Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Now this is Gonzo Marketing.
Japan Today warns : Women who drink can be obnoxious !!!! :-)

Actually, the headline is hilarious. But I'm kind of shocked how sexist this is.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

The operation - engineering democracy through the ballot box and civil disobedience - is now so slick that the methods have matured into a template for winning other people's elections.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev

Saturday, November 27, 2004

How the Iraq body count project is counting Fallujah

Just a quick reminder for readers who've been off-planet for the last three years. Some time around the end of 2001 almost three thousand US citizens were murdered by terrorists, mainly from Saudi Arabia and with support from factions based in Afghanistan.

At this point, the US decided it had the right to unilaterally take pre-emptive action against any state that it decided was "supporting terrorism" or which "bred" or "tolerated" terrorism. (This pretty much covers any arabic or islamic state, given that all such states at least have connections with groups who are anti-Israel, and may be channeling money into the Palestinian resistance movement.)

Under this new rubric, and based on some false intelligence which they clearly weren't keen to question too much, the US (unfortunately supported by my own country, the UK) decided to invade Iraq. They declared victory after a short war which succesfully removed Saddam Hussain from power. But the politicians and planners were clearly unprepared for the realities of rebuilding the country. Worse, they appear to have been so blinded by their own self-righteous victim-hood that they either failed to forsee, or simply discounted the legitimacy of, any resentment this would inspire. And these lapses have allowed a swarm of semi-independent resistence movements to form, and the country seems to be bogged down in a guerrilla war.

At the point of writing (November 27th, 2004), according to the fairly conservatively calculated Iraq Body Count project - which counts civilian casualties according to an averaging of media reports - the number of Iraqi civilian casualties is around 15,000.

In other words, the current US (over) reaction is an escalation of 5:1.

So here's the question for anyone who still supports the war in Iraq on the grounds it's justified to protect the US against terrorism. If you're allowed a 5:1 escalation ie. it's OK to kill 15,000 of their innocents to protect 3,000 of yours. Are they allowed to do the same thing? Is (say) Iran justified in killing 75,000 US civilians pre-emptively if it thinks this will protect it from a similar fate (and loss of civilians) that Iraq suffered?

And, if not, why not?

I'm not asking if such an Iranian attack is possible or practical. After all, the invasion of Iraq probably hasn't made the US much safer. But assuming that this was a plausible hypothesis at some point, and that this 5:1 escalation was seen as justified, is a 5:1 escalation by Iran also justified?

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Microsoft tries to patent "not equals".

United States Patent Application: 0040230959

What the fuck can you say about this?

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Wanna know how white-hot, cutting edge we are at the university of Brasilia?

Yesterday Jon Udell posted his interview with Ward Cunningham and Jack Greenfield about Software Factories (see
ThoughtStorms: SoftwareSupplyChain for more details) ... and today I gave a talk based on the interview as part of my attempt to get a permanent job.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Nooranch domain back ...

ThoughtStorms: RecentChanges
BBC NEWS | Americas | Venezuela prosecutor feared dead
Hmmm. Nooranch domain (and therefore ThoughtStorms, Synaesmedia, Optimaes, TTD and SdiDesk wiki) seems to be down at the moment. Will keep you posted when it's back up.

Unrelated point : I wonder why I don't have adverts on the top of this blog anymore.
Philip Greenspun : Who would have predicted that bad weather, congested roads, and an absurdly high cost of living would lead to unhappiness?
So, thanks to Hilan, I just got back from the Gift Paradigm Conference in Vegas.

Lots of ideas and different perspectives there. I have a huge amount to write up about this. Probably pages on ThoughtStorms plus some kind of more coherent essay. Watch these spaces.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Interesting statistic : China produces 125,000 computer science graduates a year, while the UK only produces 5,000.

BBC NEWS | Business | Brown seeks out global challenge
Huh? Should we expect US potlatch in Falluja?

I think there's a strong need for a major military accomplishment, not as a panacea or culminating victory but to demonstrate military success to both sides,' one senior military officer said. Even if U.S. troops take more casualties in such an offensive, showing Americans are willing to pay the price to do the job 'sends a very different signal, and it's a very important signal,' this officer said.

This gets uglier every day. Continuous lunacy of faith based warfare in Iraq. Tensions Rise Across Ranks In Iraq As Troops Are Told To Gut It Out? by Elaine M. Grossman

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Meu deus! (As we say in these parts)

"The competence and compassion of my marines will mitigate any civilian casualties," said Lieutenant-Colonel Gareth Brandl when asked how he could control where all this firepower would be directed in the narrow streets and alleys of Falluja


"The marines that I have had wounded over the past five months have been attacked by a faceless enemy," said Colonel Brandl.

"But the enemy has got a face. He's called Satan. He lives in Falluja. And we're going to destroy him."

