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why oh why must . . .

everybody have a blog?

Everybody with a blog?

Back in the beginning I was managing one post a day. Oh how times have changed. Anyways...

A month ago (and yes I apologise - that's almost a millennia in internet time) the Los Angeles Times ran an experiment. It was an extension of the blog world's push for private comment and analysis or "op/ed".

They gifted people the opportunity to add their say to a story in a far more public way than the average blog. It all went rapidly wrong. People can't be trusted and, most frustratingly, I'm reminded of an old saying "empty vessels make the most noise".

John O'Farrell at The Guardian quickly responded with far more wit that I could muster, even with a month to think about it:

Following last week's "wikitorial" experiment by the Los Angeles Times allowing readers to rewrite its editorials on the net, this week's comment piece has been communally created by readers in an exciting online search for impartial and well-judged analysis

So Bush and Blair, your oil turns to blood for you, the Satan god-heads let Armenia earthquake be your warning (Leviticus 11,3) you will reap on the day of your bloodness judgment and twin towers (Zion money?) for Aids you have created with your so-called "scientists", your blood-dollars will be paid you in hell.

Article continues
Sorry, can we start this wiki-column again, this time without the nutter. And try to make sure the piece is pertinent and well-judged, with no axes to grind and no personal agendas.

Come to the Kohi Noor Tandoori in Twyford. Try our chicken patia and pilau rice. "My favourite curry house!" says TV's Carol Vorderman.

But here's the vaguely intelligent comment. Adding a wiki to a respected newspaper is just crazy, it just gives loonys attention. Its also completely unecessary. The combination of a blog (full of racist idiocy or whatever) plus Technorati is enough power to make a "live" comment.

Anybody who is interested can do a search for the article address or a particular unique tag or something and see what you've posted - and see it next to the rest of the world's comment. Technorati will even order things by "authority". Why give people the backing of an LATimes address?

There probably are other slightly more complicated methods like, for example, "TrackBack" but at the moment they're too involved to be useful.

Moon Landing

In honour of the first moon landing in 1969 Google has added NASA photos to the Maps interface. Google Moon-Maps.

Zoom-in on the Apollo 11 landing site. :)


I don't care about JK Rowling's latest childrens book. I haven't read any of the Harry Potter books - I had no idea they existed until the first film came out and suddenly the whole world was going nuts over wizards and stuff. Did anybody else survive the 90s without being sucked in?

Anyways, as the end of the embargo approached speculation on the plot rose; not least at The Guardian. They called upon readers to come up with the most dramatic scene, the death of Dumbledore. The twist was to write in the style of some other author.

It must be a consequence of my painful GCSE English Literature course, but my favourite was the Geoffrey Chaucer (Canterbury Tales) interpretation:

The Poppynge of the Clogges

At Hogwarte's, schoole of wizardrye,

Unfoldeth drede folle tragedie!

Yonge Ron Weasleye, and classmayt Pottyr:

Fallen preye to 'tvylerottyr,

Who, throughoute Harry's sadde lyfe,

Hath been the source of muche stryfe;

Hys parente's lyves, rendyred shorte,

By naughtie manne: Voldemorte!

Pottyr and freynd, in't towyr trapp'd,

At mercie of thyss eevil ratte!

What woe! What payn! Unluckiness!


Top stuff. There's something about Middle English that adds to the arcane magical theme. Other highlights include in the style of "The Sun".

My Word . . .

My word . . . there are a lot of freckles on display today. And yes, I do plan to write a proper post at some point. I'm just being lazy. And its sunny.

And so it begins.

The reprisals have started.

On my way into town this morning I spotted a police car parked up on the other side of the road. Then I saw there was a area tapped off. It couldn't be I thought to myself.

In the little row of shops, a cobbler, a mechanic, property barely more than terraced houses, there is a mosque. Its nothing extravagant at all - it doesn't advertise its presence, I'd driven past it for years and not noticed it at all. The windows just have an Arabic arch thing going on and have been painted green.

In the past I've seen small amounts of grafiti on the front, no more than any wall sees in a city. Today I couldn't really believe it - at least I didn't want to.

The front door and porch had been torched. On the way back the door was open with police going in and out - it looked like the whole ground floor had gone up. Petrol poured through the letter box I guess.

I'd thought that small minded people had got this crap out of their system in 2001. Lumping together extremists with ordinary people simply because they have the same religious texts is just crazy. You know it. I know it.

