Archive for 2005

05w51:1 Everything, or Throwing the Backlog on the Winter's Fire, or Xmastravaganza

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 51 number 1 (everything, or throwing the backlog on the winter’s fire, or the xmastravaganza)


But first the news….

“Welcome to Ohio! Ihre Papiere, bitte!” | Metafilter
“Governor Taft of Ohio is about to sign Senate Bill 9, the Ohio Patriot Act. Among its provisions: * Police can deny entry to “transportation infrastructure” to anyone not showing an ID; * Police can demand the name, address, and date of birth of anyone suspected of having committed a crime or being about to commit a crime, or having witnessed a crime or a plan to commit a crime. Failure to provide this information is an arrestable offense — so basically all demonstrators could be required to give their names, addresses and dates of birth or face arrest; * Reminiscent of Joe McCarthy’s famous question, many state licenses will begin with the question “Are you a member of an organization on the U.S. Department of State Terrorist Exclusion List?”. Failure to answer means no license; answering affirmatively is self-incrimination. * Perhaps worst of all, the original version of the bill simply prohibited state or local governemnts or government employees from objecting to the USA PATRIOT act. The current version allows criticism, but threatens local government with the loss of funds if they in any way “materially hinder” Federal anti-terrorism efforts. “Welcome to Ohio! Ihre Papiere, bitte!” is from Metafilter, and included this comment: “The men who founded this nation were brave and forward thinking, the United States formed as the most modern and enlightened government in history. And now, through the spoiled tricksters in power, it is being dismantled while the citizens are at home watching another sitcom, laughing, laughing, laughing. […] Oh, and f*ck Jesus and every moron who voted for Republicans because they promised to stop homosexuals from getting married.” Yeah, f*ck ’em.

But it is Jesus’ birthday and all, supposedly. But maybe Jesus was a bastard. Maybe he was born in the summer. Ah well, at least it’s time off work, and we get to eat well.

Where is Santa Claus? | Timothy Comeau
from 1990 when I was in Grade 10

Sata Claus | Timothy Comeau
Santa loves logs

Santa is Satan right?
at first I thought this was satire than checked out the rest of the site and saw that it’s a looney Christian one and so the video I guess is supposed to be serious.Thanks to Rany (whoever you are) for the link.

Merry Religious Assimiliation Day | OmniNerd
“The first recorded Christmas on December 25th took place in the 4th century, a date coinciding with the birthdate of Mithras, the Persian sun god. Pope Julius I is rumored to have adjusted Jesus’ birthday to match Mithras’ because the church was unable to stop the pagan celebrations and thereby could associate their festivities in Jesus’ name. Other traditions owe their roots to non-Christian origin. Evergreen trees were revered by Druids for good luck and fertility because they withstood the hardships of winter. The tree became a religious symbol of everlasting life and was decorated to symbolize the sun’s power.”

The Earthly Father: What if Mary wasn’t a virgin? | Chloe Breyer
“Should Schaberg and other scholars who question the virgin birth be hurled into the outer darkness? The problem with dismissing them, as the fourth-century church authorities dismissed their forerunners, begins with Scripture. The biblical sources for the virgin conception are a few short passages in two of the four Gospels. In Matthew, an angel appears to Joseph, who is perplexed about his fiancee’s pregnancy. Should he divorce Mary or have her stoned her to death, as the law of Deuteronomy requires? “Joseph, Son of David,” says the angel, “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus.” The angel then goes on to quote the Hebrew prophet Isaiah. “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel.” (In fact, “virgin” comes from Matthew’s use of a Greek mistranslation; the Hebrew in Isaiah reads “young girl.”) The version in Luke is similar.”

Mary’s Not a Virgin | The Current speaks to Jane Schaberg
Mary’s wasn’t a virgin, she was just unfaithful I guess

Eluding Happiness: A Buddhist problem with Christmas. | Jess Row

Oh, but now Buddhism’s in the picture. Which is interesting because….

Scientists to check Nepal Buddha boy | Navin Singh Khadka

Introduction to Meditation | Gil Fronsdal

…which reminds me of the Buddhist joke I once heard which I never really understood. I guess that means I’m stupid. But whatever. It went: ‘what did the Buddhist say to the hot-dog vendor? — I’ll have one with everything.’

so, on to everything….

