Sticks and stones

The Internet has magical powers over the young, or so you would think from the constant drip of demands to stop children using it.

In the past week, the Professional Association of Teachers
called for social networking sites to be closed to prevent bullying,

Teachers in websites closure call
Teachers have called for websites such as YouTube to be shut down as part of efforts to prevent pupils and staff being bullied.

“Odd”, you may think, if you are over 20, “I can’t remember MySpace being involved on the day when 2 girls pulled a knife on me by the swings.” (Maybe that was just me)

“Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me” may be an exaggeration but it’s worth remembering even as an adult. There is a major difference between getting beaten up for your lunch money and someone saying something snide about you on the MySpace.

Adults could even intervene positively to help kids stand up to Internet “bullying”. Teaching kids to defend themselves with words and attitude is much safer when the kid in question is sitting behind a keyboard rather than facing a gang of their tormentors in the park.

The problem is the bullying, not the use of any specific means of self-expression to carry it out.
The deceptive anonymity of the Internet can bring out the worst in anyone, child or adult. If you ever accidentally feel too positive about human nature, a couple of hours on MIRC will wipe that cheery grin from your face.

If some kids are bullies and some kids are fearful of getting picked on, that’s the world we live in. Bullies are usually the most disturbed kids. They certainly pick on those they see as weaker, which is a pretty transparent indicator of their own feelings of weakness. Maybe, professional teachers could start trying to do something to stop them behaving as malevolent scum, before they start thinking banning MySpace is a good idea.

In June , there was a story claiming that:

One third of US online teenagers have been victims of cyber-bullying according to research by the Pew Internet Project.
The most common complaint from teens was about private information being shared rather than direct threats.

So already, the most common bit of Internet bullying is not actually bullying then? This paragraph is followed a list of behaviour that had counted as “bullying”. It included forwarding private emails, and a fair few other things that might constitute teasing at worst. The poor kid nursing a real-life black eye might quarrel with this definition. In fact, a kid who was a real victim of Internet harrassment and threats would probably also quarrel with it.

There’s also a BBC Health contribution to the regular concernfest that is the media’s kneejerk reaction to so-called pro-ana websites.

Pro-anorexia websites offering tips on extreme dieting are nothing new, but their growth on social networking sites is a disturbing new twist and brings them within reach of a wider audience

So girls with a natural relationship to food – i.e. eating when they’re hungry and not eating when they aren’t- are going to become anorexic because they stumble across one of these sites? Pretty far-fetched.

We send conflicting messages to young women. For instance, they are led to believe that they can best attract the father of their future children by being too thin to procreate. You’re considered a little odd if you are female and not on a permanent diet. In fact it’s almost seen as unfeminine not to be obsessed with your own body shape and not to hate yourself for deviating in any way from the skeletal ideal.

Whose fault is this? You can hardly see social networking as responsible. Were there no anorexics before Web 2.0? No bullies? The Internet can be depressingly ugly. At least the virtual mirror world makes us think about things we don’t want to believe exist. Pretending they aren’t there doesn’t make them disappear. Don’t shoot the Messenger.

Feral Speech

Following links from the site of Foehammer, because he’d commented pretty threateningly to a post by the blameless hellshandmaiden I was led instantly to this post in the Irish Independent.

Right, if you are UK resident, don’t conjure up a vision of the pleasant smiling British Independent. This is obviously quite a different paper. The post url is
(Was overcome by a strange urge to not actually link there….)

The article by Keven Myers – which meets with MC F**hammer’s approval as a sign that people like him are writing for official mass media – has the title
Forget lily-livered liberalism, time to take stand and say we don’t want Muslim immigrants

I guess you have already got the flavour of this post. The clue’s in the title. In fact, it is, if possible, more offensive than the headline suggests, so I’m not going to repeat any of this stuff here.

Hmm. Ignoring the content, with a shudder, I thought “Surely this is illegal?” The Commission for Racial Equality is about to be subsumed into some Diversity Ministry, but it does still exist. There are definitely still laws against stirring up people against minorities in the UK. (I’m not saying this is definitely the solution or that a prosecution would do any good. It would probably just make people like this feel martyred and persecuted and make them even more dangerous … hmm, this argument sounds familar from when I was posting about the cartoon demonstration arrests….)

Maybe they don’t have hate-crime laws in Ireland?

Light bulb comes on above my head

Ahha, so maybe that’s why he published this stuff in Ireland?

