My Archives: April 2003

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Brad reports that the SARS scare had an impact on the computer conference he attended in Toronto yesterday, despite the fact that WHO has removed its travel alert. Attendance seemed low but -- as this was the first conference of its kind -- it was not possible to declare attendance to be "off." The exhibitors were a better indicator. Of a planned total of 53 exhibitors, 4 cancelled...all Americans. Other exhibitors cancelled travel plans for their American staff and (wo)manned the booths with Canadian employees instead. Of 51 sessions, 9 were called off, presumably because the presenter did not show; the high percentage is probably due to more than one presentation being given by a speaker. Meanwhile, on the street outside the CN Tower, where the conference occurred, scalpers were selling tickets to the otherwise "sold-out" Blue Jays game. It was sold-out because the owners were tired of looking at empty seats and, so, lowered the price to $1 -- a fact not mentioned in most articles that covered the event. It will take some while before the economic ripples of WHO's alert smooth out. [more]

Posted by mac @ 09:34 AM EST [Link]

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

"American, British and Monaco forces land in France," the front-page headline screams. "Chirac calls for resistance and disappears ... Pro-American uprising on Left Bank in Paris." So states The Monde, a satirical take-off on Le Monde, which appeared in France over the weekend. Highlights from the 16-page spoof newspaper, include: [more]

Posted by mac @ 03:27 AM EST [Link]

Monday, April 28, 2003

The latest Mark Fiore cartoon "We Interrupt this War" neatly sums up the media approach to global affairs. [more]

Posted by mac @ 10:54 AM EST [Link]

Friday, April 25, 2003

When the US threw its new-found and ponderous weight around the Arab world by threatening Syria, it accomplished several things. The waters of empire were tested. Syria was cowed into semi-compliance. Iran was implicitly warned not to rouse the Iraqi Shiites. Another fall-out was that no one knows if the US would have invaded Syria or whether the political drama was all bluff and bluster. No one knows how seriously to take future threats against "erring" nations. For example, how heavily should people weigh the angry rhetoric now directed at North Korea? [more]

Posted by mac @ 07:11 AM EST [Link]

Thursday, April 24, 2003

"Toronto is put into 'quarantine' over SARS outbreak," the Independent newspaper in London announced on the bottom half of its front page." The newspaper said the city was "placed under and unexpected quasi-quarantine" by the WHO. Since family members are already calling Brad and me to check on our health, here are the facts.... [more]

Posted by mac @ 12:17 PM EST [Link]

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

The latest Mark Fiore cartoon entitled "Looting" is worth checking out...but ignore the panel on SUVs. (I have to say that! because Karen de Coster -- the SUV Queen -- knows my home address.) Aaron Mcgruder's latest is also worth a glance and a grimace. [more]

Posted by mac @ 05:41 AM EST [Link]

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Yesterday, a friend forwarded a message she had received from the President of the Heritage Foundation with some interesting inside info on how Burk is conducting the protest against the male-members only policy of the Augusta National Golf Club. The message follows... [more]

Posted by mac @ 10:22 AM EST [Link]

Monday, April 21, 2003

Do you have a male or female brain? The answer may lie in following tests, which were developed by Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge.
His theory is that the female brain is predominantly hard-wired for empathy, and that the male brain is predominantly hard-wired for understanding and building systems. He calls it the empathising-systemising (E-S) theory. Who knows if he's right?...but the tests are fun. Also, just for fun, you might enjoy wandering about the Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, now free and online. [more]

Posted by mac @ 09:44 AM EST [Link]

Saturday, April 19, 2003

Fun with Philosophy! Play a series of games, take some quizzes to test your philosophical bent. For example, play Battleground God - "Will your beliefs about God and religion survive on our intellectual battlefield? Now's your chance to find out!" A very short blog today... A good Easter to all!

Posted by mac @ 11:20 AM EST [Link]

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Tom Tomorrow's latest cartoon on the SAPS epidemic -- Strenuously Assertive Patriotism Syndrome -- is worth a gander. [more]

Posted by mac @ 09:59 AM EST [Link]

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Wednesday is for refueling, for wandering around the topics and activities that catch my interest whether they are productive or important...or not. Wednesday is my weekend. No war today. [more]

Posted by mac @ 06:23 AM EST [Link]

Monday, April 14, 2003

The latest Mark Fiore cartoon on Rumsfeld is worth a download. [more]

Posted by mac @ 07:07 AM EST [Link]

Sunday, April 13, 2003

Which Founding Father are you? I took the quiz...a few times...and, when I answered the questions by chosing the worst alternative offered, this is what I received back

Which Founding Father Are You?


Posted by mac @ 05:53 AM EST [Link]

Saturday, April 12, 2003

I have become a great fan of Penn and Teller and especially their weekly TV show "Bullshit!" aired by Showtime. I seem to need an extra dose of comedy these days. If you are in the mood for a few jokes, tho' none as sophisticated as P&T-- in fact a bit South Parkish -- click here.


