Weblogs from Norway, Rotterdam, and the Caribbean.
The Huntingdon Archive of Buddhist and Related Art. Highly recommended.
Long list of male and female names from many cultures.
Breaking news from the ancient world. Via Meme Pool.
Recent astronomy pictures include - a big black hole floats by, the Bubble Nebula, a striking full moon. Via NASA.
Interesting New Scientist article. Did interstellar clouds give a kick-start to evolution?
Coelacanth. Via Bifurcated Rivets.
Arguments against creationism. Loads and loads of info. Via www.mrbarrett.com.
Everything there is to know about anthropology. Via www.mrbarrett.com.
Donate up to 3 1/4 cups of staple food for free at the Hunger Site.
Striking celebrities photo gallery. Via Robot Wisdom.
Metascene, a thoughtful weblog. Lots of good links.
Huge photo gallery of Bombay red-light district. Via Metascene.
Martin Luther King's letter from Birmingham Jail. Via Metascene. (It was Martin Luther King Day in the USA earlier in the week).
Bloody justice in Kabul under the Taleban. Via Metascene.
Thoughtful liberal Christian analysis of 'eye for an eye' ethics. Via Metascene. "You have heard it said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." But I say unto you, do not resist him who is evil" (Matt. 5:38, 39).
Study shows bullying makes boys popular. Which is why some become bullies *sigh*. I suspect though that this is a cultural, rather than a biological trait. Via Flutterby.
Big questions at Edge. Via Tanquelogue.
New Index on Censorship. This time the subject is slavery.
Poem - 'Books' by Martin Earl. Via Poetry Daily.
Web surpasses 1 billion documents. Via Slashdot.
Origin of a browser. An ongoing project devoted to the study of early Web history. Via Camworld.
New risks digest (comp.risks).
Gormenghast on the BBC (Robot Wisdom/Irish Times).
Visit the British lawnmower museum.
A good overview. Social and technical means for fighting on-line harassment.
At the moment, I'm reading two books which present very different perspectives but which are both highly recommended reading.
Imperium by Ryszard Kapuscinski. Kapuscinski is a very famous Polish journalist who had cause to visit the USSR on many occasions. 'Imperium' is a collection of anecdotes and reportage about each visit; and it is both funny and horrifying. The first section, which deals with how, as a small child, Kapuscinski witnessed his schoolfriends 'disappearing' or being deported during the Stalinist purges, is particularly gripping.
The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara. As a young man, the famous revolutionary went on a long motorcycle tour around South America. His diaries chronicle his coming of age and the development of his ideas; they are also very funny.
Which breed of dog are you?
How to talk like a Londoner - the London slang page.
Reading the current issue of The Oldie, which has surprisingly got a website now. A layby of sanity on the Information Superhighway *sigh* :).
The longest place name in the British Isles. It's in Wales, of course.
Drunken guest leaves silent monks sleepless. Via Obscure Store.
The Fortean Times, the journal of strange phenomena. Always a good read, whether in paper or electronic form.
Have you ever wondered why bubbles flow down in a pint of Guinness? Well here's why.
What's your phonetic Japanese name? This really works, for the most part - considering that English doesn't always sound the same way it's written.
Soaplands and love hotels (via GMT+9).
The New Year Grand Sumo Tournament (via GMT+9).
Thursday is going to be 'science and natural phenomena' day from now on.
Some good recent astronomy pictures from the NASA site - the Rosette Nebula, brown Sun bubbling, a new galaxy emerging.
The New Scientist has produced a clone zone - with lots of information and links about cloning.
From the BBC, a story about plans to clone an extinct goat.
Something about DNA computers. DNA nanocomputing is potentially really revolutionary - for example, what if cells in the human body were coded with expert systems to look for and cure well known illnesses, for instance? Or how about cells that 'regenerate' or repair themselves, to slow down the ageing process? As well as medical applications, there would be huge philosophical and ethical implications. As well as interesting possibilities for cosmetic 'nanosurgery' ;).
Back to the here and now - a horrific story is emerging from Chechnya (The Independent). It appears there is now a policy of criminalising all Chechen males aged between 10 and 60 in the wake of recent Russian losses. Take a look also at this story in the Moscow Times and the response of the aid agency, Medecins Sans Frontieres.
Donate up to 3 cups of staple food for free at the Hunger Site.
There's an ocean of water on Europa. Via BBC.
Wiccan teacher fights suspension from North Carolina school. Via Reuters.
Today's big news is the likely impending release of former Chilean dictator, General Augusto Pinochet, for reasons of ill health. Pinochet was arrested and put under house arrest whilst on a trip to the UK at the end of 1998 after a Spanish judge issued a warrant for his arrest for torture. The BBC has some analysis of the Pinochet case and one of the dictatorship's victims remembers.
Pinochet faces trial in Chile?