Hmm, Ireland, with its massive displaced Muslim population? Not. When on earth did this Muslim immigration to Ireland take off? I suspect that the percentage of the Irish population of Pakistani, Bangladeshi or North African origin is minute (Don’t make me Google the Irish Census.)

So, let’s look directly at this article and say “Hmm, targetted at the UK, then. But he hasn’t got the face to publish this here because he knows he would be prosecuted”

Now, I guess you are thinking “Kevin Myers? Traditional Irish name. Must be a local lad. Why would he even think of publishing in England?”

Well, Kev is no stranger to the higher reaches of UK publishing, either. And, in case you think I got a Dublin broth of a boy confused with some Oxbridge-graduate journalist, this is the title of a piece in the UK’s Daily Telegraph a paper widely seen as a “quality” daily.

I wish I had kicked Susan Sontag

And this appears to be an obituary, ffs. It was written a week after her death and, basically, exults in it.

After sneering at her for being an “intellectual”, he genuinely says that he wished he’d kicked her, basically for being intellectual. He refers to Dr Johnson and Bishop Berkeley to make this seem more of a literary reference than a threat. Can’t say it convinced me. Wasn’t Dr Johnson himself the ultimate 18th century intellectual?

Bear with me here, I am going somewhere with this. He met her in Bosnia, where she was putting on Waiting for Godot.

Meanwhile she ostentatiously disdained us hacks even as she sedulously courted us. It was a grotesque performance. My real mistake was not radioing her co-ordinates to the Serb artillery, reporting that they marked the location of Bosnian heavy armour. My own life would have been a cheap price to pay.

Funny you should say that Kev.

Because Bosnia, Kosovo et al also come into this blog, pretty well by accident. I’ve started to notice how free fanatical anti-Muslim folk are making with the-bits-of-former-Yugolavia story. And not in a good way.

Quick history lesson. What happened in the-bits-of-former-Yugoslavia in the late 1990s? Attempted Anti-Muslim genocide. Well not actually “genocide”, because these people were all pre-war neighbours – Yugoslavs – of very similar genetic background. The word will have to do though. I’m less than happy with using the “ethnic cleansing” eupemism of the time.

So, I think you can assume that mentions of Serbia or Bosnia are in themselves calculated to cause actual fear in Muslims.

Well, on the site of the bafflingly monikered 1389, who is right in there with MC FoeHammer in growling at hellshandmaiden, I see the full flower of this in the signatures to a petition.
This take sup about a third of the blog,
List of signatories
Notice that most names that are not publicly anonymous carry the surname of a Serbian leader &/or war criminal. (Maybe these are just very common names in Serbia. My point stands)

There are two possible explanations. The far-fetched one is that the members of hate-dynasties are just instinctively drawn to this sort of thing, as flies are to excrement. And are all given to reading blogs in English and signing US petitions … Hmm.

The second one is that the people adding names here have deliberately used the names of genocidal Serbs. Even on the most charitable interpretation – that it’s what passes for a joke in these circles – it’s going to cause fear to Muslims. It certainly strikes the fear in me and I’m an atheist.

MC F**Hammer told hellshandmaiden to remember 1938. Oh look. “1389”. Phew, I can stop googling 1389 to find out if it’s a word in some impenetrable new version of l33t. It’s an anagram of 1938. I have to hand it to them as the first time I’ve ever seen a number turned into an anagram. Well, except for people trying to store phone numbers secretly. Surely they aren’t trying to hide the 1938 reference.

Well, what happened in 1938? Buggar, my school History lessons are so out of date. I learned History before the GCSE syllabus was mostly about the Third Reich, so I can’t be certain. Well, I can’t be more than remotely certain. Reichstag Fire? Krystallnacht? Invading the Sudentenland? Annexing Austria? I don’t know lads. You tell us.

By the way, I am not saying these people are connected and I’m not building a conspiracy theory out of it. I am just picking a few threads from the Web.

When Technology Goes Bad

Comically, it seems Technorati has died a death again this weekend. This is becoming a regular occurrence now (read through some of the posts here about it) and, given the nature of the industry in which Technocrappy wants to compete I really did think they would try harder. It seems they don’t.

Still, I am as fickle as the next person and more than happy to bask in the temporary brilliance of their current mistake. It seems that, today, this blog is ranked Number 1 in the world. If you don’t believe me, have a look at this screenshot:

Technorati Screenshot - Taken 04 Aug 07

As you can see, this is recent and we are, indeed number 1 in the world 🙂 Sadly, I am not convinced this will last for long… (Check out the ranking yourself and see if has reverted to our normal, low, position) [tags]Technorati, Page Rank, Technorati Rank, Technorati Monster, Technology, Bad Technology, Web Service, Web 2.0, Social Web, Blogs, Blog Aggregators[/tags]

Needs no imagination

Servicing the ever-open maw of a blog can be pretty tough sometimes. But lo, help is on the horizon.