Blink and The Wisdom of Crowds | James Surowiecki & Malcolm Gladwell

Preacher of the profane | Daniel Binswanger

Ad glut turns off viewers | Gary Levin

Are you there God? It’s me Margaret | Mathew Fox interviews Margaret Atwood

Move Toward Plain Language in Canadian Court Decisions | Michel-Adrien Sheppard

The Plain Language Association INternational Vincent Van Gogh, the drawings | Franklin Einspruch

Art in Newfoundland | Craig Francis Power
nobody writes me letters anymore. boohoohoo

this was awesome:

Optics in Renaissance Art | Charles M. Falco
(link to realmedia presentation, or go here: Lectures at Princeton page)

and this was really good…:

Urban Planning | The Current speaks to Fred Kent

Fred Kent complained about Frank Gehry’s work and that of similar architects, which in Toronto, means he’s talking about our reno-projects…. he refered to it as ‘starkichecture’ and spoke of design being a disease. Monuments to ego (*cough* Liebskind) maybe, but as public spaces, they leave much to be desired. Personally I can see an historical connection to architecture and fascism, but who cares what I think.

Some pigs are more equal than others | Timothy Comeau

Not Special | Timothy Comeau

Let’s have a culture of six pack minds baby. Because then the world might be a better place. In the meantime there’s Muhammad Yunus.

Muhammad Yunus is one of the most inspiring individuals I’ve ever come across in the media-scape. A highly recommended video presentation….

Ending Global Poverty | Muhammad Yunus
“ABOUT THE LECTURE: Imagine a bank that loans money based on a borrower’s desperate circumstances — where, as Muhammad Yunus says, ‘the less you have, the higher priority you have.’ Turning banking convention on its head has accomplished a world of good for millions of impoverished Bangladeshis, as the pioneering economist Yunus has demonstrated in the last three decades. What began as a modest academic experiment has become a personal crusade to end poverty. Yunus reminds us that for two-thirds of the world’s population, ‘financial institutions do not exist.’ Yet, ‘we’ve created a world which goes around with money. If you don’t have the first dollar, you can’t catch the next dollar.’ It was Yunus’ notion, in the face of harsh skepticism, to give the poorest of the poor their first dollar so they could become self-supporting. ‘We’re not talking about people who don’t know what to do with their lives….They’re as good, enterprising, as smart as anybody else.’ His Grameen Bank spread from village to village as a lender of tiny amounts of money (microcredit), primarily to women. Yunus heard that “all women can do is raise chickens, or cows or make baskets. I said, ‘Don’t underestimate the talent of human beings.'” No collateral is required, nor paperwork—just an effort to make good and pay back the loan. Now the bank boasts 5 million borrowers, receiving half a billion dollars a year. It has branched out into student loans, health care coverage, and into other countries. Grameen has even created a mobile phone company to bring cell phones to Bangladeshi villages. Yunus envisions microcredit building a society where even poor people can open ‘the gift they have inside of them.'”

I’ve linked to things relating to Bonnie Basseler’s work before. Here is a video presentation from Printceton. I’ve linked to the real audio version, but there are others available from the source website here: Lectures at Princeton page

How Bacteria Talk to One Another | Bonnie Basseler speaking at Princeton (video)

Merry Christmas everybody.

-Mr. Timothy

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emailed by Timothy on Saturday 24 December 2005 @ 5:24 PM

05w49:1 Pinter vs. the War Criminals

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 49 number 1 (Pinter vs. the war criminals)

——————————————————————— 2005 Nobel Lecture ‘Art, Truth & Politics’ | Harold Pinter
“… language in art remains a highly ambiguous transaction, a quicksand, a trampoline, a frozen pool which might give way under you, the author, at any time. But as I have said, the search for the truth can never stop. It cannot be adjourned, it cannot be postponed. It has to be faced, right there, on the spot. The truth is something entirely different. […] Political language, as used by politicians, does not venture into any of this territory since the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed. […] The truth is to do with how the United States understands its role in the world and how it chooses to embody it.”NOTE: with choice of video or text

Pinter blasts ‘Nazi America’ and ‘deluded idiot’ Blair | Angelique Chrisafis & Imogen Tilden,3858,4688521-103690,00.html
“The playwright Harold Pinter last night likened George W Bush’s administration to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, saying the US was charging towards world domination while the American public and Britain’s ‘mass-murdering’ prime minister sat back and watched. Pinter, 72, was at the National Theatre in London to read from War, a new collection of his anti-war poetry that had been published in the press in response to events in Iraq.”article date: June 2003

Bush on the Constitution: ‘It’s just a goddamned piece of paper’ | Doug Thompson
“GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the [Patriot] act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. ‘I don’t give a goddamn,’ Bush retorted. ‘I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.’ ‘Mr. President,’ one aide in the meeting said. ‘There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.’ ‘Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,’ Bush screamed back. ‘It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!'”

