Another Dark Little Corner

moon phases

Started this before change to "New Blogger", as backup in case of trouble with digiphoto blog "In a Small Dark Room", or rants & links blog "Hello Cruel World" . Useful - at one stage Dark Room was there, but like the astrophysical Dark Matter, we could't see it ... better now, but kept Just In Case.

Your ABC

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There is nothing. There is no God and no universe, there is only empty space, and in it a lost and homeless and wandering and companionless and indestructible Thought. And I am that thought. And God, and the Universe, and Time, and Life, and Death, and Joy and Sorrow and Pain only a grotesque and brutal dream, evolved from the frantic imagination of that same Thought.
Mark Twain (letter to Joseph Twichell after his wife's death)
[me, on a bad day]

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Science and Fiction,13026,1290561,00.html
The science fiction issue

'I've seen things...'

Our expert panel votes for the top 10 sci-fi films

Alok Jha, Simon Rogers and Adam Rutherford
Thursday August 26, 2004
The Guardian,13026,1290565,00.html
he science fiction issue
The war of the words

The world's best scientists nominate their favourite authors

Tim Radford, Simon Rogers and Adam Rutherford
Thursday August 26, 2004
The Guardian

There are some things man was not meant to adapt to musical theatre...
A Shoggoth on the Roof HPLHS Cast Album. Available for a $12.50 donation to the
HPLHS Committee for the Prevention of Cruelty to Shoggoths, plus $2.50
An Exopolitical Perspective on the Preemptive War against Iraq

Research Study #2

February 3, 2003,

© Dr Michael E. Salla


Most, if not all, criticisms of the Bush administration's motivation for
launching a preemptive war on Iraq focus on a combination of the imperial world
views of conservative politicians in power in Washington, D.C., and the
corporate interests that drive the political agenda of the Bush administration.
This study will provide a radically different political analysis of the Bush
administration's motivation for going war, and of the explanations offered by
his critics. This study provides an exopolitical analysis of the policy
dimensions of an historic extraterrestrial presence that is pertinent to Iraq
and a US led preemptive attack. It will be argued that competing clandestine
government organizations are struggling through proxy means to take control of
ancient extraterrestrial (ET) technology that exists in Iraq, in order to
prepare for an impending series of events corresponding to the 'prophesied
return' of an advanced race of ETs. The Columbia Space Shuttle may well have
been a high profile victim of such a proxy war intended to send a message to US
based clandestine organizations over the preemptive war against Iraq.

In conducting this analysis, this study examines the available evidence of
an historical ET presence in Iraq, and then applies this evidence to better
understand the contemporary political situation in Iraq. The study will then
analyze the motivations of the main political actors in the prospective US led
preemptive war against Iraq. The study concludes by making some policy
recommendations concerning how to respond to the legacy of an ET presence in
Iraq and its contemporary political relevance.

This email was sent from Netspace Webmail:

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October 9th has been announced as the next Australian Federal Election date. Would have been John Lennon's 64th birthday.

Weather Effects at the Science Natterers' Picnic - which I missed, curse it!

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Eulogis for Inanimate Objects  
A musical example: La Boheme (Puccini) Act 4

(addressing his overcoat, which he has just taken off:)
Dear old coat, listen, I stay here below,
but you must now ascend the mount of piety!*
Receive my thanks.
You never bent your threadbare back to the rich and powerful.

You have sheltered in your pockets like peaceful caves, philosophers and poets. Now that happy days have fled, I bid you farewell, my faithful friend, farewell, farewell.

[*Monte de Piete ]

(indicando il cappotto che si è appena tolto)

Vecchia zimarra, senti, io resto al pian,

tu ascendere il sacromonte or devi.
Le mie grazie ricevi.
Mai non curvasti il logoro dorso ai ricchi ed ai potenti.

Passar nelle tue tasche come in antri tranquilli filosofi e poeti.
Ora che i giorni lieti fuggir, ti dico addio, fedele amico mio, addio, addio.

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Really Pretty night picture of Sydney City

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FOOMMMP! FWAPP!! Kazzzam - and awwaaaaayyy! ** Apostrophe Man ** appears
from nowhere with his supercalifrag-o pen and wonder-erase-o eliminator,
aims the wonder-erase-o, which dissolves & sucks up the offending surplus
apostrophe into its constituent molecules (for later transfer to the pen for
reuse), then flies off to make communication safe for the oppressed &
confused everywhere English is written.