According to Wallop CEO Carl Jacob* at a Stanford conference, reported in the Register, we’ll be soon able to buy in self-expression…

He wants people to know that they don’t need imagination to have personality. “Self-expression is a very powerful concept,” he explained. “We want to take people away from the idea that they have to do it themselves and that they can buy forms of self-expression in the virtual world.”

* No, I’m pretty certain this bit isn’t actually a command, although it may be a temptation.

Comments on comments

Will have to admit that this blog has been taking the comment week thing a little too far. Comments are the topic du jour here. And we’ve been evilly giving into temptation amusing ourselves by playing about a bit with the views of some people who post on Pharyngula

We usually get sane and supportive feedback here, with some reasonable dissent and the odd headcase. In fact, a dull longwinded diatribe here often gets a comment that covers the same thing in a witty couple of lines.

Comments on blogs can be much more interesting than the posts. Literally thousands of times I’ve read a brilliant post somewhere and never thought to comment. (Ditto, replacing brilliant with crap)

I often can’t even comment when I try. On some sites, you need to register before you can comment or they have those irritating Blogger comments things that insist on a user ID and password. Plus a bleeding Captcha.

The Context
Somehow, my name became mud to some fellow commenters on Pharyngula. The original post was some innocuous thing on ADHD therapy. Something about the whole topic seems to send rationality out of the window. I am not going to repeat it all here. It’s an insanely tedious thread with upwards of 60-odd comments at this moment.

No one seemed to understand what anyone else was actually saying. Very few seemed to have taken even introductory lessons in English comprehension. People were ganging up to savage one commenter -“caledonian” – paying less than no attention to what s/he actually said and charging down so many logical back alleys that I had to doublecheck the URL to establish that I wasn”t in some southern baptist college’s logic class.

This “caledonian” has some reasonable doubts about the efficacy and scientific bias of psychiatry and the logic of its disease model. Surely a respectable point of view that you could agree or disagree with. I didn’t realise that there was a war and that anything that smells of Thomas Szasz’s work was now considered exactly equivalent to scientology, because scientologists allegedly admire Szasz.

Caledonian explained his/her views quite clearly, in the course of two whole long strings of comments in separate blogs. Barely one of the people growling against him/her could follow a coherent argument. (This may explain why the ancient greeks regarded the study of rhetoric and logic to be a necessary part of education.) Caledonian’s forthright equation of scientology with the extremes of nonsense just confused people, who had already assumed he must be a scientologist.

I thought my first post was just a mild suggestion that the posts that equated an adult drinking coffee with giving a child ritalin were mistaken. People with kids diagnosed with ADD or ADHD or whatever, were deeply offended by my initial casual comment, taking it as a personal attack, attributing opinions to me that I hadn’t expressed and don’t hold.

The response

Person x took this as me attacking them personally for getting their kid treated. (Duh?) This got a furious response. (scientologist, wacko, plus a wierd and barely comprehensible reference to this being like racism, because I had implied that it might be OK in some really serious cases.)

I replied with a mildly sarcastic comment, part of which suggested that one person’s experience didn’t constitute all data. (… sarcastic, because that’s who I am. Maybe there is a pharmaceutical cure for sarcasm but I haven’t found it, to my cost…) I was feeling bad at just increasing their guilt by saying what they didn’t want to hear. All the same, if something is true, it’s true. If not, they could explain where I was mistaken. Socratic dialogue, and all that. Otherwise, “if they don’t in some way agree with me about the truth, why so defensive?” an evil demon whispered in my ear…..

There’s a fair bit more than these bits that I can’t resist posting here.

Heather, you and your ilk are the ones claiming that kids are being wildly overmedicated. I thought I was asking that you prove that your postive claim is true. To date all in this thread there are 1 anecdotal case (w/ claim of 2 kids) for and numerous cases against. Now, I do know that anecdote is not the singular of data, but I’m not the one wildly running around saying ‘the meds are coming, the meds are coming’. We parents and/or sufferers get pretty damn tired of those of you out there that aren’t really all that familiar with the situation stigmatizing us unfairly.

