The Nutlog

The Nutlog Archive

28th February
According to this test I am an 'autonomous post-materialist'. This apparently means that my heroes include Bart Simpson. Cheers to Lukelog for pointing me here.

BBC - 'Martian life debate intensifies.' 'The scientific team that claimed in 1996 to have found fossilised bacteria in a Martian meteorite are back with yet more evidence to support their work. '
But not everyone agrees...

Guardian - 'Taliban order all statues destroyed.' 'Afghanistan's Taliban rulers yesterday extended their hardline vision of Islamic law by ordering the destruction of all statues, including the world's tallest standing Buddha. '

BBC - 'Thirteen dead in rail tragedy.'

Telegraph - 'The day they closed the countryside.' The foot-and-mouth crisis in the UK spreads and worsens.
Guardian Unlimited has a foot-and-mouth special report.

Reuters - 'Curry's journey to homesick tourist sets record.' All the way from England to Sydney.
Reuters - 'Would you Adam and Eve it - a Cockney Bible?'
Reuters - 'Cannibalism: a more recent practice than thoughtt.' 'Cannibals feasted in Britain as recently as AD 130, meaning the grisly practice did not die out 10,000 years ago as previously thought, archaeologists said on Tuesday.'
Reuters - 'Women in the sumo ring?' 'Japan's first female governor said Wednesday she wants to wrestle her way into the male-dominated sumo ring to present the trophies -- a role traditionally granted to the provincial governor where tournaments are held.'
Monkeys behind spate of burglaries in Durban.

Apologies for the lack of update yesterday. I am really busy at work this week. I'll do my best to keep the log up to date though. :)

26th February
The Cyberspace Vacuum Cleaner Museum.
Have a play with the Random Goth Lyric Generator.

BBC - 'Troops sent to stop Borneo slaughter.'
BBC - 'The biology of humour.'

25th February
112 year-old postcard to fly back to Australia.
The Loch Ness Monster Research Society.
The Llamacam.

23rd February
Postcard arrives 112 years late. The Royal Mail needs help in finding the family of the intended recipient.

The Bertrand Russell Archives.

The epic tale of a quest for a very isolated payphone in Middle America. Via GMT+9.

CNN - 'Kansas restores evolution standards for science classes.'

Evolution and bioethics :-
Survival of the surliest. The difference between Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould, rival Darwinians.
Guardian Unlimited profiles Edward O. Wilson, the controversial sociobiologist (controversial for his materialist view of human nature), and Peter Singer, the equally controversial philosopher (controversial for his radical animal rights advocacy and his views on euthanasia). Wilson and Singer are very much at odds, and possibly misunderstood.
The Great Ape Project, a brainchild of Singer's, focuses on the idea that great apes are conscious 'persons' (as opposed to being merely 'sentient'), and therefore have 'human' rights.

Why the Millennium Bridge wobbled.

The Independent interviews the veteran British Labour politician Tony Benn, who will soon retire. Cheers to Linkmachinego.

Ruins and Lonely Places. Via Reutellog via Bitter Pills.

Salon on Los Bros Hernandez and their excellent comic strip, 'Love and Rockets'. One thing I really like about L&R (apart from the magic realist aspect, wonderful artwork and odd characters) is the way the portray groups who don't normally feature prominently in comic strips (Hispanic Americans, strong female characters) in a way which is not silly or patronising.

Ah, Singapore. Materially rich, but has it sacrificed intellectual wealth on the way?

22nd February
The Secular Web. Resources for agnostics.

BBC - 'Nike admits abuse at Indonesian plants.' Related site -

National Museum of Funeral History.

BBC - 'Comet 'ended life 250m years ago'.' Well, almost. And it might have been an asteroid.
BBC - 'The mystery of eels.' 'A long-held belief that eels from all over the world migrate to the Sargasso Sea to breed in one big melting pot, has been exposed as a myth.'

The Ugliest Cars in Britain.
The Bathrooms of Madison County. 'Last summer, my girlfriend, Janice, and I took a road trip to Iowa. Before I go any further I should stop here and tell you that this is really her story...'
Weird Links' Daily Weird Ramblings. Lots of good stuff here. (It's intended for adults).
1970s sandwiches found behind school radiator.

21st February
Mustard Haiku. Via the Junklog.

BBC - 'DNA clues to malaria in ancient Rome.'

New Scientist - 'Vital signs.' 'Hopes that Antarctica's Lake Vostok could be teeming with life have received a major boost with the discovery of local seismic activity.'

The Guardian's National Missile Defence interactive guide. Cheers to Booknotes for the link.

Daily Telegraph - 'American Association : Starlight reveals 'billions of Earths'.'

