Another Dark Little Corner
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.
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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Preditors and Editors
Everything you wanted to know about literary agents
On the getting of agents
(and my Wish List)
Thinkin' About Numbers
bellatrys on Nothing New Under The Sun (the ARX acta diurna) tries to help us get things in perspective.
USA Census: What 298 Million looks like (21-Jan-2006)[NOTE: I highly recommend this writer, and blog. There is very much good analysis & information in it; this little note is just a small thing that caught my imagination, like this in Hello Cruel World, a while back now.]
A comparable Australian number
Imagine each of those dots is an Australian dollar note — if you can remember what they looked like — or dollar coin. Don't leave off those last two pages, making up the full 300 sheets. That's the amount of money that our wheat farmers (and other taxpayers, I suspect, less directly) paid supposedly to transport our wheat exported to Iraq under the "Oil for Food" program. These were seen as payments to 'facilitate' the process (= bribes) by the Australian Wheat Board (now a private company called AWB), which was iffy enough, but is often seen as the price of dealing with "different cultures". (I won't discuss that problem here.)
It turns out, however, to have been funneled fairly straight to the higher levels of Saddam Hussein's regime, rather than the standard excuse that bribes support poorly-paid lower levels of the government. Whether much of it went towards supporting their extravagant way of life, got socked away in secret overseas bank accounts, paid the army & secret police, or was spent on armaments is probably less important than just the fact that it didn't go into the "Oil for Food" program to buy food, medicine or public health works for the general Iraqi public, whose sufferings were used for propaganda by their regime. The population of Iraq is somewhat larger than the population of Australia, which is 20 million people, but not huge (Iraq is about one-third the area of New South Wales, or twice the area of Victoria). So $300M would buy a fair amount to spread among them. At least it seems they did get the wheat in good condition. One hopes it made some difference to the people's hunger.