And how do we know that you aren’t just a scientologist wacko in your concern troll attitude about “Oh, the poor little kids don’t have a choice”? That implies that we parents aren’t concerned about our kids and won’t attempt to do the best for them and you get to move forward your anti-anti-psychotic agenda. Oh? You don’t like the stigma of being labelled a wacko scientologist? Now imagine that being the default assumption about everyone who spoke up against any (neuro)medication of kids. That is the equivalent stigmatization that we get — put yourself in our shoes and imagine that assumption we medicate simply because our child acts out a bit when in fact it is a last resort for a serious condition. We lived with the hyperness for years. But in a modern society you must succeed in school to make any gain in life — it’s just a fact. He’s a bright kid (tested into the gifted-talented program at the same time that he was put into special ed for learning disabilities) but if he can’t sit still and concentrate he’ll never be able to make use of those abilities. Sorry, but your type creates a hostile environment for us. Yes, there probably are those that do medicate unnecessarily but why should that be the default assumption?

Heather, you’ve had numerous example of people here pointing out that “doping [them] to fit their environment” was a good thing. Now, sure there are borderline cases and cases that aren’t cut-and-dried, but can’t we just assume that in general those making the decision (individual, parents, doctors) are doing so in the best interest of the individual? You keep implying that the assumption should be the other way — and I don’t get the hostility. As other have pointed out we don’t skip taking pain medication or getting glasses for those conditions. And work on the reading comprehension. I didn’t claim the arguments were racist themselves … but analogous to the common “I’m not a racist, but…” phrasing that often precedes a racist statement, i.e., “I’m not against medication in absolutely all cases, but…” and then proceeds to claim that it is wrong in general with no indication that there really are any justifiable cases.

I reread my post, No it definitely didnt say anything like what they thought I was saying. I must have expressed myself really badly. Hostile? Well, yes I was ever so mildly hostile in the sarcastic bit. I had to reread my post half a dozen times my head to clear away the idea that I was presenting myself as an anti-drug, even anti-medicine lunatic, faking compassion for kids to peddle my evil views. My concern troll views? Well, shit. I admit, I think people can be pretty crazy in how they treat their kids – I don’t exempt myself. I think it’s aresponsibility of a parent to actually take the kid’s views into account though.

Note, I don’t say – These posters include people who think it’s reasonable to put so much pressure on their kids or to have experienced so much pressure in their own childhood – that they cite inattention, daydreaming and failure to recite the alphabet consistently at 5 as signs of neurological disorder. Because, this will clearly get the whole site fuming….
(And make them think that I don’t believe that some kids do have genuine neuroloigical disorders.)

But, it’s not that I’m not thinking “A.S Neill, woulds’t thou were living at this hour” or correctly quoted words to that effect. This whole supernanny, adults are always right thing makes em furious. I remember when I was kid I was often right. As an adult I am very often wrong. Some people have kids who really shouldn’t be allowed within ten kilometers of unformed human beings. I am thinking not just of the Phelps or the Falwells here. But, just for the sake of argument, would you trust the Phelps and the Falwells to always make wise decisions about the best interests of their offspring?

TW got in on the act when I drew his attention to it. He made some obvious reference to a made up number of people who were medicating their kids unnecessarily. He even stated quite clearly, that he’s made up the numbers, because this was what everyone else thought was an acceptable argument.

He made some contribution to the debate to the effect that two working parents, endless social pressure for parents and kids to succeed, etc, were maybe connected to the huge increase in diagnoses.

Red rag to bull time….

The comment posters completely ignored the bit with him saying that these figures were made up. His serious argument about factors that might make it harder for kids and parents to cope was interpreted as him having blamed “working mothers” for ADHD.

Fed up with taunting them, he finally posted a measured and polite reply. This will probably get taken by somebody as him saying “Scientology is great. If only those pesky females weren’t going out to work but were at home praying with their kids, there would be no mental problems” and the thread will become an endless waste of 0s and 1s.

(Actually since reading this, I’ve Googled about Ritalin and found lots of sites where people campaign about not medicating kids, partly putting the sort of arguments I did. I guess they assumed that I belong to one of those organisations, so the talk of “my ilk” and so on makes some sort of sense now, I guess…)

Yes, it’s bad to taunt people for a cheap laugh. Still….

Comments and Emails

As a prelude to the WhyDontYou Comment Week (due to start tomorrow if we have the time 🙂 ), we have taken Michael‘s advice and put in a comment subscription facility. Now, if you find a thread you like here you can post a comment and, if you want to be kept informed of the debate, you can tick the box and get notification of follow ups via email. All good fun. Part of the idea behind us commenting a lot more next week is to help encourage discussions and share opinions via the blogosphere – which, it seems to me, is part of the reason they exist.

