The Nutlog

The Nutlog Archive

10th April
Tower of London housed medieval zoo.
Crossroads to make a comeback? Crossroads was definitely one of the silliest programmes ever to grace British TV screens... worth resurrecting, especially if you have a strong sense of irony!
Actually, Blake's 7 is pretty silly too. But it's fun. Great!
What's going on in Iraq? The BBC on sanctions etc.

Asylum row warning. Britain has a long and even noble tradition of taking in political exiles from around the world, from the French Protestants of the 17th century to eastern European Jews in the early 20th century to Ugandan Asians in the 1970's. However, the rhetoric of the tabloid press and the Conservative Party concerning recent asylum seekers from eastern Europe (including many Kosovar Albanians) seems to be on the point of stoking xenophobia. It is certainly a long way from the decent, civilised values of such intelligent Tories as Edward Heath or Harold Macmillan. Tony Blair's Labour government should beware of falling into the trap of trying to wave the flag harder than the Conservatives. The Labour Party was founded as a party of social justice, to stand up for the weak in society. Fairness, generosity and pluralism are Labour's core values, and it should never lose sight of that. It's ironic that many of the people speaking up for the conscience of the country in this whole debate are Liberal Democrats - a party which was once middle of the road, but which has now become rather radical.

9th April
What a nice stamp.

8th April
Sorry for the lack of updates for the last couple of days... dealing with electricians... should be ok now (fingers crossed).
The Sex Pistols on film.
A sad farewell to Bernie Grant, one of Britain's first black MPs and an inspirational figure.

6th April
Ethical monkeys.
Chile's plans to save the world from global warming.

5th April
An alternative Barbie site. Surreal and funny!
A weblog from Costa Rica.
The more I see of the TV series Farscape the more I like it... it's quite thoughtful, even challenging, as far as TV sci-fi goes.

4th April
Monkeys who think. Via Robot Wisdom.
Just reading up about the 911 virus/worm/whatever...
The FBI advisory on the 911 worm. - 'No hoax, but did FBI hype the 911 worm?'
For the benefit of those of us outside the US, '911' is the US emergency number - like '999' in the UK.
BBC - UK 'to approve therapeutic cloning' of human embryos for medical research.
'Art Hirst and foremost'. From the BBC - avant-garde artist Damien Hirst's sculpture Hymn 'has angered Hull-based company Humbrol, which fears the art work is a direct copy of its Young Scientist Anatomy Set.' Bet this is going to be great for sales though.
Is your surname written in your DNA? An Oxford scientist took DNA samples from volunteers sharing the surname 'Sykes'; half of the group shared four unique sections of DNA which were not found in the control groups. This suggests that the Sykeses have a 'common founder', the ancestor of the entire clan. I can imagine the uses for forensic scientists... imagine finding out the surname of a criminal just by looking at a DNA sample! I guess this is probably less likely to work with the more common English surnames, such as Smith or Brown, where there is probably more than one 'founder'. It would also be interesting to do the experiment with surnames of other nationalities, for example Spanish or Chinese surnames.
This could be the start of a whole new science - 'Sykology' ;).
La Marianne's official website.

3rd April
I very much approve of The Stalking Victims' Sanctuary.
Great pictures of Mount Etna 'blowing gas rings'.
The Galaxy Builder game looks a lot of fun.
The latest issue of History Today looks good, and contains, among other things, an article about eighteenth-century black Britons.
A page devoted to Laetitia Casta, the new Marianne.
Chimpanzee tales. Via Robot Wisdom.
Online biography of Noam Chomsky. Via Robot Wisdom.

2nd April

What's your Buffy code?
Nepalese Buddhist art.

1st April
The British government is sponsoring a torture reporting handbook, distributed worldwide by British embassies, for people who are victims of torture and for human rights groups, to help to bring perpetrators to justice or at least public attention. You can download the handbook from here and here is a news story about it.
Innocuous racism. This story makes me sad and angry.
By tradition, April Fools' Day is when British newspapers plant spoof stories to catch readers out. Here are a few of them. I particularly like the story in The Independent about scientists developing a wonder drug to boost the libido of sexually inadequate pets; the Drudge Report actually linked to it. Was Matt Drudge really taken in by this? Other spoof stories include an email stamp, fat absorbing socks (Fatsox) for the overweight, and a device for paging cows at milking time - the Call Operated Wireless Pet and Animal Terminal, or COWPAT.
April Fools on the Net.

31st March
The Karma Sutra of Pooh.
The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.

30th March
Which Simpsons character are you? I'm Marge...
Two new Saturn-sized planets discovered.

I decided to shamelessly filch the following links from the wonderful Ancient World News today :-
Sandstorm eats army.
The sad story of the moa.

29th March
I grew up in a village called Wombourne. I'm so glad it's got a net presence now. It's not too far from the Baggeridge Country Park.
Angry passengers burn train over delay.
One hundred names of God. Via Robot Wisdom.
Scientists zero in on 'sweet tooth' gene.
British school bans Harry Potter. Pretty silly if you ask me.
The thirteen Illuminati bloodlines. Via Robot Wisdom. What a bizarre, bizarre conspiracy theory.

