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Saturday, August 30, 2003

Get your Arts degree here 

For those forced to deal with the Marxist nutjobs who pass for academics in some of our prestigious learning institutions, help is at hand.

The Postmodernism Generator produces reams of convincing semiotic gibberish at a mouse-click:

If one examines posttextual discourse, one is faced with a choice: either reject dialectic Marxism or conclude that the raison d'etre of the reader is significant form, but only if sexuality is interchangeable with art; if that is not the case, consciousness is capable of intention. But Sartre uses the term 'cultural theory' to denote not desublimation, but postdesublimation. Bataille suggests the use of dialectic Marxism to challenge the status quo.
It even generates footnotes.

The creator of this amusing device, Andrew C Bulhak, has written his own (evidently real) paper on the subject, engagingly titled On the Simulation of Postmodernism and Mental Debility using Recursive Transition Networks.

Webtrolling 

This is what happens if you fly your commercial jet through a hailstorm. (Via Dr Karl's Self Service Science Forum)

The world's second-largest camera is a converted delivery van. (Via Memepool)

Yes, Slitz is a real magazine.

I'm not sure if Islam and Marx News is for real or not. This guy was a Maoist before 9/11.

Here's the obligatory link to a website that some dweeb tried to ban, because it suggests that Islam may be connected to terrorism. Will they never learn?

Comedy puppet Basil Brush has insured his tail for One! Million! Pounds! (Via Miss Missive)

Naked women take pictures of themselves and post them on the Net. This may be the only decent website ever to feature an Indymedia logo.

Mugger flashes breasts at victim. (Via Men's News Daily)

As if al-Qaeda weren't bad enough, our society is now menaced by Molotov-tossing granny-lady poultry terrorists. (Via P&C's Daily Diatribe )

Australian bloggers are being spammed by time-travellers. UPDATE: It seems the time traveller has been getting some attention.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

At last 

someone has invented a kinder, gentler way to smack your kids. The B-Stikā„¢, a padded foam device, promises to deliver "nothing but the sting". It is "designed specifically to avoid harm or injury and is intended to replace the belt, strap, switch or anything that may harm or injure when physically correcting misconduct".

I'm not one of those drivelling cretins who wants to ban spanking. But there's something about marketing this product that creeps me out a bit. I don't really know why.

Mars is very close today 

and I wish these bastards would quit tailgating.


The lost art of correspondence 

It's very simple. She writes letters to people. People like Philip Adams, Margo Kingston, the "unofficial spokesman" for the North Korean Government, and of course, our generous friends from Nigeria:

On another matter: perhaps you could append a small description of yourself in your next email. I am 33 years old, 170cm high and 60kgs. I am very athletic and am often told by men that I am beautiful. I imagine that you are taller than me, very black, and have an athletic body too. I have heard certain rumours about African men. Can you confirm one specific rumour? I'm sure you understand to what I refer...

I can't wait to talk to you.

Thinking of you.

Patsy A. Newton
They write back. She posts the responses.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Animals 

Reader Tango, who spent some time living on Palm Island, had this to say in response to an earlier posting about cruelty to animals in the area.

The local kids are out of control. They commit horrifying acts on the horses and dogs on the island. Parents either can't or won't control the kids. Some of the adults are seriously pissed-off at the kids behaviour and talk of taking matters into their own hands but nothing ever comes of it.

The police used to spend most nights in their compound, only leaving if called out to a fight or emergency. Animal abuse doesn't qualify, apparently.

Mostly, police there are in an impossible position. If they enforce the law impartially they get accused of racism. If they do nothing, then obviously they're slack and don't care. It's not a popular posting.

Most people we had anything to do with were pretty decent. But cruelty to animals has become part of the kids' culture and it seems no-one can stop it. I won't go into the gory details ... even now it's pretty horrific to think about.
There's an online petition asking Premier Peter Beattie to do something about the issue. I've signed it.

However, the root of the problem lies in politically correct attitudes that prevent existing laws being enforced equally on all Australians, regardless of race. This is a bigger issue, and needs to be addressed on many fronts in the long term.

Protest vote 

It seems that some people who are upset about the political imprisonment of Pauline Hanson have been nominating her for Australian of the Year.

The Australian of the Year website provides a convenient online form for nominations, which will be closed on the 29th of this month.