Announcing Planet Humanism

For those of you haven’t yet been to Nullifidian’s blog today, he has announced the creation of “Planet Humanism.” This looks like an excellent addition to the Blogosphere, although because I am lazy I will save effort here by repeating what Null has written in his announcement post: (Not to mention the fact Null has written it better than I could re-word it!)

After the runaway success of Planet Atheism, I thought that it might be appropriate to see if we could do for humanism what Pedro of Way Of The Mind has done for atheism.

So, without further ado, I introduce you to the Planet Humanism blog aggregator.

Unlike Planet Atheism, Planet Humanism is for blogs that have a generic humanist focus or element, regardless if they are atheistic or not. Of course, I appreciate that some (most?) humanists are likely to come from an atheist perspective, but not all will, and hopefully this will be somewhere that our commonality of humanism can allow some conversation on common ground.

If you’re interested in adding your blog to Planet Humanism, and if it has some kind of humanist element, drop me an email at and let me know your blog’s:

  • title;
  • URL; and
  • feed URL

Even if you’re not interested in humanism yourself, if you have humanist readers, please help to make them aware of this new aggregator. Thanks.

So, what are you waiting for? If you have a suitable blog, sign up, and if you dont just go and bookmark it to read the latest and greatest posts.

[tags]Planet Humanism, Humanism, Atheism, Rave, Nullifidian, Society, Culture, Blogs[/tags]

Tagged by Atheist Perspective

This blog was tagged by atheist perspective I’ve shamelessly lifted an explanation of what that means from the atheist perspective site, which is excellent by the way.

We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
– Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
– People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
– At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
– Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Well part A is completed with minimal effort. Clearly the next stage must have to be the 8 random facts. Argh, 8 things about us that we wouldn’t mind going on the net – but are actually interesting enough to post. Damn that rules out almost anything I could put here….

Hmmm…. hmmm…..

  1. Between us we have lived on or visited 5 continents. Antartica is one of the two we’ve never been to, although one of us has been close enough to swim in it’s waters. (Yes, it really is as cold as you would imagine).
  2. Between us we speak – to a standard ranging from fluent (English) to pathetically halting (well, the others) – 5 languages and can make sense of a couple more with babelfish’s help. Oh yes, 5 languages Plus Latin.
  3. One of us genuinely believes the Wire is the major artwork of the 21st century. This is a minority viewpoint in every sense, even on the blog.
  4. We train with weights, more or less every day. One of us even got a certificate that will pay out thousands if anyone he trains gets injured, The other one has long been planning to enlist him as her personal trainer and do something spectacularly stupid…
  5. One of us has become obsessed with taking photographs and keeps getting better and better digital cameras every few months. And the pictures are getting better all the time as well.
  6. One of us refuses to accept any limitations, no matter how glaringly obvious, and hence persists in thinking she can do 3d graphics, despite the evidence of the senses.
  7. Terry Pratchett remains the one author we agree 100% over and have obsessively read every book produced. (Not all good though- the “actual” sci-fi books are poo and the science companion is distressing)
  8. CSS design is soundly despised by every one who has anything to do with this blog. Even their pets hate CSS.

Choosing 8 blogs was no easy task either. There were obvious choices – like nullifidian – who have probably already been tagged within an inch of their lives so would just get pissed off. However, I sprinkled my fairy dust over the atheist blogroll and found some worthy, if less familiar, contenders.

[tags]Blog Meme, Atheism, Wire, WhyDontYou, Why Dont You, Society, Culture, Travel, Languages,Blog, Meme, Blogs[/tags]

Rant about spam

It seems a hostage to fortune to say I don’t really care about spam coming to my inbox to advertise shares or pharmaceuticals or just spill out gibberish concrete poetry. One sort of spam that makes me really angry is the “System Admin” stuff that says it’s been returned from email address because there was an undeliverable message from my email account.

It is impossible to know which of these are spoofed from start to finish. Most, I am told. However, some could be legitimate in the sense of actually recording an attempted spam going somehere – in which case my email account has been used to spam other people. Which is obviously much worse than just getting spam yourself because it destroys your credibility.

A man I know had an AOL account that banned him three times because his address was being used as a spam source. He was mortified and out of his depth on each occasion – he had chosen AOL as his service provider, for a start, so, almost by definition, he knew virtually nothing about the Internet.