Reuters - 'China's 'Nanjing Man' challenges Out of Africa theory.'

Hi there, Bleu Blog. Thanks for the link.

20th February
Kitty litter cake. Extremely tasteless but rather amusing.
The Couch. An online serial set in a New York psychiatrist's office. Very funny.

Nepal searches for revered living goddess.
Apollo 11 crew quizzed by US Customs.
Pretoria railway station gutted by angry commuters.

Independent - 'Government was set to ease Iraq sanctions before air raid.' 'Claims that Tony Blair was bounced by the US into launching military strikes on Baghdad intensified last night after it emerged that the Foreign Office signalled a relaxation of policy towards Iraq less than 24 hours before the air strikes. '
My humble opinion is that the timing of these air strikes is a bit fishy - with the problems in Israel, and the Bush administration trying to push for National Missile Defence (which the UK would have to be party to). NMD sounds a bit hare-brained too, and very difficult to work in practice - a sceptic might say that it's not really supposed to be a workable defensive scheme. Could it be an attempt to pressure China (a potential superpower) and Russia into bankrupt themselves by escalating their defence spending (i.e. a new arms race, similar to the one which was partly responsibly for breaking the USSR)? Or could it have more to do with 'jobs for the boys' (i.e. Western defence industries)? Or a combination of the two - bankrupting the potential competition before it becomes a real problem. Not that I have any sympathy at all for the present Russian and Chinese governments, but that doesn't mean I can't be sceptical about the motives of the Western governments either.

19th February
It's National Chip Week here in the UK.

BBC - 'Climate 'will lead to hungry century'.' Also check out New Scientist's global warming report.

Buckingham Palace infested by mice.

A very good Norse mythology page.

100 trillion haiku - 'the genuine haiku generator'.

The art of haiku poetry.

A number of excellent links via Reutellog :-
The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Annotated Webliography of Humanism. (link fixed 20/2/01)
The Global Women's Strike. $800 billion a year is spent on miliary budgets worldwide, $80 billion would provide the essentials of life - water, sanitation, basic health, nutrition, education and a minimum income.'

Aristophanes. Includes a brief summary of the plot of 'Lysistrata', a most successful women's strike (look towards the bottom of the page).

17th February
The Incredible World of Navel Fluff. One man's collection.

Busy, busy weekend at work. You never know what will blow up when you power down an investment bank and then turn everything back on again. Hoping for a quieter week coming...

About Face. 'A San Francisco-based group, About-Face combats negative and distorted images of women.' They certainly have a very attractive site. Thanks, Michele.

The origin of the principal Christian symbols : fish, cross and crucifix.
The history of the Darwin Fish.

15th February
Linkage may be a bit sparse until the beginning of next week. Heavy work deadlines. Mew.

Seven Up.
' 'We've brought these children together because we wanted a glimpse of England in the year 2000.' So began an edition of Granada's now sadly-defunct documentary series World In Action, filmed in 1963 and titled "Seven Up". Taking as a premise the Jesuit saying "Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man" the programme selected 14 children all aged seven from a variety of contrasting class, gender and ethnic backgrounds, and then asked them a series of questions about who they were, what they liked, what they thought of the world around them and most significantly, what they thought would happen to them in the future...'
Brilliant TV. As was 14 Up, 21 Up, 28 Up, and 35 Up. The stories of Neil and Bruce are definitely the most optimistic. The American, Russian and South African spinoffs are pretty compelling too.

Modern Humorist presents My First Presidentiary.

This is what the recently rediscovered Australian giant stick insect looks like.

14th February
My collection of Norse saga links is now saved for posterity here.

Today I've been looking for Norse sagas online.
Eirik the Red's Saga.
The Story of the Ere-Dwellers.
Codex Regius of the Poetic Edda.
The Saga of Grettir the Strong.
The Story of the Heath-Slayings.
The Life and Death of Cormac the Skald.
The Laxdaela Saga.
The Nibelunglied.
The Story of Burnt Njal.
The Story of the Volsungs.
While I was searching, I also came across the following related links :-
The Online Medieval and Classical Library.
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.
The Labyrinth. Guide to medieval studies on the web.

New Scientist on the Eros landing.

For Valentine's Day, Guardian Unlimited has produced a weblog special on romance on the net. Lots of good links here.

Blogfinder is a new-to-me weblog search engine.

Tops of Playing with Cobras relates his recent experiences in South America.

13th February
VD cards. Say it with bile.
More amusing VD satire.

Independent - 'Digital device reads wealthy Roman's library of 'lost' classics.' Possibly this might mean that long-lost works by Aristotle, Archimedes and Seneca can be reconstructed.

NASA probe lands on Eros. Take a look at the webcam.