I think the thugs that torched the mosque know it really. "They're all suicide bombers" Kilroy-Silk type logic is just a cover - the thugs just don't like people that are less white than they are.

a clearing picture of London

The information is clearing up now. Four explosive devices. The internet and technorati in particular joined the mobile networks in straining under the pressure of millions of people clamering for information. Reports from the Guardian suggest that more than 1300 posts had been indexed by Technorati by 1015am all referencing the explosions. That's a serious response.

Reuters.co.uk fell over in the morning. But news.bbc.co.uk and The Guardian kept their servers running, updating whenever they had new information.

The wikinews article was top stuff too.

The reaction to this crisis from emergency services and from everybody else has been amazing. Everybody has made efforts to pass on the vital information as fast and as widely as possible.

Had this information not been available this could have been much more difficult in London, on the roads, on the switchboards and in the stations.

buses and trains 2

Charles Clarke has spoken in The Commons (1pm) - confirming four explosions. Three on tube trains and the bus. Edgware Road explosion at the station. The other two were on trains between stations - hence the casualities / smoke etc at groups of stations.

A recue operation is on going in a tunnel outside of King's Cross station.

Investigations ongoing in South Kensington and Marleybone. What that means is unclear.

Eyewitess report from staff at the BMA (outside the Bus incident) suggest a terrible scene - a great deal of work by paramedics must be going on out of sight and underground.

buses and trains


Reports of more than one blast on the Tube. At least one double decker bus has been blown up - removing the top deck in the explosion.


UPDATE 12.23:

It has been confirmed that there have been at least six explosions. There are unconfirmed reports of explosions on a bus in South Kensington and elsewhere.

Eyewitness reports are difficult to interpret. Lots of people (esp at Liverpool Street) report being walked past the carriages that had been damaged by explosion to get to the platforms.

Other reports seem to track with the "powersurge" thing - lights flickering before explosions at platforms.

Certainly people have been killed - BBC footage of the Royal London hospital showed an ambulance crew desperately working on a burned man - it seemed like they'd broken his ribs trying to keep his heart beating. Terrible.

Tony Blair has made a statement confirming that he will be returning to London shortly and that the G8 conference will continue. He believed that it had been a terroist incident.

London cell networks seem to have fallen over - or at least have reached maximum capacity - so I'd stick to txt messages but call only if absolutely necessary.

Latest 12.29 - now confirming seven explosions - including Moorgate tube (I think).

Comment on BBC News site suggests that there had been a security alert at Bank station before the Aldgate incident.

London 2012

Ok, so London has won the competition to stage the 2012 Olympics. That's seven years away. Soon be here. And yet . . . I'll be nearing thirty. Bollocks.

I'm going to have to start training for Beijing, I'll be too old for London.

My hopes have been dashed.

a quick comic

The whole strip is funny. You can find it here.

Live 8

Is it just me that thinks that Kofi Annan looked a little scared when the Live 8 organisers thrust him on stage in London with no microphone?

changing the character of the courts

[from DailyKos]:

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court and a key swing vote on issues such as abortion and the death penalty, said today she is retiring.

O'Connor, 75, said she expects to leave before the start of the court's next term in October, or whenever the Senate confirms her successor. There was no immediate word from the White House on who might be nominated to replace O'Connor.

It's been 11 years since the last opening on the court, one of the longest uninterrupted stretches in history. O'Connor's decision gives Bush his first opportunity to appoint a justice.

``This is to inform you of my decision to retire from my position as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, effective upon the nomination and confirmation of my successor. It has been a great privilege indeed to have served as a member of the court for 24 terms.

I will leave it with enormous respect for the integrity of the court and its role under our constitutional structure.''

The White House has refused to comment on any possible nominees, or whether Bush would name a woman to succeed O'Connor. Her departure leaves Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the only other woman among the current justices.

This pretty scary, it'll change things for years. So for Americans, I'm following instructions:

Whatever happens with the Supreme Court nomination battle that is about to ensue, it's going to happen fast. Here are some things you can do right now:

* If you have a cell phone, sign up for People at the American Way's Mass Immediate Response site. This way, you'll be able to receive text message action items instantly as events break. (If you signed up during the nuclear option fight, you'll need to re-sign up.)

* Also sign up with the Save the Court, another PFAW website devoted specifically to this issue.

* Recruit friends and family members to the cause.

* Write to the President, telling him he should choose a consensus candidate to replace O'Connor.

* Contact your Senators to tell them the same thing.

If you have any other action items, please post them in the comments below, with links.

Update [2005-7-1 11:33:32 by DavidNYC]: If you have a blog, please post these action items on your site. If you don't, e-mail them to your like-minded buddies and relatives.