Another form of camouflage: (under Anti-amerikanische Cola macht
Furore) if you prefer
English (NB: Not checked for grammar-porn, apostrophe-abuse, &c.) (see second picture)


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How far, how little, we've come in 100 years  
From the Gallimaufry entry showing their
Worldcon schedule extract
We find the listing for this panel discussion with this question:
JK Monday 11:00am Obsolete High Technology: Bill Higgins, Jordin T. Kare, Robert A. Metzger, Charles Stross
What was the highest of tech in 1910? Radio and the Titanic.

The highest tech in 1910 was probably nuclear physics - just beginning. And it's 5 years after Einstein's annus mirabilis, where he "published a series of groundbreaking papers on Brownian motion (which convinced the doubters that atoms really did exist), special relativity and the photoelectric effect" (his first Nobel Prize paper). Its centenary could be interesting.

Check out, as a quick example, these two timelines (there are probably even more storylines in the history there than were used in Copenhagen).
Nuclear & Particle Physics Timeline
Quantum Mechanics Timeline

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Knitting, Cats, 'n' stuff

Mossy Cottage Knits
August 27, 2003
Corporeally Challenged Cats
Thanks to a grammatically militant mother (and we are talking five-star-general militant here), I don't have much patience for sloppy typos in forum messages (although, ahem, in the interest of fair reporting, I have been known to make them myself). Recently, however, I came across a message, presumably about doing an invisible cast-on, with the subject line "Invisible Cat On." So many questions immediately flooded my mind ...

July 26, 2004
A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing

also shows Fascinating Stitch Markers - see pictures

Knitting Something Completely Different
Must-Read Fantasy and SF
A while back an on-line correspondent asked me for my top ten science fiction and fantasy books. I couldn't whittle it down, so instead I came up with this list of "must-reads" -- books that cross the line from pleasure to necessity. In determining what is SF and fantasy, I've chosen to be as inclusive as reasonably possible. Someday I may annotate these, or at least link to someone's description, but for now, here's the bare list.

A Bad Review

While few browsers support it, [metallic] [/metallic] creates lovely gleaming metallic text.
<Fe>This cannot be misunderstood.</Fe>
<Au>Text for the ages, if heavy going.</Au>
<He>This sounds squeaky!</He>
<Ni>If I had one of these for every time...</Ni>
<Pu>Run for the hills!</Pu>

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To Sally Loane (702BL - ABC) on Fish Market plans  
You seemed a bit doubtful about the doubts of Andrew from The Glebe Society's about the Master Plan for the Fish Markets.

Perhaps you also see the markets as mainly a tourist attraction rather than a living local amenity. If you've travelled, it's the difference between walking around Melbourne's 'authentic' Victoria Markets and finding yourself in the food court of the new Bondi Junction shopping centre. Yes, they each have their place, but your basic shopping centre can be anywhere, but the Fish Markets grew out of Sydney Harbour. Yes, we'd like to see improvements, but experience has shown such plans are not particularly likely to connect to or benefit the surrounding districts.

If you talk to people who've been local for more than a few years, nearly everyone who isn't just another property speculator, but who hopes to live in the place happily long-term, is deeply suspicious and frequently quite scarred by the last seventeen years of struggle to get a decent, high-quality, livable community as a side-effect of this most recent rush to extract as much money as possible out of Ultimo-Pyrmont. Check with Shirley Fitzgerald, the historian.

Alas, it's getting more & more difficult to actually consult with & contact the community, or for the community to discuss things with itself. Both the Pyrmont & Ultimo Precinct Committees have now been shut down, and the replacement information sessions and quarterly public meetings were abandoned by the new, enlarged council for a single annual meeting.

Some are hoping, perhaps forlornly, that once the rejigged council has got itself together, they will look at how other large councils organize information, feedback, consultation & representation through precinct committees or other community bodies.

There are, luckily, some people able to try and continue privately with community action groups, but I worry that they will either be easily ignored, as they may not have official recognition, or be private pressure groups for particular interests, like the business representative/chamber of commerce style of body, rather than being accountable, public, & for the general good.

This is not just a problem in Ultimo-Pyrmont, but possibly a problem of local representation in Australian society overall. It may contribute to the whole cynicism & disillusion with politics at all levels by average citizens who find themselves unable to get their concerns recognized, except the portions that correspond to, or can be twisted to fit into, the agenda of some group of influence.