General Pinochet led a military coup against the democratically elected government of President Salvador Allende in 1973. After the coup, many thousands of opponents of the military regimes were tortured, forced into exile, murdered or simply 'disappeared'. My personal view is that, despite Pinochet's release, he has not been cleared; he is being released for reasons of ill health, not because he has been found not guilty in a court of law. I believe that the mere fact of the arrest means a valuable precedent has been set in international law. It is a shame that the many thousands of victims of the regime were not treated as fairly or as humanely as General Pinochet has been by the British justice system.
Old interview with experimental director Peter Greenaway. Via Robot Wisdom.
New risks digest (via comp.risks).
Two good poems - 'Don Juan (after he'd consumed tons of lipstick)' by Marin Sorescu and 'Sculpture' by Charles Rafferty (via Poetry Daily).
Two songs of Newfoundland (via Lemon Yellow).
Flu sweeps the northern hemisphere If you do have flu, please stay in bed; going out to work will only spread the epidemic to your friends, family, and colleagues, and no matter what anyone may say, a person with flu is not a productive worker; and furthermore, flu actually kills small children and old people; no appointment is worth that. So stay at home, please!
A free charity site which is registering clicks.
I've been doing a bit of reading up about an eccentric South African lady artist called Helen Martins, who lived in a remote part of South Africa. A most interesting lady - a virtual recluse, who constructed her own world through sculpture in her home and garden - the 'Owl House' and the 'Camel Yard'.
Here are some images of some of her sculptures , and here is a piece about her chief collaborator, Koos Malgas , who is also an interesting character.
We English are 'potentially violent', reveals our beloved Home Secretary. (via BBC) So what's new? ;) (pass the woad, would you?). Creative and aggressive are two terms I'd use, which I also think are the qualities which makes England (and more generally, Britain) such an interesting place to live; and for its size, such a major influence on world history and culture. These are also qualities we share with our French neighbours!
I've just started reading an interesting design-oriented weblog called Camworld. The design is great, crisp and clear. There's also a rather worrying story which people who are interested in the web should read.
Children write to Santa. :) Via Strange Brew.
Zen stories to tell your neighbours. Via GMT+9.
More on the 'counting chimp'. Ai has a homepage. Via Honey Guide.
The possibility that chimps are intelligent, conscious beings raises some important ethical questions - take a look at the Great Ape Project.
MAD magazine cartoonist passes away.
Take a look at some odd American political movements - America's first gen-x presidential candidate (heinous!), the Puritan Party (this lot are really scary) , and the Pansexual Peace Party (well, ok, this lot have some potential).. All via Meme Pool.
The Puritan Party I find especially peculiar because, contrary to what they state, the United States was partly built on the idea that people should be free of leaders who claimed to rule by 'divine right' and also on the idea of religious toleration. In other words, secular ideals - not a 'God fearing' country but a country which tried to respect different ways of life. Much the same ideals which inspired the French Revolution and British democratic reformers, in fact, as well as Enlightenment and Romantic thinkers from Mary Wollstonecraft and Voltaire to Byron and Victor Hugo; and even socialist thinkers like Marx. American exceptionalism is a myth; there is no special American ideology which sets it apart - it is a country, no better or worse than any other; but ideals of freedom and social justice, to which both the American and French revolutionaries supposedly subscribed, are universal.
Which brings me to the art of Masami Teraoka, especially McDonald's Hamburgers invading Japan. Quite appropriate, ne? (Via Meme Pool).
This town in Colorado stocked up water for Y2K and now need to get rid of it all, before it goes stale. Read about it here. Via Obscure Store.
Thoughtful pieces on albinism and the Amish. Via Obscure Store.
Daily mystery to solve at The Case. Via Strange Brew.
Right now I'm reading a mind-blowing work of feminist science fiction called 'Memoirs of a Spacewoman' by a remarkable person called Naomi Mitchison. She seems to have had a most interesting life. Born in 1897, she only passed away in 1999, and was writing well into her 90's; politically active in the women's movement and a leading advocate for the rural community of western Scotland (her home), and widely travelled - she was adopted as an advisor to a tribe in Botswana in the 1960's!
Here is another good page about the fascinating Lady Mitchison.
Anyway, I'm enjoying 'Memoirs of a Spacewoman' very much. It's about a human communications expert, both passionate and compassionate about the strange and unnerving life forms that she encounters - intelligent starfish and centipedes, hermaphroditic Martians, and so on. As well as a certain fascination for its sheer strangeness, this book raises a lot of questions about dealing with different cultures whose values and appearance may be very different from her own; I expect this is an issue Mitchison must have dealt with quite well in Botswana! There's also a lot of fun alien sex in it. Highly recommended.
On a similar theme, here's a page of starfish tales.
Behind the scenes with director Wim Wenders. Via GMT+9.
Hokusai's 24 views of Mount Fuji. Via GMT+9.
Japan's foot cult. Via GMT+9.
A lovely collection of Buddhist art and architecture images. Via BuddhaNet.
