Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Sunday October 12, 2003. I slept most of the day.

I finished reading _Low Port_. If you like Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's own writing, you'll probably like the stories they've anthologized. I liked most, but: A couple were in dialect thick enough that I found them hard to read. Some didn't need the port setting.

Aside from that: On Usenet, explained to someone that 1) I consider "Look how the UN is trying to take away our rights!" quotes inauthentic unless proven accurate; 2) I don't believe "facts" from either side of the gun-control issue unless proven accurate -- google on "John Lott" and on "Michael Bellesiles" to see why.

Synesthesia website new URL: http://home.comcast.net/~sean.day/Synesthesia.htm It includes information on the Synesthesia mailing list.

Vanity movie-making:

Date: Sun, 12 Oct 2003 18:25:36 -0700
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From a webbed USA Today story on Rush Limbaugh:

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David Aaronovitch
Sunday October 12, 2003
The Observer

Oliver Letwin, I realised last week, is only partly a likeable, intelligent British politician. The rest of his time he spends as a moon-pilot for the Rantissian Galaxy.


It's here that we discover Mr Letwin circling Planet Tharg in a crystal bucket. http://politics.guardian.co.uk/conservatives/comment/0,9236,1061284,00.html

When did John Major move Down Under?

Paul Harris in Washington
Sunday October 12, 2003
The Observer

He may have disappeared from British politics, but John Major is alive and well and ruling Australia. Or at least the White House seems to think so.

In a spectacular gaffe that has caused red faces in Washington and outrage in Canberra, a briefing note for US reporters who will be accompanying President George W. Bush on a visit Down Under later this month contains some truly undiplomatic comments.

The potted history, helpfully included in the notes, reveals that in 1996 '... a Liberal/National Party coalition came to power under Prime Minister John Major'.

That will be a surprise for Britain's cricket-loving former PM - and will be particularly disturbing news for the Australian leader, John Howard, whose vital support for Bush over Iraq appears to have made little impression in Washington's corridors of power. He is already in trouble for recalling Australia's parliament - at a cost of A$2m (£830,000) - to hear Bush deliver a speech. But now it appears that the White House does not even know who he is.

Howard said he was unperturbed by the mistake. 'There's a long history of them getting the names of Australian Prime Ministers wrong, and this is not the first mob to have done it,' he told a local television station.

But that was not all that was bizarre about the notes. White House reporters will surely have been relieved to learn that Canberra's tap water is drinkable. However, they have been warned of the reputation of Australia's capital city for being a bit, well, boring.

'Some journalists have talked about dropping off here - probably before they knew it was Canberra and not Sydney,' the briefing note says, before adding: 'Not much is happening besides government in Canberra.' That last comment has prompted Canberra tourism officials to write a furious letter to the US embassy.

However, all is not lost for hungry hacks, desperate to try out Australia's finest restaurants. Ignoring Canberra's plethora of international eateries, the journalists are instead guided to the Hog's Breath Cafe, a fast-food chain. There, they are assured, the meal of choice is the Dog's Breath corn dog.

Finally, to add injury to insult, culturally minded reporters are told that they can shop for 'uniquely Australian trinkets, from koala bears to boomerangs'. That will shock wildlife conservationists: buying koala bears is illegal in Australia, where they are a protected species.

October 12, 2003
To Whom May I Direct Your Free Call?

Mr. Zennstrom and Mr. Friis have reunited with the same team of Estonian programmers who wrote the code for Kazaa and have created a way to allow people to make high-quality phone calls over the Internet without having to pay a penny.

...unlike other VoIP offerings, Skype's software and audio connections are based entirely on the same peer-to-peer infrastructure that powers Kazaa. For example, if two users want to call each other, the call can be routed directly between their computers instead of having to pass through central servers. Peer-to-peer routing also frees the company from having to buy and maintain much equipment, because its system relies entirely on the computers of individual users.

Caution: Before downloading Skype, google on "kazaa" and "spyware".

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