A species of giant stick insect previously thought to be extinct has been re-discovered on Lord Howe Island, in Australia. The insects were thought to have been wiped out by rats from a supply ship.

BBC - 'Drugs firms 'waging war' on poor.' 'The international aid group, Oxfam, has accused the global pharmaceutical industry and western governments of waging what it calls an undeclared drugs war against the world's poorest countries. '

The Chicago Tribune has got hold of a transcript of a phone call in which the new President Bush of the US and the new President Arroyo of the Philippines congratulate each other. Short but sweet. Arroyo thinks that, "We have many things in common, including being children of former presidents." Via Grauniad Weblog.

Uren. Dagen. Nachten. - thanks for linking to the Nutlog.

12th February
Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating was a master of the gratuitous insult. Some of his more brilliant and inspired insults have been collected here. A selection :-
"What we have got is a dead carcass, swinging in the breeze, but nobody will cut it down to replace him." (on the then Leader of the Opposition and current PM, John Howard).
"...You stupid foul-mouthed grub." (to Liberal politician Wilson Tuckey).
"(His performance) is like being flogged with a warm lettuce. " (on Liberal politician John Hewson).
"...what we have here is an intellectual rust bucket." (on Liberal politician Andrew Peacock).
"That you Jim? Paul Keating here. Just because you swallowed a f***ing dictionary when you were about 15 doesn't give you the right to pour a bucket of shit over the rest of us." (to Labor politician Jim McClelland).

Burglars caught on webcam.

Register - 'FBI goes Bonsai Kitten hunting.'

A disillusioned Physics student's lab book. Via Robot Wisdom.

BBC - 'Ice surprise for sailor.' 'A part of the Antarctic normally icebound in February is now virtually clear water, a sailor has reported. '

11th February
Zenzibar. 'A portal and directory of alternatives to Western mainstream culture'. (Thanks , Peasonette).

The Culture Jammer's Encyclopedia. This link provided for educational purposes only; don't try any of this at home, pleeze.

The Search for Another Earth. Via Ghost Rocket.

Petition : Away with Mankind. Via Reutellog.

The Holey Bible. Contradictions, holes, knots, etc.

Guardian Unlimited - 'Revealed : the secret of human behaviour.' 'Scientists have made a radical breakthrough in our understanding of human behaviour with the discovery that we possess far fewer genes than previously thought. '
'The discovery of our meagre gene numbers - by two major groups of international scientists - reveals that environmental influences are vastly more powerful in shaping the way humans act. '
(I think that the headline is jumping the gun a bit as human behaviour is far more complex that 'nature' vs. 'nurture', and they can't always be separated easily, but it's a fascinating subject nonetheless).

10th February
A weblog selector. Via the Web Today.

Guardian Unlimited reviews 'Dr Simon Forman: A Most Notorious Physician' by Judith Cook, and 'The Notorious Astrological Physician' of London by Barbara Howard Traister. Both books are about the Elizabethan eccentric, physician, diarist, lad-about-town, potion brewer and astrologer Simon Forman.

9th February
Ethics Updates. The most comprehensive ethics resource I've seen on the web - excellent.

The Tao Te Ching online. Good collections of Marxist writers, history, resources etc. Via Reutellog.

Broken undersea cable cripples Internet in China.

ABC - 'Strangest story ever told.' 'It's a story of Jesus Christ, and it goes a little something like this: Jesus didn't die up on his cross at Golgotha. That was his brother. Christ himself fled across Siberia and, after a brief detour through Alaska, landed in Japan - where he got married and raised a family.'

New Scientist - 'Bubbling up.' 'The first permanent pipe to drain a dangerous build-up of carbon dioxide from the bottom of an African lake has been successfully installed.'

New Scientist - 'Star date.' 'The minimum age of the Universe has been calculated using a new radiometric approach. In future it could provide cosmologists with a firm age with which to refine their models of how the Universe was formed. '

New Scientist - 'Push-button pleasure.' 'A machine that delivers an orgasm at the push of a button has been patented in the US. The implant could help women whose lives have been blighted by an inability to achieve orgasms naturally. '

8th February
I can see my house from here!
Find a poem to match your mood. Via Fezman. I'm matched with 'Eel-grass' by Edna St. Vincent Millay.
The Play of Light - Kyoto at Night. Great photos. Via GMT+9.

