Dad, I’m an Atheist

My dad ended telling me that he did not support my views and he will not respect them. I told him that I wasn’t trying to change anyone else’s views. I just want to make mine known. I also said that I don’t expect him to support or respect my views and that I do expect him to try and show me I’m wrong, with which he interrupted, “No. It is not my job to show you you are wrong, and you are. That is the Lord. The Holy Spirit.” He contradicts himself all the time. I then tried to end the conversation by saying that all I needed him to do was love me. He said he does. Then he said, “Nothing you do will make me love you less, nothing you do will make me love you more.” For those of you who don’t know, God says that in the Bible. But he wasn’t quoting it. He actually said it for himself. That seemed a little strange to me.

Go Here and read the rest, heartbreakingly real.


Obama Accepts

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

45th Mersenne Prime Discovered (Perhaps!)

The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS!) has just noted that a computer on the hub has recorded a new Mersenne Prime. Verification is under way on two computers, but the answer won’t be revealed until the 16th September.  232,582,657-1 may just have had it’s day.

Love and Lust as an NY Transsexual

Pic (C) James Hamilton

Pic (C) James Hamilton

On Jamie Clayton, from the New York Observer.

No Shit? Creationist in GOP VP Slot!

Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska and GOP VP Nominee

Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska and GOP VP Nominee

Pro-life* (i.e. Anti-woman), Anti-Gay rights (i.e. Anti-human rights), Pro-drilling, Creationist whackjob, Sarah Palin** has been picked by John McCain (he of the temper) to be his VP running mate on the GOP 2008 ticket. Please Please Please let Obama win – this is the kind of moron that sets the development of the human race back 200 years.

*Why are GOP-ers so concerned for the rights of the unborn, then once you’re born – you’re on your own? Pre-natal, great. Pre-school, fuck you!

**No relation to Michael, I imagine – far too humourless by the looks of it.

The Thomas Jefferson Papers

A searchable archive of the great man’s work. Including searchable texts of the Declaration of Independencee, The Farm and Garden books.

Emily is NOT real

Check this out, remember all the facial expressions of the actress are digitally created. Quite brilliant.

North Korean Propaganda Posters

The rest can be found here.

Child Rape in Afghanistan

The Afghan’s are seeing a surge in sexual violence towards children according to this report in Time Magazine

It is not uncommon for criminals to bribe their way out of prison in Afghanistan. But in the north, where warlords still command private militias and enrich their armies by running lucrative smuggling routes, impunity is rife. Police often refuse to register cases against well-known criminals, for fear of retaliation and more often because they are on the take. When Amruddin’s 13-year-old daughter was kidnapped in Sar-i-pul province last year, he had to pay for the local police officer’s fuel in order to get the officer to visit the café where she had last been seen. The officer was no help. When Amruddin — who, like most poor farmers in Afghanistan, only has one name — finally found his daughter a week later, she identified the police officer as one of her eight rapists. Three other suspects worked for the village strongman. When their case came to the local prosecutor, he dismissed it, saying there wasn’t enough evidence. More likely, says Amruddin, there wasn’t enough of a bribe. Amruddin says that in order to raise enough money for all the necessary bribes, he sold his two other daughters, ages 9 and 11, for $5,000. “I had to sell them in order to pursue this case,” he says. “What else can I do? I am not a pimp, a coward, to let these men get away with what they did. I will sell all of my children if that is what it takes to get justice.”

Last word on Mahmoud Darwish

From The National

A friend remembers…

In our final phone conversation, Mahmoud Darwish asked my opinion of his last poem, The Dice Player, and I said to him – it was my habit to tease him this way – that he had started writing the way the poets do, and I referred to the great Abbasid poet Abul Alaa al Maarri. In his literary criticism Maarri refers to all the poets by name – until he comes to his contemporary Abu at Tayyib al Mutanabbi, the greatest of all Arab poets, whom he simply calls The Poet, always including the definite article. I could hear Darwish’s laugh coming all the way from America.

When I asked him about the surgery he was about to undergo, he told me the doctor had assured him the risk of death did not exceed one per cent.