Leading news stories -
Karmapa Lama (3rd most senior lama in Tibetan Buddhism) defects to India. Some background analysis. Via Kyodo News.
Yeltsin's resignation aimed at maintaining influence? Interview with key Russian official. I suspect there's more going on than meets the eye here. Via Kyodo.
The last Peanuts.
Today I'm going to devote myself to the mysteries of the natural world.
Chimp shows capacity to recall random numbers. Via Robot Wisdom.
Light shows on Io. Via New Scientist.
The incredible shrinking iguana. A marine iguana that can change its size according to whether food is scarce or plenty. Via BBC.
Lab grows frog eyes. Is this a step towards 'grow your own' organs? Via BBC.
The absinthe webring, and an absinthe website. Before anyone complains, the drinking of absinthe is legal where I live. You can buy it in London bars. So there. Via Bifurcated Rivets.
Snowscapes of temples and shrines (via GMT+9).
A friend of mine, who is Indonesian, is emigrating from Indonesia in the next few days. Indonesia is one of the more diverse and interesting countries, an enormous archipelago that is home to many peoples and cultures. It is also a country undergoing a massive economic crisis, and the combination of national humiliation, political change, racial and religious faultlines and a relatively wealthy but politically vulnerable minority (the ethnic Chinese) draws too many historical parallels to be really comfortable. Indonesia is also a country which, for its size and importance, gets relatively little coverage in the European and North American media (although coverage in Australia is fairly extensive).
One of the better Western sources for news and analysis about Indonesia is Inside Indonesia.
While I was looking for Indonesia links, I found a good page about Pramoedya Ananta Toer, who is one of Indonesia's leading writers.
Funny story - Y2K bug adds 100 years to prisoners' sentences (via Reuters).
Things to do in New York.Where to stay, where to eat, museums, shows, etc. etc. etc. Very comprehensive.
One-page history of jazz - on the Robot Wisdom site.
I seem to have been looking at a lot of pages with conflict and civil unrest as their theme today. Blood, blood, war, war, why, why? ;)
Wars, massacres and atrocities of the twentieth century (via Meme Pool).
Bruce Sterling's manifesto of January 3rd, 2000. Something of an anti-postmodern, neo-romantic rant. Via Slashdot.
Today's major news is the Croatian elections - the liberal opposition has, to everyone's great surprise, defeated the long-ruling nationalist government. One of Croatia's leading independent newspapers is Nacional - which you can look at online.
Ariel Dorfman's account of his escape from the Chilean coup (via Granta).
Forbidden words 2000 (via Rain Barrel).
A site in aid of breast cancer charities with some unusual art... (via Bifurcated Rivets).
The first risks digest since Y2K (via comp.risks).
Ellen's new year resolutions.
Very funny personal site. Lots of interesting stuff here, from French culture to the Simpsons.
The Nation's history of the twentieth century (via Robot Wisdom).
Drudge-like strangeness (via Meme Pool).
Tale of 47 samurai stirs questions in modern Japan (via GMT+9).
Witty article on artistic nudity (via Lemon Yellow).
Archbishop of Canterbury denounces materialism and intolerance. (via The Independent). Good for him.
The theme of the last Granta of 1999 was 'Women and Children First. Granta is a real treat - probably the best literary mag on the market at the moment. 'Women and Children First' is about moral vertigo, following the idea that the 1900s were, above all, a century of chaos; ethical chaos (world wars, nuclear weapons, the Holocaust, the gulag, the Cultural Revolution), literary and artistic chaos (from Joyce, Kafka and Picasso to postmodernism), and even new, 'disordered' concepts in the sciences (such as quantum theory - in Einstein's words, 'God playing dice' - and chaos theory, and the idea of the subconscious mind in psychology). Let's hope the next century is less desperate.
On which note, I think it's appropriate to include a link to a lovely picture of Earth from space (via NASA).
Some charming Einstein anecdotes (via Robot Wisdom).
A gorgeous Buddhist photo documentary (via BuddhaNet).
A New Scientist special.
Meanwhile, via History Today, a very interesting article comparing modern accounts of alien abductions with European colonial accounts of capture by native peoples.
E-cards honouring Medecins Sans Frontieres (via just-so.com).
I spent Y2K in the office. Here are some assorted net.memories of Y2K (via Slashdot).
This word just about summarises the whole Y2K thing - 'segue'! (via dictionary.com).
A song for the new year - As Time Goes By (via DaveNet).
Boris Yeltsin quits - his resignation speech and a profile of Vladimir Putin (via Drudge Report).
The Eiffel Tower takes off for 2000 (via Drudge Report). This looked pretty spectacular. But what about the River Thames being set on fire? (via BBC).
As for the Dome - well, history will tell ;). There were a lot of people headed that way on the trains this morning though.
Excellent new Index on Censorship. The theme for this issue is the hidden history of the twentieth century. Also a reflection on the speech that kills.
Ellen's last present of 1999.