Posted by mac @ 07:51 AM EST [Link]

Friday, April 11, 2003

Michael Moore has a delightful article countering the intimidation campaign to silence anti-war voices by making them fear for their careers. Moore, as you probably remember, spoke out against the war at the Oscars [Best Documentary, "Bowling for Columbine"]. The backlash? [more]

Posted by mac @ 08:33 AM EST [Link]

Thursday, April 10, 2003

On the Political Front:

TV news rating are starting to fall because people are experiencing "war fatigue." Many journalists are being pulled out of Iraq -- falling ratings, rising death rates, and the incredible cost of maintaining them on the scene are all contributing factors. Unfortunately, the departure of journalists means the end of what I consider to be the best military reporting -- the Report. Click the "previous" link on the report to read what has been happening in Baghdad.


Posted by mac @ 10:28 AM EST [Link]

Wednesday, April 9, 2003

Googlewhacking? -- the goal of which is "to plunk two words, rare and disparate enough, into the Google search engine and get only one page returned." It can render hilarious results. For more Googleword, consult the not-quite definitive Googlology site. I say "not quite" because it does not include GoogleWashing. [more]

Posted by mac @ 10:31 AM EST [Link]

Tuesday, April 8, 2003

A remarkable and deeply moving online collection of Nikolai Getman's fifty paintings, which he produced over a forty-year period after his release from eight years in Stalin's notorious Siberian labor camps. It is unique because it is the only visual record known to exist of the camps. Click on the Catalogue button.

Posted by mac @ 08:17 AM EST [Link]

Monday, April 7, 2003

On the Political Front:

Good Russmo cartoon this week, entitled "Drive-thru."

If you are critical of anti-war voices take the Iraq War Quiz offered at North American Samizdat. It will give you insight into the mindset of many anti-war advocates. For a fairly balanced presentation and discussion of the issues surrounding the war, Austin Cline does a good job on his site War and Morality. And I offer my own opinion. [more]

Posted by mac @ 12:07 PM EST [Link]

Sunday, April 6, 2003

On the Political Front:

Endgame. That's the term buzzing in the media now that war is seen to be concluding. But as much as the major media buzzes, there won't be real discussion because *that* requires a wide range of voices to be heard. This media advisory from the New York-based Freedom and Accuracy in Reporting was read on Radio Havana last night. It opens, "Although the invasion of Iraq is being fought under the name 'Operation Iraqi Freedom,' it has constricted the range of expression sanctioned by media outlets within the U.S. Starting before the war began, several national and local media figures have had their work jeopardized, either explicitly or implicitly because of the critical views they expressed on the war." The Alert proceeds to list examples. While those who ask hard questions or report unpleasant truths are punished, others are paid to "invent news" as Mark Steel comments in an article entitled "The minute it's made up, you'll hear about it: Ah yes, that chemical weapons factory that turned out to be an all-night petrol garage." Steel continues, "The military briefings must be given by one of those pathological liars you get in pubs." Or as Robert Fisk puts it in an excellent article of the same title, "The Ministry of Mendacity Strikes Again."

Posted by mac @ 04:17 AM EST [Link]

Saturday, April 5, 2003

On the Political Front:

A detailed account of yesterday's military events in Iraq. On non-military matters, the Iraq Daily offers headlines that cover events in Syria, Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Palestine, as well as Iraq. [more]

Posted by mac @ 03:05 AM EST [Link]

Friday, April 4, 2003

On the Political Front:

The good news....Peter Arnett is back, albeit in "reduced" form. He was hired almost immediately by the British newspaper, the Daily Mirror but he is also back on the air, broadcasting from Baghdad...tho' what are the odds Americans will see him? The private Belgian network VTN proudly announced it will have daily reports from "one of the world's most famous reporters" until the end of the war. A state-run television channel in Greece also said Arnett would soon be providing nightly dispatches for it, too. I request assistance from readers. I have a satellite dish and a shortwave radio, both of which I use to keep "informed." Does anyone know where/how I can catch Arnett? Is he being "aired" on the Internet as well? [more]

Posted by mac @ 08:22 AM EST [Link]

Thursday, April 3, 2003

On the Political Front:

Tom Tommorow's latest cartoon...Ouch. [more]

Posted by mac @ 08:48 AM EST [Link]

Wednesday, April 2, 2003

My friend Gordon writes, "In one of the most elaborate April Fool's pranks I have ever seen, the Sanger Institute's ENSEMBL Project has produced a bogus "draft release" of the genome for T. rex, complete with bogus press-releases, and "preliminary annotation notes." I would say this conclusively proves that some biologists _do_ have a sense of humor --- and apparently FAR too much free time..." [more]

Posted by mac @ 03:28 AM EST [Link]

Tuesday, April 1, 2003

On the Political Front:

Yesterday's blog contained the prediction that Rumsfeld would be offered up as a sacrificial scapegoat for the failure of US military strategy in Iraq. Today, I find these articles: "Rummy's Failed War Plan and the Casualties That May Result" by Jason Leopold; Rumsfeld's Design for War Criticized on the Battlefield by Bernard Weintraub with Thom Shanker; Rumsfeld's new war lesson getting low marks by Michael R. Gordon;
Rumsfeld's Folly
: Precipitating Regime Change In Washington?"....the list could go on and on. The wild card in whether or not Rummy will be sacrificed to assauge public opinion is Bush, who (unlike Clinton) has a reputation for loyalty to friends and colleagues. Thus, Bush reportedly "has complete confidence in Rumsfeld" despite swelling criticism. When Rummy is thrown to the dogs is when you'll know Bush is becoming desperate. [more]

Posted by mac @ 11:41 AM EST [Link]

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