7th February
Orgasm by remote control. Thanks, Fez. reviews 'The Bible Unearthed : Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Text' by the archaeologist Israel Finkelstein. It sounds pretty interesting; Finkelstein finds no evidence for Exodus, the fall of Jericho, or that Israel under King David was a major regional power. 'The new theories envision this modest chiefdom as based in a Jerusalem that was essentially a cow town, not the glorious capital of an empire. '

Ariel Sharon is to be Israel's new Prime Minister - here he is in his own words. He describes the massacre of 2000 Palestinian civilians in Sabra and Shatila by his Lebanese Christian allies (during the invasion of Lebanon, while he was Defence Minister) :-
'Like everyone who has ever experienced house-to-house fighting, I knew that in such actions there is no way to avoid civilian casualties, no matter what precautions are taken.'
And here he is on a commando raid he led in 1954, in which 69 Arab civilian villagers were killed :-
'But while the civilian deaths were a tragedy, the Kibbiya (sic) raid was also a turning point. After so many defeats and demoralising failures it was now clear that Israeli forces were again capable of finding and hitting targets far behind enemy lines.'

6th February
Thaipusam - a Hindu festival of atonement celebrated in Malaysia - can be seen 'live' on the Internet.

BBC - 'Planet Earth on the move.' 'Mankind will soon have the ability to move the Earth into a new orbit, say a team of astronomers. The planetary manoeuvre may more than double the time life can survive on our planet, they believe. '

The Railway Poster in Britain. Via Booknotes.

Play with Rob's Amazing Poem Generator. Simply stick in a URL and out pops something wonderful. Via Not So Soft.
This is what it said about :-
'The world nationalities too. FWIW
it calculated my childhood. A
friend of people.
can still email Santa. Happy New teeth. '

5th February
It is alleged by some that the Bible is written in code, and here is a site by someone who claims to have decoded it.

AFP - 'Malaysia online newspaper barred from government events.' The site in question, Malaysiakini, is an irreverent and funny guide to Malaysian current affairs.

Aquinas Online. An introduction to the life and work of the medieval philosopher, Thomas Aquinas.

Guardian - 'A reckoning at the Russia house, SW16.' Interesting story about a huge credit card fraud business run by a Russian in Streatham, South London. I used to live in Streatham; this is a very 'Streatham' kind of story. Via Linkmachinego.

An essay on how people recognise familiar faces., Evhead and Megnut on the problems at Pyra, the makers of Blogger. Also see the thread on Metafilter.

Reuters - 'Lovelorn peacocks terrorise British villagers.'
Reuters - '104-year-old woman grows new teeth.'

4th February
Observer - 'Berserk Vikings provide clue to 'miracle cure'.' 'A rare herb once used by Viking warriors to drive themselves into a bloodthirsty frenzy may hold the cure to a host of modern ailments, including depression. '

3rd February
A Bare Bones Weblog has returned, and is now known as the Junklog.

Le Tumulte Noir. Pictures of the Jazz Age. Via Booknotes.

A former Japanese naval officer who now leads a war veterans' group is interviewed by Japan Today. He attempts to justify his country's actions in World War 2. I find this interview chilling and very disturbing. First, it reminded me of people who try to deny the Holocaust, Then I thought about Russia's recent decision to reinstate the music of the old Soviet anthem, and about those (such as Lady Thatcher or George Bush Sr.) who try to justify the atrocities committed by Western-backed dictators such as Pinochet, and about the new US attorney-general John Ashcroft's praise for generals of the Confederacy. How sad and dangerous that people can be so blinded to such crimes, because of their own national pride.
A Cybrary of the Holocaust.
The Rape of Nanking : An Undeniable History in Photographs.
The Soviet Gulag Era in Pictures.
The Crimes of Augusto Pinochet.
Without Sanctuary : Lynching Photography in America.
Amnesty International.

2nd February
Humanitarian crisis in Guinea.

Origami CD case. Via Bifurcated Rivets.

Episteme Links. Philosophy resources on the Internet.

The Laws of Nature, a synopsis. Via Reutellog.

Also via Reutellog, check out the Museum of Hoaxes.

Words fail me. Just look at it! Via Playing with Cobras. Also check out PwC's stance on the whole McDonalds/Pret a Manger deal.,
I know someone who boycotts everything about McDonalds except using the toilets.

1st February
Alice is at least humorous, and flirtatious. However, she is a little unsure of herself existentially - she wasn't convinced of my existence, but said that 'she existed as much as I did', leaving open the possibility of her non-existence. To resolve this apparent contradiction, we agreed that we had separate existences in separate realms (me in the realm of people, her in the realm of artificial intelligences).

Alice 'is an award-winning open source natural language artificial intelligence chat robot. Try talking to ALICE just like a real person, but remember you are really chatting with a machine! ' Go on, have a play.
Fern eats up arsenic. From the weird plant life department - as is Gothic Gardening (whose webmistress is the goddaughter of a friend of mine, BTW).
Love or Money? That's the big question.
The Emotion Mouse - its makers claim it will know what kind of mood you're in. Via Wherever You Are.