28th March
US scientists seek birth control for cockroaches.
Ancient scripts of the world. Via Bifurcated Rivets.
European Union to investigate Echelon. Via Drudge.
Salon article on the pitfalls of weblogging.
Vavatch Orbital rants entertainingly on Harry Potter and the rabid fundamentalists.
You can now email Vladimir Putin with your thoughts. If you are concerned about the war in Chechnya or any other issue, you may like to let him know this (politely of course).
Other interesting websites of various governments worldwide include :-
the White House, the US Congress, the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the Russian Foreign Ministry, the European Union, the UN, the British government, the French President, the French Prime Minister, the German government, the Japanese Foreign Ministry, and the Vatican. Many of these websites include facilities for leaving messages or emails, should you feel the need.
This RetroRaunch looks good... it's really only suitable for adults. You have been warned.

27th March
Spuddy. This was my ISP for _years_ - free (a novelty in those days) and run by an Internet enthusiast. What a gem. It's feline-run too.
A sad farewell to Ian Dury.
Have the historical sites of the Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah been found in the Dead Sea?
Nude Women's Institute members come clean. And here they are again. In a good cause, too.
Senior Japanese economic planner says laughter may help the economy.
Pedro Almodovar won an Oscar for a film ('All About My Mother') I actually liked!
French odour police on the warpath.

26th March
Bhutan gets its first cybercafe.
The Russian presidential election is happening today. Vladimir Putin is almost certain to win. I don't really like him; I suspect that he's an opportunist, and very ruthless (i.e. Chechnya). Putin's principal opponents are Gennady Zyuganov of the Communists and Grigory Yavlinsky of the liberal Yabloko party. The maverick nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky is also standing. There is a host of other minor candidates too. Anyway, the following links may be of background interest :- Putin's website, Zyuganov's website, Yavlinsky's website, the Moscow Times and the BBC's Chechnya coverage.
Project Censored. Items which should have made the news but didn't. I have read a couple of the Project Censored books; this is great. Via MonkeyFist.
The sysadmin purity test. Via GMT+9.

25th March
Just finished reading 'The Planet Dweller' by Jane Palmer, which I bought secondhand; unfortunately I couldn't find a decent synopsis on the web, probably because it's out-of-print. It was published by The Women's Press, which published a fair selection of high-quality science fiction written by women, both with and without a feminist message. I think this is a great, funny book, with a nice underlying message, and the underdog wins out in the end. The Mott, the most greedy and power-mad species in the universe (very aggrssive and not too bright, with no moral sense beyond their own narrow interests, but with the biggest and nastiest toys; remind you of anyone?) are searching for new worlds to possess. They have enlisted the help of the genetically-engineered and psychopathic mad genius Kulp (who is an Olmuke; the Olmuke are almost as nasty as the Mott but with much less mean toys). They have decided to conquer Earth. Two unlikely characters must stop them - Diana (a middle-aged mother who hears voices) and Yuri (a rarely sober Russian scientist). The 'Planet Dweller' of the title is Moosevan, a benevolent superbeing who possesses the planet Earth, and who has developed a crush on Yuri. Other important characters are the Old Ones, ethereal superbeings who can possess the bodies of other creatures; they live in another galaxy and are many millions of years old, but have been summoned to help save the day by the Torrans, a species of basically benevolent cat-like aliens. I like this book a lot because it's very funny and is not too polemical; the characters and different species are quite well built up too. There is a twist in the plot at the end, when the Old Ones teach Kulp the better side of his nature (which had been suppressed by generations of genetic engineering) and he joins the resistance. Basically, power and technology do not add up to enlightenment; but good wins out in the end. A good read.

24th March
A web gallery of art. Via MonkeyFist.
Men should beware of the andropause!

23rd March
More educated apes. Via Vavatch Orbital.
Were there glaciers on Mars? In the New Scientist.
A great big monster iceberg!

22nd March
Are US navy sonar tests damaging the mental health of whales? Via Robot Wisdom, who found it on Drudge.
I found this interesting educational site about squatters.
Had a hard journey home from work? is a good site to go. (The Tube is a name for the London underground system, if you didn't know).
Zulu culture site.

21st March
Ellen's updating daily again.

20th March
A couple of nice links via GMT+9 :-
How to drink Guinness.
The Museum of Non-Primate Art.

19th March
A couple of nice bubblewrap sites today :). Enjoy!
This one is fun! and this one is maybe even better!
There is a Fighting Fantasy webring for people who haven't quite grown out of them...
Something interesting is that the gamebook known as 'House of Hell' in the UK and the Commonwealth was known as 'House of Hades' in the US. Was this for fear of a fundamentalist backlash, of the nature of Jerry Falwell's condemnation of Tinky Winky?

18th March
I used to really like these Fighting Fantasy gamebooks when I was a teenager.

17th March
Happy St. Patrick's Day.
Lots of good stuff about Monet.
Polite barn owls.

16th March
Implicit attitudes. A most interesting test.
The Earth Charter. Via MonkeyFist.
Mammoth cloning probably won't work. Via Ancient World News.
Malcolm McLaren quits London mayoral race, backs Ken.
Why sex is here to stay.
The Campaign for Dark Skies.
Reuters article about weblogs and webcams.
iTulip - the Internet stock mania parody company!