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Fixing the problem of Falluja

Saturday, November 06, 2004

By mixing elements of 80s nostalgia with mainstream hip-hop, crunk, dancehall, bhangra, Baltimore club and now even the Favela Funk of Rio Di Janeiro, Brazil, Diplo shines a light on genres and artists that are reshaping our conceptions of music and culture

Ho ho! Bhangra, Baile Funk, Dancehall and - well, assuming it's just the continuation of Deep South hip-hop like Three-6 Mafia etc - Crunk. Sounds good to me. Though a bit of Reggaethon wouldn't go amiss.

Diplo : The Stylus Interview - Article - Stylus Magazine
Andrew Coyne : Bush took 46% of first-time voters. He took 52% of college graduates. 48% of working women. 44% of those earning less than $50,000. 45% of those aged 18-29. Given these are conventionally supposed to be strongly Democratic demographic groups, it suggests the stereotype of Bush voters as middle-aged white guys is equally suspect.

Invasion of the theo-cons
John Robb :
China Checkmates the US in the Middle East
Flemming Funch : A predatory capitalist who has no moral but profit can only survive well in a certain type of environment. Which exists in abundance at this point. But if a sufficient number of people, instead of trying to pursuade him to change, will rather change the rules of the game, he'll have little chance.

Ming the Mechanic
Robert Cringely on the Iraq / Iran war in the 80s.

So I took a taxi to the front, introduced myself to the local commander, who had gone, as I recall, to Iowa State, and spent a couple days waiting for the impending human wave attack. That attack was to be conducted primarily with 11-and 12-year-old boys as troops, nearly all of them unarmed. There were several thousand kids and their job was to rise out of the trench, praising Allah, run across No Man's Land, be killed by the Iraqi machine gunners, then go directly to Paradise, do not pass GO, do not collect 200 dinars. And that's exactly what happened in a battle lasting less than 10 minutes. None of the kids fired a shot or made it all the way to the other side. And when I asked the purpose of this exercise, I was told it was to demoralize the cowardly Iraqi soldiers ...

Now put this in a current context. What effective limit is there to the number of Islamic kids willing to blow themselves to bits? There is no limit, which means that a Bush Doctrine can't really stand in that part of the world. But of course President Bush, who may think he pulled the switch on a couple hundred Death Row inmates in Texas, has probably never seen a combat death. He doesn't get it and he'll proudly NEVER get it.

Welcome to the New Morality.

PBS | I, Cringely . Archived Column

Friday, November 05, 2004

He has not designated a deputy or successor, perhaps fearing that an impatient heir apparent might be a threat to him.

This is absolutely Arafat's fault! If there's major chaos in the PLO after he dies he should be blamed. Same with Castro in Cuba.

Someone who holds on to the top slot until the last is a lousy leader. A good leader tries to build a system which supports and promotes the values she or he wants to instill in the community, and then leaves it to be continued by inspired and educated successors.

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Q&A: What follows Arafat?
BBC NEWS | Americas | Brazil minister quits in army row

The defense minister resigned? But isn't he the person in the best place to put a stop to this. Isn't he in charge of the army?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Doc Searles : The tough lesson for those of us on the Left is learning that those of us on the Right were no less connected — just a lot less obvious about it.

The Doc Searls Weblog : Wednesday, November 3, 2004
Surreal spam of the day :

Official U.S Goverement Program

cavalry urbanalice maggoty jacquesberman bryn cholinesterasederide hurley rocketstarlet animism mechanicnimble opportune bondcopenhagen belittle shuttlepasteboard decadent classicacquit nucleotide sonogrambernardino

Says it all, really ... :-(

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Surprise Announcement!

This blog endorses ...

George W. Bush

for president!

After all, who do you think we,out here in HateAmerica(tm)-land would like to inflict on you? Do we Brazilians, Chinese, Russians, IslamoFascists, EuroSocialists(WhoLetsFaceItAreOnlyOneWordRemovedFromHitlersNationalSocialists) want a strong America? One with the wealth and military might and moral authority to lead the world and tell us what to do? Think again.

Even America's most hated is, by cleverly pretending to promote Kerry, doing his bit for the cause.

Please, people, this is important. Tell everyone you know to get out there and vote for Bush, today. And if any sneaky, patriotic Democrats stand in your way, just show this proof that Bush was right about the Saddam / Al Queda connection and watch their tiny heads explode.in mushy liberal confusion.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Gilberto Gil : "A world opened up by communications cannot remain closed up in a feudal vision of property, ... No country, not the US, not Europe, can stand in the way of it. It's a global trend. It's part of the very process of civilization. It's the semantic abundance of the modern world, of the postmodern world - and there's no use resisting it."

Good Wired article on IP in Brazil.