Did The Poet believe his doctor, or did he walk to his death rather than wait for it?

No one possesses the answer to this question, for the Poet had the innocence of children, which conceals their slyness. He did not divulge his last secret to anyone. He told his friends that he could no longer bear the time bomb in his chest; this is why he decided to have the operation, despite the advice of the French doctor who, in 1998, performed an equally risky heart surgery on The Poet, a near-death experience that led to a great poem, Mural.

For a decade Darwish lived “in the presence of absence”. He was helpless against his impaired artery, writing his most beautiful collections and verses in preparation for death.

“What will we write when you’re dead?” I asked him. And he told me a story about the assassination of Ghassan Kanafani.

Darwish recalled that he was taken by surprise when the Palestinian poet Kamal Nasser walked angrily into his office at the Palestinian Research Centre in 1972, holding the obituary The Poet had written for Kanafani. Nasser threw the article on the desk and demanded, gently, “What will you write about my death, now that you’ve written everything in this article?”

Less than a year later, when Nasser too was assassinated by Israel, Darwish wrote the poem Palestinian Wedding, in which:

Never will lover reach lover
Except as martyr or fugitive

Ubiquity for Firefox

From here.

It Doesn’t Have to be This Way

You’re writing an email to invite a friend to meet at a local San Francisco restaurant that neither of you has been to. You’d like to include a map. Today, this involves the disjointed tasks of message composition on a web-mail service, mapping the address on a map site, searching for reviews on the restaurant on a search engine, and finally copying all links into the message being composed. This familiar sequence is an awful lot of clicking, typing, searching, copying, and pasting in order to do a very simple task. And you haven’t even really sent a map or useful reviews—only links to them.

This kind of clunky, time-consuming interaction is common on the Web. Mashups help in some cases but they are static, require Web development skills, and are largely site-centric rather than user-centric.

It’s even worse on mobile devices, where limited capability and fidelity makes this onerous or nearly impossible.

Most people do not have an easy way to manage the vast resources of the Web to simplify their task at hand. For the most part they are left trundling between web sites, performing common tasks resulting in frustration and wasted time.

Enter Ubiquity

“Ubiquity” is all about using language to link together various online tasks, such as Emailing & Searching for Information. From the Wiki…

Ubiquity commands can do nearly anything. Ubiquity comes with a set of commands that make common Web tasks faster and easier. In this tutorial, we’ll teach you how to use some of the them. By the end of this tutorial you’ll be able to perform a quick wikipedia, google, definition, and yelp searchs; add maps to your email; and translate a snippet of a web page, highlight a word, and then email it to a friend.

This is an absolutely stunning add-on for Firefox. I urge you to watch the video demo and see what you think. I think it’s f’ing marvellous. They are currently in an alpha prototype build, but if what it can do now is anything to go by, this is going to be massive.

Harry’s Place: Update

Great News! Harry’s Place is now back online. New DNS being hosted by the good folks at Positive Internet. I haven’t kept up with all this as I’ve been away for a few days, but there is an excellent round-up of events at Modernity Blog.

May I also point you in the direction of this post by Brett at Harry’s Place itself.

A line must be drawn.It cannot possibly get worse than this. The dissemination of literature from a racist, antisemitic, white-supremacist, conspiracy-theorising website in the name of providing insight and/or commentary on Zionism or the policies of the Israeli government is a low point many refused to believe could be reached – though a few have warned that this is where things were headed for some time.

But, having reached this low-point, we have to ask ourselves if it can be allowed to sink any lower.

If those in British Unions who flirt with the far-right can weasel out of this, then they can weasel out of anything. A line must be drawn here. A line must be drawn now.

Do read the rest.

