Thursday, September 29, 2005

460,800 Dead

In the sixteen days since the Daily Telegraph published their article on the cutting of the Make Poverty History campaign (see September 14 post below) another 460,800 have died.

The firmest estimate I can find of the number of the world's poor is 3 billion. If they continue dying at the rate of one every three seconds, I calculate that the world would be free of poor people by the year 2291.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Kancho Assassins

It's a tricky life being an american school teacher in Japan. From boys and girls grabbing for your dick to the game of Kancho, played by 'even the sweetest little girl'.

Be Careful What You Type

Computers in airport terminals

Be careful what you type on public access computers in airport terminals. That data can be extracted. Technicians have found intimate messages to mistresses, sensitive documents, and viruses which invisibly record and transmit a record of your keystrokes.
Story from SecurityFocus

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Big Brother Blogger

I just read at BloggerCensors about the Blogger 'flag' button. It's only been on since August 18, 2005, and it does appear to offer some unspecified form of censorship or suppression. Though Blogger says not: it's purpose is for readers to inform Blogger about 'potentially questionable content'. But who defines 'questionable'? Who judges?, of course.
And there's fear of individual sites being targeted. Jameskew writes: “For example, could a pro-choice blog be taken down by an organised anti-abortion email campaign of 'visit this blog and flag it'?”

Here's a list of other blogger's posts on the subject.

(There is an upside, though, to being de-indexed by Blogger: think how much less comment spam you'll get.)

This pic is posted for the pic nicker.
The Burning of the Books. More Nazi fun and culture in 1933.

Bum In or Bum Out?

A blog from Taiwan shows photos of toilets in China with no doors to them and only a channel to crouch over. The question is raised on which is correct: to face the wall and have ass showing or to have ass to wall and face showing. Which way would you go?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

UK Duty Paid

The hallmark of a bona fide patriotic UK smoker with extra money to burn.

Duty on tobacco is higher in the UK than in the rest of Europe. British smokers, therefore, prefer to buy abroad. It is a crime to possess non-UK Duty Paid tobacco and cigarettes if you cannot prove to Customs that you purchased them abroad for your own personal use (see Statutory Instrument) - thus the large notice on a pack of 'legitimate' fags.

Alternative solution: Grow your own - but watch out!

Image © 2005 R deCinabre

Lest We Forget

Dr Goebbels' Lessons #2

Select a section of the public as your target by nationality, religion or beliefs; then proceed as follows:

1. Through the media, blame this section of the public for the ills that befall your country.

2. Discourage your citizens from buying from these people. (see pic below)

3. Have events (theatre, cinema, meetings) from which the target people are excluded.

4. Make films deliberately showing them unfavourably.

5. Mark the target people as separate with badges of identity (also note their facial features, hair type or skin colour).

6. Remove them from society.

7. Exterminate them.

Nazi Stormtroopers paste stickers on a Jewish shop in 1933:
"Germans! Defend yourselves! Do not buy from Jews!"

This is a strong picture. Look at the diagonal line of their heads, with bully boy in the middle and the other two facing in.
Consider these points, too, which may also add to the picture's strength:
i) the woman and the mannequins in the shop window can be seen as representing most of the public at the time; looking on, keeping quiet, inert and malleable; requiring only position, posture and adornment.
ii) in uniform, the two constituent sides of the Nazi party are represented: the brute thug, ugly and awkward; and the cold, sinister intellectual - tall, upright, handsome and threatening. All heads face toward him, but he looks out: he is the hero in the scene.

Compare the arguments of the Nazis with those of today's American right at

USA Declares War on Marc Emery

Hammering Hash #3

The US government is seeking to extradite Marc Emery and two friends from Canada to the USA for selling cannabis seeds. Anyone with even a minor connection to any marijuana transaction that leads to the USA is liable to be considered party to a conspiracy to import marijuana into the United States.

If he is extradited and prosecuted in the US, Marc can expect life imprisonment. Under Drug Kingpin* legislation, selling over 60,000 seeds qualifies for the death penalty in the United States. The manufacture or distribution of 60,000 kilograms of marijuana, 60,000 plants or 60,000 seeds are all included in death penalty provisions of the medieval law passed by a Newt Gingrich congress.

Marc Emery is a serious man, a highly respected advocate of tolerance and freedom. He's dealt with people at all levels of society and stood in city and federal elections. In the last ten years, he's paid out $4,000,000 in the cause of ending prohibition.

Forget war - terrorist war, drug war - this man is on the side of peace and truth and justice in society.

Pic shows Marc Emery and Michelle Rainey, also under threat of extradition. Read Marc Emery's page.

