The Nutlog

The Nutlog Archive

20th June
BT claims US patent on hyperlinks.

Book towns around the world. Lots of good places to consider retiring to, IMHO! The original book town is, of course, Hay on Wye in the UK, with a population of 1500, home to around thirty-three bookshops. Hay on Wye has declared independence.
If you can't make it to one of these places, Bibliofind is a good place to find secondhand books.

Kabuki, haiku and the history of karaoke.

graffiti.org - graffiti from around the world. I'm rather fascinated by the graffiti from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Pigment Pirates (from Berlin), and Tokyo.
A few years ago, I visited a friend in Ann Arbor, and I happened to see some of that graffiti art, but never took a picture; so it's pleasant to see it again, on the web. Ann Arbor must be one of the coolest small towns in the United States - there is annarbor.org but no annarbor.com. This says something. It's just a nice, tolerant town, diverse enough to be interesting but small enough to be pleasant. It's also home to the University of Michigan.

19th June
BBC - 'Lorry dead victims of 'evil' smugglers.' Awful, awful news.
Clear Land Mines - another good cause, which works in a similar way to the Hunger and Rainforest Sites (see above). Go there today! Via Rebecca's Pocket.

Take a tour of Highgate Cemetery in London, last resting place of Karl Marx and approximately 165,999 others. Fascinating (but then, it's a fascinating place).
Cemetery pictures from around the world.
The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague is quite interesting. The website of Prague's Jewish Museum is worth a look, too.

18th June
I hope this is a joke! Via girlhero weblog.
A marvellous online Friday Kahlo gallery. Via Spinning Jenny.

Guardian - 'Net watchdog bill faces axe.' I do hope so, or at least that it is heavily watered down. The British government's Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill aims to increase the powers of the police and security services to intercept emails and access personal information kept on computers in the UK. This is a very Bad Thing IMHO, both from a civil liberties point of view (it's potentially extremely Orwellian - for example, a warrant would force anyone to surrender their encryption keys, and refusal could mean a prison sentence of two years; if they claim to have forgotten it, the courts will presume them to be guilty unless they prove their innocence) and from a business point of view (costs of the surveillance equipment will be passed on to the ordinary Internet user - this from a government which claims to want to make Britain a world centre for e-commerce).
The Guardian also has a useful special report on Internet privacy in the UK.
Cyber-Rights and Cyber-Liberties UK also covers this bill faily well.
Menwith Hill Tours is funny too. :)

Playing around with polls today. I've quickly knocked one up - take a look.

A virtuous person can be described best as being which of the following?

Caring, loving and passionate.
Altruistic and rational.
Passive and rational.
Spiritual.
Powerful, self-interested and rational.
Powerful and passionate.
None of the above.

Take a look at the results.

17th June
The Moon, the stars and everything else. Exemplary personal site, IMHO.
Chess variants.

Shameful.
Euro 2000 - England beat Germany for the first time in a competitive match since 1966!

The films of the British director Peter Greenaway are among my favourites. Greenaway is particularly concerned with art and literature (some of his films really are works of art, like paintings, very sensual, with particular scenes based around famous paintings - the Dutch Masters seem to be particularly favoured) and the body (food and nudity feature strongly). Are these very British themes? Compared with other (European) nationalities, my feeling is that the British have an ambiguous relationship with the written word and the body, but I'm not sure.
My personal favourites are Prospero's Books, which is based on the Shakespeare play 'The Tempest' and The Pillow Book, which is inspired by the early Japanese classic 'The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon'. These films are particularly beautifully designed.
Forbidden Planet is also based on 'The Tempest, and I recommend that too, but it's nothing like 'Prospero's Books', hehe. More like the pulp science fiction version. And it's got Robby the Robot too!
What is a pillow book? Well, in Heian Japan, ladies of the court would sometimes keep a journal under their pillows, in which they wrote down all of the things which attracted, displeased, or otherwise interested them in daily life, whether they be aspects of court life, natural phenomena, or lovers. The most famous example is 'Makura no Soushi' ('Notes from the Pillow') by Sei Shonagon, who was something of an aesthete, as well as a bit of a snob. So, if Shonagon were alive today, she'd probably be keeping a weblog, I suspect. Is a weblog really just a kind of modern pillow book?
There is a nice online journal at pillow-book.com; this page also seems to be Pillow Book-inspired.

