Archive for July, 2004

Lost in an old map

Saturday, July 31st, 2004

Thanks to Danny O’Brien, I have lost a whole morning looking at ancient maps. This is a truly fantastic site, though regrettably biased towards the USA. If you download the Java viewer, you can examine and save maps from most of the last two centuries at very high resolutions: I saved a map of Stockholm at about half the maximum level of detail and got a 2.5 MB jpeg.

What I wanted to look at was the place where I lived as a child for a couple of years: one of the nicest addresses and finest views in the whole world, and Strandv

nerds only

Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

Brad Choate’s Textile plugin for MT does something that the real thing can’t: definition lists.

dl. this:should be
although:there is no mention of it in the real textile

comes out as

should be
there is no mention of it in the real textile

Avro Manhattan

Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

I try to resist the temptation of taking the piss out of the Independent’s religious coverage. But the long John Walsh interview with Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor contains some really horrendous examples of ignorance and prejudice on the part of the subs. The fact box has a quote about the church’s finances from one “Avro Manhattan”, which is more or less equivalent to using Radio Riyadh as your source for facts about the Jews. Avro Manhattan really did exist: I came across his works in a rabid Protestant bookshop in Belfast, and he has a thriving presence on the web, from which you learn that his books included

Catholic Imperialism and World Freedom
C.A. Watts, London 1952, 2nd edition, 1959;
Terror Over Yugoslavia, the Threat to Europe
C.A. Watts, London, 1953;
The Dollar and the Vatican
Pioneer Press, London, 1956, 3rd edition, 1957.
Vatican Imperialism in the 20th Century
Zondervan, Michigan, 1965.
The Vatican Billions
Chick Pub., Los Angeles, 1983.
Catholic Terror in Ireland
Chick Pub., Los Angeles, 1988.
Vatican Moscow Washington Alliance
Chick Pub, 1982.
Vietnam . . . why did we go?
Chick Pub, Los Angeles, 1984.
The Vatican’s Holocaust
Ozark Books, Springfield, MO.1986.
Murder in the Vatican: American Russian and Papal Plots
Ozark Books, Springfield, MO. 1985.

It’s interesting to know that Zondervan, regarded as the respectable end of evangleical publishing, was prepared to print this kind of thing in 1965 (two years after the assasination of the Catholic JFK). But whichever intern Googled for this should really have been reprimanded. It shows what gets lost when newspapers no longert have proper libraries.

Where the money went

Monday, July 26th, 2004

This was the wormseye I wrote off the back of various comments on an earlier post. Thanks to Quinn and Billmon for facts and ideas.

If there was one thing which everyone knows, it is that Americans have grown richer since 1970. When I was told that average wages have actually declined since then, when adjusted for inflation, I did not at first believe it. But the figures, from US department of Labor, are quite unambiguous. Measured in real dollars, most workers in the US are now paid worse than they were in 1970. Measured in constant (1982) dollars, the average weekly wage in June 1970 was about $312 ; last month it was about $275.



Monday, July 26th, 2004

Just time to note that Robin McKie’s profile of Richard Dawkins in yesterday’s Observer was one of the most frustrating cuttings jobs I have ever read. What really teed me off was this “He has maintained his fusillades of anti-cleric abuse, once utterly crushing the Bishop of Oxford, Richard Harries (a former scientist), in a debate over the common ground that exists between science and religion (no guessing what Dawkins’s view was)”. I am pretty certain that I know what he’s talking about. It was a debate in Edinburgh, which I also attended. The Bishop’s Christian name is not Richard. His surname isn’t Harries. His see isn’t Oxford. It was John Habgood, then Archbishop of York. My memory is less that he was utterly crushed (though he certainly came off worse) than that the two were debating quite different things. Dawkins beat him up about the Virgin Birth. Habgood wanted to talk about metaphor and truth.

It all seems a little unfair on the real Richard Harries, who has collaborated with Dawkins in the struggle against creationism, and who was royally shafted by Rowan Williams last summer over Jeffrey John.

Even code gods

Monday, July 26th, 2004

forget to renew their domains — look at Mitch Kapor’s Chandler project. Whois knows nothing of this morning, either.

I’m sorry. I know you have been a good person all your life. I know you have deserved salvation, and — believe Me — God would have taken you to heaven, but it’s just … well, rules are rules; Gabriel forgot to renew the domain, and you have been redirected to spend eternity in a yahoo mailing list about Hugh Jackman instead.

For travellers in August

Saturday, July 24th, 2004

Jonny Boatfield has a show coming up in Cambridge in mid-August: portraits of people in care homes around here. He sat and talked to them until he had their life stories. Then he drew what he saw. It’s at the Michaelhouse Centre.


Saturday, July 24th, 2004

I wonder, would David Blunkett let Tyndale in to England today? Henry VIII certainly didn’t, and had him burnt at the stake (after a merciful strangling) in 1536. I’m not at all sure that Tyndale qualifies as speaking English: whatever language this is, though, it is quite magnificent:

“As ye ēvious Philistenes stopped ye welles of Abraham ād filled them vpp with erth to put ye memoriall out of mīde to ye entent yt they might chalenge ye grounde: even so the fleshly mīded ypocrites stoppe vpp the vaynes of life which are in ye scripture wt the erth of theyr tradiciōs false similitudes & lienge allegories: & yt of like zele to make ye scripture theyr awne possessiō & marchaundice: and so shutt vpp the kingdome of heven which is Gods worde nether enterīge in thē selues nor soferinge them that wolde.


Queen Susan of the Albanians

Thursday, July 22nd, 2004

I bet you’re all so sunk in republican depravity that you didn’t even know Albania — like Narnia — had a Queen Susan. You should read the Daily Telegraph more. Queen Susan was an Australian drover’s daughter, who pitched up in Johannesburg, with her husband, the 6′ 9″ King Leka, son of King Zog I.


creationism and schools

Wednesday, July 21st, 2004

Just for the record, I went up last week to Middlesbrough to talk to the Vardy Foundation about their creationist tendencies. I spent nearly two hours talking to the headmaster, Nigel McQuoid, who is, I think, a full-on young earth creationist, who doesn’t believe that science could, even in principle disprove the account in genesis. But that’s not actually what matters.