* I read this paragraph by a propounder of Drug Kingpin law.
(I imagine this is the kind of emotional argument that will increasingly be used to bring to boot those who stray from the fundamentalist American line):
"The United States and all Americans are currently under attack from enemies based on foreign soil. We are faced with daily acts of terrorism that make the bombing of the Murrah building in Oklahoma City or the World Trade Center in New York pale by comparison. With the cost to Americans reaching more than $50 billion annually and thousands of lives lost each year, it is clear that the greatest threat to the security of this nation, is drug abuse and the crime, violence and social ills that accompany it."
Ronald E. Brooks, May 13, 1999
Greg, Marc and Michelle are fighting extradition.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Making 'Make Poverty History' History

In the UK, advertisements called the 'Make Poverty History finger-click adverts', featuring stars such as Brad Pitt, Kate Moss and Cameron Diaz, were banned as too political to be broadcast.

The adverts featured celebrities clicking their fingers every three seconds to the statement: "Somebody dies avoidably through poverty every three seconds".

The media watchdog, Ofcom, declared that television and radio broadcasting rules had been breached because the adverts aimed to "achieve important changes to the policies of the Government and those of other Western governments".

The Broadcasting Advertising Clearance Centre and its radio equivalent had cleared the advert before it was screened, saying that it showed no political partiality.

Ofcom, who had received no complaints about the advert, ruled that Make Poverty History was "wholly or mainly political".

You have less than three seconds to explain this to one of the poor.

Source: Daily Telegraph of 13 September 2005

"Wanting things..."

"Wanting things breeds attachment;
from attachment springs covetousness,
and covetousness breeds anger.
Anger leads to confusion
and confusion kills the power of memory.
With the destruction of memory,
choice is rendered impossible,
and when moral choice fails
man is doomed."

from Bhagavad-Gita.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Red Portal

"It is not known precisely where angels dwell - whether in the air, the void, or the planets." Voltaire

Red Voltaire (Voltaire Net, French non-aligned press network) Alternative news in many languages, including items like this affirming 'No Aircraft Crashed into the Pentagon'.

Image © 2005 R deCinabre

More Pain, Less Gain

Hammering Hash #2

In Spain: "Starting this autumn about 600 patients will be enrolled in clinical studies to treat different diseases with the cannabis extract Sativex.
If the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting proves to be effective it is intended to treat another 240 patients with Sativex, which will be imported from Canada."
Source: El País of 28 July 2005

Great for Britain: Sativex was developed in the UK by GW Pharmaceuticals. However, you may have noted above that Spain will buy their Sativex from Canada. Isn't that mean? Spain buying from Canada: but the product was developed here in the UK. Why aren't we getting this lovely international business direct?

Why? Because Canada does this:
"Since 20 June 2005, Sativex has been available in Canadian pharmacies, produced by GW Pharmaceuticals and distributed by Bayer Health Care."

Whilst Britain vacillates thus:
"On 9 June GW Pharmaceuticals was informed that the responsible authorities, (MHRA Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) upheld its decision that a further clinical study in spasticity of multiple sclerosis sufferers would be required prior to the grant of a UK product licence for GW's cannabis extract Sativex."

All quotes: IACM-Bulletin of 7 August 2005

Pass the Duchess

Hammering Hash #1

The Daily Mail, a British newspaper with many axes to grind, rarely misses an opportunity, however obscure, to hammer home its message. Page three of The Mail on Sunday issue of December 12th 2004 showed a picture of Prince Harry wearing a tee shirt with the slogan: 'this generation rules the nation'. The reporter found a 'thinly veiled reference to drugs' in this message.

Here's how he worked it out for us:
The words are the opening lines of Musical Youth's 1982 hit 'Pass the Dutchie'.
A 'Dutchie' is a cooking pot.
The Musical Youth song was a cover of an earlier song called 'Pass the Kouchie'.
A 'Kouchie' is a cannabis pipe.
(Musical Youth had changed the 'offending word' Kouchie to avoid controversy.)

Q: Is that a thinly veiled reference? How many people would have known this stuff if the reporter had not, so thoughtfully, explained it all? In publishing these details, have the Mail now made a controversial song of 'Pass the Dutchie' too? Is it news? - the song was a 1982 hit (also note: Harry was born in 1984).

Brain Power

Hvae you seen tihs?

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdgnieg.The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig, huh?

Designed Omission

Dr. Goebbels' Lessons #1

Just came through my letterbox - a letter and a leaflet from British Gas.

The letter tells me prices are going up. It does so with this phrase: "we have to announce a change in our energy prices", and informs me the new rates are in the enclosed leaflet. I look in the leaflet and, yes, there they are: all the new rates.

BUT: I am missing a relevant piece of information; something that any normal thinking person would be most interested to know. How much have the rates gone up by?

I ask myself, is this a calculated omission? Yes. But, I realise, with the sleight of hand performed through the letter and leaflet combination, it's also a designed omission.