U.S. bans use of torture | CBC
“The White House has tried to argue that rules against torture don’t apply beyond U.S. soil, in places like Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or Afghanistan. But on Wednesday that all changed. Speaking in Kiev, Rice made a definitive statement. ‘Those obligations [against the use of torture] extend to U.S. personnel wherever they are, whether they are in the United States or outside of the United States,’ she said. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said it was ‘about time.’ ‘Shame on us that it took so long for the administration’ to make the determination not to use torture, she said. A Democratic Senator called Rice’s statement an ‘almost total reversal of U.S. policy.'”

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emailed by Timothy on Saturday 10 December 2005 @ 12:58 PM

05w47:1 Darren O'Donnell on kids in politics

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 47 number 1 (Darren O’Donnell on kids in politics)

Thanks to Darren for allowing me to host his essay from the recently released uTOpia (Coach House Press) on Goodreads – Timothy

——————————————————————— Toronto the teenager: why we need a Children’s Council | Darren O’Donnell
“If you’re searching for utopia, you need look no further than the kids. The beautiful thing about focusing on youth is that while we may not be kids now, we all were once. And we carry the somatic memory of those days into almost every encounter; we all share, to some degree or other, a visceral understanding of powerlessness. Barring children from full political participation not only makes no sense when we consider the rights of the child, but also when we take into account the greater good. Excluding a huge segment of the population – a segment in the midst of forming views and attitudes that shape their behaviour for the rest of their lives – is a narrow-minded act that can only serve to limit our own possibilities as adults. So, while this proposal is for the children, it’s truly benefit of who those children become, for the adults who have to deal with results of eighteen years of their own political disenfranchisement.”
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emailed by Timothy on Wednesday 23 November 2005 @ 10:31 PM

05w46:1 Modern Times

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 46 number 1 (modern times)

——————————————————————— We Now Live in a Fascist State | Lewis H. Lapham
“We’re Americans; we have the money and the know-how to succeed where Hitler failed, and history has favored us with advantages not given to the early pioneers. We don’t have to burn any books. The Nazis in the 1930s were forced to waste precious time and money on the inoculation of the German citizenry, too well-educated for its own good, against the infections of impermissible thought. We can count it as a blessing that we don’t bear the burden of an educated citizenry. The systematic destruction of the public-school and library systems over the last thirty years, a program wisely carried out under administrations both Republican and Democratic, protects the market for the sale and distribution of the government’s propaganda posters. The publishing companies can print as many books as will guarantee their profit (books on any and all subjects, some of them even truthful), but to people who don’t know how to read or think, they do as little harm as snowflakes falling on a frozen pond. “

Writers and the Golden Age | Allan Massie
“Of course, the idea that art necessarily finds expression in protest, or is essentially a means of protesting, whether from the Right or the Left, is itself, comparatively speaking, modern. It dates from the Romantic movement. Before then, much art was a celebration of the established order, and inasmuch as it was critical, the criticism was directed at those who would disturb that order. Satire, for instance, was generally conservative. Its anger and contempt were aroused by folly and the vanity and vices of the present day; the satirist harked back to a (doubtless imaginary) Golden Age. […] The Left, ever since Rousseau, has seen man as essentially good, in chains only on account of the institutions of a cruel and corrupt society. Loosen his chains, strike off his fetters, and the natural benevolence of his nature will be free to flourish. For the Left the Golden Age is still to come. The Right, however, sees our nature as essentially flawed. […]Left-wing artists, however angry, are optimists; right-wing ones, however serene or witty, are pessimists. Yet the same man may be of the Left in his politics, opinions, and daily life, but of the Right in his Art. Graham Greene is a good example: politically on the Left, nevertheless on the Right in the view of man’s nature which informs his novels.”

