enormous lists of names at either end, and around the walls, pictures of the ones who died.

The pictures from the early part of the war were much of a muchness. Young men, in full uniform, smiling, but obviously ready to go off on this great (or should that be "awfully big") adventure. Later, they looked younger and more serious. When I was last back, they looked like children. And now I find myself wondering if the pictures are still there, or if they ended up in a skip somewhere...

Damn, I hated that school, but some bits were more moving than others.

Wednesday, November 07, 2001

Mark Morford, of the SF Gate (whatever that is) has a column on Deadly Tweezers On Airplanes. Oh, and another interesting-looking one on The #$%*@! Media, And You...

Even the Evening Standard (that well-known lefty rag) is admitting here that something needs to be done about starvation in Afghanistan...

Blunkett will not limit scope of measure to terrorist cases

A piece in today's Guardian, titled Police get sweeping access to net data demonstrates the latest loss of civil liberties... Is there anything left to do but despair?