Charlie's Diary

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Tue, 21 Oct 2003

Brief political interlude

Aside from the death toll banner at the top of this page, I've been trying to keep off the topic of politics -- and especially the US/UK occupation of Iraq -- for the past couple of months. My reasons for keeping off the subject are numerous. It's pervasive, it's polarizing, every time I think about it I can feel my blood pressure spike, and opining about it is probably pointless. We saw just how much attention Tony Blair paid when the largest anti-war demonstrations the UK has ever seen kicked off at about a week's notice; I have no reason to believe that my opinion is going to affect events in the slightest.

I'm going to take down the Iraq Body Count banner when one of two conditions occurs: either the lower estimate passes 10,000 dead, or the invaders withdraw their forces. I suspect the former will come to pass before the latter -- probably much sooner, given the likely consequences of introducing Turkish troops into the region or privatising the state-run food rationing and distribution system (both of which appear to be planned).

I'm at a loss to guess where all this is going (although the phrase "to hell in a hand-basket" springs to mind), especially with regard to the situation in Iraq. All the news seems to point to a US occupation administered by folks who are too ideologically canalized to recognize the quagmire they've stumbled into. There is no such thing as a peaceful occupation, and there's no such thing as an occupier who is welcome: because occupations are always carried out by soldiers -- by definition, violent strangers -- and foreign soldiers are never welcome. However, I still harbour a vague hope that the Iraq adventure will eventually be seen as the high water mark for the Anglophone neo-conservative imperialists, especially as it coincides with their wilful participation in the destruction of the western middle classes.

The future?

After Iraq, the future belongs to the guys who own the English-speaking telephone call centres in India, and the cheap computer hardware stores in Shanghai.

[ Discuss politics ]

posted at: 17:38 | path: /politics | permanent link to this entry


So, the Handspring Treo 600 turned up yesterday afternoon. Today, I unplugged it from the charger, phoned Orange, and got it activated. Then I remembered to phone Orange and ask for GPRS to be activated too. Then I had fun beaming my contacts across to it from my Palm. Then I fidgetted with it, figuring out how to use it as a phone. And as a phone it is, indeed, pretty awesome. And then I discovered ...

The space bar doesn't work.

The Treo 600 has a QWERTY-layout keyboard (okay, thumbboard) for typing email and SMS messages. And it works fine -- all except the space key, which appears to be catatonic or not wired up or something. Sigh. So I'm now waiting for Orange to get back in touch about shipping me a replacement, which they said they'll do once they can beat their computer system into compliance. And I am suffering from an acute attack of gadgetitis, an inflammation of the gadget-fondling organs, because the Treo 600 is quite clearly an extremely cool piece of mobile communications kit ... if only it could send and receive email or text messages with spaces between the words.

Meanwhile, back to work ...

posted at: 16:03 | path: /toys | permanent link to this entry


Is SF About to Go Blind? -- Popular Science article by Greg Mone
Unwirer -- an experiment in weblog mediated collaborative fiction
Inside the MIT Media Lab -- what it's like to spend a a day wandering around the Media Lab
"Nothing like this will be built again" -- inside a nuclear reactor complex

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Some webby stuff I'm reading:

Engadget ]
Gizmodo ]
The Memory Hole ]
Boing!Boing! ]
Futurismic ]
Walter Jon Williams ]
Making Light (TNH) ]
Crooked Timber ]
Junius (Chris Bertram) ]
Baghdad Burning (Riverbend) ]
Bruce Sterling ]
Ian McDonald ]
Amygdala (Gary Farber) ]
Cyborg Democracy ]
Body and Soul (Jeanne d'Arc)  ]
Atrios ]
The Sideshow (Avedon Carol) ]
This Modern World (Tom Tomorrow) ]
Jesus's General ]
Mick Farren ]
Early days of a Better Nation (Ken MacLeod) ]
Respectful of Otters (Rivka) ]
Tangent Online ]
Grouse Today ]
Hacktivismo ]
Terra Nova ]
Whatever (John Scalzi) ]
Justine Larbalestier ]
Yankee Fog ]
The Law west of Ealing Broadway ]
Cough the Lot ]
The Yorkshire Ranter ]
Newshog ]
Kung Fu Monkey ]
S1ngularity ]
Pagan Prattle ]
Gwyneth Jones ]
Calpundit ]
Lenin's Tomb ]
Progressive Gold ]
Kathryn Cramer ]
Halfway down the Danube ]
Fistful of Euros ]
Orcinus ]
Shrillblog ]
Steve Gilliard ]
Frankenstein Journal (Chris Lawson) ]
The Panda's Thumb ]
Martin Wisse ]
Kuro5hin ]
Advogato ]
Talking Points Memo ]
The Register ]
Cryptome ]
Juan Cole: Informed comment ]
Global Guerillas (John Robb) ]
Shadow of the Hegemon (Demosthenes) ]
Simon Bisson's Journal ]
Max Sawicky's weblog ]
Guy Kewney's mobile campaign ]
Hitherby Dragons ]
Counterspin Central ]
MetaFilter ]
NTKnow ]
Encyclopaedia Astronautica ]
Fafblog ]
BBC News (Scotland) ]
Pravda ]
Meerkat open wire service ]
Warren Ellis ]
Brad DeLong ]
Hullabaloo (Digby) ]
Jeff Vail ]
The Whiskey Bar (Billmon) ]
Groupthink Central (Yuval Rubinstein) ]
Unmedia (Aziz Poonawalla) ]
Rebecca's Pocket (Rebecca Blood) ]

Older stuff:

June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
(I screwed the pooch in respect of the blosxom entry datestamps on March 28th, 2002, so everything before then shows up as being from the same time)

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