I have nothing but praise for Spinning Jenny weblog, who mentioned the Aspects of American Culture page which I linked to some time ago. Of course, all national stereotypes should be taken with a pinch of salt. I wonder what an 'Aspects of British culture' page would look like. When I was a student, one of the overseas students showed me a similar pamphlet which was given to them by the university when they arrived in the UK. One which particularly sticks out in my mind is 'Don't be surprised to see British people take most of their clothes off in summer for sunbathing....'. Hehe. I wonder what it is about the British and nudity, and their rather ambiguous relationship with their bodies. Of course, The Full Monty, a comedy about male strippers, is one of the best-known recent British films. When I was in Australia, it was very obvious that British tourists in general were very keen on showing much much more flesh than even the Aussies.
Australians sometimes refer to British people as 'poms', 'pommies', or sometimes 'whingeing pommy bastards' (this is not particularly offensive - lots of Australians have a very robust sense of humour). I wonder whether the term 'pom' might actually have something to do with 'pomegranate', because British people tend to go so very red in the sun!
The European xenophobe's guide to the USA. Amusing.
The American xenophobe's guide to the British. Also amusing.

Insults in English and German.

Tourist traps, capsule hotels and love hotels of Tokyo.
Psycho TV from Japan.
Calculate Tokyo subway routes and times. Amazing. Contrast this with TubeHell, a.k.a. the London Underground.

16th June
Kottke asks, 'If your website were a beverage, what would it be?'. The Nutlog would choose to be the Japanese sports drink Pocari Sweat, which is both nice and very good for you, and has a cool name too.
A typical Pocari Sweat vending machine. These are all over the place in Japan. Actually, a vending machine vending machine would make sense. ;)
ZenMOO - a 'strange and wondrous virtual meditation facility'. A good place to quieten the mind.
An account of a Japanese wedding.
Information please. A lovely story.
The Nutlog has a wankometer factor of 0.24, which is classified as 'low' and not really very wanky. Via Zippyblog.

15th June
Amusing 'Death to weblogs!' rant.
The BBC is planning a Dr. Who film.
Children's haiku. Nice.

14th June
A birthday weblog. Sweet.
Zippyblog is a fine place.
I very much approve of precocious.org weblog.
Ancient Peruvian city found.
Sadly, most languages are likely to be extinct by 2100. This is Not Good.
Carp in Japanese river feminised by sewage.
The Yomiuri has an online Japanese language class.
How to take a company to small claims court (in the UK). Most informative.

The wrath of the Ayn Randroids. Ayn Rand's philosophy, known as Objectivism, extolls self-interest as the ultimate good, and sees values such as altruism and compassion as basically irrelevant. I've experienced the wrath of Rand myself - attempting a reasonable critique of Objectivism, or any kind of defence of altruism, charity or anything beyond self-interest (altruism is central to the system of ethics _I_ try to live by) tends to get one labelled as a 'Statist', a Communist (Rand, btw, happily testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee during the McCarthy era), or 'evil'. This is an ethical inversion, IMHO.
I find this refutation of the appalling Ayn Rand rather amusing.

'Libertarianism makes you stupid.'

13th June
Groovy Green Man stationery.
Did the Neanderthals die out because they didn't eat up their greens?
It is interesting to compare the free market US Libertarian Party's 'world's shortest political quiz' with the American Socialist Party's compatibility test.
I rather like this thought-provoking ethics quiz.

12th June
A new Ian Dury album!

Why there are night and morning people. Apparently the two types have different physiologies. Via Rebecca's Pocket.

11th June
A neighbour sex weblog. 'A chronicle of the nextdoor neighbors and their deafening and oddly-timed sex.' Oo er missus. Via Kitschbitch.

The Guardian explains it all. An archive of current affairs FAQs. Via Robot Wisdom.

So you've decided to be evil. A step-by-step guide to joining the forces of darkness, mwahahahaha. Via Mr. Pants.

BBC - 'Cannabis found in Palace kitchen.'