What’s a Modern Girl to Do? | Maureen Dowd
“‘What I find most disturbing about the 1950’s-ification and retrogression of women’s lives is that it has seeped into the corporate and social culture, where it can do real damage,’ she complains. ‘Otherwise intelligent men, who know women still earn less than men as a rule, say things like: ‘I’ll get the check. You only have girl money.” Throughout the long, dark ages of undisputed patriarchy, women connived to trade beauty and sex for affluence and status. In the first flush of feminism, women offered to pay half the check with ‘woman money’ as a way to show that these crass calculations – that a woman’s worth in society was determined by her looks, that she was an ornament up for sale to the highest bidder – no longer applied. Now dating etiquette has reverted. Young women no longer care about using the check to assert their equality. They care about using it to assess their sexuality. Going Dutch is an archaic feminist relic. Young women talk about it with disbelief and disdain. ‘It’s a scuzzy 70’s thing, like platform shoes on men,’ one told me.”

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emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 15 November 2005 @ 11:17 PM

05w45:1 The 2005 Massey Lectures

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 45 number 1 (The 2005 Massey Lectures)

The 2005 Massey Lectures begin tonight on CBC Ideas. They can be heard online at 9pm EST from the CBC website’s stream, or via old fashioned radio boxes at 9pm local time across the country on CBC Radio 1.

——————————————————————— Race Against Time: The 2005 Massey Lectures | Stephen Lewis
“‘I have spent the last four years watching people die.’ With these wrenching words, diplomat and humanitarian Stephen Lewis opens his 2005 Massey Lectures. Lewis’s determination to bear witness to the desperate plight of so many in Africa and elsewhere is balanced by his unique, personal, and often searing insider’s perspective on our ongoing failure to help. Lewis recounts how, in 2000, the United Nations Millennium Summit in New York introduced eight Millennium Development Goals, which focused on fundamental issues such as education, health, and cutting poverty in half by 2015. In audacious prose, alive with anecdotes ranging from maddening to hilarious to heartbreaking, Lewis shows why and how the international community is falling desperately short of these goals.”
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emailed by Timothy on Monday 07 November 2005 @ 4:55 PM

05w44:3 Aux Armes Citoyens!

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 44 number 3 (aux armes citoyens!)


Six nights of riots in Paris ghetto split Chirac cabinet | Henry Samuel
“The French government was reeling yesterday after six nights of rioting which have exposed a split in the cabinet over how to deal with poverty and immigration in the dilapidated Paris suburbs. As authorities cleaned up the debris of another bout of violence, including the wrecks of 250 cars burned out on Tuesday night, both the prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, and the interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, put off foreign trips to deal with the rioting. ‘We sure showed it to them last night,’ said one youth in Clichy-sous-Bois, a grim suburb of high-rises some 15 miles outside Paris.”

The Barbarians at the Gates of Paris | Theodore Dalrymple
“Where does the increase in crime come from? The geographical answer: from the public housing projects that encircle and increasingly besiege every French city or town of any size, Paris especially. In these housing projects lives an immigrant population numbering several million, from North and West Africa mostly, along with their French-born descendants and a smattering of the least successful members of the French working class. From these projects, the excellence of the French public transport system ensures that the most fashionable arrondissements are within easy reach of the most inveterate thief and vandal. Architecturally, the housing projects sprang from the ideas of Le Corbusier, the Swiss totalitarian architect—and still the untouchable hero of architectural education in France—who believed that a house was a machine for living in, that areas of cities should be entirely separated from one another by their function, and that the straight line and the right angle held the key to wisdom, virtue, beauty, and efficiency. “NOTE: article date August 2002

Neither whores nor submissives | Rebecca Hillauer
“Young Muslim women in the working class suburbs of France have two choices: slut or servant. Fadela Amara is trying to offer them a third option: respect. Fadela Amara has a mission. One sees it in the intensity of her eyes and feels it in the passion of her speech. A good two years ago, the daughter of an Algerian immigrant family in Paris, she founded the organisation ‘Ni putes ni soumises’. This is also the title of her book, which won the ‘Prix du Livre Politique’ of the French national assembly last year. In the book, Fadela Amara tells in a simple and direct style the story of her fight against the growing violence and social disintegration in France’s suburbs.”