(On another occasion, this rant will expand into the area of spam comments and how it means that we have to use Akismet, which occasionally deletes real ones as it goes into a destroying frenzy, losing good comments. as well as making us look churlish.

Not that this blog can claim to be innocent of general churlishness, but the comment-deleting churlishness isn’t our fault. The ongoing looney debate shows us bending over backwards – to the point of tying ourselves in infinite knots – to avoid being churlish to soemone who is a looney fundamentalist, by his own admission.)

My bad ..

Sorry. I wrote the Chuck Norris post without realising there was link to a really good rant on Nullifidian’s site.

This leads to the original article on the Institute for Humanist Studies It is really funny. And it has pictures that show the nature of the man better than any words could.

More Technobabble

The Register reports on Technorati’s problems resulting from its redesign. It knocked itself out of operation (surely not unprecedented for Technorati. I thought it let its imaginary Monster out to ravage it every weekend)

The Register argues that Technorati has more or less given up on indexing blogs and concentrated on images.

So what was always a lousy blog search tool is now little more than a lousy image search tool – this is not going to worry Yahoo! or Google

I hope not. For all my whining about it, Technorati is pretty useful.

You can breathe again now…

In answer to the question Mad or Troll? there is no way on earth that site’s not a spoof.

Forget the Linux, digital cameras or God loves America tosh. Even the most extreme republican born-again ****** wouldn’t talk in public about there now being peace and freedom in Iraq or argue that white Protestants are the most persecuted group in US history.

In case there’s any remaining doubt -the contact page has:

Revd Dr Pastor Magnus Bucks (Writer/Spiritual and Financial Advisor):
e-Mail: Revd. Dr. Magnus Bucks======

Christian top ten blogs are really tough to find

So impressed was I by the idea of a top ten Christian blog list together with the idea of Christians pulling stunts to make sure atheists wouldn’t be top that I was forced to google for some evidence of the existence of Christian top ten charts.
This is one top ten I didn’t have patience to look past number one but that was indeed quite interesting. It told me that police in Florida handcuffed and arrested a six-year-old and that this is apparently a normal part of their daily activities. It didn’t seem particularly Christian except for having an intro quote that mentioned God. So disappointment there, when I was looking for comedy ranting.

It even has a post that made a point that I’ve been too cowardly to make here that 500 civilians were killed unremarked in Iraq, when the 33 Virginia Tech deaths were dominating the world’s media….

OK, maybe there’s a fundamentalist top ten that I can rant about? Oh bugger. A Google for top ten fundamenatlist blogs produces a page of links that reference “top ten signs you’re a fundamentalist Christian” which can best be described as self-satirising when it’s referenced by Christians. Continue reading

DOS attack?

This blog started behaving disturbingly after TW’s last post. All posts just vanished. A few minutes later the content reappeared but the Atheist blogroll had become a featureless void.

A quick link to the almighty Mojoey’s site showed that the blogroll was even missing from its own home.

Pinging the blog roll brought this response:

While trying to retrieve the URL: http://www.*************ping.phtml

The following error was encountered:

Socket Failure
The system returned:

(49) Can’t assign requested addressSquid is unable to create a TCP socket, presumably due to excessive load. Please retry your request.

Your cache administrator is admin@******

Obviously, an outsider can’t tell whether this is just a server that can’t cope with the huge numbers of enthusiastically blogging atheists (:-D one can always hope) or whether it’s a DOS attack.

The lack certainly brings home what a public service it is. I do hope it’s sorted out soon.

People who live in glass houses

It’s 10 years since the first blog, according to the Guardian. In that time, as you all know, the blog has become a major force for mass communication. More and people are setting up blogs.

“We’re seeing about 120,000 new weblogs being created worldwide each day,” said Dave Sifry, the chief executive of the blog monitoring site Technorati. “That’s about 1.4 blogs created every second.”

Ironically, the article finishes by quoting some supposed expert who says that most blogs are boring vehicles for narcissistic individuals.

“The real issue is whether it adds any more to our culture. Most of it is just so transient and ephemeral …. Why do I want to know what some guy sitting on the west coast of America thinks about Iraq? Would you pay to listen to this person?”

This self-proclaimed dotcome millionaire is about to publish a book saying that blogging is killing off the internet. Have to paraphrase here:

“Why do I want to know what some guy who a guardian journalist happens to have the phone number of thinks about blogging? Would you pay to read this person’s book?”