Wednesday Wistful #5

Yearn On

I want you to feel
the unbearable lack of me.
I want your skin
to yearn for the soft lure of mine;
I want those hints of red
on your canvas
to deepen in passion for me:
carmine, burgundy.
I want you to keep
stubbing your toe
on the memory of me;
I want your head to be dizzy
and your stomach in a spin;
I want you to hear my voice
in your ear, to touch your face
imagining it is my hand.
I want your body to shiver and quiver
at the mere idea of mine.
I want you to feel as though
life after me is dull, and pointless,
and very, very aggravating;
that with me you were lifted
on a current you waited all your life to find,
as though you were wading
through a soggy swill of inanity and ugliness
every minute we are apart.
I want you to drive yourself crazy
with the fantasy of me,
and how we will meet again, against all odds,
and there will be tears and flowers,
and the vast relief of not I,
but us.
I am haunting your dreams,
conducting these fevers
from a distance,
a distance that leaves me weeping,
and storming,
and bereft.

Katie Donovan Born 1962

Harry’s Place & Jenna Delich

Harry’s Place appears to have succumbed to the bonkers UK libel laws after posting information relating to Jenna Delich and her circulation of information from notorious Neo-Nazi David Duke’s website.

This is VERY BAD NEWS. Moronic academic sends filth and hate via a professional network (something which she has yet to deny) and UK ISP shits it’s pants when a complaint is made.

Harry’s place is now operating from here – do go and show your support.

UPDATE: As Inna points out in the comments, Jenna Delich has actually admitted using the quote from the article on David Duke’s website. If her plea of ignorance regarding Duke is true that is one thing – but to then copy/paste this quote without fully reading the article she has shown herself to be naive in the ways of the internet; it’s clearly Anti-Semitic as the quotes in the comments below and in The Jerusalem Post report show.

Would you let another Woman Breastfeed your Child?

If you cannot breastfeed your own child, would you let another woman do it for you? We happily let our children consume the milk of another species, yet most people would recoil at the suggestion of “Milk Maids”. The rather startling (but brilliantly shot) photograph of GMTV presenter Kate Garraway is being used to promote a program she has made for Channel 4 – Other People’s Breast Milk – to be shown Wednesday 9th September at 10pm.

Large Hadron Collider

Want to build your own? Run your own experiments? Well now you can! CERN have released the entire technical specifications for the LHC via the Journal of Instrumentation. As is fitting for something 27km in circumference the manuals are massive, coming in at over 1500 pages and a 100+ Mb of data in pdf format. For the totally curious among you, this is the link.

Truth and Beauty: Justin Mullins

Justin Mullins’ “Euler in Black Frame” This is from his site Mathematical Photography which is well worth a look. Huh, Geek Art, so right in so many ways!

Delia Derbyshire

I absolutely love this cover version of the original Doctor Who theme, I’m pretty sure Delia would have approved.

If you’re interested you can find more information on the utter genius that is Delia Derbyshire, via these links:

Delia Derbyshire – Wikipedia Entry

Delia Derbyshire Audiological Chronology

“…Forget about this, it’s for Interest Only…” Derbyshire invents Dance Music! I find this eerily similar to the first break-beat in Goldie’s 1994 classic Inner City Life – it’s about five minutes in

Introduction to Delia and her methods

Making a new Who theme tune based on the Original

History of the Radiophonics Workshop

WFMU briefly on Derbyshire

BBC Four Music – Alchemists of Sound

Reasons to move to Sweden #694

The Swedish government have now followed through on plans to clamp down hard on the teaching of religious education in its Schools. It has now changed the law to ensure that Creationism and Intelligent Design are not taught at all and that proselytizing for any particular faith in RE classes has now become illegal. They have not gone as far as the Minister for Integration had planned, which was to ban outright “Faith Schools” – but this is still a good victory for sense. Now, if only we could get good old USA to look at this legislation!

Classic Doctor Who Director to be Interviewed

Doctor Who classic series director, Waris Hussein, is to be interviewed at the National Media Museum as part of their Bite the Mango 2008 festival.  He will also be presented with a lifetime achievement award as part of the celebrations.  From their site:

Bite the Mango returns for its 14th edition in 2008 with another packed line-up pf premieres, previews and special guests. Veteran director Waris Hussein will receive a lifetime achievement award in recognition of more than 40 years as a filmmaker on projects as diverse as Doctor Who, Edward and Mrs. Simpson, The Possession of Joel Delaney and Clothes in the wardrobe

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