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emailed by Timothy on Wednesday 02 November 2005 @ 11:03 PM

05w44:2 Aliens

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 44 number 2 (aliens)


Explaining Those Vivid Memories of Martian Kidnappers | Benedict Carey
“Dr. Clancy’s accounting for abduction memories starts with an odd but not uncommon experience called sleep paralysis. While in light dream-rich REM sleep, people will in rare cases wake up for a few moments and find themselves unable to move. Psychologists estimate that about a fifth of people will have that experience at least once, during which some 5 percent will be bathed in terrifying sensations like buzzing, full-body electrical quivers, a feeling of levitation, at times accompanied by hallucinations of intruders.”

Are UFO Alien Faces an Inborn Facial Recognition Template? | Frederick V. Malmstrom
“The Descriptions of alien faces historically reported by UFO abductees are almost boringly uniform. Long before “close encounters” became a catchword in the ufologist’s vocabulary, self-proclaimed UFO abductees described their abductors as bulbous-headed humanoids equipped with oversized, wraparound eyes, vertical double-slit nostrils and gray skin. Is there another explanation for this uniformity of features besides the most obvious — that it is a description of an actual alien race?”

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emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 01 November 2005 @ 7:22 PM

05w44:1 Happy Halloween

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 44 number 1 (happy halloween)

——————————————————————— Shock Sites | Wikipedia
“A shock site is a website which aims to offend as many people as possible, generally by showing offensive images. It should be noted that the descriptions on this page are very graphical representations of the sites themselves, so those easily offended may be advised to not read this article further (other than making a note of the sites mentioned, for safety).” | Wikipedia
“ typically receives between 150,000 and 200,000 unique visitors every day, sometimes peaking at 750,000 per day.”

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emailed by Timothy on Monday 31 October 2005 @ 7:38 AM

05w40:2 Letter from St. John's

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 40 number 2 (letter from st. john’s)


Letter from St. John’s 03 | Craig Francis Power
“What is wrong with Newfoundland? You may have noticed that since the initial outcry over Gordon Laurin’s firing things have been unsettlingly quiet in St. John’s. For a few days, there was a great deal of local and even (gasp) national news coverage of Laurin’s dismissal, and there was also a real sense of the art community pulling together during a rough period. Despite how disheartening Laurin’s firing was, we were all in this fight together. We were really pissed off. It felt good. That seems like a long time ago. […] There hasn’t been a word from any of the local arts organizations about Laurin’s firing since. […] Part of the problem with this tiny art community in St. John’s is that the people who are here REALLY want to remain for the rest of their lives. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that there are about six art jobs in this town, and if you want one of them someday, you’d better not be too critical of anything. You certainly should not embarrass a corporation like The Rooms, who could at some future point supply you with a cushy government job with a dynamite pension and benefits to boot.”

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emailed by Timothy on Thursday 06 October 2005 @ 3:15 PM

05w40:1 Happy World

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 40 number 1 (happy world)


A New Measure of Well-Being From a Happy Little Kingdom | Andrew C. Revkin
“The gross domestic product, or G.D.P., is routinely used as shorthand for the well-being of a nation. But the small Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has been trying out a different idea. In 1972, concerned about the problems afflicting other developing countries that focused only on economic growth, Bhutan’s newly crowned leader, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, decided to make his nation’s priority not its G.D.P. but its G.N.H., or gross national happiness. […] [Recently] about 400 people from more than a dozen countries … gathered … to consider new ways to define and assess prosperity. The meeting, held at St. Francis Xavier University in northern Nova Scotia, was a mix of soft ideals and hard-nosed number crunching. Many participants insisted that the focus on commerce and consumption that dominated the 20th century need not be the norm in the 21st century. Among the attendees were three dozen representatives from Bhutan. […] In Canada, Hans Messinger, the director of industry measures and analysis for Statistics Canada, has been working informally with about 20 other economists and social scientists to develop that country’s first national index of well-being. […] Later this year, the Canadian group plans to release a first attempt at an index – an assessment of community health, living standards and people’s division of time among work, family, voluntarism and other activities. Over the next several years, the team plans to integrate those findings with measurements of education, environmental quality, ‘community vitality’ and the responsiveness of government. Similar initiatives are under way in Australia and New Zealand.”

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emailed by Timothy on Wednesday 05 October 2005 @ 2:05 PM