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The modern Trojan Horse  
Though people are objecting to particular examples of how this "Free Trade
Agreement" may affect us badly, I'd ask us to look at the ideology at its
base. This Trojan horse provides a legal way to lock us into an extreme
economic kind of fundamentalism. The same as in a world trade agreement
rejected a year or two ago.

The ideology also affects any government or charitable ("non-profit")
regulation or involvement in almost any part of society, including public
schools, hospitals, heritage, arts, the environment & natural resources or
national parks, even parts of defence, and calls it "unfair" or "subsidies".
Eventually things like the Trade Practices Act, and many other legal
protections for the land & the people (PBS, OH & S, etc) are struck down as

It says that the basis of society and democracy, particularly the Australian
version*, is wrong. That public good and public service should only ever be
a by-product of the drive to private profit; that the "best and highest" use
of human effort and intelligence is to serve that aim, not to improve the
world, express humanity, or whatever.

Any improvement or service provided in order to make money is to be the least
possible, produced as cheaply as possible - whatever this means for your
staff, your providers or the natural resources you use - for the highest
possible price (called "efficiency" and "productivity"). This, for example,
drives farmers to poor long-term land management to meet short-term price &
supply demands from a buyer with the whip-hand, a situation common in Third
World countries.

Another example will be the future history of NRMA, originally set up as a
community based, though private, non-profit service-provider. Most of its
recent troubles have been conflict over changing from that to this other
basis of operation.

The costs - human, social, environmental - may be dumped on whatever
poorly-funded government services are left, or in an ironic twist, also used
as a source of profit, say by setting up a services company to bid for tax
money provided (because government responds to public pressure) to help with
the damage, as government services are cut, corporatised or privatised to
follow the managerial ideology.

Representative government and accountability are, like following the letter
of the law, perhaps necessary evils, but to be used as sparingly as
absolutely necessary. Law-makers should be lobbied &/or "donated" to, to
make the laws, including tax, as favourable as possible.

It is better to pay this, or lawyers, public relations firms and advertisers
to give an impression of a "good company" than pay the same money on *being*
a "good company". That might set an expensive precedent, and not be noticed
by consumers who would prefer to use a "good company". Sponsorship should
similarly be not just tax deductible, so tax money is either paying much of
it or reduced by that amount so public services are disadvantaged, but the
splashiest for the money, not necessarily applied in the most useful way, or
to the neediest cause. (Sally's "spin doctors" will confirm this, but use
language to justify it).

Don't let people tell you "it's inevitable". So was the Thousand Year Reich,
so was the Divine Right of Kings, and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.
They say that because they want you to believe it & give up. They say: "Don't
ask 'Who moved my cheese, and who has it now?' "; just accept it & adapt.
But remember evil can only triumph when good people do nothing.

It's taken between 500 and 1000 years of struggle to get a legally-bound and
legally-removable ruler, representative government with voting rights for all
adults, support for the mentally & physically ill, injured workers & their
families, legal rights for women & ordinary people, and everything that
distinguishes a decent human kind of society from the rule of "strongmen" &
their enforcers - the human equivalent of a baboon troop, ruled by force,
fear & furtiveness. Why prepare to throw away all those blood-bought
lessons? Why knowingly step back down that path when we've seen, over & over,
how destructive & brutal it is?

[* Australian version - A Tale of Three Prison Camps. During the Pacific war
(there's an oxymoronic name), perhaps in Singapore, the Japanese army set up
three camps for prisoners-of-war from British, Australian, then American
forces. They provided better supplies to the officers in each camp. The
British camp kept its distinctions & privileges, with antipathy between
officers & enlisted men; The American camp descended into 'free trade' of
rations, medicine, etc, so that some ended up sick, poor, without help, and
others became "King Rats". In the Australian camp, the officers & men shared
and each helped the other, so the survival rate at the end of the war was
better than the others.

This is the legend, and I'm sure it's simplified, but it points to the best
purpose & moral foundation of Australian society as evolved from the
mid-nineteenth century until about the 1980s, when the "Free Trade" push --
so reviled for many years for things like exporting wheat from Ireland during
the Great Famine, because English markets could pay for it and starving Irish
couldn't -- made a comeback.
Sent via eBroadcast's
Australia's Free Email Service

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