Thursday, June 27, 2002

Returning to an old favourite theme, I found another collection of Dumb Laws. This one is slightly more fun than the last, because it includes English Laws too.

I now know that in Chester, you can only shoot a Welsh person with a bow and arrow inside the city walls and after midnight. So much for my weekend plans then.
posted by Mark 1:47 AM

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

I think that of all the proposals I've seen for ways to use the space where the World Trade Centre used to be, this one is my favourite so far. The design somehow seems to sum up the American approach not only to their own citizens, but to the world in general. Very appropriate.
posted by Mark 9:29 AM

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Well I do declare! The political power of The Wasted Times is becoming clear! Obviously the government are running scared of our incisive coverage of mostly pointless websites! Allow me to explain...

Yesterday, at about 10am, I added a banner on the left to draw everyones attention to the upcoming Regulation of Investigatory Powers disaster. I figured it was the least I could do, not least because I honestly believe that everything in our power should be done to stop this kind of thing from happening. [Update: I have removed the banner, and added the text & links as the post below this one]

Four hours later this article appears on the BBC News website: "Home Secretary David Blunkett has admitted he blundered over plans dubbed a "snooper's charter" to give a raft of public bodies in the UK access to private e-mail and mobile phone records. The proposals are to be put on hold indefinitely in the face of huge opposition, which the home secretary conceded his department totally failed to predict."

Now, is that a Result or what? David Blunkett is running scared from the might of our Publishing Empire, obviously. I love the bit where he calls us "huge opposition". Go and read it, it's great.

In all seriousness, this is good news but I would still urge everyone to bookmark the Stand website for future reference, as I'm a bit suspicious that "postponed indefinitely" might be loosely translated as "postponed until we can sneak it past all those pesky whining privacy advocates". Watch this space folks.
posted by Mark 7:53 PM

spook office?
The UK police, the Secret Service, and the Inland Revenue can get access to your "traffic data".

In August, this ability will also be given to the Post Office, The Food Standards Agency,
your local Fire Department, your Local Council, and quite a few others.

This "traffic data" can be the list of phone numbers you have called in the last six months. Or a full
list of Websites you have visited. Or the times you log on, and from where. Or who you
email, or what programs you've downloaded, or what newsgroups you read. Or the position
of your cellphone last Tuesday at five.

If a new rule passes Parliament, over
twenty government departments
will be able to spy on your browsing without a warrant.

Find out the facts

Fax your MP
Stop the order.

posted by Mark 7:49 PM

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

People have been declaring themselves and their house/garden/island to be an independant nation for years. Some of them are even (more) imaginary and have no territory at all, but they are often entertaining or thought-provoking in their ideas and constitutions. This page has a fascinating list of Micronations, compiled by one of them, the Kingdom of Talossa.
posted by Mark 9:47 AM

I have long advoacated pouring concrete over the garden and painting it green to create a low-maintenance finish, but now I have a new plan. Based (I suspect) on this image by MC Escher, these Lizard Tiles are now top of my list for paving the planet.
posted by Mark 9:32 AM

Someone somewhere has done something interesting with the design of kids dummies, and I want one badly. At least one.

Unfortunately I have no idea whatsoever where this picture originally came from - I found it attached to a post on usenet and the link is to my own webspace. If you have any idea where I might acquire such a delightful dummy please let me know. I reckon young Osborn would look great with vampire teeth, and I suspect his Mum does too.
posted by Mark 9:06 AM

Todays daft game is Pegball
posted by Mark 3:22 AM

Music Industry Unveils New Piracy-Proof Format
posted by Mark 3:15 AM

I like to see a nicely designed and executed tattoo, and this site has lots. What's more, it's all the work of a woman, Mandy Flynn, which makes a nice change.
posted by Mark 3:14 AM

How to scare you child witless just before a surgical procedure - explain it to them with an anatomically correct teddy you can take to bits. Ugh.
posted by Mark 1:30 AM

Saturday, June 08, 2002

David Coppit has had an extensive MRI scan of his head done, and made some rather nice animations from the data to let everyone see inside his head. No, I'm not sure why either. I do like the anims though.
posted by Mark 12:59 AM

I'm a huge fan of Zippo lighters - after all how many design classics are there that you can take everywhere with you? And they make that great sound too. However, even having had almost 20 years of constant companionship from mine, I still can't make it do any of these cool tricks. Maybe you'll get more cooperation from your lighter - I think mine is sulking because I used a cheap disposable last Tuesday.
posted by Mark 12:44 AM

Ah, another mugshot creator, but this time you get to make yourself into a South Park character. Or hey, you could do the Boss. Or that funny bloke over the road, you know, the one who gets lots of parcels but no visitors. If you want to keep a copy of the images you make you'll need to take a screengrab, as unfortunately there's no other way (that I could see) of keeping your masterpiece for posterity. A small price to pay for being able to do a self-portrait like this one I say.
posted by Mark 12:34 AM

Another gem for your reference collection: The Glossarist, a searchable directory of
glossaries and topical dictionaries. A handy-dandy index of hundreds of specialised online glossaries, from an enormous range of subjects, and with a nice relaxing page design.
posted by Mark 12:22 AM

A dyseducaional road movie Note: 1.1Mb shockwave animation - may take a while on a modem. Well worth it though.
posted by Mark 12:14 AM

Friday, June 07, 2002

Allow me to introduce the first African village to create it's own website - Bermi Village, Tanzania.

And it's a fascinating site too - as well as introducing us to many of the people in the village and their culture, it has oral history (trancribed for the first time ever!), pictures of the village and even some music to download. The bit that amazed me most (beyond the wealth of information here) is the description of how the site is produced. Here, have a snippet to whet your appetite:

"Although power lines pass through the village, for some reason, the transformer that will bring power into the village has yet to appear. The site is coded into HTML with some difficulty. Petrol has to be bought in a nearby village and put into the only generator in the village. This gives four hours of power, so we have to work fast.

Completed pages are taken to Babati (37Km away), where a British NGO, Farm Africa, will let us email them to a friend in England who FTP's them to the webspace. If the email is down, it is a three day round trip to Arusha (210Km away) where we can FTP them from a cybercafe."

Amazing stuff, and more power to 'em I say.
posted by Mark 11:57 PM

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Three cheers for free technology - thanks to Atomz we now have a search function that does the archives too. Wahey!
posted by Mark 3:20 PM