Despite being nominated over a hundred times so far, Hanson has not yet appeared in the list of nominees. It is to be hoped that this oversight will soon be corrected. (via aus.politics)

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

News from Norway 

For anyone who stays up all night wondering about what's happening in the land of fjords, here's a handy executive summary:

Many Muslim girls are being told by their parents to stay off bicycle seats, on the grounds that they could lose their virginity.

An anti-advertising protest group tricked several media outlets into running stories about Bibles being printed with McDonalds logos.

Two escaped murderers who turned themselves in at a police station were told to go home.

A former rallycross star turned political candidate punched another politician in the face during a debate at a school.

Princess Madeleine is upset at being featured on a pin-up poster in the latest issue of Slitz magazine.

And that's just one week.

Oddities 

They are Blorg.

She is Bjorgk.
You will be serenaded

It is Frog.

He is dork.

Beneath the Underground 

A few years ago, coinciding with protests in Seattle against globalisation and the World Trade Organisation, a new phenomenon in media emerged from the radical left side of politics.

Christened Indymedia, this network of web forums promised to revolutionise communication with its slogan, "everyone is a journalist". In this brave world of uncensored access, anyone would be able to report on events free from the restrictions imposed by editors and advertisers.

This worthy scheme fell victim to a kind of tragedy of the commons. The system soon became a quagmire of rants, conspiracy theories, fanaticism, racism, trolling, faction fighting, and outright lunacy, with the few worthwhile posts buried in the noise.

In an effort to combat this, many Indymedia centres have adopted a policy of censorship to keep a lid on things. The booted heel of dissent-crushing moderation falls hardest on those who disagree with the views of whoever is in charge of the delete button.

But there isn't really a delete button -- in the best traditions of techno-anarchism, the designers built a system that hides censored posts from the casual observer, but leaves them available to the dedicated seeker.

This warren of hidden posts has become a community of dissent within the dissenting, the Underground's own Underground.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Curing the blind 

There's good news on the medical front. A blind man's sight has been gradually restored over two years by growing back damaged parts of his eye from stem cells, reports the BBC.

Having been blind for 40 years, patient Mike May is sometimes troubled by his new visions. He has difficulty recognising many of the things he sees, and is sometimes frightened by obstacles he had learned to avoid by sound or touch.

I think this is a step forward, especially for those who have lost their sight more recently. Such people would miss their eyes more, I suspect, than those who could not remember what it was to see. They would also have developed the ability to interpret the complex signals from the eyes that most of us take for granted.

It's also possible that similar technology could be used to grow back other damaged body parts. While there has been some controversy over the sourcing of stem cells from aborted foetuses, new techniques may be able to forestall this ethical problem.

Moving! 

The new and improved version is now working, with only a couple of minor bugs yet to be ironed out. Please visit Evil pundit of Doom! Mark II, and update your links or bookmarks.

If you have trouble connecting, it's possible the new domain name might not yet have propagated to your region, so try again in a few days.

This site will continue to be updated for about a week.

End of the world, Part 14 

A new doom scenario has been proposed by Gregory Ryskin, of Northwestern University in Illinois. According to Nature magazine, he suggests that "a massive methane explosion frothing out of the world's oceans 250 million years ago caused the Earth's worst mass extinction". Similar events may also have been responsible for the Biblical flood.

The oceans could easily have contained enough methane to explode with a force about 10,000 times greater than the world's entire nuclear-weapons stockpile, Ryskin argues. "There would be mortality on a massive scale," he says.

"It's a wacky idea," says geologist Paul Wignall of the University of Leeds, UK, "but not so wild that it shouldn't be taken seriously."
While the article describes Ryskin as a geologist, his web page says he is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering. Such abstruse distinctions are beyond my ken, but it matters not, so long as I can pundificate about doooom! (Via Dr Karl'sSelf Service Science Forum)

Political journalists 

They're even more partisan in North Korea than they are here. From an Associated Press report:

North Korean reporters traded punches with human rights activists Sunday as tension over the North's suspected nuclear development escalated into violence at the World University Games.

The fight erupted as the reporters tried to seize banners critical of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il from a dozen anti-North Korea protesters. "Down with Kim Jong Il. Rescue our Northern brethren," one banner read.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Coming soon ... 

I'm working on a major site upgrade, with public comments and other cool things. Postings will pick up a bit after I've learned a little more about Cascading Style Sheets and stuff. In the meantime, I'm still collecting nominations for the Germaines.

Here's another silly picture to fill up space.

American Goth

UPDATE: The new blog, based on Movable Type, is up and running, though there are a few bugs that need fixing. This site will continue to be updated for a week or so after I relocate.

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